Wapiti and Elk are magnificent animals and part of that is their imposing stature. Mature elk cows weigh up to 350kg and bulls up to 550kg. They stand similar in height to a horse. They are big animals, they command respect and should be treated with respect.
In a paddock situation elk and wapiti tend to be quiet and can often be driven amongst without disturbance. The exception for bulls is when testosterone takes over in the mating season. Always beware a “rutting” bull. The only time a cow may show aggression in the paddock is when you approach a her new-born fawn – this is not normal management practice as calving hinds are best left alone.
Yarding elk and wapiti can create handling difficulties due to poor yard design. Remember all deer will react instinctively in a confrontation situation - “flight or fight”. Simply avoid confrontational situations in the yards.
• Avoid working with elk or wapiti on their own • Ensure pens have 2-3 entry/exit gates
• Use wide “sweep” gates to move stock • Avoid working them from on catwalks • Use height to direct them in yards
Height has a controlling effect working with deer in yards. Creating the visual impression of height, be it with a hand-held shield, a stick or even a sheet of ply will encourage stock to move where you want them to.
There are many excellent deer handling facilities for elk and wapiti and members are more than happy to share their knowledge of yard design and the many small pointers that make handling this magnificent breed a very safe and enjoyable experience.