Critters Thursday 28th of October 2010 07:45 AM
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
I see my fair share of critters around the County Line.
But we had a whole new menagerie of critters on our recent trip through the Black Hills and the Badlands of South Dakota and the sand hills of Nebraska.
Nearly 1,500 majestic bison roam the prairie of the Custer State Park.
One scene reminded us of home. The bison "babies" had been weaned from their mothers, a process we will do with our cow-calf herd in early November here on the County Line.
We got a "taste" of bison at our lunch stop at the Blue Bell Lodge.
Randy had the BBQ buffalo sandwich. I had buffalo stew in a bread bowl.
The weirdest encounter was with burros who had no intention of moving off the 18-mile Wildlife Loop road in Custer State Park.
People literally were weaving around them on the road to continue their journey. They reminded me of cattle who sometimes have to be nudged from a feed bunk with the fender of the pickup.
The wild burros (who didn't appear so wild anymore) trace their roots to a herd that once hauled visitors to the top of Harney Peak. At the rate they move these days, it would take awhile.
I had rolled down the window to get a photo of two small burros running and playing on a pretty fall day.
I did get the photo. But I also got an unwanted "kiss" from a slobbering burro.
It was a little too up close and personal for me. However, Randy got his laugh for the day.
We didn't see mountain goats in the wild. But one little one did "climb" up on a rock outside of Mount Rushmore. Mountain goats aren't native to the Black Hills. Introduced into Custer Park in 1924, a well-established herd now lives in the Needles-Harney Park area, though we didn't see them the day we were there.
We also saw pronghorn antelope while on the Wildlife Loop.
We saw deer quenching their thirst at the Niobrara River at Valentine, Nebraska. (Not that we don't see plenty of deer around here. I just hope I don't see them jumping out of the ditches in front of my car.)
Our trip to the Badlands led to a sighting of bighorn sheep.
It was like our own little version of Wild Kingdom ... without the television screen.