Elk, also called wapiti (a Native American word that means "light-colored deer"), are related to deer but much larger than most of their relatives North American relatives. With a range that covers most of the western half of the United States, elk are near the top of any big-game hunter's bucket list.
Bull elk lose their antlers each March, but they begin to grow them back in May in preparation for the late-summer breeding season. In early summer, elk migrate to high mountain grazing grounds where the cows will give birth. During the breeding season the impressive bugling of bull elk echoes through the mountains. Bulls strip the velvet off their new antlers before using them in violent clashes to determine who gets the girl, and males with the bigger antlers, typically older animals, usually win these battles and dominate small herds. In winter, elk reconvene into larger herds, though males and females typically remain separate. The herds return to lower valley pastures where elk spend the season pawing through snow to browse on grass or shrubs that peak thru the snow.