Yaks are robust cattle with a bulky frame, short but thick legs, and rounded cloven hooves that are splayed to help them walk in snow. Their most distinctive feature is an extremely dense, shaggy long coat that, in some individuals, hangs down to the ground. Wild yaks are generally dark, blackish to brown in color, whereas domestic yaks are more variable in color, and may have patches of cream and rusty brown, sometimes making them piebald.
Yaks have relatively small ears, and a broad forehead. Both males and females have horns; in males, the horns sweep out from the sides of the head, and then curve forward, whereas the horns of females are smaller and more upright in shape. The tail is long and similar to a horse’s tail, rather than the tail of cattle or bison, which are tufted. Both sexes have a distinctive hump over their shoulders.
Size (at the shoulder):
Domestic males: 5.5 ft (1.7 m) Domestic females: 4.5 ft 1.4 m) Wild males: 6.5 ft (2 m)
Domestic males: 770 to 1,280 lb (350 to 580 kg) Domestic females: 496 to 562 lb (225 to 255 kg) Wild males: up to 2,200 lb (1,000 kg)
Yaks are gregarious animals, and sometimes form herds of up to 200 animals, although most herds are much smaller, at about 10 – 20 individuals. These herds often only comprise the females and their young, though adult males may sometimes travel with the herd. Most often, however, the males are solitary, or form small bachelor herds. When the conditions are cold, for example at night and in snowstorms, yaks protect themselves from the cold by huddling together, and positioning the calves in the center, where it is warmer. When there is snow on the ground, yaks use their horns to uncover the plants below.
The primary habitat of wild yaks consists of treeless uplands between 3,000 and 5,500 m (9,800 and 18,000 ft), dominated by mountains and plateaus. They are most commonly found in alphine tundra with a relatively thick carpet of grasses and sedges rather than the more barren steppe country.
Calls and songs:
Yaks grunt and, unlike cattle, are not known to produce the characteristic bovine lowing (mooing) sound
Methods of hunting permitted for use:
- ambush hunting,
- using decoy,
- using hunting birds,
- trapping (automatic trap),
- using wheel transport,
- using hunting dogs
Permitted hunting tools:
Hunting fire smooth-bore long-barreled arms; hunting firearm with a rifled barrel of caliber no more than 8 mm 6.5 mm, hunting firearm combined weapons (smooth-bore and rifted gun). Including with rebarreling and auxiliary rifled barrels of caliber no more than 6.5 mm; pneumatic weapon with a muzzle energy of no more than 25 J; cold bladed hunting weapon. Hunting for quail, pheasant, and sage is allowed only with the use of hunting smooth-bore firearms. For pigeons, turtledoves using hunting firearms with a rifled barrel is not allowed.
In males (bulls), the horns sweep out from the sides of the head, and then curve forward. They typically range from 48 to 99 cm (19 to 39 in) in length. The horns of females (cows) are smaller, only 27 to 64 cm (11 to 25 in) in length, and have a more upright shape.