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Top 10 States With The Most Elk

Rocky Mountain Elk
Elk (Cervus canadensis) are highly adaptable animals. Image by Byron Johnson via Unsplash

Elk are magnificent creatures, roaming the forests and plains of North America but which states have the most elk? Their presence brings a sense of wild freedom to the landscape. For those interested in elk populations, here are the top ten states with the most elk.

10. Nevada

Juvenile Elk
Juvenile male tule elk. Image via Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nevada might be known for its deserts but it is also home to around 17,500 elk. These herds roam the mountain ranges, offering a sight to behold for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

9. Arizona

American elk. Image via Leupold James, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In Arizona, 35,000 elk call the state home. Generally they thrive in the forests and high deserts, often spotted in the northern regions. The Grand Canyon State offers both a diverse landscape and a healthy elk population.

8. Washington

Elk deer in Jasper National Park near Maligne Canyon. Image via Membeth, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Washington State has a population of about 47,500 elk. They are commonly found in the western part of the state, especially in the lush Olympic Peninsula. The contrast of elk against the green forests is a striking sight.

7. Utah

elk at night
Roosevelt Elk. Image via depositphotos.

With 83,000 elk, Utah’s diverse terrain provides excellent habitat. From the Wasatch Mountains to the vast national parks, elk have plenty of room to roam. Evidently this makes Utah a prime spot for elk watching.

6. New Mexico

Elk. Image via depositphotos.

New Mexico hosts 104,000 elk. They are often seen in the northern part of the state, particularly in the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests. The state’s varied geography offers ideal conditions for these large animals.

5. Wyoming

Elk. Image via depositphotos.

In Wyoming, 109,000 elk roam the wide-open spaces. The state is known for its wildlife, and elk are a big part of that. The herds in places like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are particularly famous.

4. Idaho

american elk
Image by David J. Stang

Idaho has a robust population of 120,000 elk. The rugged terrain of the state provides excellent habitat – from dense forests to rolling hills. This makes Idaho a top destination for elk enthusiasts.

3. Oregon

Image via Unsplash

Oregon is home to 133,000 elk. They are spread across the state, from the coastal ranges to the Cascade Mountains. Moreover the state’s varied landscape supports a healthy and thriving elk population.

2. Montana

Image via Pixabay

Montana has vast open lands – it supports 157,500 elk. The state’s wide prairies and mountainous regions provide perfect habitats for these animals. Montana’s elk are a major draw for wildlife watchers and hunters alike.

1. Colorado

Mountain Bull Elk in autumn forest, Colorado, USA. Image via depositphotos.

Colorado tops the list with a staggering 303,000 elk. The state’s diverse habitats, from the Rockies to expansive forests. Thus offering ideal conditions. Elk are a common sight and a key feature of Colorado’s natural beauty.

Wrapping Up with the Top 10 States With The Most Elk

two bull elks fighting
Image via Wikimedia –

Elk populations are thriving across many states in the U.S. – each offering unique landscapes and opportunities to see these animals. Evidently from Nevada to Colorado, elk herds roam freely. Moreover whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or just curious, these states are worth a visit to experience the majesty of elk in their natural habitat.

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