Saturday, July 20, 2013

7/19 Custer State Park Wildife

I took a jeep ride today because I wanted to see more wildlife, and it is too difficult to drive my RV and look for animals.  In addition, there are many dirt roads that are easily driveable by 4-wheel drive cars but not by a large motorhome.  So, it was worth the price to get a tour.

There are 1,000 buffalo in this state park, not counting new calves.   They round them up each year and sell whatever number they believe is in excess of what can survive the winter on the available grass. These are sold, not for the meat, but for breeding stock to other state parks and national organizations.  Prices for adults are $3,000 to $4,000 for each animal, so no one is going to eat these fellows. 

Here are a couple of calves following their mothers.  They are very young and still have their umbilical cords attached.  The one in the first photo was even having trouble walking.

The herd I saw was enormous.  On one side of the road was maybe 50 animals, but on the other side, just down a bit, was another 300-400 animals!  Here are about half of what we saw.

The bulls are fascinating because they are so huge.  Here is one who walked past our vehicle as we were parked.  How would you like to carry that head around all day?  He was about 6 feet away from us. 

Here is another bull checking out the females.  He and another bull were eyeing each other up and making low growling noises.  Unless it is breeding season, which it is now, the bulls stay apart from the herds of females and young.  Here is a video I posted on YouTube of this: 
And to round things out, here are some pronghorn antelopes:

And a couple of prairie dogs:


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