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Minivan collides with bison on County Road 143

Ed Smith, owner of Eagle Feather Security, said one of his employees, Ray Roberts, was lucky not to be seriously injured after his Chevy Venture minivan collided with two buffalo at County Road 143 near the Waboose Lake Trail last week.


“He’s very lucky; he said a buffalo went over the roof,” Smith said. “I towed it back for him to Pine Point; it’s a mess,” he said of the van.

One of the buffalo was seriously injured and had to be put down by a tribal police officer who responded to the accident, Smith said.

“It’s a real danger,” he said. “They just come out across the road and there’s no way you can avoid them.”

The White Earth Police Department confirmed that the accident occurred.

County Road 143 is a paved road that runs east-west through the northern part of the Tamarac Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge officials are urging the public to take extra caution while recreating or driving through the refuge.

 “There continues be domestic bison on Tamarac Refuge,” Visitor Services and Environmental Education Manager Kelly Blackledge Kelly Black ledge said in a news release. “Their behavior is unpredictable and they can be difficult to see at night crossing refuge roads.”

Some 15-20 domestic bison escaped earlier this month from a private pasture adjacent to the refuge.

“Every effort is being made to round up the animals,” Blackledge said.  “However, the forested and river landscape, along with limited access, is making it difficult. As with any domestic livestock, it is the responsibility of the owner to remove the animals.”

She said refuge staff is coordinating with the landowner to allow access and provide for public safety.

“The decision was made by the landowner (Dan Bergstrom) to cull the animals and work with local meat processing lockers,” Blackledge said.

“This is an on-going effort,” she added. “If you see any bison on the refuge, please report it to Tamarac staff right away by calling 218-847-2641.”