Bison are back in the fold
Fort Resolution ranch rounds up most of missing herd

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Fort Resolution (Jan 31/00) - The Edjericon Bison ranch has most of its missing herd safely back into the fold, following a three-week round-up.

The ranch is owned by Deninu Ku'e First Nation in Fort Resolution. Chief Don Balsillie said all but a handful of the renegade herd have been recovered. Two dozen bison escaped the ranch the first week of January.

"We've got eight animals still roaming at large," he said. "We'll be going out in an aircraft next week just to see where they're at."

If it's too difficult to round up the remaining animals, they will be butchered and used by the community and the Treaty 8 centenary planned for Fort Resolution this summer.

After locating most of the missing animals from the air, the searchers took to the ground.

"They'd go into the bush to forage a bit and come back out. We'd entice them with hay and oats and guide them back with snowmachines -- it was very time consuming," he said.

Coaxing and prodding the thousand-pound beasts was not an easy job.

"They are big animals -- if they don't want to move there's not much you can do, outside of dragging them out with a D-9 Cat," he joked.

The band has not yet tallied the cost of the round-up, but Balsillie said it was money well spent.

"It cost us a pretty penny, but it was worth it, because we got the majority of the animals back," he said.

"The cows are more valuable for breeding," he said. "The Wood Bison females ready for breeding average about $5,000."

The bison may now undergo a quarantine period to assure there was no contact with diseased animals, according to bison association protocols.