Elk Population by State 2022

States That Do Not Have Elk Populations

Many states do not have any elk populations, due to extinction, migration or never being there in the first place. For example, in Rhode Island and Hawaii, it is extremely unlikely that there have ever been elk in these states at any given time to populate a habitat. In the case of Hawaii, for example, the pacific island does not make up part of the continental North American lands which are home to the wapiti. Many other states have had their elk populations extirpated throughout history, usually due to overhunting or disrupting the natural ecosystem in those areas. For example, Elk were extirpated in Massachusetts as early as 1732. Massachusetts was one of the original 13 colonies, so it makes sense that more settlers were hunting game to survive on the land.

Delaware is another interesting case. It was assumed that the elk were extirpated here, but there is archeological evidence to suggest that elk populations may have been found in Delaware in prehistoric times. This acknowledges the fact that there may be elk populations that are not native to certain areas, as the migration throughout time will have affected where the elk can settle down and graze.

States With Large and Small Elk Populations

Montana has the largest elk population, estimated to be around 150,000 currently residing in the state. Montana is situated in a colder climate, with vast open spaces and woodlands. This makes the habitat extremely popular for elk to reside in, as they will also cross state borders, even crossing the Canadian border when they are migrating down south. This is also true for Oregon, which has an estimated population of around 130,000 elk - another key climate and habitat where elk can both migrate to and settle down to make permanent homes.

Some states do have elk, but the population is negligible. For example, it is estimated that there are around 10 wild elk in Florida. It is interesting to note that Florida contains a climate that is not conducive to the mating of elk, as they prefer colder climates for their thick fur, as well as for using their antlers to dig up roots and shrubs, which is their main diet. It is possible that an elk family migrated to a part of Florida and was in desperate need of food.

Are Elk Common in America?

Elk is a species of cervids (deer) that make up the largest members of this family. It is native to North America. Elk is not found naturally in any other continent unless it has been brought by humans. Elks are extremely adaptable, which can prove to be a double-edged sword for wildlife preservation. When introduced to new areas, they will always try to dominate the food chain from other grazing herd animals. Wildlife authorities have set strict hunting regulations, as European settlers have wiped out certain subspecies of Elk throughout the centuries, including the Eastern Elk and the Merriam's Elk.

Elk Population by State 2022