A bison goes on the lam, and let’s hope for a happy ending

After our long period of COVID-19 isolation, we have vicariously enjoyed the idea of a free-running animal weighing 1,300 pounds staking out her own turf.

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Bison1.jpg

An escaped bison wanders last year in unincorporated Lake County, Illinois.

Todd Dorn/via the Lake County sheriff’s office

Lake County authorities are doing the right thing by trying to humanely corral the open-space-loving bison that has been at large since escaping last September.

Although the bison has stayed out of trouble and away from people and domestic animals as of this writing, no one wants a tragic end to this story as more people start enjoying the outdoors in the summer. We’re thinking of people in states out west who keep getting closer for a better photo until a bison feels threatened and charges.

After our long period of COVID-19 isolation, we have vicariously enjoyed the idea of a free-running animal weighing 1,300 pounds going on the lam, evading the ever-present confines of urban society and staking out her own turf.

But of course, this can’t go on forever.

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The bison, who escaped as she was being delivered to the Milk and Honey Farmstead in Wauconda, has been seen crossing roads and rambling through yards. At one point, she was living in the Fox River Forest Preserve. At last report, she had taken up residence in the Lakewood Forest Preserve near Wauconda. Officials want her brought in by Memorial Day.

The bison’s owner and forest preserve rangers have tried to lure her into a barn, but with her sharp senses and wits, she has fled before they could close the door. Tranquilizing her is seen as too hazardous to her health. We’d hate to see someone decide it’s time to shoot her.

Snagging a bison is no easy task. They can run up to 35 miles an hour, jump six feet high and swim. They lived in Illinois’ prairies for ages, so the northern Illinois climate is no challenge for them.

We hope the hunt for the bison has a happy ending, both for her and Lake County residents and visitors. Meanwhile, she will enter Chicago wildlife lore, along with Chance the Snapper and other fauna that have unexpectedly and independently picked their own addresses, at least for a while.

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