Santa’s Reindeer

Driving north from our home in Michigan we took a quick stop at Gaylord to try to get a peek at the elk herd found there.

The City of Gaylord maintains an elk herd and while there are several places to view them, we stopped at the Patrick Mankowskil Park. There on 108 acres the city staff provide the herd with corn, hay and sugar beets. Named after the man who was instrumental in raising funds to create this area to get a chance for a look at the elks, there is a plaque honoring him for his service to the City of Gaylord.

We only saw a few elk here. We were told the best times to view them is in September and October when the bulls are trying to establish mating rights with the females. April and May were also recommended as good times because the elk are active during the daylight hours eating the new green growth.

A short drive from downtown Gaylord is the Pigeon River Country State Forest that contains one of the largest free-ranging elk herds east of the Mississippi. However, we were on our way further north and left this viewing spot for another trip.

I did a little research to see what the difference is between elk and reindeer. I found that both are types of deer with the elk being larger than the reindeer. Both female and male reindeer have antlers, but only the male elk has antlers. Elks are found in North America while reindeer occupy the colder artic regions.

Many enjoy elk meat, and I am told it is very healthy as it is lean, low in fat and cholesterol, and delicious. You can even order elk meat on Amazon.

I am not sure I am quite that adventurous, but have any of my readers eaten elk meat? If so, did you like it?