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Fugitive Bison Roam Montana Streets

October 31, 2003

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) _ The busiest street in Great Falls became a home for roaming buffalo.

Three bison broke out of Mickey’s Packing Plant on the southern edge of Great Falls Thursday and took to 10th Avenue South, one of the state’s busiest thoroughfares.

They stopped by a nursing home, ran through a park and visited Giant Springs Heritage Park before being herded into a pasture and shot several hours after the first report of them hitting the town.

Diane Moog was on 38th Street when she saw the herd coming at her van.

``I could not believe my eyes,″ Moog said. ``I just thought, holy cow.″

Fortunately, the bison veered in another direction, sparing Moog and her van.

Terry Albrecht also spied the fast-moving crew after his sister-in-law, who lives about a block away, called to say she had seen some bison run by and needed assurance that she wasn’t going crazy.

``So I looked out the window and saw these bison in front of my house,″ he said. ``We’ve seen deer, coyotes and geese but we’ve never seen bison before.″

Cascade County Undersheriff Kent Funyak said other than creating a major traffic hazard, the buffalo didn’t do any damage.

Gene Tinsen, part owner of Mickey’s Packing Plant, said the bull and two cows were headed for slaughter, but broke through a 5-foot high, wooden rail fence.

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