Below are elk hides for sale on Amazon and eBay. There is usually a good selection, with several hides in different sizes and colors to choose from.
Note that in addition to the elk hides there are often also deer hides; be sure to read the item's description to know which kind of hide you're looking at. You might also like to shop for elk meat for sale.
Below: The remnant of an elk hide. Much of this elk hide was used to upholster a chair. What remained, shown below, was used for various small projects including horn wrap.
From eBay and Etsy
Elk Hide Quality Grades
You will notice that a lot of the elk hides for sale are graded for quality. That is, the seller will describe a hide as something like "#2 Quality" or something similar.
So, just what are these quality grades? They are the seller's way of describing the quality of the elk hide. Some sellers use numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) to describe their grades of hide or leather while others use letters (A, B, C, etc.).
What's probably most important to understand in grading the quality of the hide is that there is not an industry-wide grading system. Each seller decides their own criteria for how to grade a hide, so one seller's hide of a certain grade might be of greater or lesser quality than another seller's hide of the same grade.
You will also see some elk hides for sale described as "craft grade." While it's hard to pinpoint exactly what this means (remember, each seller uses their own criteria for grading hides), in general it means that the hide may have more holes or blemishes than a hide of a higher grade. Even so, craft grade hides can have a lot of strong and attractive hide in them, and can be a good value for the money. They are often a good choice for projects where the user can work around the defects.
Hide Weight / Thickness
Hide and/or leather thickness for elk hide and other types of hide is usually given in ounces. One ounce is equal to 1/64 of an inch in thickness.
So, for example, if the weight of a hide is said to be 4 ounces, that would equal a thickness of 4/64 of an inch. Reducing the fraction down to the lowest common denominator, our example hide is 1/16 of an inch thick.
Since it is not uncommon for a hide to vary in thickness, the weight might be given in a range, something like "4 to 4.5 ounces."
Below: A handy chart comparing hide thickness in ounces to fractions of an inch.
A Few Elk and Elk Hide Photos
According to the National Park Service website, Yellowstone National Park (a sprawling National Park spanning more than 3,400 square miles located in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) is the summer grazing home to an estimated 10,000–20,000 elk. In winter, the elk move to lower elevations mostly outside the park.
A bull elk in Yellowstone National Park, USA.
Public domain image courtesy of pdphoto.org.
Below is a close-up of the elk hide shown at the top of this page. You can see both sides of the hide, and can see that one side is smooth and the other side is rough. This hide was used for small projects, primarily horn wrap (you can see more about elk hide horn wrap lower on this page). When used for horn wrap, you can wrap the saddle horn with the smooth side out (less grab) or the rough side out (more grab); it's the roper's choice.
Below: An elk hide showing both the smooth side and the rough side.
Elk hide is a favorite hide for making all kinds of items, including gloves, moccasins, purses, jackets, and more. Elk hide, though usually considered to be a heavy hide, is soft and pliable and doesn't crack or stiffen as quickly as cow hide.
Below: Elk hide moccasins with beaver fur trim.
What Is An Elk?
Below are a few fun facts to know about elk.
- Elk are members of the family Cervidae, sometimes nick-named the "deer family." Members of this family include deer, moose, and elk.
- Elk are some of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia.
- Elk are ruminants which means they have four digestive chambers and chew the cud.
- Elk are primarily grazers, with most of their diet consisting of various grasses and other plants. However, they also browse, eating leaves and twigs from trees and shrubs.
- Elk are "ungulates" which means they are a mammal with hooves; elk are even-toed ungulates because each hoof is split into two toes.
- Male elk grow antlers, but the females do not. Antlers are grown, shed, and re-grown annually. While growing, antlers are covered in "velvet," a layer of special skin that protects and nourishes the antlers. As antlers mature and harden the velvet is shed.
- Velvet is prized by some people as a highly desirable nutritional supplement, medicine, or performance enhancer.
- Elk are sometimes called "wapiti," a Native American word that means "light-colored deer."
- Bull (male) elk mature to weigh approximately 700 pounds; cows (females) mature to weight about 500 pounds.
- During breeding season bull (male) elk sound a "bugle" call, a kind of loud, powerful, high-pitched vocalization that ends with a grunt. Bugling is a bull elk's way of asserting his masculinity, telling the world he is ready to mate and/or warning other bull elk to stay away.
- A male elk is called a bull.
- A female elk is called a cow.
- A young elk is called a calf.
- A yearling bull elk is called a spike.
About Elk Hide and Horn Wrap
Elk hide is commonly used as horn wrap to wrap a saddle horn. Ropers wrap their saddle horns with materials like elk hide, rubber, etc. to protect the saddle horn and to help control how much the rope slides after dallying.
The materials used to wrap a saddle horn fall into two broad categories: 1) rubber, which includes synthetic rubber, 2) and "slick horn" materials which includes elk hide.
- Rubber and synthetic rubber provide a strong "grab" on a rope. "Grab" means that the rope will slide very little while dallied. Competitive ropers such as team ropers often use rubber or synthetic rubber. It is also a popular choice for ranch use.
- Slick horn materials (which includes elk hide, mule hide, latigo, and others) allow the dally to slide more easily. Slick horn materials are popular for ranch use and competitive ranch roping.
Below: Elk hide wrapped around a saddle horn.
Save The Hide For Later
If you find an elk hide for sale on Etsy that you like but you're not ready to purchase it right away, you can always add it to your shopping cart so it will be easy to find later.
- In most cases, Etsy will keep track of items in your cart for 30 days.
- In the meantime, if you want to check out with other items you can click on "Save for later" to move specific items to a separate, but still easy-to-find list beneath your shopping cart.
- Also, if you put items into your Etsy shopping cart but don't check out after 30 days, Etsy will automatically move your items to the "Save for later" area beneath your cart. When you're ready to actually purchase any of these items, simply click "Move to cart" to put them back into your shopping cart and check out.
Important: Putting items in your Etsy shopping cart or "Save for later" list does NOT reserve them! It just makes them easier to find if they're still available when you come back.
Below: Screenshot image showing the "Save for later" and "Remove" links when an item is in the Etsy shopping cart.
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