Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wildlife

Our recent trip to TR National Park in North Dakota yielded numerous encounters with wildlife. The first animals you’re likely to see when you enter the park are the prairie dogs. There are several very large prairie dog towns in the the park’s South Unit so it’s easy to spot hundreds if not thousands of the critters from the road.

We initially entered the park in the mid-afternoon, so the light wasn’t good, but I snapped a few frames of the little guys anyway.

Prairie Dog
Prairie Dog, Nikkor 80-400mm @ 400mm, 1/800 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 200, Nikon D700

A while later we came around a bend in the road to see a pair of wild horses grazing. The female had obviously just taken a mud bath and was right on the shoulder of the road; the male was on the small hill a short distance away. Because there was so little traffic, we were able to stop the vehicle on the road so I could get some shots. Again, the light was bad, but it was a fun experience.

Wild horses
Wild horses grazing on the side of the road. Nikkor 16-35mm @ 32mm, 1/125 sec @ f/16, ISO 200

We ended up seeing the larger herd later that afternoon. The light was better and I was able to get several nice shots of this beautiful animal:

Wild Horse
Wild Horse, Nikkor 80-400mm @ 400mm, 1/400 sec @ f/8, ISO 200

The next morning we turned a corner to see a small herd of bison walking down the middle of the road. We had to actually stop the car and wait for them to amble off to the side of the road.

Eventually we came across yet another herd of the wild horses, again, just off the road up on a hill. On the other side of the hill we spotted several deer.

Deer Buck
Deer Buck, Nikkor 80-400mm @ 400mm, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 800

As we continued up the hill, there was another grouping of horses. Several of these were actually on the road and didn’t seem to mind us as we stopped an photographed them as well. Here’s one of my favorites:

Wild Horse
Wild Horse, Nikkor 80-400mm @ 400mm, 1/400 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 800

I’ll be posting more about the landscape photography on that trip, but if you’re interested in seeing wildlife as well, I’d recommend this park. It’s a treat!

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2 Responses to “Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wildlife”

  1. Marly

    The North Dakota Badlands are the best! I’ve been to the Badlands in SD – they’re not as noteworthy (if you ask me…which I know you didn’t…but you know me, I’ll say it anyway!). Love all these photos, but that spotted horse in the field of yellow flowers is so compelling.

  2. Diane

    How cool is this!


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