The owner of a 1,300-pound bison, which was on the loose for months in the Wauconda area earlier this year, is scheduled to be on trial after he was charged in connection with the animal’s escape.
“Tyson the Bison,” also called “Billy the Bison,” had been on the loose in the western Lake County and eastern McHenry County area.
The female bison was being corralled into an enclosure from a trailer when she managed to escape from Milk and Honey Farmstead in Wauconda in mid-September 2021.
The animal had been spotted dozens of times by Wauconda and Island Lake residents, who took videos and photos and posted them on social media.
Officials say they believe she settled at Lakewood Forest Preserve in unincorporated Wauconda in early April.
In late May, Lake County Forest Preserve officials said they worked for days with a professional livestock specialist to capture the bison.
Matt Noble, the owner of Loose Cattle Caught, utilized a crew of specialists, a drone, a horse and a dog in an attempt to locate the bison.
The bison was located early in the morning on May 25 and Noble “lightly” tranquilized the animal, the Lake County Forest Preserves said.
The tranquilizer did not put her in danger or make her fall to the ground, officials said. Its purpose was to slow her down.
The bison slowly made its way to the barn for food and Noble was able to close the door behind her.
“The safety of our users and the animal has been our No. 1 priority throughout this process. Bison are considered domestic livestock in Illinois, therefore roaming free in a public forest preserve is not an appropriate place for it to call home,” Lake County Forest Preserves Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully said at the time.
Court records show the owner of the bison, Scott Comstock, 60, of Wauconda, was cited by the Lake County Forest Preserves on May 16 with “bring/allow remain any bison” and then days later cited with “bring/allow animal to remain.”
A third charge of allowing livestock in a forest preserve was filed in June.
All of the charges are conservation violations. Several court hearings have been held, with the most recent being last week.
A bench trial has been scheduled for February 6, court records show.