Bugle Boy Blues
One of North America’s grandest game animals is the elk. A bull elk’s massive antlers and distinctive bugle is an awesome sight to anyone who encounters one in the wild. Elk have roamed North America for thousands of years and before the 1800s, there was thought to be more than 10 million of these large deer on the continent. Overhunting and loss of habitat nearly wiped out the elk by the early 1900s, but now, the elk is making a strong comeback with populations estimated to be near one million. Elk once ranged in every U.S. state except Alaska and Florida, now, elk live in 24 states and seven Canadian provinces. Elk live in a variety of habitats ranging from desert-like valleys to Alpine forests. They eat 10 to 15 pounds of grass and other vegetation per day. Bulls live in bachelor groups or alone, where cows, calves and yearlings live in groups called herds. There are four subspecies of elk in North America today--the Roosevelt Elk, the Tule Elk, the Rocky Mountain Elk and the Manitoban Elk. Two subspecies are extinct--the Eastern Elk and the Merriam Elk.