Bison Herd At Custer State Park

On the 3rd day of our vacation we were up before the sun . We wanted to see the bison herd that Custer State Park is famous for. The best road to drive in the park to see the bison and also pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, elk, turkeys, and prairie dogs is the Wildlife Loop road. We figured the wildlife would be more active in the morning, and there would be fewer people out and about. We were right on both counts.

As we drove down the winding road through the pine woods we left the windows open to enjoy to cool morning air. The sunlight broke through the trees and all was quiet.

Then as we came around a corner we met the unexpected:

Bison – in the woods??

We’re used to seeing bison on the treeless prairies of Kansas, and were expecting to see Custer’s bison on the prairie as well.

What a pleasant surprise!

We pulled over into a small parking area to watch them for a while. They didn’t seem to take much notice of us as they went about their business.

I enjoyed taking pics from the safety of the truck.

Harland wanted to get closer, much to my dismay.

Here’s something you don’t see out your windshield every day:

Two cyclists zipped on down the road past us, the lead one cruising on down the hill into the curve with the bison scattering away in all directions.

The second cyclist was not quite so brave. He waited to see the outcome of the first cyclist before continuing on his way.

Stirred up by the cyclists, the bison herd left the trees and headed to a open prairie area just down the road. We followed along.

Once out in the open, we could finally see just how big the herd is.

All the baby calves were so cute.

"Hold still junior. You've got a dirty spot behind your ear."

The one in the next 2 pics is a newborn less than a week old. See the stump of his umbilical cord hanging down?

What a cutie.

The young babies stuck close to their mamas.

One of the bulls stopped just outside Harland’s window to stare at him for a while.

Mr. Bull: "I'm bigger than you, I could take you.C'mon, get out of that truck."

The bison, as well as all the other animals in the park, have the right of way.

Traffic jam:

After a while, we left the herd behind and headed up the road to see what other wildlife there was to see. And we didn’t have to drive far.

Just up the road we ran into some pronghorn antelope and they had little babies too!

Stay tuned.



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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11 Responses

  1. Glenda says:

    Driving to see the bison was a lot easier than walking a mile or more to see them right? Thanks for the story!

  2. Norman says:

    Great series of images. It looks like you had a great time.

  3. Kara says:

    Amazing!! How wonderful!

  4. Tina says:

    I am loving those babies and Mama’s. Can’t wait to see the antelope. Keep them coming, girlfriend!

  5. Nancy says:

    Even from the safety of your truck you take the most amazing pictures! Love them all! Thanks for taking the time to do these posts. sure do enjoy them!

  6. Carol says:

    What beautiful pictures, Suzanne! I am speechless and amazed, the size and numbers of Bison are incredible. Imagine the sound from a herd of running Bison, thunder and ground shaking, I imagine. Love this trip guys, thanks! (How cute are those babies?)

  7. Debbie says:

    Thanks! Those photos are great, and made me feel almost like I was with you! Looks like a great place!

  8. Doe in Mi says:

    Thank you, Suzanne for marvelous post. Must have been so great to be right there with the bison. Wow.

  9. Fantastic pictures. Your trip must have been so much fun. Good for you for taking the time to go and enjoy yourself. – Karen

  10. JMart says:

    Marvelous pictures!! We did this trip in mid-June a year ago. I loved Custer State Park. I was especially impressed by the tunnels with a clear view of Mt. Rushmore.

    We finally found the bison herd down a long winding dirt road. Many Pronghorn were grazing with them. We laughed as we watched them take a “dirt” bath.

    Thanks for your take on this very amazing state park!


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