SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — About 500 bison will be sold at auction on Nov. 4, Matt Schneider of the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks said at an Oct. 5 GFP commission meeting.
The auction follows the Sept. 29 roundup of a 1,500 animal bison herd at Custer State Park.
The round up happens every year so that GFP staff can check the condition of the herd. So far, the herd is in excellent condition, Schneider said.
If all 500 bison are sold at auction, the winter herd at Custer State Park would be 960. “That’s typical of where we keep the herd for winter,” Schneider said.
The GFP will start vaccinating the herd and branding certain animals on Oct. 10, Schneider said.
This year’s roundup drew a record 22,950 visitors, state officials said.
“It was an amazing event,” Schneider said. He’s been involved in the round up for 12 years, and, “this was probably the best ever.”
The old record was set during the 50th anniversary of the round up. This was the 58th round up.
The GFP starts planning for the roundup after the first of the year. The work on site starts after Labor Day which includes mowing the areas for parking.
“We were able to get the record number of people parked prior to the start of the roundup,” Schneider said.
The crowd includes visitors who return every year was well as new round up visitors, Schneider said.
The round up was held in conjunction with an annual arts festival that ran from Sept. 28-30.
“The crowd, we held them over to Saturday,” Schneider said. The large tent was still full until 4 p.m. Saturday, Schneider said. In prior years, the crowd tends to thin on Saturday.
There were more than 170 vendors this year. “In the past the biggest we’ve had is 150 vendors,” Schneider said. Vendors were happy with the crowd and sales.
Schneider said Custer State Park has slightly more than 100 volunteers throughout the summer and most of they stayed to help with the roundup. Custer State Park uses all 30 staff along with another 30 to 40 paid part time and full time GFP staff, Schneider said.