He now roams in a small pen marked “X.

The 1,000-pound thundering beast was found wandering along County Road 265 between Clariette and Hico about two weeks ago. The property owners somehow shooed it into a confined area. They tried to find the owner, but no one came forward.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant received a call to have the animal picked up. It was an unusual request to capture this type of perpetrator - a first, in fact. Bryant called hauler Chad Hale Tuesday who finally got the buffalo into his trailer.

“When I loaded it from the pen, it was a little wild, Hale said.

The buffalo was transported to the Dublin Livestock Auction Barn.

Employees, Marla McKinney and her sister, Cathy, said it has been quite exciting since the buffalo's arrival.

“We have never sold a buffalo, so the value is unknown, Marla said, but she thinks an exotic farm would welcome the animal.

McKinney said there have been no curious visitors, but that will change during Friday's regular sale day. It will be two weeks before the buffalo can be auctioned, according to the sheriff, who said that's the normal waiting period for an owner to claim the property.

McKinney said the county will be charged from $45 to $50 per roll of hay, and an animal that size normally consumes a roll a week.

After its sale, expenses will be deducted and the remainder sent to the Erath County Sheriff's Office.

Perhaps, the buffalo, once hunted almost to extinction during the days of the wild west, will be purchased by a gracious owner - one with a home on the range, without a discouraging word, and will set the bison free where the deer and the antelope play.

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or (254)965-3124, ext 229.