Wind Cave Bison Bull
Earlier this year the American Bison was declared the national mammal of the United States. The bulls can weigh up to 2000 pounds making them the largest mammal in North America. Once numbering in the tens of millions, bison nearly became extinct at the end of the 19th century. In 1913, bison were successfully reintroduced to Wind Cave National Park, shipped by rail from New York City. Today this is one of the only genetically pure bison herds, without any cattle genes. Even though I've seen plenty of bison before, Wind Cave in the Black Hills is the only place where I've actually hiked with them right next to the trail. At first they may appear calm and lazy. But you shouldn't get too close since they are very temperamental and can charge at speeds of up to 40 mph.