Estimating elk weight from chest girth

Joshua J. Millspaugh, Gary C. Brundige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


When body weight is difficult to obtain in the field, an indirect estimator such as chest girth could prove beneficial. Regression equations relating body weight to chest girth have been developed for several wildlife species, but not for elk (Cervus elaphus). We recorded eviscerated weight and chest girth from 57 harvested elk (31 bulls, 22 cows, and 4 calves) in Custer State Park, South Dakota, during fall 1993 and 1994. Nineteen visceral piles were weighed in fall 1994 to estimate total body weight. A significant correlation existed between eviscerated weight and chest girth for 1993 and 1994 combined (r 2= 0.84, n = 57, P < 0.001). Intact body weight (i.e., carcass weight plus visceral weight) and chest girth were linearly related (r 2 = 0.88, n = 19, P < 0.001). Regression equations were developed for the estimation of both eviscerated (y = 0.024x 1.81) and intact body weight (y = 2.76x - 128.46) from chest girth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-61
Number of pages4
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996


  • Cervus elaphus
  • South Dakota
  • body measurements
  • chest girth
  • elk
  • regression
  • weight estimation


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