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North Dakota investigators search for whoever shot two cows in Kidder County

Two Red Angus cows were found shot in Kidder County, and investigators are hoping someone will bring information forward that leads to arrests and convictions.

Investigators in North Dakota area seeking information on whoever killed two Red Angus cows in Kidder County in late July 2021. Kallie Jo Coates / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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North Dakota brand inspectors and the Kidder County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting of two cows south of Dawson, North Dakota.

"It's senseless," said Blaine Northrop, chief brand inspector for the North Dakota Stockmen's Association. "Completely senseless."

Northrop said one cow was shot on July 24. The owners heard a shot while working on equipment nearby but didn't think anything of it until a neighbor came by later and told them a cow was dead along the fence.

Another cow was found shot dead at a nearby ranch a couple days later. Northrop said it's uncertain when that cow was shot, and the two shootings could have occurred the same day. Both cows were killed in the Dawson area, south of Interstate 94.

But he said there's no doubt about the cause of death.


"The cattle were X-rayed by veterinarians so there were definitely bullets in the cattle," Northrop said.

Kidder County Sheriff Barry Vannatta said both cows were Red Angus. But he doesn't know whether someone was targeting red cattle or just happened by them. In any case, he said whoever was out shooting was an "idiot."

Vannatta would like ranchers in the area to keep an extra close eye on their animals while the case is investigated.

"Everyone works hard to raise their cattle," he said.

Vannatta said his department will be out in force over the weekend watching for anything suspicious. With little to go on, investigators are hoping someone will come forward with some information.

Stockmen's Reward.jpg
The North Dakota Stockmen's Association has put up a $24,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever shot and killed two cows in Kidder County in late July 2021. North Dakota Stockmen's Association

The North Dakota Stockmen's Association has put up a $24,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible. Northrop said such rewards have yielded important information in the past, though he said investigators are following leads apart from the reward, too.

He worries about the possibility of more shootings.


"It's not very often, but it seems like when it starts it might continue," he said. "But it's been, I believe, two years since we had multiple cattle shot."

Anyone with information can contact the North Dakota Stockmen's Association at 702-223-2522 or the Kidder County Sheriff's Department at 701-475-2422.

Jenny Schlecht is the editor of Agweek and Sugarbeet Grower Magazine. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
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