Elk is an attractive alternative livestock option because it has multiple growing markets:
- Velvet Antler
- Hard Antler
- Breeding Stock
- Trophy Bulls
Over the past 10 years, there has been a growing awareness of elk as a lean, heart-healthy red meat alternative.
The current demand for elk meat far surpasses supply all throughout North America.
There is a great need for more elk producers to enter the elk business to supply this ever-growing market.
Velvet antler is a nutritional food supplement made from the inner core of elk antler when humanely harvested in the velvet stage of growth.
In North America velvet antler is considered a food supplement; in Asia it is a medicinal ingredient fundamental to the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been consumed for over 2,000 years.
Elk antler is an annual, renewable resource. Bulls produce new antler every spring.
An average 2 year old bull will produce 9 lbs of velvet antler. Mature bulls may produce 30-40 lbs of velvet.
Velvet antler is a world commodity with price fluctuations each year due to world economic factors and availability of world supply.
There is huge demand in the pet market for dog chews made of elk hard antler. Supply is not keeping up with the current demand.
Hard antler is also used in home decor to create beautiful chandeliers, coffee tables and lamps. People are willing to pay premium prices for unique lighting and furniture made with elk antler.
Cast antler stubs for bone carving, knife handles, belt buckles and more are also marketable.
The demand for breeding stock is increasing as the United States demand for elk products is at an all-time high.
Breeding stock prices are evaluated by considering antler growth genetics and proven production.
Hunting is a significant part of North American heritage and culture. Hunting on private game preserves has taken place for hundreds of years. Hunting preserves make up a great part of hunting heritage in other countries such as in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and elsewhere.
Elk, which are native to North America, are one of the most exciting and rewarding animals to hunt. Their large size, unique bugle and majestic antlers draw the serious hunter to take on the challenge of seeking one of the most magnificent animals in nature.
There are two types of antler: Typical and Non-Typical. A typical rack is one in which tine length and placement in both antlers is very much alike. A good, typical bull will have 6 points on each side. A great typical bull will have 8 or more points per side. A non-typical bull shows tine length and placement at differing points on each antler. He may have more points on one side than the other.
There are many hunters in the United States and a great demand for elk hunts which will provide continued opportunities in the trophy market. Because the elk producer can breed elk specifically to enhance antler traits, trophy bulls are in high demand and represent a significant source of income to the elk producer.