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Elk farms can be for game hunting or raising elk as livestock. Farming elk has increased in popularity due to their velvet antlers, which have medicinal purposes. Elk are also used for their meat.

An elk is standing in a green field looking at the camera.

Elk can be used for game hunting or raised as livestock.

An illustrated scientist holds a small glass jar and is wearing safety googles. There is an elk in the background.

Elk antlers grow approximately one inch a day. This rapid pace has led some scientists to suggest that studying elk’s antlers might give us some help in the fight against certain types of cancer in humans.

The size of an elk’s antlers depends on the amount of sunlight the elk gets. Sunlight causes a boost in testosterone levels in male elk, causing the antlers to grow. A large set of antlers can weigh as much as 18 kilograms (40 pounds)! 

Industry Overview

When settlers first arrived in Canada, there were elk across the country. The settlement of the Canadian prairies drove the elk and bison herds from their habitat. Elk herd numbers were at their lowest around 1,900 when there were a number of forest fires caused by settlers that took away a lot of forage and protection for elk. 

There are approximately 15,000 wild elk that still live in Saskatchewan. These elk are mostly in the southern edge of the boreal forest north of Prince Albert, and in the Moose Mountain, Cypress Hills, and Duck Mountain areas in the south of the province. 

An illustrated elk is walking through a green pasture with a sunset in the background.

When settlers arrived on the Prairies, elk and bison were driven away from their habitat.

There are also around 350 elk farms in Saskatchewan that are home to 16,500 elk! Elk farmers typically raise their animals in order to sell their velvet antlers. Companies will purchase the antlers from elk farms and sell them through national and international trade. 

Some elk are raised on game farms. Game farms raise animals such as elk, deer, and bison. They are raised on land that will not grow crops, called pasture land. They raise these animals for meat and trophy hunting. In Canada, hunters that have hunting licenses take approximately 4,000 elk each year. This game hunt creates an estimated $14 million per year for Canada’s local economy.

Two elk are about to eat from a trough in a green pasture.

There are elk farms across Saskatchewan!

Who is Who?

A lone bull elk is standing in an open field bugling.


Male elk are called bulls – they are the only ones that grow antlers!

A cow elk walks through a pasture with her calf.


A baby elk is called a calf.

A female elk, known as a cow, stands in a green pasture.


Female elk are called cows.

A yearling bull elk is standing among trees looking towards the camera.


A yearling bull elk is called a spike.

Animal Care

Elk farmers look after their elk herds by supplying plenty of food and clean water. Vaccinations are given to the elk to prevent them from getting sick.

An elk is standing in water with mountains in the background.

Elk need access to water to drink and to cool themselves off.

An illustrated elk is eating grass with flowers on it.

Elk have 4 stomachs! The first stomach stores food, and the other 3 work to digest the food.

Animal Housing

Elk farms require an eight-foot fence, so the elk are unable to jump over it. They stay outdoors for the winter and do not typically come in close contact with the farmer unless they are getting tested, being weighed, or getting vaccinations.

An illustrated elk herd is standing by snow-covered trees.

Elk will live outside in the winter.

An elk is standing behind a wire fence, looking at the camera.

Elk will escape unless the fences are at least 8 feet tall.

Elk are kept in separate pens and rotated throughout the year. The males are kept in one pen and females in another, and then one left empty. This way farmers can monitor and regulate mating and ensure each pen has time for regrowth between herds.

A group of elk bulls are standing next to a feeder in a pen.

Males and females are kept in a separate pen for most of the year.


Elk farmers have many different options for incorporating technology into their farms. One of the main pieces of technology used is microchips. These are small chips that are inserted into the elk and allow for monitoring and tracking. If an elk happens to get out of the pasture, the microchip contains information about the elk and the elk farmer. 

Elk farmers may choose to use digital technology such as tablets, drones, and automatic watering and feeding systems. Each of these helps the farmer monitor and track day-to-day life on the farm. 

A herd of elk stand in a pasture and many of them are looking at the camera.

Elk farmers can track their elk herds remotely! 


Elk provide us with meat and velvet antlers. Velvet antlers have been used as a dietary supplement and for medical uses. The antlers can be used as decorative items, or as jewelry and buttons.


Elk is a healthy meat option with high protein and low fat. It has fewer calories than other red meats.

A elk roast is sitting on a wooden platter with peppers and spices on it.

Elk meat is a good source of protein.