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Ranchers, businessman settle wayward bison suit

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Three Dakotas ranchers and a Florida millionaire businessman have settled a lawsuit over damage allegedly caused by wayward bison, attorneys said.

Bachmeier Farms and ranchers Nick Vollmuth and Gary Sandland claimed bison from Maurice Wilder's ranch on the North Dakota-South Dakota border trespassed on their land for years, damaging pasture, crops, hay and fences.

A trial had been scheduled for this week, but the matter was settled out of court.

Neither Ben Pulkrabek, who represented the ranchers, all from Sioux County, N.D., nor David Bliss, who represented Wilder, would comment on the details of the settlement.

Wilder's ranch encompasses about 35,000 acres, sprawling from Selfridge, N.D., to McLaughlin. It was the subject of complaints for years about bison running loose and causing problems for neighbors.

In February 2011, thousands of bison were rounded up in South Dakota after authorities received reports of animals starving on the ranch. A smaller number of animals reportedly were running loose on the North Dakota side of the ranch around the same time.