Of the four subspecies of elk found in North America, two reside in British Columbia. Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) can be found on Vancouver Island. Roosevelt elk are larger with larger and more rugged antlers than other members of the species.
Roosevelt elk have a golden brown coat during the summer and a longer, grayish brown coat during the winter. Their legs, head and neck remain dark brown year round. Mature bull Roosevelt elk have rich brown antlers with ivory tips and long cylindrical beams that sweep upward and back. Bull elk will shed their racks every March.
A Roosevelt elk’s diet primarily consists of sedge, grass and ferns, but is supplemented by willows, elderberry, cedar and hemlock. In the winter, elk ranges are most commonly found in open forests, grassy bench lands or floodplain marshes. In May and June, Roosevelt elk migrate to subalpine and alpine basins that support lush vegetation. At maturity, a cow will weigh about 500 lbs and a bull will weigh about 700 lbs. Roosevelt elk meat is leaner and higher in protein than both chicken and beef.
Photocredit: Betty 4240