Stories were told of its attacking the bison, and it has been reported to carry off the carcase of a wapiti, weighing nearly 1000 lb, for a considerable distance to its den, there to devour it at leisure.
The wapiti or American elk at one time abounded from Quebec to the Pacific, and as far north as the Peace river, but is now found only in small numbers from Manitoba westwards.
Some of the more northern American deer, such as the wapiti, reindeer and elk (moose), are closely allied to Old World species; but there is also a group of exclusively American deer (Mazama) - the only one found in Central and South America - the members of which are unlike any living Old World deer; and these must be regarded as having reached the western hemisphere at an earlier date than the wapiti, reindeer and elk (see Deer, Elk, Fallow-Deer, Muntjac, Musk-Deer, Pre David'S Deer, Reindeer, Roebuck, Water-Deer, &c.).
Wapiti, on the other hand, show a marked tendency to the flattening of the antlers, with a great development of the fourth tine, which is larger than all the others, and the whole of the tines above this in the same plane, or nearly so, this plane being the same as the long axis of the animal.
The typical representative of the group is the North American wapiti C. canadensis, but there are several closely allied races in Central Asia, such as C. canadensis songaricus and C. c. bactrianus, while in Manchuria the subgroup is represented by C. c. xanthopygus, in which the summer coat is reddish instead of grey.