Wildlife Species


While elk are the primary reason for the refuge’s establishment, and the habitat is managed primarily for elk, other highly visible and important species exist on and use the variety of upland, riparian, and wetland habitats.

Forty–seven different mammals have been identified on the refuge, including bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes and wolves.

Nearly 175 species of birds have been observed on the refuge. Trumpeter swans nest successfully, and wintering populations number near 100. Bald eagles are frequently seen on the refuge in winter, scavanging on winterkill. Greater sandhill cranes nest in small numbers, and fall concentrations of over 150 birds have been observed. Long-billed curlews grace the grasslands with the nests and young, and sage grouse occur year round.

Rocky Mountain Canada geese nest on the wetlands and duck populations range from 200 to 500 annually with gadwall, mallards, ring-necked duck, green-winged teals, cinnamon teals, and Barrows goldeneye the largest contributors.

Profiles of several of the refuge's most charismatic species can be found at the Wildlife & Habitat link.