David C. Hamm

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Cattle use of a deer winter range in the Black Hills was investigated during the summer grazing seasons of 1971-1972. A U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment situated between Mystic and Redfern, South Dakota, was used as the study area. The allotment was divided into five grazing units or pastures managed collectively under a “rest-rotation” system of grazing. Three study sites were selected in each unit of the allotment, and 75 exclosures were erected on each site; a paired-plot method was used to collect data. Indices to use of sites by deer and cattle were obtained by counts of deer pellet groups and cow ships on belt transects. Bottom, upland meadow, and prairie study sites were dominated by Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and a variety of forbs. Western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) was the prevalent browse species on these sites. Vegetation on the open slope and open forest sites was comprised of a large variety of grasses, forbs, and browse, with timber oatgrass (Danthonia intermedia), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and rose (Rosa spp.) as abundant species. Bottom, upland meadow, and prairie sites received the heaviest grazing use by cattle both years, with Kentucky bluegrass comprising the highest percentage of the total forage consumed. Most forage species were grazed inadvertently with Kentucky bluegrass, but preference by cattle was observed for white clover (Trifolium repens), white heath aster (Aster ericoides), and mountain-dandelion (Agoseris glauca). Grazing of browse was not considered severe on any site throughout the grazing season. Grazing by cattle was negligible on open slope and open forest sites. Use by cattle, measured by counts of cow chips per day of grazing, was highest on bottom, upland meadow, and prairie sites, and lowest on open slope and open forest sites. Counts of deer pellet groups were negligible on all sites throughout the grazing season both years. Use by deer in winter, however, as measured by counts of pellet groups, was high on all sites except the prairie site. Results of this study indicate that the winter carrying capacity of the study area for deer was not significantly affected by cattle grazing in summer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cattle -- Feeding and feeds
Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-65)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only