MEDINA, N.D. — It was after 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, and too dark to see when Kathy Hieb of rural Medina heard gunshots from what she believes to have been deer hunters near their farm. On Tuesday morning, she found a dead buffalo cow in a pasture less than a quarter-mile from their home in south-central North Dakota.
"I don't think it was intentional," she said. "Just stupid."
Hieb speculates that harvest work going on in a nearby cornfield likely flushed some deer that were then moving in the area and spotted by hunters.
"It's pretty bad when you don't know the difference between a buffalo and a deer," she said.
If the hunters were on the road, the buffalo was about 100 feet away when it was shot. Hieb said, based on the position of the wound, it was likely laying down when it was struck.
Hieb said they do allow hunting on their land but want to know who is on the property.
"All we want is for people to ask," she said. "Out-of-state hunters, regulars that come every year, they ask. Locals and in-state hunters, don't. It's just inconsiderate."
If the people who shot the buffalo had notified the Hiebs, they could have put the animal down rather than having it suffer, she said. They also could have dealt with the cow's calf.
"The calf was running around," she said. "It didn't know what happened to its mama. It is old enough to wean so it should be alright."
The cow was valued at between $800 and $900, Hieb said. They do not have insurance for that type of loss.
Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said the Hiebs had notified his office but said they didn't want an investigation.
"We've not had any other reports of livestock shot in Stutsman County," he said.
Mark Pollert, game warden supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for Southeastern North Dakota, said without an investigation it would be impossible to speculate on what happened, although hunters have responsibilities when in the field.
"Always know your target and what's beyond it," he said.
Pollert said the deer hunting season "seems to be going well." He said there have been reports of hunters on posted land and in unharvested fields, although those problems are normal most years.
"We want to remind people that disposing of deer carcasses along roadways is not acceptable," he said. "It seems near bigger towns there are always a few."