FT. PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) - Viewing blinds are available by reservation for public use from the Ft. Pierre Ranger District office beginning April 1 through May. Reservations are free and allow visitors unique opportunities to watch the annual impressive, colorful courtship rituals of the prairie chickens.
“Every year visitors are overwhelmed by being able to view the prairie chickens at such close range,” said Ruben Mares, Wildlife Biologists for the Ft. Pierre Ranger District. “We place the blinds at the very edge of the birds dancing and booming grounds, or lek to allow visitors excellent viewing and photo opportunities. Early mornings or evenings are the best viewing times,” he said.
Each viewing blind can hold up to four adults and are unheated with an open floor, so please plan according to current weather conditions. Please call the Fort Pierre National Grassland office to make reservations at 605-224-5517 and they will send you maps and other pertinent information.
“Recently the Missouri Breaks Audubon Society of Pierre donated another viewing blind so now we have three available for reservations” said Mares. He encourage folks to call ahead so time slots can be arranged. “While these are not guided tours we assure visitors have maps and other information to make it an enjoyable outing,” he said.