2016 MEA # 1: Bison and Elk and Bear, Oh My!

For my first Most Excellent Adventure (MEA) post, I chose to highlight some of the critters we saw in various places throughout our trip. I may may include other critter photos when I do some of the location specific posts, but really wanted to put as many together in one post as possible…..cause we saw TONS of them and I’d like the location specific posts to be more focused on the beauty and fun aspects of each location……and, cause I really, really got excited about seeing all the different animals – some in the wild right there with no barriers – some in more controlled areas.

So, here we go:

Bear Country USA – Rapid City, South Dakota

We were on our way to the Badlands and Custer State Park and this attraction caught our eye. We thought it might be a nice little side trip – a quickie addition to our day! So, we made an impromptu stop…….and, man, were we glad we did!!! This place was FANTASTIC!!! It was about an hour and a half drive through their park with animals everywhere – some were able to get in the roadway and come up to the cars and some were behind fences so they couldn’t get close to the visitors, but ALL were out in their natural habitats and roaming around free – not caged! Then, there was a walking tour that took us by smaller habitat areas with smaller animals. Our little “quickie” side trip kept us entertained and happy for over two hours!!!

877

This cute bear with his fish greeted us at the entrance

878

I got a kick out of this tour bus, too……”Get In, Sit Down, and Hang On!” hehehe

ELK:

880

884

889

Reindeer:

894

Arctic Wolf:

900

Rocky Mtn. Big Horn Sheep:

903

Mountain Goat:

909

910

Wolf:

913

There were wolves wandering all around this area. This one was on the road ahead of us and stopped, looked at us for a while, and headed our way…..

914

…..and right up to the driver’s side window to check us out! 🙂

Bear:

931

Black Bear

933

Brown Bear playing with a tree

962

Sleepy Bear

957

Brown Bear

1004

Grizzly Bear

1003

Grizzly Bear

Antelope:

975

976

Bison:

982

986

988

Badger:

994

I stood and watched several of these cuties for the longest time – they were so funny to watch!

Raccoon:

1017

1021

1022

Bobcat:

1027

Bear Cubs:

1041

1043

1044

1053

They were so playful and fun to watch!

Coyote:

1057

Fox:

1058

1061

Wolf Pups:

1064

1068

1071

Custer State Park – Custer, South Dakota

Custer State Park is another fantastic place — I will devote a separate post just to this amazing park. It is so beautiful, over all, but it also has a “Wild Life Loop” where you can find bison, wild turkeys, wild donkeys, and other animals roaming free as you drive through – just incredible! Each year at the end of September (we were too early to witness this), they have a Bison Round Up where cowboys on horses herd all the bison into corals where they tag them, check them out, and separate any old or ill ones out to sell – this helps keep the herds within controllable numbers and ensures the old, weak, or ill ones are not left to just die. I would have loved to see that, but we were just a tad too early for it! Here is a sampling of the critters we saw in Custer State Park:

Turkeys:

1175

1177

1178

Bison:

1218

1224

1248

Antelope:

1225

Donkeys:

1229

1231

1235

1237

1241

1243

Deer:

1403

Prairie Dogs:

1247

Bald Eagle:

1255

Badlands – Interior, South Dakota

The Badlands is another location that deserves its own specific post and will definitely get one. But, we did see a few bison, LOTS of prairie dogs, and some other critters worth sharing here:

Pronghorn:

689

690

692

693

Big Horn Sheep:

704

We parked and waited quite a while to get him to turn around for a better picture, but he did finally lift his head enough to be able to see how huge his horns were!

Bison:

760

770

771

Prairie Dogs:

808

This is an area with a high concentration of prairie dog mounds – there were zillions of them as far as the eye could see! And, they were a riot to watch!

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809

814

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That’s all for now……more MEA photos and stories later! 🙂

2 Comments on “2016 MEA # 1: Bison and Elk and Bear, Oh My!

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