The Sand Elk Are Emerging


Sand elk rack seen emerging from the dunes of Cape Henlopen

The sand elk of Cape Henlopen State Park are emerging.  These elk are special to this area.  According to a customer of Lighthouse View bait and tackle, the sand elk are here to stay.  Apparently a hundred years ago they came over on the landbridge from New Jersey and populated the area now known as Cape Henlopen state park. “That’s a Sand Elk. Very rare! I read about them online. They came across the land bridge a hundred years or so ago, they dig tunnels in the sand dunes and feed on horseshoe crabs” said a recent customer.

Since sand elk feed primarily on horseshoe crabs, they tend to emerge this time of year when the crabs start to show.


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Sand elk in the surf
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Once the sand elk emerge from the dunes they will sit in the surf until their legs stiffen up so they can walk.  It also helps them wash off any potential beach chiggers.  Sand elk hibernate during our long winters in tunnels in the dunes of Cape Henlopen.   You can sometimes spot the Lewes cougar hunting them, but that is rare

The bucks tend to live on the inner wall.  Snorting at fishermen and harassing the lighthouse keepers.  They will swim to shore when they need to feed on horseshoe crabs.  Tunneling into the dunes with their rack scoops.  There isn’t a hunting season for them since they are so rare but you can see one at Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle.

Fish On!
Rich King

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Young sand elk buck on the inner wall







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Sand elk at Lighthouse view bait and tackle

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