Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park
One reason we came to South Dakota, was to see the Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park. It really should be called the bison roundup, since that’s what they really are. But I digress.
We arrived a couple days early because we wanted to see the state park before we set up the 3 day art show. I’m glad we came early because this really is a beautiful area. We drove the wildlife loop road our first day here, and got to say hello to the small group of free roaming burros. To call them wild would be very misleading, since they were sticking their noses in peoples cars, and letting people pet them. But Oh my cuteness.
This was the only young one in the little group, such a fuzzy wuzzy.
One of the adults.
The next day we drove the Iron mountain road, and part of the Needles highway. I say part of the Needles highway, because there are two not big ass truck friendly tunnels, and we had to turn around. We knew that going there however, we just wanted to see what we could. We saw a few white tail deer that morning. They aren’t very common where we normally are, so seeing them and their big floofy tails is always fun. This mama and fawn posed for a short time, then took off, white flags waving.
We set up the art show on Wednesday, did that on Thursday, then Friday morning was the round up. Part of the reason for driving the wildlife loop road was to get an idea of where we could go. We learned that the north parking and viewing area allows you to leave whenever you want to, and the south area you have to wait until every bison is in the corrals. Since we had the art show booth, we choose the north area. It was closer for us anyway.
We woke up to very cold temps, and an inch of snow. I think the weather kept a lot of people away, because we heard the crowds were smaller this year. I did talk to several people who had driven 1000’s of miles to see the round up, and weren’t going to let weather keep them away.
This is an image of the south viewing area, it was right across from where we were.
The park information said there were about 1300 bison to roundup. A lot of the big older bulls are left alone, since the main reason for the roundup is to vet check the females, inoculate and brand the calves, and cull out some for auction.
I really wish the light had been better for photography. It’s such a sight to see that many bison running together.
These two guys had long bull whips they were cracking to make noise, and keep the bison going the right way.
All the cowboys are volunteers for the roundup, and I think most come back every year. This guy clearly was having a good time.
We were a little disappointed that the bison were slowed down after they came over the hill. We had been told they came charging over the hill, and then run into the corrals. Maybe that was safer for them, or maybe that’s what the bison wanted to do this year.
I’m glad we came, saw, and experienced the roundup. We will have to come back here in 5 years to renew our drivers license again. Perhaps we will see the round up then too.