How Much Does an Elk Weigh? Here’s the Answer!

If you’ve ever wondered how much an elk might weigh, you’ve come to the right place. Elk, also known as wapiti, are one of the largest members of the deer family, and their size can be quite impressive. Knowing the weight of these majestic creatures can help you understand their role in the ecosystem and even assist hunters in gauging their potential trophy or meat yield.

Elk are mainly found in North America and parts of Asia, living in a variety of habitats such as forests, meadows, and mountains. The weight of an elk can vary greatly depending on factors like age, gender, and even geographical location.

Adult males, or bulls, usually weigh more than females, or cows. Depending on these factors, you can expect a mature elk to weigh anywhere between 500 and 1,100 pounds.

As you learn more about the fascinating world of elk, you’ll discover that their weight can significantly impact their lifestyle and survival strategies. Let’s dive deeper into the factors affecting an elk’s weight and how this relates to various aspects of their lives in the wild.

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The Rocky Mountain elk adult males (bulls) average weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. Female elk (cows) typically weigh around 500 to 600 pounds. A tule elk bull usually weighs between 500 and 700 pounds

Weight of Elk Subspecies

Rocky Mountain Elk

The Rocky Mountain elk is the most well-known subspecies. Adult males (bulls) average weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. Female elk (cows) typically weigh around 500 to 600 pounds. Being in good physical condition is important for their survival since they must navigate various altitudes and climates in their habitats.

Tule Elk

Tule elk are native to California and are the smallest elk subspecies. A tule elk bull usually weighs between 500 and 700 pounds while the cow typically weighs around 350 to 450 pounds. Despite their smaller size, they are quite agile and are adapted to avoid predators in their environment.

Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt elk are the largest elk subspecies; they’re primarily found in the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest. A bull can weigh between 900 and 1100 pounds and a cow generally weighs around 600 to 700 pounds. Their large size helps them cope with the heavy undergrowth and dense forests they inhabit.

Merriam Elk

Merriam elk are extinct, but they once roamed the southwestern United States in areas now known as Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas. The weight of Merriam elk is unclear, but it’s believed that they were similar in size to Rocky Mountain elk. Therefore, bulls probably weighed between 700 and 900 pounds while cows weighed around 500 to 600 pounds.

Manitoban Elk

Lastly, Manitoban elk are found in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in Canada. Bulls generally weigh between 700 and 1000 pounds and cows weigh between 500 and 700 pounds. Their size allows them to thrive in the grasslands and forests they inhabit.

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Remember, the weight of any individual elk can vary due to factors such as age, diet, and habitat. However, these general estimates should give you a good idea of how much each elk subspecies weighs.


Female vs Male Elk Weight

When it comes to elks, you’ll notice there is a significant difference in weight between females, known as cows, and males, known as bulls. As a friendly guide, let’s explore these differences and what factors contribute to them.

First, female elk typically weigh between 500 to 600 pounds. They have smaller bodies and are more lightly built when compared to their male counterparts. You’ll find that a healthy cow has an elegant, lean physique to support her roles in the elk society, which includes nurturing and protecting her offspring.

On the other hand, male elk have a noticeably larger and more muscular build. Bulls usually weigh in the range of 700 to 1100 pounds. The reason for such a substantial difference in weight lies in their roles in the elk community. They need to be robust in order to compete with other bulls during the mating season, which is known as the rut.

Here’s a quick comparison for you:

  • Female Elk: 500-600 pounds
  • Male Elk: 700-1100 pounds

It’s essential to keep in mind that age, diet, and environment play crucial roles in determining the weight of an elk. As an elk grows older and gains more access to food resources, it will achieve a heavier weight.

Also, elks living in richer environments with abundant food sources are likelier to weigh more than their counterparts in less favorable habitats.

In summary, female and male elk exhibit significant differences in weight attributable mainly to their distinct roles and responsibilities within the elk community. Be mindful of factors like age, diet, and environment that could also impact the weight of these majestic creatures as you continue to learn more about them.

Elk Weight by Age

As an elk grows older, its weight can change dramatically. When they’re born, elk calves typically weigh between 25 and 45 pounds. As they grow into their first year, they will gain weight rapidly, reaching around 300 pounds for males and 225 pounds for females by 15 months of age.

It’s important to note that elk show sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females differ in size and weight, with males generally being larger. By the time an elk reaches its second year, males typically weigh between 500 and 800 pounds, while females generally weigh around 400 to 600 pounds.

Elks’ weights will stabilize as they continue to develop and reach maturity. Adult male elks, also known as bulls, can weigh anywhere from 700 to 1100 pounds, with an average weight of 850 pounds. Adult female elks, or cows, usually range from 500 to 900 pounds, with an average weight of around 600 pounds.

Elk weight can vary depending on habitat, genetics, and overall health. It’s important to remember that these are just general guidelines, and individual elk can vary in weight.

By understanding and observing these general weight ranges, you can better appreciate these majestic creatures’ amazing growth and development throughout their lives.

Factors Affecting Elk Weight


Your friendly elk’s weight is highly influenced by its diet. Elk are herbivores, meaning they mainly feed on grasses, forbs, and woody browse like twigs, leaves, and bark. Their diet changes depending on the season and the available plant life.

  • Spring: In spring, elk consume emerging grasses, forbs, and leaves, which are rich in nutrients and relatively easy to digest.
  • Summer: As summer progresses, elk continue to feed on grasses, but the nutritional quality of the plants decreases, and they start eating various shrubs and woody plants.
  • Fall: In the fall, elk focus on eating woody browse and the leaves and twigs of deciduous shrubs to build up fat reserves for the winter.
  • Winter: During winter, elk rely heavily on woody browse, which is less nutritious and harder to digest, usually leading to weight loss throughout the season.
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The habitat an elk lives in also plays a role in its weight. Elk inhabit various environments, from dense forests to open grasslands:

  • In forested areas, elk have access to more shade, which helps them conserve energy and can result in higher body weights.
  • In mountainous regions, elk expend more energy traversing steep slopes, which may lead to lower body weights.
  • In open grasslands or plains, elk may have access to more nutritious food sources, potentially leading to increased body weights.


Elk genetics can also impact their weight. Genetic traits can influence how efficiently an elk converts food into energy, muscle mass, or fat reserves. In addition, some elk populations may have individuals that are naturally larger or smaller due to their specific gene pool.

By understanding the role of diet, habitat, and genetics in an elk’s weight, you can better appreciate the factors contributing to their overall health and well-being.

Methods of Weighing Elk

When it comes to weighing elk, there are several methods you can utilize. These techniques differ in their level of accuracy and ease of use. Let’s review some popular options that will assist you in obtaining a precise measurement.

1. Capture and weigh method: This technique is quite accurate, but it requires a significant amount of effort and resources. You would need to capture the elk by tranquilizing it or herding it into a contained area.

Then, you’d use a large animal scale to weigh the animal. Keep in mind this method could be stressful and potentially dangerous for both you and the elk, so do consider the ethical implications.

2. Estimating based on body size: This method visually assesses the elk’s body size and compares it to known average weights for the species. To get a rough estimate of an elk’s weight, you may follow these steps:

  • Observe the elk from a safe distance, taking note of its overall size and proportions.
  • Compare your observation to the average weight ranges for the species. For example, bull elk typically weigh between 700-1,100 pounds, while cow elk weigh between 500-600 pounds.

While this method is less invasive, its accuracy can be influenced by your observational skills and the elk’s physical condition.

3. Using a weight tape: A weight tape is a tool designed to estimate the weight of an animal based on its girth measurement. To use this method:

  • Approach the elk carefully, ideally while it’s sedated or restrained.
  • Wrap the weight tape around the elk’s chest, just behind its front legs.
  • Read the estimated weight from the tape.
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Weight tapes offer a more accurate estimate than visual assessments but can vary depending on the elk’s body proportions.

To summarize, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to weighing elk. Explore the methods above and choose the one that best suits your situation, always prioritizing your and the animal’s safety and well-being.

How Much Does an Adult Elk Weigh?

When trying to determine an adult elk’s weight, it’s important to consider the differences between males and females. Elk, like many other animals, show sexual dimorphism, meaning that there are observable differences between the two genders.

Male elk, also known as bulls, are generally larger and heavier when compared to female elk, or cows. On average, a male elk can weigh anywhere from 700 to 1,100 pounds (about 317-500 kg). They can also stand as tall as five feet (1.5 meters) at the shoulder, making them quite an impressive sight.

Female elk, on the other hand, usually weigh around 500 to 800 pounds (227-364 kg) and tend to be slightly smaller in stature. While these numbers are still significant compared to other ungulates, it makes a noticeable difference compared to their male counterparts.

Don’t forget to also consider the subspecies of elk you’re looking at. For instance:

  • The Roosevelt elk, found in the Pacific Northwest, tends to be larger, with bulls weighing between 700 and 1,100 pounds (317-500 kg) and females weighing between 575 and 650 pounds (260-295 kg).
  • The Rocky Mountain elk, however, has bulls that weigh between 700 and 1,000 pounds (317-454 kg), and females typically range between 500 and 600 pounds (227-272 kg).

Remember that these numbers are generalized averages, and individual elk can vary significantly in weight due to factors such as age, health, and access to sufficient food resources. Now, you’ve got a good starting point to understand how much an adult elk weighs!

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How Much Does an Elk Quarter Weigh?

When you’re looking into the weight of an elk quarter, there are a few factors to consider. Generally, elks have a wide range of weights, so the weight of a single quarter will depend on the size of the elk and how it has been processed.

For your ease of understanding, let’s break this information down with an easy-to-read table showing the average weights of various elk categories:

Elk Size/TypeAverage WeightAverage Quarter Weight
Roosevelt Elk700-1100 lbs175-275 lbs
Tule Elk370-720 lbs92-180 lbs
Rocky Mountain550-800 lbs137-200 lbs

Please keep in mind that these numbers are estimates and can vary greatly depending on factors like age, sex, and overall health of the elk.

Now, let’s talk about the different cuts of an elk and their approximate weights:

  • Front quarter: This includes the shoulder and front leg, usually weighing around 20-25% of the total body weight.
  • Hind quarter: The hind quarter consists of the rear leg and rump, generally making up 30-35% of the elk’s total weight.
  • Rib and loin section: This middle portion of the elk, containing the rib and loin area, contributes about 15-20% to the total weight.

As you can see, there’s quite a range when it comes to the weight of an elk quarter. Additionally, it’s essential to consider the weight of bones, excess fat, and any remaining tissues while calculating the net weight of an elk quarter. By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be better equipped to estimate the weight of an elk quarter for your specific needs.

About Kevin Jones

My name is Kevin Jones, and I'm the proud founder of this website. I'm a self-professed measurement enthusiast, and I've been passionate about measuring things for as long as I can remember. On this website, you'll find information on all aspects of dimensions, including measurements and weight of stuff.