Buffalo roaming after escape from Sharon farm

An unsuccessful attempt to corral an escaped herd of buffalo is seen in this Thursday, July 25, photo.Brian Grubb

About 75 American buffalo, or bison, are still roaming free after having escaped from a farm in Sharon last week.

The owner of the herd, Brian Grubb of West Creek Buffalo Company, said there were originally 100 animals that escaped, but he retrieved 25 that stayed close by and didn’t head out across state lands. 

State police at Richfield Springs received a report that several buffalo were eating second-cutting hay and first-cutting round bales of hay on Honey Hill Road in Roseboom on Thursday, July 25, according to a media release by state police. The troopers learned one of the buffalo broke a gate, allowing the rest of the buffalo to escape. Troopers worked with a Department of Environmental Conservation officer and Grubb last week to corral the buffalo, according to the release. However, the attempt was unsuccessful and the buffalo have since dispersed out over the area. Sightings of the animals have been reported on Mill Pond Road in Sharon Springs and Pleasant Brook in the town of Roseboom. 

Lucy Proper of Roseboom said Monday, July 29, to The Daily Star that 80 to 100 buffalo arrived on her family’s farm, Honey Hill Farms, Tuesday, July 23. Proper, who had been out of town last week, said she found out on Thursday, July 25, through Facebook, that the buffalo were grazing at Honey Hill.

Proper called state police, who she said did not assist her. However, DEC has been helping as much as it can, she said. 

“The problem is bigger than any of these agencies can handle on their own,” she said. “We’re losing our hay bales as we speak.”

The herd consists of at least 30 adult buffalo, three of which are bulls; and 45 calves, according to the release.

Grubb said Monday, July 29, to The Daily Star, approximately 75 buffalo have since split into smaller herds. He said he and his assistant spotted a herd of 15 buffalo near Honey Hill Road earlier that morning and attempted to lure them using food, but didn’t succeed. By the time Grubb and his assistant came back with equipment to take the buffalo back to the farm, they were gone, he said.

For future searches he said he will come with feed, temporary corrals and other bison in a trailer to attract the free roaming ones, and try to round them up that way. 

Grubb said a consultant told him buffalo typically stick together and stay out in the open, and these animals are scattered and hiding out in the woods. He said he thinks humans are harassing the buffalo, which is altering their behavior. 

“Not only do we want them to not harass the animals, we need them to stay away as much as possible,” Grubb said. “Human interference is going to slow the process down.” 

If you see any of the buffalo, contact Grubb at 518-588-1402 or state police at Richfield Springs at 315-858-1122. 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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