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Bison are being processed at Wind Cave National Park

After being checked, more than 100 bison from Wind Cave National Park will be relocated to...
After being checked, more than 100 bison from Wind Cave National Park will be relocated to four different states and three different tribes. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Oct. 22, 2019 at 6:28 PM CDT
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Every two years rangers at Wind Cave National Park round up hundreds of bison to process them.

As the bison are processed, demographical and biological samples like blood and tail hair are taken from the untagged bison.

Greg Schroeder works at Wind Cave National Park.

"We try to manage between 350 and 500 head, but what that allows us to do is running on the lower end of it is we don't have to worry if we get into a drought situation that we have to remove animals," said Schroeder. 'We will have plenty of forage and water available for them through wet years or especially the drought years."

After being processed, more than one hundred bison will be relocated to four different states and three different tribes.

And not only is the bison being chipped, but some are being outfitted with a collar to give the park data they have never seen before.

"We're actually radio-collaring some adult cows, so we are going to put 10 radio collars on cows and what's that going to allow us to do is actually look at how they utilize the resources that are out here," said Schroeder. "So knowing how they utilize the water that's available to them and the forage and just look at their movement patterns on the landscape. That's something that we've never been able to do at this level of detail."

Each collar takes four GPS points a day and sends the park rangers an email on the daily movements of the bison.

But the collars wouldn't be available without help from fundraising.

Patty Ressler is part of the Black Hills Parks and Forest Association.

"The cost of the adoption fee is thirty-five dollars and then twenty dollars of that adoption fee goes toward resource management for the herd," said Ressler.

The program has raised over $30,000 dollars.