Elk Vs Deer

Elk White-tailed Deer
Can exceed 800 lbs Rarely exceed 250 lbs
Adult elk stand 4-5 feet at the shoulders. Adult white-tailed deer stand 3-3.5 feet at the shoulders.
A 5-6-month-old elk calf is about the same size as an adult doe.
Elk have black legs and necks, and tan rump patches. White-tailed deer have white throat patches, legs the same color as their bodies and no rump patches.
Elk have short tails the same color as their tan rump patches. White-tailed deer have long tails with a white underside.
Only bull elk have antlers and they sweep back toward the body. Only buck white-tailed deer have antlers and they curve forward toward the head.
Calves and Fawns
Elk usually give birth to a single calf, which can weigh about 45 pounds. White-tailed deer often give birth to two fawns, which typically weigh 7-8 pounds.
Both elk calves and whitetail fawns are spotted for the first few months and are born in May and June.
Found in parts of 3 counties Found statewide
Move longer distances (> 10 miles) More short distances (< 2 miles)
Population goal of 400-500 Over 1 million in Missouri
Large social groups Small social groups
Lifespan may exceed 12-15 years, especially females Lifespan typically not greater than 8-10 years
male and female elk and deer

In This Section

Elk or Deer? (pdf, 189 KB)

ID card that illustrates the differences between an elk and a white-tailed deer. 

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