By THOMAS P. CALDWELL
LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The errant bison that wandered away from the Bolduc Farm on Morrill Street Tuesday morning found their way home that evening after leading their keeper and local police on an afternoon herding detail that provided plenty of opportunities for neighbors and passers-by to take photos and video of the proceedings.
While many of the bison had been rounded up and returned to the farm by the end of the afternoon, some remained at large. Armand Bolduc said he had returned home late in the afternoon but later looked out to see the missing bison in the field.
“They were in different areas,” he said. “Others came in and, by the time I got the gate shut, they were back out in the woods.”
During that second escape, they got as far as Stark Street, he said, before coming back.
“This time I closed the gate,” he said. “It was quite an ordeal.”
The “ordeal” began around 10 a.m. when the bison broke through a fence surrounding one of four fields on the 340-acre farm. Bolduc said he has no idea what prompted the animals to do so, but he speculates that they were frightened by the noise and vibration from heavy equipment doing road reconstruction work on Morrill Street.
Only part of the 25-bison herd left the property, Bolduc said, and the leader remained at the farm. That left the other bison confused about what to do.
Entering the woods at the back of the farm, the escaped bison made their way to Stark Street, then crossed Morrill Street and went through the woods to the Route 11 bypass. From there, some made it as far as Hounsell Avenue and Route 107, more than three miles from their home.
Police from Gilford and Laconia used their cruisers to try and herd the bison toward home along the bypass and Gilford Avenue, then up Stone Road to Morrill Street. At that point, some of the bison got separated from the rest of the escapees.
While they were successful in getting most of the bison home, some remained at large when police ended their seven-hour herding duties.
“I don’t know why only part of them left,” Bolduc said. “Usually they stick together. Those that got separated didn’t have the leader with them, so they didn’t know what to do.”
He was worried that the unpredictable animals might hurt someone. They can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour and weigh up to 2,000 pounds, and if frightened could be dangerous.
So he was relieved to have the animals back home, safely locked in their pastures.
“I can’t get to repairing the fence right now,” Bolduc said. “I’m in the haying business. But they don’t have to go where they broke through. We have three other fields.”
He added, “I can’t thank the police enough. They did an excellent job.”
- Written by Tom Caldwell
- Category: Local News
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