Rocky Mountain Elk

Rocky Mountain Elk

The Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) is a subspecies of elk found in a good part of New Mexico.  I encountered this one in the Sacramento Mountains.  Southern New Mexico used to be home to Merriam's Elk.  A slightly larger subspecies that lived in more arid environments.  Sadly, Merriam's Elk have been presumed extinct since 1906.

The Rocky Mountain Elk ranges from Canada to the mountains of southern New Mexico.  Bulls can reach up to 700 pounds. The winter ranges are most common in open forests and floodplains in the lower elevations. In the summer, they migrate to the subalpine forests and alpine basins.