Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 1987


Prairie dogs and their control are complex issues. At this conference we've heard numerous speakers discuss a wide variety of topics concerning the organism's effect on range and man's attempts to deal with those effects. It appears one could make a case for or against the prairie dog depending on his own particular situation and experience. While the organism is a natural part of the prairie ecosystem, it may not be a desirable inhabitant of a livestock producers range when its population goes unchecked.

This leads to conflict. The prairie dog becomes a biopolitical issue. On one hand it evolved with the prairie ecosystem, as have grasshoppers, but when it competes too directly for a resource man needs to support his portion of the food chain, it may become an unwelcome member of a particular grassland community. Regulation of its populations may be necessary. It is my assignment, in the next few minutes to discuss the philosophy and mechanism we in South Dakota use to accomplish this end.