Roaming buffalo are back home – mostly – in AshtonASHTON, Iowa — The old song claims buffalo roam, but apparently they also skedaddle in a big hurry when they make a break for freedom.
ASHTON, Iowa — The old song claims buffalo roam, but apparently they also skedaddle in a big hurry when they make a break for freedom.
“I couldn’t believe how fast they are and I don’t know how good their brakes are,” stated Osceola County Deputy Sheriff Lt. Seth Hofman. “Trying to catch them was a real bugger.”
More than 200 bison escaped Sunday evening from the Frick and Joe Buffalo Ranch north of Ashton, and when they left the pen, they scattered across the prairie rather quickly. Hofman said bison sightings came in from five counties, including Nobles County in southwest Minnesota and Lyon, O’Brien and Sioux Counties in Iowa.
The Osceola Sheriff’s Office took all of the phone calls, and according to Hofman, dispatchers were kept very busy.
“We had a lot of concerned citizens call in, because buffalo sightings are pretty unusual,” he explained.
The owners of the buffalo farm organized people on horseback and 4-wheelers to try to round up the wayward creatures, reminiscent of a scene from the old west. Unfortunately, some of the animals had to be put down, Hofman reported.
“They were just getting too far out of hand,” he explained.
A real concern was that a bison on a roadway would cause a crash, either into one of the massive animals or between vehicles trying to avoid a shaggy beast. Luckily, the only damage was to fence lines and some farm fields.
As of Wednesday morning, Hofman said most of the bison were safely back in their pen. The farm owners, who raise the animals for their meat, said the bison that had to be put down would be taken to a meat locker.
“It sounds like we got most of them back home,” Hofman said. “We had one call this morning, so there might be one or two out there, but I’m sure someone will spot it and let us know.”
In Nobles County, a bison was reported in the Bigelow area around Knauf Avenue Monday afternoon, and Nobles County Dispatch received a call at approximately 7 a.m. Wednesday regarding large animals roaming in a planted corn field near Minnesota 60 in Bigelow.
“There might be a few stragglers, but I think we’ve got them pretty well taken care of,” Hofman said.
Sunday’s mass exodus from the farm was caused by a gate that had come unlatched.