Monday, November 23

Oh Deer (and Elk) Me!

Saturday started out with a surprise just outside the sliding door...not that we don't have deer in our backyard, but they sneak in at night and are gone at sun-up normally. This is why I bring the bird feeders in at night...the young buck was the start of a themed day, it turned out...

Buddy Jayne and I hit the road around 8:30 AM as planned, despite the blustery, grey weather, and drove down Hwy 79 to the very SE tip of the Hills to Angostura Reservoir. Some serious recreationing goes on there in the summer...there's nice cabin rentals above the lake's edge (with the view shown below) besides camping lots, a boat launch area, and a brown sandy beach...this day, however, it was windy and chilly, and deserted except for one man down at the boat docks.

Ok, y'all didn't know we have palm trees in South Dakota, did's proof...

The beaches I grew up around in the Pacific NW are dark grey and I don't think I ever saw deer tracks on any of them...well ok there's one beach that the elk can be seen near but not really ON the beach...

Leaving the reservoir, I drove through Hot Springs and up into Wind Cave Nat'l Park, where we found this nice view of a valley near the Centennial Trailhead, which runs a total of 111 miles, most of the length of the Black Hills, from Bear Butte St. Park to Wind Cave Nat'l Park. The trail was officially opened in 1989 to commemorate the 100th year of S Dakota's statehood. I've passed the turn-out for this trailhead many times but had never stopped to check it out before. We'll want to go back to see it all greened up.

We headed down the same dirt road where I'd recently spotted the two bald eagles perched in the dead tree on the two park borders (Custer and Wind Cave). We'd seen a baldie gliding overhead just south of the turn-off, same area I'd seen my first baldie of the year (before I came across the two perched eagles). No tree eagles this time, but we found a small herd of white-tails including these two young bucks...

Along CSP Rd. #5, we stopped to take photos of the awesome view from the top of the hill we'd crested...looking down to the bottom of the hill, I realized we were being watched...about 200 yds away were these three elk bulls.

Driving down the hill past them and the trees they were near, we discovered there were six elk...if not more still out of sight.

Once on the wildlife loop in Custer Park, we came upon a buck and his small harem at the info center. The center is surrounded on three sides by fencing, so the deer were essentially trapped when we stopped for photos. At first the buck seemed unconcerned, but eventually he became alarmed, so we left.

The buck, a doe, and two juvies.


  1. I love coming here, not only for the beautiful photos, but the haunting music Jann! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. Love the new background. Love the new header. Love your blog, but you knew that anyway!!