Roaming buffalo spotted throughout area; reports say many animals have been shot

By Julia Green
A mother buffalo, accompanied by her calf, was one of three of the large animals that were shot over the past week after reportedly escaping in April from a farm in the Bovina/Bloomville area. According to a Bloomville source, who asked to remain anonymous, 13 of the animals escaped as they were being unloaded by their owner, reportedly a New Hampshire resident, at a Bloomville area farm where they were going to be pastured. Seven of the animals were reportedly shot by the owner immediately after they got loose, two were shot last week in the Bovina area and one, the nursing mother, was killed Monday in Bull Run. Three animals, including a calf, remain at large. A buffalo was reportedly sighted recently near the Pepacton Reservoir.
Bull Run residents Tom and Tammy Rieder witnessed the mother nursing her calf on their front lawn over the weekend, and were even able to snap some pictures of the pair before they moved on. Tammy Rieder told the News yesterday that a neighbor of hers who had also seen the animals on her property, called the DEC to report the encounter and to ask for advice on what to do and was told it was OK to shoot the animals. Because of their enormous size, an adult buffalo can weigh more than 2,000 pounds; officials say it would be all but impossible to restrain or return an adult animal to captivity, especially a protective mother with a calf.
According to an industry source, a nursing calf can survive without its mother in the wild for anywhere from three to five days before succumbing to dehydration.
The carcass of the mother buffalo that was shot in the Bull Run Monday is currently rotting on the property on which it was killed. The property reportedly belongs to second homeowners who may be unaware of the situation.
According to sources, a local hunter was asked to shoot the animal with the understanding that the owners would retrieve the carcass and butcher the meat. Reportedly, the person who arranged to have the animal shot was unable to find anyone to do the job in time to keep the meat from spoiling.
The meat from the two buffalos that were shot in the Bovina area was taken to a butcher in Bloomville where it was processed and is waiting to be picked up by the animals’ owner. One of the hunters who shot a buffalo in the Bovina area said that he had been given permission by the owners to retain the meat.
The News has not been able to identify the owner of the animals. A herd of approximately 30 buffalo is being pastured on the Grace farm at the head of Rich Road near Bloomville. Ellen Grace, contacted by phone Tuesday, denied ownership of the animals and said none of the escaped animals came from her farm. No other herds of buffalo in the local area are known to the News staff.
A local representative from the DEC did not return phone calls Tuesday.