Tatanka is the Lakota Indian word for Buffalo, or Bison bison. There are a lot of them in Custer State Park, some 1300 to be exact. We saw a number of bison yesterday as we drove the Wildlife Loop in CSP. The herds mostly ignore the cars driving through their range and stopping for a better look. We were warned, however, not to approach them. The bulls can be especially unpredictable during the rut, which is just ending. This bull and his lady friend were cuddling apart from the rest of the herd, while the big fellow in the other photo was strolling among his harem. They will be rounded up at the end of this month and sold to reduce the herd to some 930 animals. Since the park does not feed the bison over the winter, it is necessary for the herd to be culled each year so it will not exceed the carrying capacity of the park.
Bison are everywhere in Custer City as well as in the park. The town has on display a number of Tatanka like these decorated by local artists, many of Native American descent. They will be auctioned off the end of this month, so we could possibly bring one home to display at the farm. Transport home might be a bit of a problem, though!