Where the Bison Roam

Linda ... Truck ... BisonCuster State Park, SD was on our way home from the Wind Cave.  Rather then take the same route we decided to take a short cut through the park that was labeled on the map “ Wildlife Loop Road”.  Little did we know what we would see along the way!   Let us start out by explain that there are no buffalo in North America.  Yes, you heard right.  The animals we commonly referred to as buffalo are actually “Bison”.  Nevertheless, the term “buffalo” appears everywhere – even the park brochures.  I recon they just don’t want to embarrass Buffalo Bill.  The park maintains a herd of 1,450 head that are allowed to free range over the parks 71,000 acres.

The road is  a narrow two lane 18 mile road that meanders through the prairie setting following the lay of the land.  It was a beautiful slow paced drive and we were enjoying the scenery.  First sight of herdComing around a bend in the road we saw a field full of bison in the distance.  We pull over and immediately stated taking pictures of the herd.  The valley was full of a mixture of bulls, cows and calves.  All were grazing and meandering casually with no particular destination in sight.  As we slowly continued down the road, we encountered animals closer to the road.  They crossed the road right in front of us curious, some stopped directly in the roadway ignoring the traffic jams they were creating.  One cow stopped to nurse her calf while we all watched and waited for them to finish and continue without a care in the world.  Camera at the ready, we were snapping pictures one right after the other out the window of the truck.  After awhile they moved on and we went on down the road.  We noticed many wallows (muddy holes) along the road favored by the bulls for relaxing while chewing their cud always keeping a watchful eye over the herd of cows and calves.

Prong Horn SheepNext we encountered a lone bull pronghorn antelope standing along the road calmly feeding on grass which we can only assume is sweeter by the side of the road.  He looked up when we stopped but calmly went back to eating not interested in us at all.  Later we had a small herd of female antelope come bounding down the hill and across the road to take a refreshing drink from the nearby watering hole.  Some deer were also spotted off in the distance along the tree line.

Prairie dog town, as you would expect, was full of holes.  Every so often you would see a sentry sitting high in the area ever watchful for an intruder.  If you were quiet other members would emerge and scurry from one hole to another.  They were a pleasure to watch as they went about there day looking for food. So much to see, so little time.  It was getting dark and  we needed to return to our home on wheels for a good night sleep.

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6 Responses to Where the Bison Roam

  1. Thanks for the outstanding pictures and excellent desciption of what you are seeing. I <3 am happy you are having such a wonderful time

  2. Go at night also. Stars are bright & wonderful.

  3. We were just there a couple of weeks ago! The grandsons thought it was awesome!!

  4. Makes you realize how much we miss when we speed along the interstate highways

  5. Awesome! I got to see “buffalos”, or I guess they were bison, up close in OK and CO… lots of antelope-types floating around Rwanda, they’re always beautiful regardless of which type they were…

  6. Sounds like an interesting “short cut”.

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