Abstract - Immobilization of Elk at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Varland, Kenneth L. 1975. Immobilization of Elk at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. 10 p.


A study to learn herd organization and movements of elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) in Wind Cave National Park was conducted from June 1973 through February 1975 by the Iowa Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit. Funding agencies were the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The park is surrounded by an 8-foot woven wire fence, except for a 3-mile segement of 4-foot fence to permit elk egress to neighboring National Forest lands on the west.

The capture of individual elk was necessary to fulfill study objectives. Adult elk were immobilized with succinylcholine chloride (20 mg/cc). This drug is a muscle relaxant but does not affect the senses (Pistey and Wright 1961 and Harper 1965). This may have been the first immobiliztion of elk with the use of drugs in the Black Hills.

Immobilizing guns and syringe darts were manufactured by Palmer Chemical and Equipment Co. of Doulglasville, GA. Elk were immobilized by shooting them in the hip with a 2 or 3 cc syringe dart equipped with a 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch needles filled with the desired dosage of drug. Normally, darts were propelled from either a CO2 gun or a powder charge gun.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

Contact Us