Identifying Elk and Moose: The Kings of the Deer
In our previous blog about identifying different types of deer, we pointed out that 43 species exist worldwide. Two of these species that you might not realize are part of the deer family are moose and elk.
Even though they are known by different names, moose and elk share many of the same characteristics as other deer. However, they also have distinct differences, which make these unique animals great additions to your collection of hunting trophies. Come with us as we dive deeper into the unique characteristics of elk and moose.
Let’s Talk About Size
If you asked someone who wasn’t a hunter for the most significant difference between elk, moose and the rest of the deer population, most people would probably say their size. And you know what? They would be correct.
Out of all species of deer, elk are among the largest, and moose are the clear winners. For instance:
In terms of both height and weight, the moose leaves most other deer (including elk) in the dust. On average, they clock in at more than six feet tall at the shoulder. The average whitetail stag is 1.7 – 3.9 feet tall at the shoulder. And where the whitetail stag can weigh up to 150 pounds, the average moose weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
Elk heights and weights are equally impressive compared to the average whitetail. Elk tend to stand 4.3 – 4.9 feet tall, and their weights average around 450 pounds.
As a result, when searching for moose or elk, the best way to start is to look for animals that are larger than the average whitetail deer. Still, it goes without saying that there can be larger-than-average whitetails and other types of deer out there. You should consider a few other identifying factors when determining whether you have a deer or moose on your hand or a large deer.
Identifying Factors of Elk
An elk does not look that different from another deer in many ways. However, beyond their sizes, a specific identifying feature of elk is their coloring. Overall, they tend to either have a gray or tan color, as opposed to the brown of whitetail deer. The fur on the elk’s head, chest and legs tends to be a darker color, and most elk will sport a shaggier mane on their heads and chests. The fur will taper into a lighter color approaching the rump. Additionally, most elk will have a soft beige rump patch, which will be lighter in color than the rest of their fur.
One thing you will notice about elks’ coloring, compared to other deers’, is that other deer typically change colors seasonally. On the other hand, elk maintain their coloring throughout the year, with only minor variations.
Identifying Factors of Moose
Compared to elk, there are many more distinguishing characteristics of moose. Of course, their immense size should make them pop out to any observer. But to be even more confident that you have a moose in your sights, keep an eye out for their:
Colors: Moose are very dark brown, although there can be some slight tan coloration from the top of their head across the top of their back.
Legs: A moose has very long legs, and its front legs are longer than its hind legs. If a moose rears up on its hind legs, you will notice this feature.
Antlers: One of the hallmark distinguishing features of moose is their antlers. Full-sized moose antlers are very broad and flat, and many resemble pans with impressive points. Like most deer, moose shed their antlers in the winter. When moose antlers begin to re-grow in the spring, they will be covered with a thin layer of fur called velvet.
Throats: Most moose will have a flap of skin and fur called a dewlap underneath their chins.
Humps: Moose are characteristically broad-shouldered, with a hump at the back of their necks, roughly above their front legs.
Hunt Elk at Stone Creek Ranch
Because they reside in cold habitats, moose are typically only found in colder climates, making Texas an unsuitable habitat for these magnificent beasts. However, there are wonderful elk specimens here at Stone Creek Ranch, all sporting beautiful characteristics. Located in the heart of the scenic Texas Hill Country, Stone Creek Ranch is the perfect place where you can hunt these majestic animals year-round. So if you’re ready to harvest an elk that is a perfect addition to your trophy collection, there’s no time to book your hunt like the present.