Owner not charged after 1,300-pound Billy the Bison found roaming forest preserve

Bison in forest
(Image credit: Getty)

The alleged owner of a 1,300-pound bison has avoided charges after the animal escaped and made herself at home in an Illinois forest preserve last year.

Scott Comstock of Illinous was charged with three conservation charges and one criminal misdemeanor after the animal, known as Billy the Bison, escaped while being corralled into a trailer.

As local news site Lake & McHenry Country Scanner reports, Billy (also known as Tyson) was spotted several times by local residents, and eventually settled in Lakewood Forest Preserve.

It took local officials several days to find and carefully recapture her. The operation was led by livestock specialist Matt Noble, and involved use of a drone, a horse, and a dog.

Billy and Twinkle Toes

Comstock's attorney David Spada argued that Comstock didn't yet own Billy when the incident happened. He had been planning to buy her and another bison named Twinkle Toes from a farmer in Wisconsin. 

According to Spada, the farmer brought the animals to Illinois, but before any paperwork had been exchanged, the farmer opened the trailer and allowed Billy to escape.

Comstock was found not guilty at trial this week, and Billy has been released to the Forest County Potawatomi Reservation.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.