Elk In Pennsylvania: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Elk In Pennsylvania
Elk In Pennsylvania: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Pennsylvania is home to a diverse set of wildlife. Thanks to its unique variety of landscapes. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Pennsylvania boasts of the Great Lake region, Appalachian Mountains, etc which inhabit a number of unique wildlife like black bears, white-tailed deer, etc. But does the state house Elk? 

Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about the presence of Elk in Pennsylvania.

Are There Any Elk in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there are Elk in Pennsylvania. In fact, Pennsylvania has the largest population of Elk among the northeast states of the country. 

Elk is similar to moose in physical features and characteristics but is smaller in size compared to moose. 

Another significant difference between these two deer species is the fur color. Moose has brownish fur, but Elks have light brown to tan coats and a darker mane around their necks. And unlike moose, elks are commonly found in grasslands, meadows, and forests.

How Many Elk Are in Pennsylvania?

A few in number, Elks are present in many counties of Pennsylvania state. As per the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there are roughly 1400 elk individuals in the state distributed unevenly throughout the state. 

Their numbers have been managed and monitored by the state’s wildlife game commission which is doing a fantastic job of supporting these creatures. Conservation programs, management programs, training, etc., have been provided by the commission to both its agents and the public.

Why Did Elk Go Extinct in Pennsylvania?

Elk In Pennsylvania
Elk In Pennsylvania: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Did you know, Elk was once present in almost all counties of the state? Yes, Shocking, isn’t it? 

Until the early 1800s, Elk enjoyed a significant share landscape in the state, sharing it with other wildlife and living in harmony. And then came the European settlers who occupied most of the parts of the state. 

They also extensively converted the grassland and forest to agricultural land. Additionally, like they did to other animals, there was unregulated hunting of Elk in Pennsylvania as a game, for their majestic antlers and fur.

So, by the late 1800s, the population of Elk in Pennsylvania reduced, and they were soon extirpated. In fact, the last recorded Elk in Pennsylvania was in the 1870s. But thanks to the efforts of the state’s wildlife commission, now there is a sizable population of Elk currently in Pennsylvania.

Also Read Our Guide On Elk In Tennessee

Where Can I See Elk in Pennsylvania?

Elk are heavy consumers and predominantly live in areas they can get hold of abundant food supply like forested areas, grasslands, and meadows. 

In Pennsylvania, their population is concentrated in a few areas, especially in the north-central regions of the state. 

These include Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, and Clinton counties. As per the Pennsylvania Game Commission, some of the specific areas with Elk presence in the state occurs in Elk Country Visitor Centre, Winslow Hill Viewing Area, Pennsylvania State Game Lands, Quehanna Wild Area, and Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Best Time to See Elk in Pennsylvania?

Throughout the year, you have much more chance of spotting elk during dusk or dawn so visit them during these times to increase your chances. 

Additionally, as these creatures mate from September to October, they are highly active during this time in the wild and can be observed without waiting for a long time. Unlike moose, these are mostly herd animals and that makes it easier to spot one.

What County Are Elk in Pennsylvania?

Have you ever heard of a town built on the basis of one animal? To be more precise, on the basis of elk and tourism opportunities? It may seem bizarre, but Benezette located in Elk County, disagrees. 

The town unofficially known as the “Elk Capitol of PA,” has hotels, cafés, and even the local gas station on the theme of Elk. These places are filled with information, facts, and merchandise related to Elk and in fact, elk is almost considered as a celebrity in the state. You can also observe them in the wild, thanks to the stable population of elk in the state.

How Many Elk Are Killed in Pennsylvania?

It’s difficult to precisely estimate the number of animals killed and more so elk. Based on the state’s wildlife commission, the elk deaths due to hunting are well monitored and vary from year to year. In 2019 about 99 elks were harvested, 98 in 2021, and until now about 50 this year.

This number largely depends on the no. of elk permits and licenses released during the year, the health of the creatures, and the number of people coming forward to participate in this hunting game.

Can You Shoot/Kill Elk in Pennsylvania?

Definitely, it is legal to shoot and hunt Elk in Pennsylvania with a valid elk license and permit. The number of licenses is pre-set by the state’s wildlife commission so that there is control over these killings. 

These are set based on the population of elk present during that time in the state. In the last season in 2022, about 178 licenses were released.

Note that, only hunters with relevant training and possessing licenses are allowed to hunt. And other than during the hunting seasons, it is illegal to kill elk in the state.

Also Check Our guide On Elks In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Pennsylvania. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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