Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

Our first glimpse of Prairie Dog Town...

A better view of the hole...

Closer shot of the little critter, too bad they are so destructive...

Moving along, a lone bison grazing off to our right...

A distant view of a small herd, I think they are gathering...

Just chatting as we stretch our legs....

A pretty little buck...

Chowing down on the tree limb!

The burros were out to visit today...

Mama & baby, not interested in apples today, or grapes either, lol!

Love this little guy!

These two are visiting Bonnie...

Visiting Fiscus...

Hi Larry, whatcha' doing????

I think she's talking to him, lol!

Thank you!

Bonnie's got two cute ones!

Moving on, a pretty pronghorn grazing...

A closer shot for you...

One big boy chowing at the visitor center on our way back...


We continued our excursion today on the 18-mile Wildlife Loop, through the open grasslands and pine-speckled hills that much of the park's wildlife call home. It was late in the day so we were treated with several varieties of the parks residents. Our first glimpse was of the prairie dogs, a rodent that lives in large social groups called towns. The round mound of dirt you'll see in the pics surrounds their hole to keep rain water from running into the burrow and serves as an observation post to watch for danger. The prairie dog gets their name from the bark-like call they make & they were barking today!

Moving on we found a small herd of bison. The roundup is on Monday, September 26th and we plan to attend for the first time this year. We are really looking forward to it! It looks like they are currently gathering the herd into small groups to make that task easier roundup day. There were once millions of bison, but by 1900 it is estimated that fewer than 1,000 bison remained on the entire continent! Peter Norbeck recognized the situation and in 1914 purchased 36 bison to start its herd. By the 1940's, the size of the herd had swelled to over 2,500. Each year during the roundup, the size & structure of the herd is adjusted according to the predicted availability of grassland forage. The spring birthing season rejuvenates the herd size toward 1,300.

Moving on we encountered a pretty little white-tailed deer. As its name implies, the whitetail deer has white hair on the underside of its tail. When it runs, the tail is flipped up and looks like a waving flag. We enjoyed watching this one pull tree limbs down to it's mouth to enjoy the leaves for dinner. Cute...

Not much farther down the road we encountered the burros, our favorite of the day! The burros are not native to the Black Hills. They are descendants from the herd that once hauled visitors to the top of Harney Peak. The rides were discontinued years ago and the burros were released into the park where they have become a popular visitor attraction. We hadn't seen them on our earlier trips so didn't really come prepared with apples & carrots. We did have grapes along with us though & they sure enjoyed them! We hung out for several minutes enjoying them, Bonnie loved it & I think one of them fell in love with my hubby!

A bit further we encountered a few pronghorns out grazing on the grassland. The name pronghorn comes from the buck's large pronged horns. If the females have horns, they are small & unpronged. Some of them have unique coloring.

On our return home we stopped to view one last BIG bison dining on the grass in front of the visitor center. It was a long full day, but we sure had a great time. Tomorrow is the last day of Bonnie & Larry's time here & I think we've decided to just hang out at home. We plan to grill baby back ribs and have one final campfire before they return back to the big city. Viewing the Mammoth Site & taking the Wildlife Loop was a nice way to end their visit in Custer State Park. We've sure enjoyed having them here to share in all that the hills offer!



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