Saturday, February 9, 2013

Custer Bison Roundup - "Somewhere Sunday" Post




This week's "Somewhere Sunday" takes us into the hills of South Dakota for the annual Custer State Park Bison Roundup.  So saddle up pardner...


Custer State Park has one of the largest herds of bison on public lands in the world.  But at 2000 pounds a Bison eats a lot of grass and depending upon the level of rain each year the park staff must determine how large the herd can grow.  Enter the Bison Roundup now in its 48th year.  It's a site to behold as 1000+ bison thunder across the prairie.  With a little imagination, one can imagine what it must have been like when over a million of these beasts roamed free.


  





Cowboys and cowgirls enter a drawing each year, hoping their name is drawn so they can ride in the roundup.  The hillside is covered with spectators who begin arriving before dawn. Once the Bison are corralled, the herd is branded, vaccinated and then sorted to determine which will go to auction that afternoon.  Not up for an auction?  Not to worry, we're not either!  We're headed to the accompanying festival to see the Lakota Hoop Dancers performing.  After that we'll make a quick stop at the historic State Game Lodge before we finish our afternoon with a drive through the park to see what other wildlife (and not so wild life) we can find.  But we'll have to take it slow because the Bison herd roams free in the park!











Historically, the  Lakota (Sioux) relied upon Bison, which they called "tatanka"
for food, clothing and shelter. 






Built in 1920, the State Game Lodge is on the National Historic Register and one of three lodges in the park. Distinguished guests have included President Calvin Coolidge who used it as his "Summer White House" in 1927 and a visit by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.




Young male Pronghorn Antelope butt heads and antlers practicing for the day
when they've got to fight for their females.


Jackrabbits inhabit the park as well as Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep,
Deer, Elk, and wild Turkeys


And then there is the not so wild band of Burros and....


the baby Burros

For more information about Custer State Park visit their website