Black Hills, South Dakota

Rapid City, SD

Part 3

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Custer State Park has a paved 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road which loops around the perimeter of the main park. Off of that road are several one lane dirt roads which crisscross the park. Most of the animals have to be seen from the dirt roads.

When you enter the park they give you a newspaper which describes the various parts of the park. In that newspaper they tell you to ask where the Buffalo herd is located that day. We had such a good time driving on the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road, that we did not read the paper until later.

As we were driving around the Wildlife Loop I noticed that the little dirt roads had a very small sign which said "open to the public." And away we went. The poor Saturn had it kind of rough! When we were crossing over another dirt road a pickup pulled up and asked if I saw anything on the road I was on. I said about 20 Pronghorns about 2 miles back. He said that the Buffalo herd was on road #2. And away we went.

Custer State Park maintains Buffalo herd of about 1000 Buffalo. They have a round up in the fall where they brand the young and separate out Buffalo to be auctioned. They feel that the 17,800 acres will only support 1000 Buffalo. They also sell Buffalo meat in the Parks Lodges.

The park also removes 10 mature bulls through a guided hunt that is open to the public. I don't know how sporting that is, the Buffalo are use to having people around and are not afraid of them. Maybe you have to use a tomahawk!

Custer State Park
Most of the herd was in this valley.
In every direction we looked there were Buffalo.


Custer State Park
This female kept inching closer to the road. So we got a pretty good picture.


Custer State Park
One of the bulls stood up and started grunting. After about 5 minutes several of the females and young ones got up and started moving down the road with the bull.


Custer State Park
Here is the big bull crossing the road.


Wind Cave National Park
This big bull was walking along side the road.


Wind Cave National Park
Hiking through Wind Cave.


Wind Cave National Park
Hiking through wind cave.
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