People have been hunting Elk for as long as they have been co-existing together. Evidence has been found to suggest that Elk hunting was being practised in Prehistoric times. This was mainly for the meat, but it was slowly realised that the hides could be used. The thick Elk hides made heavy robes for some Northern tribes. Elk populations began decreasing as early as 1785 and by the late 1800’s the remaining animals were also wiped out by over hunting and not regulating the numbers killed.
Elks are very similar to Deer, meaning that the leathers produced are very similar, and the leather is produced in much the same way. Elk leather is usually derived from the species of Elk called the Tule Elk, which is native to California.
In 1971 a law came in protecting the Elk species. This meant that Elk could not be hunted until there were enough of them to survive and multiply.
Properties of Elk
- Soft and Supple
- More rare and therefore more expensive than cowhide
- Heaviest leather around
- Properties are very similar to those of deerskin
- Abrasive Resistant
- Shrink Resistant
Uses of Elk in Fashion Past and Present
- Gloves for riding
- Leather Jackets
- Was used originally by the Native Americans in the manufacture of moccasins which were the shoes they wore
- Indoor shoes because the leather is so soft
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