Photo safari in a national park

Bison in Wind Cave National Park

Southern area of Wind Cave National Park

I love living within 15 minutes of a national park. In this case it’s Wind Cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Late this afternoon I grabbed my cameras and drove into the park to see what was out and about.

I saw some deer in the distance and wanted to get some shots of them, but of all the large animals in Wind Cave, the deer are one of the more skittish. So I parked my truck where they could not see me and with a hill shielding me from their sight, I sneaked up to get as close as I could. When I crested the hill they saw me at the same time I saw them. They froze for one second and I quickly took this photo:

White Tail Deer in Wind Cave National Park

Then they immediately ran. And you can see why the species is named White Tail Deer:

White Tail Deer at Wind Cave National Park

Later I saw a herd of at least 50 elk about a half mile away — I was glad I had a 400mm lens. Here is a portion of the herd:

Elk at Wind Cave National Park

And after that, bison:

Bison in Wind Cave National Park

A couple of bulls were fighting. They didn’t look very serious about it — just a little casual head-butting.

Bison fighting at Wind Cave National Park

Here is a 25-second video of the head-butting bison:

Other bison were calmly resting and chewing their cuds:

Bison in Wind Cave National Park

One of the younger ones looked at me and licked his lips. I tried to look mean back at him.

Bison in Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park


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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

6 thoughts on “Photo safari in a national park”

  1. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. We never get tired of watching the wildlife show out our living room windows. Haven’t seen bison since West Yellowstone.


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