Monday, October 4, 2010

South Dakota Black Hills

My, what an amazing place!  Rode down the Wildlife Drive today and on other roads around the Black Hills area - just today, we saw lots and lots of buffalo, white tail deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, big-horned sheep, donkeys, prairie dogs, and turkeys....

We spent some time watching an operation that we were amazed by - all the buffalo that were rounded up last week were being put into chutes based on whether they were female (checked for whether they were pregnant or had been pregnant this year - and you REALLY don't want to hear about the woman who did all that checking....YUK!!), and other categories that I didn't quite understand.  These are powerful powerful beasts!  The heavy metal gates would shake when one or more of these guys got angry.  The one chute caused them to be trapped, then squeezed from the side and their head also trapped - the whole cage contraption would move as they struggled.  i did get some pictures.  Other, younger ones, were branded and innoculated.  I was facinated!

We also toured Wind Cave, the 4th largest in the world.  Pretty cool.

Buffalo are everywhere - from almost being extinct, they are a success story.  At one point (see picture) there was a herd of about 30 of these animals blocking the road.  one by one, our cars made the way through them until the last one.  For some reason, the big guy decided they should not go anywhere - he stood eye to eye with the driver for a few minutes while the others of his clan milled around.  Wow.

Weather's been great - wore summer clothes again.  We rode our bikes up to the Lodge this evening for a wonderful meal of elk tenderloin and filet mignon of buffalo - really good!

big guy by the road

pronghorn antelope by the road

pronghorns - didn't know what they were until we asked!

rounded up, ready to be inventoried, branded...


little calf VERY close up!

I gave him some grass - he wasn't sure he should take it.

side of one of the chutes where the buffalo were sent

big female caught in the press, being checked out

done with this one - get outta here!

really pissed off - time to go!

young ones here were branded, innoculated

being pushed towards the chutes

Go on in, yes, just go on down the chute...

getting to the narrow part - no going back

another one going where they wanted

look at his eye - ooooh!

the buffalo decided this car should stay put.....
Tomorrow, on our way west out of this area, we'll go through Spearfish Canyon, by all accounts a beautiful place.

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