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Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

Columbus, Ohio
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Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

With the Bison Round-up in late September, will there be bison to see on Wildlife Loop in early October? Will there be other wildlife to photograph at that time? On a separate note, will there be readily visible bison at Wind Cave or Badlands?...Or will we just be too late (Oct 2-7) to have a good chance for wildlife photography? Thank you in advance for advice!!!

Apple Valley...
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1. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

i believe that after they have rounded them up, counted them, etc. sold some, etc. the rest are released back out to roam the park.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

The Roundup takes place on Friday, Sept. 27th this year. You will just miss the actual Roundup. It takes about 2 weeks for the health check, inoculations, brandings and sortings to be completed. You can stop by the corrals and watch the wranglers work on the herd. It is fascinating to watch and the wranglers will usually stop and chat with you for awhile. We have heard some great stories and talk about a photo opt. From what I understand they do start moving the buffalo herds towards the part of the park that the corrals are in about a week or two before the actual roundup. I was also told they bring in a group of about 200 the week before and these are the animals they start working on the afternoon of the roundup. (If I am wrong, I hope someone will be able to clarify this.) The reason being is the roundup is stressful on the herd as well as the health examinations, etc. By doing it this way it gives the bison some down time and makes the whole process less stressful. They also do not roundup the older bulls because it is too dangerous. You will see older ones throughout the park. Goodiowagirl is correct. After a healthcheck has been completed on a bison it is released to roam the park. Only the ones being sold are kept in the corral area after this process. Also, you can find bison in Wind Cave National Park throughout the year, in Bear Butte State Park and occasionally in the Badlands. I don't believe the roundup effects any of those herds. You will see other kinds of wildlife as well. In fact, we usually see more antelope, deer and Big Horn Sheep during the fall than the hot summer months.

Columbus, Ohio
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3. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

Thank you so much for the information and reply. In the beginning, we were reluctant to travel to the Black Hills in October. However, I hope we see beautiful fall foliage travelling October 2-9.

Do you think this is decent itinerary?: Fly in afternoon of October 2. Stay in Badlands/Hot Springs October 2&3 (see Badlands and Wind Cave). Move to Keystone October 4,5,6 (see Custer State Park, Rushmore, Jewel Cave, Needles Highway, etc). Travel to Devil's Tower on October 7 and stay in Deadwood that night. Probably fly out October 8 or 9. Any other suggestions?

Also, what is best place to see Bighorn Sheep? I figure we'll find Pronghorn in several locations.

Thank you for your reply and help. Philip

Apple Valley...
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4. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

I do not see any reason to change hotels between Hot Springs and Keystone really....I would just stay in Keystone for the extra night (unless 1 night is IN Badlands Park). They are not that far from each other.

Also Wind Cave is very close to the Wildlife Loop Rd side of Custer State Park.

Edited: 28 August 2013, 04:27
Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

Big Horn Sheep can be found in the Badlands, Custer State Park, in and around the Keystone/Hill City area and the outskirts of Rapid City. It is not often that you see the older rams but usually will see ewes and young rams. We did not see as many this year as we usually do. Possibly because the Hills had more rain this summer and they were able to find food in the higher elevations. Or maybe it was just our luck!

Fall foliage will be just peaking or just peaked at the time you are there. Spearfish Canyon in the northern Hills should be gorgeous. Make sure you include the canyon in your must sees. You could go there the day you go to Devil's Tower or delay flying out until Oct. 9th and spend the 8th touring historic Deadwood and Lead and Spearfish Canyon. Actually you might want to consider flipping your itinerary at the beginning and the end so that you will see the best foliage before it starts to die out. Spearfish Canyon is the best spot for the fall colors. Start with the northern Hills, move on to the Central Hills (Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, etc.) as originally planned and do Wind Cave, Hot Springs and the Badlands last. Just a thought.

Columbus, Ohio
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6. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

Thank you so much!!!!

7. Re: Wildlife Viewing in Custer first week of October

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