LAWTON, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma property owner living near the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is outraged after he said two bison that wandered onto his property were shot and killed by refuge workers.
“It’s horrid,” said David Folkert.
On Sunday, Folkert’s mother was delighted to spot two bison roaming her property, just behind his land near a dried up creek.
“Shortly after that, two Wichita wildlife refuge employees knocked on her front door, inquiring about the two buffalo,” said Folkert.
Then, Folkert said they left.
On Monday, Folkert caught the lingering smell of death from his property.
“If I can smell it down here from up there. It’s horrible,” said Folkert.
That’s when Folkert spotted the two bison laying lifeless on the rocks. They’d been shot.
Folkert was livid. He said he drove to the wildlife refuge, a mile from his home, to get answers.
“I visited with an employee out at the refuge, at the visitor center, and he confirmed that two refuge employees did in fact shoot the buffalo on our property,” said Folkert. “For them to come on our property, and not tell us, and to execute two healthy buffalo, that could’ve been saved, herded back, maybe even tranquilized and airlifted out.”
Folkert said the refuge told him the bison had been running loose for three weeks.
“They said they have no other option but to shoot them,” said Folkert. “They’re supposed to be 100% conservation on the buffalo, and this is proof that they’re not doing that.”
The question becomes, what happens now?
It’s not an easy trek down to the bison’s bodies. News 4 had to climb steep and treacherous rocks just to get close. Folkert said getting a vehicle down there is out of the question.
“There’s no way other than airlifting them out but I don’t know if they want to do that now with them in the condition they’re in,” said Folkert. “They’re not going to get them out.”
David said this is a waste of meat, hide, and two lives.
News 4 contacted U.S. Fish and Wildlife. We were told the department is gathering information and will get back with us soon.
News 4 also left a message with a manager at the refuge in the hopes of being directed to someone who could respond. We did not hear back.
News 4 also reached out to the National Park services. We did not hear back.