Elk are unique physically. They resemble a deer only because they are both members of the deer family, but at 800 pounds, an elk is much larger. An elk’s body also tends to be more stocky than the sleet outline of a deer’s build.
Even their coloring is distinct. Though an elk’s body is a dark tan, it’s neck and head is dark brown, with very dark brown lower legs. Another distinctive feature of an elk is the very light color of its rump. In fact, the Indian name for elk, Wapiti, means “white rump.”
The only way an elk could be mistaken for a moose is if the animal is obscured by brush, and only the dark brown of the elk’s head is visible. A moose’s main body is very dark brown, almost black, as compared to an elk’s tan body. Also, a moose’s legs are much longer than an elk’s, and its face is elongated, with a prominent nose.
The heavier body of an elk causes much heavier hoof beats as it walk across the forest floor. When an elk is within 50 yards, it’s not unusual for a hunter to feel the vibrations of its oncoming hoofbeats.
Though not as furtive or quick as the nimble-footed deer, an elk can still move surprisingly fast. However, it is unusual for an elk to react fast enough to jump out of the way or an archer’s arrow, a practice common with deer, which is called “jumping the string