National Park Service Website wrote:Yellowstone provides summer range for an estimated 10,000–20,000 elk (Cervus elaphus) from 6–7 herds, most of which winter at lower elevations outside the park. These herds provide visitor enjoyment as well as revenue to local economies through hunting outside the park. As Yellowstone’s most abundant ungulate, elk comprise approximately 90% of winter wolf kills and are an important food for bears, mountain lions, and at least 12 scavenger species, including bald eagles and coyotes. Competition with elk can influence the diet, habitat selection, and demography of bighorn sheep, bison, moose, mule deer, and pronghorn. Elk browsing and nitrogen deposition can affect vegetative production, soil fertility, and plant diversity. Thus, changes in elk abundance over space and time can alter plant and animal communities in Yellowstone.
Source: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/moose.htmNational Park Service Website wrote:Quick Facts
Number in Yellowstone
Summer: 10,000–20,000 elk in 6–7 different herds.
Where to See
Summer: Gibbon Meadows, Elk Park, and Lamar Valley.
Fall, during “rut” or mating season: northern range, including Mammoth Hot Springs; Madison River.
Winter: migrate north to the northern range and around Gardiner, Montana; <100 year-round along the Firehole and Madison rivers; south to the Jackson Hole Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.
Size and Behaviour
Male (bull) weighs about 700 pounds and is about 5 feet high at the shoulder; female (cow) weighs about 500 pounds and is slightly shorter; calf is about 30 pounds at birth.
Bulls have antlers, which begin growing in the spring and usually drop in March or April of the next year.
Feed on grasses, sedges, other herbs and shrubs, bark of aspen trees, conifer needles, burned bark, aquatic plants.
Mating season (rut) in September and October; single calves born in May to late June.
Source: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/elkantlers.htmNational Park Service Website wrote:Antlers are usually symmetrical and occur on males, or very occasionally females.
The average, healthy, mature bull has 6 tines on each antler, and is known as a "six point" or "six by six."
One-year-old bulls grow 10–20 inch spikes, sometimes forked.
Two-year-old bulls usually have slender antlers with 4 to 5 points.
Three-year-old bulls have thicker antlers.
Four-year-old and older bulls typically have 6 points; antlers are thicker and longer each year.
Eleven- or twelve-year old bulls often grow the heaviest antlers; after that age, the size of antlers generally diminishes.
More Info: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/elkinfo.htm