Ungulate Ecology

Ungulate Ecology

By the early 1900s, deer, elk, moose, bison, and other hoofed mammals—“ungulates”—were eliminated from much of their historic range in the United States.  Current distributions and abundance reflect successes and failures of conservation efforts during the last century and pose new management challenges.  Restoration and protection are still important concerns for some species in some areas.  However, access to hunting and viewing opportunities for a growing human population and effects of overabundant ungulates on vegetation, other wildlife, and human activity are also priorities.
 
Ungulate management is a contentious issue because many stakeholders are invested deeply, both emotionally and materially, in competing interests.  For example, you may enjoy watching, feeding, or hunting the same deer that are eating your neighbor’s azaleas, preventing seedling regeneration in national park, or causing automobile accidents.  To make matters worse, even stakeholders who share a common concern have not shared the same experiences and are likely to disagree about solutions.  Research conducted by center scientists provides an objective basis for evaluation of ungulate management needs and development of management strategies.




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