Back home on the range |

Back home on the range

The buffalo are no longer on the lam.

An errant cow and her 1-year-old calf, missing since Oct. 3, returned to owner Gary Dugger’s property some time during the night Tuesday.

“The storm must have brought them home,” said Nevada County Animal Control Officer Shirley Falls. “Gary (Dugger) left the gate open and this morning, they were there.”

The two buffalo escaped from their enclosure on Dog Bar Road a few weeks after the cow’s mate died. They were spotted on several occasions near a pond on Buck Ridge Road, but efforts to capture them had proved fruitless.

“They had a good time,” Falls said. “They had their walkabout.”

The 10-day adventure in the wild does not seem to have done the buffalo any harm, Dugger said.

“They look excellent,” he said. The cow seems to be settled down now, she’s very tranquil. They’re back into their old routine.”

Dugger had become concerned with liability issues and was contemplating hiring a tracker to hunt them down. But neighbor Kathy Labelle, who said she had been helping to care for the animals for the last four and a half months, had not given up on mama Napini and baby Minko.

“I’ve found a buffalo ranch that called me and told me they would take them,” Labelle said Wednesday morning.

But Dugger is no longer sure he is interested in surrendering the pair, saying the buffalo ranches he has contacted just want the animals for meat.

“I haven’t made up my mind what I’m going to do,” he said. “(The cow) hasn’t made any attempt at challenging the fences, so I may just keep them.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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