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Wind Cave National Park

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The elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) population in Wind Cave National Park (WCNP) has varied considerably during the last 20 years (Lovaas 1973, Varland et al. 1978). Leopold et al. (1963) recommended that ungulates in national parks "be reduced to levels that the range will carry in good health and without impairment to the soil, the vegetation, or to habitats of other animals". Because elk are able to occupy a wide variety of habitats (Murie 1951), and have such varied diets (Kufeld 1973), they have great potential to compete with other herbivores. Data are needed on specific elk food habits and herbivore habitat relationships in WCNP to adequately manage ungulate populations. A description of WCNP was given by Lovaas (1973), and the previous report on the present study (Wydeven 1978). Field work was conducted from 6 June 1976 through 12 August 1977.