Perhaps when you think about the American Wild West, the thought of buffalo comes to mind.   If not, it certainly should.

The American Bison, more popularly known as buffalo, roamed the prairies of the west in herds numbering millions in the 19th century.   It was not uncommon for a train to be stopped for hours – even days – by a huge herd moving across the tracks in front of the locomotive.

These mammoth animals can weigh upward of 1600 pounds, and stand five feet tall or more, with a body length of six to eleven feet.

They were hunted almost to extinction by the end of the 19th century, with only a few hundred surviving.  The species was kept alive by a few ranchers who corralled them to save them from extinction.

Through conservation efforts, the number of buffalo in the United States and Canada now stands at well over 300,000.

Here in South Dakota, we’re home to a good sized herd at Custer State Park – and you can see a bit of history this Friday, September 29th when the park conducts its annual buffalo roundup.

Approximately 1300 buffalo will be rounded up for annual vaccinations, and some will be auctioned off to maintain the balance between herd size and what the park area can comfortably sustain.

Speaking of herd size, sometimes during the busy times of the year, the South Dakota 811 Center gets really busy answering calls for locate requests.  This most often happens just before winter freeze-up or in early spring when everyone is anxious to dig after the long winter.  Avoid the herd by placing your locate requests on-line.  Professional excavators can email remoteapps@sd811.com to request a short training session and learn how easy it is to avoid the stampede of calls.  Homeowners can go to https://sdhop.sd811.com/ to place their locate requests on-line.

For more information, visit this blog:

And of course, don’t forget to call South Dakota One Call before you dig!

Until next week, safe digging.

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