• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • 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.

Wildlife Management - A War on Predators

Poisoning Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, and Other Predators was Encouraged

Poisoning Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, and Other Predators was Encouraged

NPS Photo

Kill the Killers

Because of the challenge of raising pronghorn, anti-predator feelings ran very high. Between 1912 and 1923, trappers killed 598 predators. They did not discriminate. Bobcats, coyotes, and wolves were high on the list, but porcupines, skunks, magpies, and even black-footed ferrets were targeted. Early reports always mentioned predators:

1919 - Mr. Beach has been successful in the extermination of predatory animals having killed 6 coyotes, 5 bobcats and 6 skunks. There are plans to exterminate all the skunks in the park.
1922 - Ranchmen ask permission to set (skunk) traps within the park. I encouraged them to help us exterminate the pests.
1922 - Mr. Knowles trapped 5 bobcats, 21 porcupines, 5 coyotes, 3 skunks, 1 raccoon, 1 black-footed ferret.
1927 - Archie Howes trapped 15 coyotes.
1934 - The Biological Survey reports 8 skunks, 12 coyotes, 1 raccoon, 9 porcupines and 1 bobcat killed or poisoned.

 
Poisoned Coyote

Poisoned Coyote

NPS Photo

A Game Warden’s Challenge

During the winter of 1922, Chambers reported: On January 1, 1923 we had twenty-one antelope. I set about to do better at propagation, but more troubles were in store. During the fall of 1922, I carried on a poisoning campaign against coyotes. I got 15, but as fast as I got one, another came... I was absent from the preserve during May and June, when I returned the herd was reduced to eight head, all does. Fortunately those eight gave birth to nine young.

 
Letter from Arno B. Cammerer (Acting NPS Director) to Wind Cave Superintendent Roy Brazell About Killing Predators
Letter from Arno B. Cammerer (Acting NPS Director) to Wind Cave Superintendent Roy Brazell About Killing Predators
NPS Photo Archive
 

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...