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Neighbor shoots bison, Mich. pays for it

  |   Jan. 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM
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LANSING, Mich., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A Michigan bison rancher will be reimbursed $1,000 by the state after officials said a wildlife officer mistakenly told a neighbor he could shoot the animal.

Gaven Dietzel, who raises bison for meat at his farm in the northeastern Lower Peninsula, says he still doesn't know why his neighbor shot the animal, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

The animal had escaped from his farm after becoming spooked while being loaded onto a truck to be taken to market, he said.

The bison, which was pregnant, was not a threat, Dietzel said.

"There's no wild bison anywhere," Dietzel said. "It's like walking up to a cow and shooting it. It's not a sport."

Neighbor Mark Ceo shot the bison, which had no markings or tags to identify to whom the animal belonged, after checking with a state conservation officer. The officer erroneously thought the roaming bison could be handled in the same manner as wildlife that escaped from hunting ranches, officials said.

Ceo said he apologized to Dietzel for shooting the bison, and split the cost of butchering the animal with the rancher.

Dietzel said he is still out about $1,500 for the market value of the animal despite the state check for $999.99, which is the maximum the state can pay without being taken to court.

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