Rocky Mountain Goats
This past August after leaving Mount Rushmore and traveling along Highway 89 in the Black Hills, we stopped at a highway turn-out for some photos. Looking at the beauty of the landscape and odd rock formations as well as searching for wildlife, it was then that I spotted several Rocky Mountain Goats just hanging out below and to my right on the rocky granite cliffs.
Rocky Mountain Goats are not native to South Dakota. In 1924, six of these goats were gifted to nearby Custer State Park by the Canadian government. Excellent climbers, those six goats quickly escaped their penned area and headed to the craggy granite core of the Black Hills for refuge.
Today, their primary range now extends over 32,000 acres at elevations from about 4,000 feet to over 7,200 feet.
Once fall and winter approach, the Rocky Mountain Goat’s fur coat will grow longer and quite shaggy to protect them from the elements.
Rocky Mountain Goats are grazing animals. Their diet includes grasses, herbs, sedges, ferns, moss, lichen, and shrubs.
As I watched and shot some wonderful photo ops, the goats skillfully climbed and stood on sides of granite as if it was no accomplishment. It was quite amazing!