• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Bison

Bison bull
Bison bull
 

Class:

Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla (same as deer, sheep, pronghorn)
Family: Bovidae (true horns, not branched, on both sexes, cattle, sheep, goat, musk ox)
Genus:

Bison

Species:

bison

Subspecies:

athabascae (woods)
bison (plains)

Name/
History:

Late 1800s bison almost became extinct. They were saved by the American Bison Society. Often called buffalo by early scientists who thought they were related to the Africa/Asian water buffaloes. French explorers also called the animals "les boeff" - the cattle.

Size:

Male Female Calf

Weight (lbs)

2000 1000 30-70

Height (ft)

5.5-6 4.5-5.5 2.5

Rut:

June-September (one bull forms a temporary "tending bond" with one cow at a time)

Gestation:

9.5 months

Birth:

April -June (reddish, brown fur, no conspicuous hump)

# young:

Usually 1

Age:

12-15 years

Habitat/
Range:

At one time bison roamed North America from Alaska to northern Mexico, western California to western New York.

Food:

Grasses, browse

Enemies:

Occasionally grizzly, humans, extinct prairie wolf

Disease:

Brucellosis, tuberculosis

Communication:

Grunts/snorts between cow-calf, roar by bulls during rut

Behavior/
Characteristics:

Generally cow/calves in herd together, bulls alone or in small bull herd except during the rut.

Did You Know?

Stemless Hymenoxys

The scientific name for the Stemless Hymenoxys is Hymemoxys acaulis. Acaulis means "stemless" and referes to the leafless stalks which bear the flower heads. More...