• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Abstract - Habitat Relationships of Four Prairie Ungulates in the Northern Great Plains

Wydeven, A.P. and Dahlgren, R.B. 1984. Habitat Relationships of Four Prairie Ungulates in the Northern Great Plains. 24 p.


Habitat relationships were examined for elk (Cervus elaphus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), and bison (Bison bison) in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Elk and mule deer generally used range sites dominated by warm-season grasses (shallow and stony hills), while pronghorn and bison mainly used sites dominated by cool-season grasses (silty, clayey, and overflow). Elm made moderate use of woodland sites throughout the year. Pronghorn made greater use of stony hills sites in fall and winter, and made the greatest use of prairie dog towns of all ungulates. Mule deer increased their use of overflow sites in fall. Only bison selected for prairie burns. Ungulates were broadlly distributed over the park, except mule deer whose spatial distribution was very limited. Major forage classes eaten by ungulates in winter were: elk, forbs and graminoids; mule deer, browse; pronghorn, forbs; and bison, graminoids. The highest potential for direct competition occurred between elk and pronghorn, but past competition may have caused the limited distribution of mule deer.

Did You Know?

Bull Elk

Elk were the most widely distributed member of the deer family in North America and spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Mexico to northern Alberta. Elk began to disappear in the eastern United States in the early 1800s. More...