Custer State Park, South Dakota – buffalo round-up

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Each Autumn for nearly 50 years, South Dakota has echoed to the sound of thundering hooves and the calls of cowboys and cowgirls

Each Autumn (always a Monday in late September/early October) for nearly 50 years, South Dakota has echoed to the sound of thundering hooves and the calls of cowboys and cowgirls, during Custer State Park buffalo round-up.

Today standing at 1,300 strong, Custer’s is one of the largest publicly owned bison herds in the world.

For most of the year they’re left to roam free across the park’s 71,000 acres (like in our featured image by South Dakota Department of Tourism). However, because the terrain of mountains, hills and prairies can only sustain a certain number, they’re rounded up, counted, given a health check and, to maintain the right population size, a number of them are sold at auction.

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Buffalo Roundup Stampede
Photo by South Dakota Department of Tourism
Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
Photo by South Dakota Department of Tourism
Buffalo Roundup Wranglers
Photo by South Dakota Department of Tourism
Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
Photo by South Dakota Department of Tourism

Not all are corralled however – the big bulls are left alone since they’re too aggressive to capture. During the round-up season you can see them scattered across the park.

The round-up can be a real spectacle, and members of the public are encouraged to watch. It’s such a popular event that an arts festival and two cook-offs are scheduled take place on the weekend before the round-up.

This year’s round-up takes place on Monday, September 24.

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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

Custer State Park, South Dakota – buffalo round-up was last modified: October 26th, 2015 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (1167 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.