Space Use of Female Elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) in the Black Hills, South Dakota

Tess M. Gingery, Chadwick P. Lehman, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Following recent elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) population declines in South Dakota, we evaluated space use of elk in response to biotic and abiotic covariates at a regional scale. We built Brownian bridge movement models to examine summer (parturition date to 31 October) and winter (1 November to following year's parturition date) seasonal movements of radio-collared female elk from 2011 to 2013 at 99% home range and 50% core area contour levels. Our primary objective was to evaluate seasonal movements of female elk in response to drought, vegetation resources, and road density. Higher road densities and increased amounts of open-canopied vegetation were correlated with an increase in core area size. Elk inhabiting open-canopied areas may increase their movements in an attempt to find cover and avoid disturbance factors associated with roads. The high levels of human visitor activity in the Black Hills and accompanying disturbance of wildlife highlight the importance of management strategies that consider elk security cover, or lack of cover in open-canopied areas, when devising road management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2017


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