Wapiti, a name given to the cervus Cana'densis (Erxl.), a large American deer, the new world representative of the stag of Europe. It is 7 to 7½ ft. in total length, and 4£ to 5 ft. high at the shoulders; the color in summer is reddish brown, with a yellowish white disk on the rump having a black streak on each side; in the male the hair of the throat is elongated, and black tipped with red; in winter the color is more grayish; the ears, middle of nape, and front of legs blackish. The tail is very short, the muzzle broad, and the suborbital openings large; hoofs short, wide, and rounded; ears shorter in proportion than in the Virginia deer, narrow, sharppointed, and hairy on both surfaces. The horns are nluch larger than those of the stag, round, erect, branching, ending in a fork, measuring 4 or 5 ft. in their widest spread, and weighing from 20 to 30 lbs.; they are thickly covered with warty elevations arranged in longitudinal lines, with smooth, sharp, and whitish points, the general color being walnut brown; all the snags spring from the anterior surface. They live in families of six or seven, in clumps of wood, feeding on grasses, young shoots of the willow and poplar, the fruit of the wild rose, etc.; they are usually shy, and make a harsh braying noise; the flesh is rather coarse.
They are found from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in the northern states and in Canada, not going further N. than lat. 57°; they are most abundant on the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, and have occasionally been found in the Alleghanies. The wapiti is hunted by the Indians for the skin, which retains its flexibility after having been wet. It is generally called here elk, a name properly belonging to the moose; it is also named red deer, stag, gray moose, and gray elk. It has been trained to go in harness.
Wapiti (Cervus Canadensis).