American Elk
(Cervus elaphus)

Photo: Michael Jeffords
Bull elk with four female elk feeding on grass.
Bull elk with several females.

Description & Identification

Elk are larger than white-tailed deer. They have a reddish hue to their fur, a buff rump patch, and small tails. Males have antlers, but females typically do not.

Adult males weigh approximately 700 pounds and stand 5 feet at the shoulder. Females are smaller, weighing approximately 500 pounds and stand 4½ feet at the shoulder.


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Report a Sighting

If you have seen a free-ranging elk in Illinois, please report the sighting to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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IDNR Issues Updated Recommendations Regarding Wild Birds and Avian Influenza June 1, 2022
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