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The do’s and don’ts of looking for bison

todayJune 10, 2024 3

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CUSTER, S.D. (KELO) — Each year thousands of people travel to state and national parks in hopes to see wildlife.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen reports of people getting too close… especially to large animals like bison.

As you drive through Custer State Park, you’ll find plenty of options to pull over and see the animals that call the park home.

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“It’s nice to see how they are, nice to see how they live around here, just fun to see,” Colorado visitor Izeyah Smith said.

“You’ll see the buffalo throughout the park and you want to make sure you give them the respect they deserve. They are very large animals, they can be anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. A lot of folks think that means they’re slow, they are not. They can get up to 35 miles an hour very quickly. I don’t know about you but that’s faster than I can run,” Visitors Services Supervisor Lydia Austin said

Custer State Park is home to nearly 1,500 free range bison moving all across the park. The staff here are encouraging individuals to stay in their cars or view from afar as these bison travel through the land.

“Stay in your car and just take photos from your car without leaving it. Just drive by and just look at them from there,” Smith said

“Here at the park, it’s been decades since we’ve had any fatalities with the bison but we still have injuries. So that’s why we encourage folks to give them the distance, to keep your trip safe. You don’t want to ruin it with a trip to the hospital so enjoy from the safety of your car and enjoy Custer State Park,” Austin said.

They’re simple steps that make your visit to western South Dakota much more enjoyable for you and for the wildlife.

If you see the bison or any other wildlife quickly change their behavior, it means you are too close.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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