• Big Hole National Battlefield, Wisdom Montana

    Big Hole

    National Battlefield Montana


snowshoe hare

Snowshoe hares may be found at Big Hole National Battlefield.

NPS photo

Amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates abound at Big Hole National Battlefield. The Big Hole River flows through an area where it is common to see mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) moose (Alces alces) and elk (Cervus nippon). And so, from the elk to the ant, species diversity is of critical importance.

A total of 31 mammals were confirmed at Big Hole NB in a 2002 study. Four herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) were also confirmed. The western toad (Bufo boreas) and the gray wolf (Canis lupus), are listed by the Montana Natural Heritage Program as “species of special concern”. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) may be periodically seen in the park, but are not residents. Other sensitive species that may be found in the park include Montana arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus), mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), swift fox (Vulpes velox), great gray owl (Strix nebulosa), and Boreal owl (Aegolius funereus).

Columbian ground squirrel

Some Nez Perce called the Big Hole Valley the "place of the ground squirrels." Visitors frequently see these critters in the summer.

NSP photo

The Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) is probably the most widely distributed and most abundant amphibian in the battlefield. The common garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) is the most widely distributed and most abundant reptile. The most abundant mammals at the battlefield are the Columbian ground squirrel (Spermophilus columbianus), the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), and the western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps).


English Name

Nez Perce Name

mule deer






gray wolf


bald eagle


swift fox






ground squirrel


deer mouse


Did You Know?

Soldiers monument at Big Hole National Battlefield.

In 1883, the US government placed a 6 ton monument at Big Hole National Battlefield. The monument was in honor of the soldiers and volunteers that died in the battle. It would be forty years before a memorial would be placed here for the Nez Perce.