A Rare Experience in Custer State Park

We were visiting The Black Hills of South Dakota and fell in love with the scenery and especially the Wildlife Loop.  We also really liked Custer, the town and could envisage settling there eventually (as long as the Winters are not too L o n g ). While in the area we had enjoyed seeing an increasing number of Bison in the park and we learned about the annual Round Up. So, although we had left The Black Hills and were visiting The Badlands, we drove to Custer for the Round Up.  We set the alarm for 3:30 am, left by 4:00 am and reached the park entrance by 6:00 am.  We knew the parking areas would not be opened until 6:15 am but Louise thought that we would be near the head of the line!  HA HA!

We parked, had breakfast (pancakes and sausages), found a good spot to set up the tripod, gimbal head and 600mm f/4 lens and waited.

The first sight of activity was as the Wranglers left to go and find the Bison to round up.  Then after a long pause we saw a small herd come over the hill top and move out of sight into the valley.  Since we expected over 1,300 head it was rather disappointing, especially as there were more Wranglers than Buffalo.  But after a while patience was rewarded and the complete herd came over the hill top and were driven through a set of gates into the pasture immediately below us.


I managed to make about 1,400 clicks – still to be processed (pun intended), but here are a couple of videos (hence the pun) I shot of the herd coming through the gates.  The first gives an idea of the numbers and speed of travel, the second shows the end of the herd through the gates and the Wranglers managing their movement coming into view.  Please click the links below.

Main Buffalo herd being driven through the gate

Tail end charlie and the Wranglers

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS Tripod and Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

Leave a Reply