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Published September 07, 2010, 12:00 AM

Depradation


Bob Patten, 79, of Plaza, N.D., is outraged about government policies that prevent him from shooting starving deer that cause excessive damage to the hay he feeds to his horses, and to shelterbelt trees he's cared for 40 years. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)

  • Bob Patten, 79, of Plaza, N.D., is outraged about government policies that prevent him from shooting starving deer that cause excessive damage to the hay he feeds to his horses, and to shelterbelt trees he's cared for 40 years. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • The JSLM Cattle Co. (formerly Dethloff Cattle Co.) is just off of River Road, just north of Bismarck, N.D. The farmstead is next to Missouri River land, and near Pioneer Park. The feedlot is a magnet for deer in the winter. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • If the Dethloffs make the mistake of leaving a storage barn door ajar in the winter, they can see as many as 50 deer come in for a midnight snack. Bill has offered to use one of his cattle trucks to catch the deer in the barn and then haul them to a game refuge for free. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • It's calm in the summer, but the DSLM Cattle  Co. feed bunk is a busy place in the starting in November, me, when snow is deep and starving deer come in to attack feed supplies. Bill Dethloff acknowledges he's at times shot hundreds of them, wanting to protect his family's business. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Feedlot operator and trucker Bill Dethloff of Bismarck, N.D., has the support of his family -- Marcus, and daughters (from left) Lori, a veterinarian, and Julie. He is in a struggle with the state over deer depredation on his feedlot ranch. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)