Elk are the largest species of deer found in the game. Their antlers grow up to 4 feet long, and can weigh up to 40 pounds. Elk are prized by hunters for their hides and meat, which is low in fat and high in protein. Known predators are grizzly bears, wolves and cougars. They average about 6 feet tall, and typically weigh around 800 pounds. The elk is a passive animal, and will flee as soon as it detects the player, or a predatory animal. They are easy to spot, due to their sheer size and antlers that reflect the sunlight, and will either be brown or a lighter grey color. The player should also listen for their distinctive high-pitched bugling sounds that occur in long notes, or in short, quick notes, like chirping.
Elk can be found in the general area of mountains and forests of West Elizabeth. More specifically, they can be found around:
- Manzanita Post (top right corner of picture on map in game), as well as to the southwest, between the front and rear legs of the middle bighorn sheep depicted on the map.
- The entire area of Tall Trees.
- South-west of Manzanita Post (depicted by a picture of bighorn sheep on the map).
- Beecher's Hope
- Nekoti Rock, near the crossroad (along with a lot of bears).
- Bearclaw Camp, northwest of the railway camp.
During the mission "John Marston and Son", John and Jack Marston go out to hunt elk in Tall Trees.
Rank 7 of the Master Hunter Challenges requires the player to kill and skin 5 elk.
Video with one of the best locations for elk hunting.
- The game states that elk are the largest species of deer in the world. This is only true in-game; in real life, the largest extant species of deer in the world is the moose (Alces alces). Early after the game's release, many players believed that the elk was, in fact, a moose at first sight. Moose would eventually make an appearance in Red Dead Redemption 2.
- Areas such as Manzanita Post and Thieves' Landing are decorated with elk and moose antlers. However, there are no moose present in-game.
- The type of elk in the game is likely the Rocky Mountain subspecies of elk. They are closely related to red deer, a European species.
- Historically, there were six different subspecies of elk in North America. Two subspecies - the eastern elk and Merriam's elk - are now extinct. The four remaining subspecies are the tule elk, Rocky Mountain elk, Roosevelt elk, and Manitoban elk.
- While the deer featured in the game are present in both sexes (with the 'buck' being male, and the 'doe' being female), the elk appear to all be male. This is because only elk bulls (males) sport the antlers for which they are recognized; elk cows (females) do not have antlers. This distinction was eventually added in Red Dead Redemption 2.
- Elk, like many other animals, can not be found in Undead Nightmare.
- There are two varieties of elk present in-game: a pale elk, and a yellowish one. The pale type seems to have larger antlers.
The player must kill an elk to successfully complete the following achievement:
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.