Elk like many other species were reintroduced to Pennsylvania in the early 1900’s. After the founding of the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1895 the process of rehabilitating our state’s natural resources began. One of the many ways this was accomplished was through the reintroduction of elk, which began in 1913. From 1913 to 1926, 177 Rocky Mountain Elk were transported from western states and released in Pennsylvania. From those original 177 our elk herd has grown to more than 1,000 elk. Today’s elk range encompasses portions of nearly 10 counties and over 1,000 square miles.
Elk are herd animals and can often be seen in large groups of 50 or more grazing on the hillsides. Elk are also the second largest member of the Cervidae, or deer family, and can weigh up to 900 pounds. Classified as herbivores, elk primarily graze on grasses and forbs such as timothy, alfalfa, clovers and other cool and warm season grasses. Habitat is crucial for elk as they can consume up to 25 pounds of forage per day. As Pennsylvania’s elk herd continues to flourish and grow so does people’s interest in this majestic animal. For more information on Pennsylvania’s wild elk herd visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.