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Research Project Report

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Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) have been the most numerous ungulate in Wind Cave National Park (WCNP), South Dakota, in recent years. If population numbers for elk and other herbivores increased substantially, a marked effect on available forage may occur. Information on movement, on herd organization, and on areas of intensive use has been obtained previously (Varland 1976). Additional information is necessary for rational management of elk in the Park. Wind Cave National Park is an 11,355 ha park in the southern Black Hills. The vegetation is ecotonal between the coniferous forest of the Black Hills and mixed grass prairie of the Great Plains. The Park is surrounded by a wovenwire fence 1.2 to 2.4 m high. Field work was conducted from 6 June 1976 through 12 August 1977. A summary of data gathered during 1976 was reported earlier (Wydeven 1977).