These two states have Buffalo Round Ups and how to plan to watch them

The time for the 2022 Buffalo Round-Ups is now over and it is time to start planning for the 2023 Round-Ups. There are several Buffalo Roundups held in different states. Two of the round-ups will be held in Utah and South Dakota. According to Visit Utah, Custer State Park in South Dakota and Antelope Island State Park are about the only places where people can actually experience a public bison gathering firsthand.

Roundups aside, Yellowstone National Park is arguably the best place to see bison in the United States. Watching buffalo roundups is one of the best ways to feel transported back to the days of the Old West. Another place to relive the Wild West is Canada’s Calgary, home to its largest outdoor rodeo.


What is the purpose of the Buffalo Roundup?

“The Buffalo Roundup is both important for viewers and helps keep the herd healthy and active.”

Dakota News Now

The Buffalo Roundup is part of the Administration of the American Bison. It is an important management tool in maintaining a strong and healthy bison herd.

Visitors can see the bison being tested, branded and graded. The summarization keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most of the herd will be returned to the state park.

They bring all bison except the adult bulls (they are difficult to herd and don’t need to be re-vaccinated). Once the bison are penned, their health is checked and some are auctioned off to the public.

While Yellowstone National Park is home to the country’s most famous herds of bison, there is no buffalo hunting there.

Related: Bison are an important part of American history and you can still see them roaming free

Schedule the 58th Annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park

Custer State Park in South Dakota is home to an annual buffalo hunt where visitors can feel the hooves and thunder of around 1,400 buffalo. Watch cowboys, cowgirls and park rangers band together and drive the herd. Viewers can watch the entire Custer State herd of American bison pass by just a few hundred feet from their perches. It is one of the largest herds in the world.

The roundup is part of the three-day Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival at Custer State Park, which features more than 100 vendors offering their arts and crafts.

  • Admission fee: None (free)
  • Date: September 28-30, 2023

Guests must remain in the viewing areas until the buffalo herd is safely inside the enclosures (round-up time is approximately 9:30am to 12pm). They will be tested, branded and sorted between 1pm and 3pm.

Festival opening times:

  • Thursday: 10am – 6pm
  • Friday: 10am – 7pm
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m

Visitors should bring their folding chairs, cameras, and outdoor gear (such as sunscreen and rain gear).

Cowboys and cowgirls can also apply to participate in the roundup (they can apply here). As part of Custer State Park’s long tradition of bringing in private individuals to help with the annual buffalo hunt, several positions are open to the public.

Successful applicants must attend orientation to understand what to do and what to expect. You must also bring your own horse.

The synopsis draws over 20,000 viewers.

See Also: North Dakota: Why Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Bison and Badlands Are Worth It

Plan the next Antelope Island Buffalo Roundup

Similar to the Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park in South Dakota, Utah has its own Buffalo Roundup. The Utah Roundup takes place on stunning Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, just a short drive from Salt Lake City (just 25 miles from the airport).

  • bison herd: Around 700
  • Date: October 29 (2022)

Cowboys and cowgirls are also welcome to participate in this roundup, as are viewers who wish to come and watch the annual event. Nonetheless, the rounding up of bison on Antelope Island takes place in relative darkness against the scenic backdrop of Antelope Island.

The event looks like something out of a Wild West movie. See the snorting, thundering bison running at up to 30 miles per hour.

People can watch the raid from inside or outside the roads where the bison are driven. There are many places on the island where people can find a safe place to watch the annual recap.