Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course


Chapter 12: Wildlife ID

It is extremely important to study and know all of your animal identification, big game and fowl, these are not only a part of a final exam, but also very important when you are out in the field hunting and identifying what you are about to shoot.

Large Mammals


(Alces alces)


Moose are the largest big game animal in Saskatchewan, having a length (from snout to tail) of about 10 feet, and a maximum height of about 7 ½ feet at the shoulders. Males (bulls) are usually larger, carrying large flat antlers and weighing-in at 1,400 pounds. Females (cows) are smaller in size, do not have antlers and weigh about 600 to 800 pounds.

Moose inhabit all forested regions of Saskatchewan, but always close to a water source.



(Cervus elaphus)


Elk reside mainly in wooded areas, and can commonly stray into open plains or foothills. The male can reach a weight of approximately 1,000 pounds, while the female will reach 600 pounds.

The elk is slightly smaller than the moose in length, reaching an overall length of 9 ½ feet, and a shoulder height of 4 to 5 feet. Similar to moose, the elk populations are expanding throughout Saskatchewan and can be found almost everywhere except in the far north.

White-Tailed Deer

(Odocoileus virginianus)

White-tailed Deer

The white-tailed deer are the most abundant big game animal in Saskatchewan and can vary greatly in size. The male (buck) will typically weigh between 150 and 310 pounds, with the female (doe) coming in a little lighter between 90 and 210 pounds. When alerted to danger, the deer raises its tail, exposing the white fur underneath, hence their name. White-tailed deer can be found almost everywhere in Saskatchewan from spring to autumn.


Mule Deer

(Odocoileus hemionus)

Mule Deer

The mule deer is recognized by its large grey ears and is bigger than the whitetail deer. Its prime habitat includes river valleys, coulees and sandhills of south-west Saskatchewan. The population of mule deer has increased in parts of the Missouri Coteau and less rugged land to the east.

The male deer buck has antlers which can have a spread up to 4 feet, and has an overall length (snout to tail) of about 6 feet. The male will weigh up to 475 pounds, and the female up to 160 pounds.

Pronghorn Antelope

(Antilocapra americana)

Pronghorn Antelope

The pronghorn antelope, a deer-like mammal, is the smallest and fastest big game animal in Saskatchewan. Unlike deer, however, both the males (bucks) and females (does) have horns, that do not shed. The pronghorn is found mostly in grasslands and grassy brush lands.


Woodland Caribou

(Rangifer tarandus)

The caribou is the only member of the deer family in which both males and females have antlers. Bulls typically weigh between 90 and 135 kilogram and are over one meter tall at the shoulder. Caribou can often be mistaken for elk, but can be recognized by the sweeping "C" shape of the antlers.

Caribou habitat includes mature forest regions where lichens, the primary food of caribou, are found.


Black Bear

(Ursus americanus)

Black Bear

The Black bear is the smallest of the bear species found in North America, weighing in at an average of about 550 pounds. Its coloration varies with its distribution. In the East, its fur is nearly completely black whereas in the West, it can have almost a cinnamon coloration on the back, with a white chest.

Like its coloration, the bear's habitat also varies from East to West. In the East, the black bear is mainly found in forest lands and swamps while in the West it can be found in forest lands and wooded mountains. The bear's home range is usually about 10 square miles.