Hundreds of bison sold at 54th annual bison auction

CUSTER, S.D. — As the Custer State Park bison herd reached its capacity, ranchers from the region and across the nation were able to bid on choice bison.

The annual bison auction was held at the Custer State Park Visitors Center Saturday morning. Organizers were selling 430 head at the auction to keep the herd capacity below 1,500. The park’s herd is the longest running in the world for bison production, making the park’s selection more marketable.

“We have a long history of the herd,” said bison herd manager Chad Kremer. “A lot of the herds out there, the lineage can go back to animals that were originally from the park here.”

Ranchers that were on site were able to examine the herds in the corrals before putting down their bids. Available to buy this year for both breeding and feeding were heifers, cows, calves and bulls, all with a variety in age range and weight.

“The product is moving, it is becoming more and more well-known out there in the marketplace,” Kremer says. “The benefits, health benefits to eating bison, and people just enjoying and preferring it.”

Buyers could choose to take an entire lot, a single animal, or a gate cut — just whatever comes out of the gate.

“The bison market is strong right now,” Kremer explained. “And this year with the season that we had, the rain and the moisture and that, what we’re offering today and the herd in general is in excellent, excellent condition for this winter.”

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