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Investigation Continues Into Killings of Three Bison

Updated:
PAWHUSKA, Okla. (AP) -- An investigation continues into the
shooting deaths of three adult bison at the Tallgrass Prairie
Preserve north of Pawhuska.

Staff at the preserve found the bodies July 30. One bull and two
cows were discovered in the southwestern area of the preserve.

"I fail to understand what people see in driving by and
shooting something," Osage County Sheriff Russell Cottle said.

"It's senseless," said Harvey Payne, the preserve's director.
"People all around here are outraged."

The conservancy has four staff members who live and work on the
preserve, and they try to watch over the herd, Payne said. But the
bison roam over an area of nearly 10,000 acres and are seen by
thousands of visitors every year.

"There is a lot of county road through there," Payne said.
"It's hard to stop people from doing crazy things. Our staff is
vigilant, but we may have to make changes to be more vigilant."

The Nature Conservancy has been managing the growing bison herd
since the first 300 bison were released onto the preserve in 1993.
The herd has grown to about 1,000 bison, and plans are to increase
the herd to more than 3,200 in the next eight to 10 years, Payne
said.

Many ranchers in Osage County and their families and workers
volunteer to help manage the bison herd, particularly during the
annual roundup to check and vaccinate the bison every fall.

(Copyright 1999 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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