Bison Plains and Prairie Dogs


in Grass

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258396
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944527 | DOI:
Bison Plains and Prairie Dogs

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The chapter highlights the interactions of weather, grass, bison, and prairie dogs. When rain falls abundantly and bison graze lightly on Bad River Ranches, western wheatgrass proliferates, suppresses buffalograss, and allows stalking predators to push back the margins of prairie dog colonies. Conversely, under heavy grazing and in drought years, western wheat suffers. Buffalograss and prairie dogs proliferate because the former gets a full dose of sunlight and the latter get a better view of approaching coyotes and badgers. In the Great Plains, wild bison often overgraze the range. Prairie dogs usually graze even more intensively than bison.

Keywords: weather; grass; bison; prairie dogs; Bad River Ranches; wheatgrass; buffalograss; Great Plains

Chapter.  3338 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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