Hear the rumble of buffalo during the 2023 Buffalo Roundup

The sound of thundering buffalo could be heard across Custer State Park at the annual Buffalo Roundup kicked off Friday.
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 10:10 AM CDT
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) -The sound of thundering buffalo could be heard across Custer State Park this morning as the annual Buffalo Roundup kicked off Friday.

People travel from across the country to experience this spectacular sight.

For some, it was their first roundup and they claim the event lives up to its name.

‘It was really cool; I mean I knew like obviously you hear the number in your head but then seeing that out like in the field and everything it was really cool just to see how many they really are,” said Millie Groeler on what it was like seeing the herd for the first time.

“Very exciting and very exciting to see the one rouge that didn’t want to join the rest of the group and they had to go collect him, make him go there. That was very exciting,” said Robin Murphy on all the excitement surrounding the roundup.

“It was really interesting seeing again the numbers and just like the dust cloud above the stampede as they came over the hill,” added Riley Kappell on his first roundup experience.

Roughly 1,500 buffalo were rounded up, not only is the event a dramatic sight to see, but it is also critical to maintaining a strong and healthy herd.

Once in the corrals the buffalo are branded, vaccinated, and given an overall health check.

“And then we do our sort to determine what’s going to get sold at the end of the day,” said Matt Snyder, park superintendent for Custer State Park. You know we will over winter about 900 animals, 960 animals will be overwintered, and the rest will go to auction that we do on the first weekend in November.”

Snyder adds that thinning the herd is necessary because there is only so much grass in Custer State Park to keep the buffalo fed and healthy.

“We have 400 calves born a year and with that population, we have to reduce the herd. There’s only so many that the range land can sustain over the course of the winter,” added Snyder. So that’s why we reduce the herd.”

Nearly 20,000 people attended this year’s Buffalo Roundup.