Difference Between Whitetail And Elk


Being the most preyed upon animals, whitetail deer are the most favorite in the United States. Squaw Mountain Ranch offers you the best environment with all the hunting facilities. Now, the problem is how you can differentiate whitetail deer from elk. In this article, we will discuss the points of how we can differ between both these animals. As elk belong to a deer family, i.e. Cervidae, we can say that all elk are deer, but all deer are not elk.

Similarities Between White-tailed Deer and Elk

Both whitetail deer and elk belong to ruminant species meaning their stomach is four-chambered and full of bacteria and helps digest nearly all types of plant matter. When we talk about mating, both species mate in the fall season. Annually, males of both species grow new antlers. Also, both species give birth to their babies in the spring season. Except for similarities, there are also many ways to distinguish between the species.

Differences Between White-tailed Deer and Elk

  • Habitat

Usually, elk prefer mountainous forests, whereas, on the other hand, whitetail deer inhabit forests, deserts, or grasslands.

  • Body Size

If we compare these animals in their sizes, elk are much larger and heavier than whitetail deer. An elk usually weighs 700 pounds that sometimes reach up to 1100 pounds and reach 8 feet in length and 5 feet in height.

On the other hand, a deer weighs 100 – 300 pounds only and grows to the length of 7 feet and height 5 feet.

  • Colour of the Coat

After their size difference, both animals differ clearly in the colors of their coat. Elk’s bodies are covered with a shaggy brown coat that turns thick to prevent heat loss from the body in winter. Whereas deer’s coat is reddish in summers and grey during the winters. Species called white-tailed have white-colored tails, which they used to inform other group members about danger by raising it.

  • Size of Antlers
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Antlers of elk are longer than deer. Deer develop branched or spiky antlers. Typically, antlers of elk reach 4 feet in length.

  • Sound

During autumn, the mating season of elk, male elk produce very loud, bugling “ooh” sounds. These sounds are very loud and can be heard from miles away, usually late in the evening or early. In contrast, deer are usually silent most of the time and grunt and bleat occasionally.

  • Speed

Elk are usually faster than deer. When it comes to escape from predators, elk can run 45 miles per hour, and deer can run 30 miles per hour.

  • Diet

Both these animals are herbivores. But deer prefer to eat shoots, grass, leaves, and legumes, while elk prefer a diet based on grass.

  • Tracks

When it comes to the shape of hooves, both these animals differ in shape and leave different tracks on the ground. Tracks of elk are tooth shapes, and deer leave heart-shaped tracks.

Considering these differences, you can differentiate between elk and white-tailed deer. Contact Squaw Mountain Ranch freely to avail this great chance. We are the #1 spot for whitetail hunts in TX!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>