Yes, Elk Loose Their Antlers Every Year

bull elk with new antlers

One of the most common questions I get on tours is, "Do the elk loose their antlers every year?"  The answer is yes, the antlers of nearly all deer species (US deer include: mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, caribou) on the planet are annually deciduous.  Or, in layman's terms, they fall off every year and then grow again.  Mid-March is when bull elk cast off their antlers and within days of dropping, their new antlers start to grow. 

Once those antlers hit the ground, they still play an interesting role in the ecosystem.  Antlers are vital for small mammals as sources of calcium, potassium, and protein - which explains why you are not allowed to take them home with you as a souvenier of your visit to RMNP!

Written by guest blogger Jared Gricoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding.  To book your own tour of Rocky Mountain National Park, visit