Elk and hunter space-use sharing in South Dakota

J. J. Millspaugh, G. C. Brundige, R. A. Gitzen, K. J. Raedeke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Documenting space-use patterns of elk (Cervus elaphus) and hunters is important for determining whether disturbance by hunters affects elk movements and resource use. We compared utilization distributions of elk and hunters during 4 hunting seasons (early archery, trophy rifle, antlerless rifle, and late archery) from 1993 to 1996 in the southern Black Hills, South Dakota, using the Volume of Intersection Index statistic. Volume of Intersection Indices were used as the response variable in a general linear regression model analysis to determine if environmental features were correlated with measures of space-use sharing. Space-use sharing for cow elk and hunters was lowest during the late archery hunt and highest during the trophy rifle and early archery seasons. Space-use sharing was lowest for bull elk and hunters during the trophy rifle hunt and highest during the early archery season. Hunter density, secondary road use, and tertiary road density were negatively correlated with space-use sharing. In contrast, vegetative cover was positively correlated with space-use sharing. Subherds occupying areas dominated by overstory-killed habitat exhibited less overlap with hunters than subherds residing in more heavily forested habitats. These results suggested that control of hunter density, including limitation of road access, in areas which lack vegetative cover may help mitigate hunter disturbance of elk. Variation in elk movements and environmental features correlated with overlap measures indicated that elk response to hunters was adaptive and short-lived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1003
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cervus elaphus
  • Elk
  • Fixed kernel
  • Home range
  • Human disturbance
  • Hunter disturbance
  • Space-use sharing
  • Utilization distribution
  • Volume of Intersection Index


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