from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A space cleared in the deep snow by the trampling of a small band of elk, within which they live and feed. Called, in America, moose-yard. See elk.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Herein comes the elk's wisdom -- he deliberately sets to work, before the snow melts, and builds for himself and family an elk-yard, which is nothing more than a large space of ground on which the snow is smoothed or trampled down until it becomes a hard surface on which he can walk; it is also surrounded by a high wall of snow, through which are certain exits that allow him to pass out, if he desires.