Bison crossing a road in northern Maine on Wednesday. Photos by Debbie Maynard, courtesy News Center Maine

A herd of bison that broke through a fence early Wednesday morning roamed the countryside between Fort Fairfield and Presque Isle, causing concerns that the animals might force a local ski area to close for the evening.

But the Quoggy Jo Ski Center in Presque Isle was able to reopen Wednesday evening after the bisons’ owners captured the animals and returned them to the farm in Fort Fairfield from which they escaped, police said.

The ski center, which posted a video on its Facebook page of one of the bison wandering across its property, is owned and operated by the Quoddy Jo Ski Club. The club depends on fundraising and community donations to operate.

All of the bison were secured around 5:30 p.m., but not all of the animals made it home safely. One was struck by a truck and had to be put down, Presque Isle police Officer Daniel Varnum said in a telephone interview. The truck was totaled, according to police.

Police said they were notified of the bisons’ escape around 4:45 a.m.

Michael Maynard, a former resident of South Dakota, told News Center Maine that he nearly struck the bison while driving to Presque Isle around 8:30 a.m.

“I was coming up the hill where the Nordic trail is at, and I saw a glimpse of something dark coming down from the trail and I slammed on my brakes,” Maynard told the TV network. “Then I realize it was a buffalo and I says, what’s a buffalo doing here?”

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