Do Female Elk Have Antlers? [Secret Infos Explored]

What a versatile antlers this animal has!! You may call it a champion of an antler.

Are you curious to know the name of this species?

If yes, it is Elk, not moose.

Do you want to know about the antlers of female elk? Keep scrolling and read –

Do female Elk have Antlers? No, typically females don’t grow antlers. Only male deer develops it. However, in the case of birth or genetic anomalies, few cow elk may show a tendency to grow deformed antlers. But the number of antlered cow elk is extremely rare in this species.

Elk is one of the most adaptive mammals and populated species of deer. In this species, the male is called bull, female cow and young one’s calves. Only males grow heavy-looking branched antlers. 

Lets now why females don’t have antlers.

Can a Cow Elk have antlers?

Typically no. Only bull develops antler. However, cow elk has small outgrowth on its head in the area where bull gets pedicles. Biologist Geist named this outgrowth as the mini pedicle. This pedicle growth may be a result of ovarian cyst in a few females. Instead of proper antlers cow grow deformed spikes called eo-antlers above its skull.

Some biologist thinks it might be a kind of evolutionary change which females adopt with time.

Why do female elk grow antlers?

Usually, this does not happen. However, you may find rare female elk with antlers in exceptional cases. It may be a result of some kind of birth anomaly, ovarian cyst, and tumor in brain Another reason is that a cow gets antlers only if she has a high level of male testosterone.

The tendency to grow antlers is ever increasing in elk as both males and females move together in a herd. So, females try to mimic males. They dig snow with antlers like males. Some biologist think that this mimicry of males might be a strong reason behind antler growth in females

If you are going for a hunt, you should learn all about the chemistry of antler growth in both males and female deer antlers. It is a bit confusing if you know little. You can read also details of our female reindeer antlers post.

Facts about Antlers growth in Elk

Elk antlers grow very speedy and then regrow again. Let’s see some key facts you need to know about antlers in this species –

  • Elk takes approximately 5 months to complete antler growth.
  • Antlers grow very fast within days.          
  • The average growth of antlers is more than 2 inches per day in an adult buck.
  • When the new antler comes up they push the old antlers off.
  • Males shed off antlers in the fall and grow again in early spring. 
  • You can determine the Elk age by carefully examining the antler bones

Things you need to know about Elk

Are you planning to hunt Elk this year? If yes, then know your animal well before the hunt. Here is a few basic information you need to know about this species. Let’s check its classification and Taxonomy in the Table below – 

KingdomAnimalia Phylum
Chordata ClassMammalia OrderArtiodactyla

BilateriaSubphylumVertebrataSubclassTheria FamilyCervidae

Cervus elaphus


Elks live in the forest and open areas naturally. They are populated all .over the world especially in North America, Canada, Eastern Rockies Mexico. They love dense. But you may also find their population in coniferous swamps, mountains and even in clear areas with less vegetation. 

Social behavior

Elk is one of the most adaptive social mammals that live in groups called herds. They form quite a large herd of about 200 or more members, Males stay together in the herd while females stay together Mostly single female leads the herd.

does female elk have antlers

Weight and size

Elks are not tall enough but antlers make them tall. Average Height typically, 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) from hoof to shoulder and weigh 325 to 1,100 lbs. (147 to 499 kilograms),. A bull elk’s antlers can stretch up to 4 feet (1.2 m) above its head, making it around 9 feet (2.7 m) tall in all. Females do not grow antlers.

Invasive species

Elk is an invasive species that can carry infectious diseases to a number of harmful diseases. Some of which can be transmitted to livestock. Efforts to eliminate infectious diseases from elk populations, largely by vaccination, have had mixed success.

Frequently Asked Questions (Faq)

Can female elk grow antlers?

Not generally. There is no such case recorded until now. However, diversity may exist in any species. But it happens extremely rare not typically

Do both sexes of elk have antlers?

No, only male elk grow antler over its head. Females don’t have it

What is a female elk called?

Female elk is called cow whereas male Elk is bull and the young one is a calf.

What do female elk look like?

Because of bigger size and weight, it sometimes confuses as cow or moose deer. For its color, it also resembles red deer

How much blood does an elk have?

It is still unknown about the exact amount of blood. However, it dies if it would lose 30 percent of its blood.

Final Words

This article does female elk have antlers covers all topics related to antler growth in both sexes. Sometimes it may confuse you to differentiate between bull or cow  Elk. Both show potential to grow antlers while females don’t grow proper rack and it happens in extremely rare conditions.

If you love to read the pdf version of this post then you can download the pdf by clicking the image below or open the pdf by clicking here –

can female elk have antlers
Click the image to download the pdf version
So, it is always recommended to know your animal well before the hunt. It will help you to get a better understanding of your prey. Don’t forget to bring a camera with you while going on a hunting adventure. I would really appreciate if you snap photos with your prey and send it to us.

If you don’t love to read and love to listen audio then you can listen to the mp3 version of this post by simply clicking the play button below –