Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
September 17, 2018

Buffalo have had a place in Custer State Park since the first herd of 36 animals were brought to the park in 1914. Thriving in their native habitat, the herd quickly outgrew the amount of forage available on the park's pastures and rangelands. Park managers faced the prospect of losing both the rangeland and the buffalo, but they knew that by occasionally gathering together almost all of the buffalo and culling a select few from the herd, the forage would be conserved and the buffalo and other grazing animals in the park would likely have enough to eat year after year.

The roundup continued through the 1940s and 1950s, but not annually. As a result, by the late 1950s, the herd was once again too big for the amount of available forage. For that reason, and because new regulations required herd managers to test the buffalo for brucellosis and other diseases, the roundup was made an annual event beginning in 1965. It's now held every September.  The goals of the roundup have remained essentially the same over the years but in the modern era - since 1965 - the buffalo are sold at auction.

What they do-Once the herd is safely in the corrals the buffalo are sorted, branded, tested, and certain animals are selected for the fall auction.  With the Park’s grasslands only able to support about 1,000 animals through the winter, about 300 surplus buffalo are sold at the annual auction.

When- Friday, September 28 at 9:30am
Parking lots open at 6:15am and close at 9:00am.

Viewing Areas-You will need to determine which viewing area you will be going to prior to Friday morning.  North Park & Viewing or South Parking & Viewing (see map in brochure)

What to Bring-folding chairs, cameras, binoculars, layered clothing, rain gear, water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Other Events Happening:
25th Annual Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival: September 27-29 near the State Game Lodge on Hwy 16A

Crazy Horse Fall Volksmarch: September 30 at Crazy Horse Memorial

Information on the history of the Buffalo Roundup from South Dakota Public Broadcasting.  Information regarding this year's Buffalo Roundup from brochure, "Two Great Events.  One Great Weekend." from Custer State Park.

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Custer, SD 57730



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