Monday, October 30, 2017

Custer State Park

Welcome to Custer State Park!

What a great way to be greeted by the people of South Dakota...Into a park that holds many kinds of treasures.

This year to celebrate my belated 60th Birthday event - to see the Custer Park Buffalo Roundup... Corey and I headed for "The Hills", as they are lovingly referred to by friends and family. I came to know the Black Hills after the Rapid City flood  of June 9,1972, when I came to a  Church sponsored Work Camp to help clean-up the aftermath.

As we entered the park this lone young bull was rising and stretching after his late afternoon nap. He was certainly an impressive against the backdrop of the  surrounding landscape. The grassland was showing it's well grazed fall length.

Remaining on the move as we passed by other tourists trying to get pictures of this statuesque Buffalo we headed further into the park.

Many years ago on a trip through "The Hills" the Pronghorn antelope were feeding at a location just beside a grated opening into another section of the park. As we passed this same location this year, once again we discovered how unconcerned these animals were at our vehicles presence.

I had quite a few minutes to concentrate on this digital capture before another car came up to replace us without disturbing this single animal.

In our travels along the winding road we came upon an indigenous Merriman's Wild Turkey population.

This particular subspecies Meleagris gallopavo merriami is found throughout  the Rocky Mountains and the neighboring states of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota as well as much of the high mesa areas of New Mexico.  They live mailnly in ponderosa pine and mountainous regions.

I know you've probably heard about, or seen the Wild Burro population roaming the Custer Park.

We had to laugh! This Burro just kept standing at the window of this SUV even though it didn't appear they were sharing any edible treats as we waited.

Once during the visit the owner of the SUV climbed out from the opposite side to document their gray long-eared guest.
Just a little ways further down the road we were taken aback how brashly this coyote ran out in front of two cars passing in the opposite direction.

Maybe it had heard it was protected within it's territory?

Not an unusual creature being one of three seen in the short-time we drove around and most likely related to the ones that you see crossing the road in your own neighborhoods.

We finally located where we would be coming on Saturday,September 29th, to view the rounding-up of the Buffalo herd.

The fall thinning activity keeps the herd strong by lessening the grazing pressure during what can be very harsh winter conditions...It also helps to bring revenue to maintain the remaining animals by selling breeding stock and adding to the commercial meat supplies. 

Time for us to leave the park for the evening but as we exited, the Pronghorn group which had waited so patiently for our return was still relaxing and chewing away at the grasses.

If you look a little closer, you will see another dominant member of the Black Hills fauna, the Prairie Dog. Those little dogs are fun to watch when they get excited! They run to and fro,popping up and down in their holes when they are being pursued by the wiley coyotes.

Thank you for stopping by to read about another day in our journey. Just a note to let you know that I'm going to mix things up a bit . However, I assure you that there I'm going to be share some-more pictures that could bring a smile to your lips.

Have a great day!