Cattle shooting reward fund becomes the largest in state history

Aug 10, 2012

The mysterious shooting deaths of nine cattle in western North Dakota has generated a reward fund of $18,000, the largest such reward in state history.

The reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing nine head of cattle in Oliver County, ND, on July 4. The animals’ owners, Miles and Marjorie Tomac and John and Kim Dixon, all of Mandan, ND, have pledged $9,000 to add to the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s (NDSA) standing $1,000 reward to help bring the livestock criminals to justice.

The North Dakota Farmers Union added $5,000 to the reward, with president Woody Barth saying the organization was concerned someone would randomly shoot and kill cattle. Dakota Community Bank and two of its owners last week contributed $3,000 to boost the reward fund, which began with $1,000 from NDSA.

NDSA, the Oliver County Sheriff’s Department and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating the July crime, which claimed two cows and a calf owned by the Tomacs and two cows, three calves and a yearling owned by the Dixons. The animals appeared to have been shot sometime in the morning in adjoining pastures approximately two miles north of the Morton County/Oliver County line off Highway 25.

“This was a senseless livestock killing, and we are committed to bringing the person or persons responsible to justice,” said NDSA Chief Brand Inspector Stan Misek.

“It is disturbing, to say the least, that someone would be out in the country randomly shooting and destroying cattle. We’re hopeful that the added money will entice people who know details about this crime to start talking,” Pahlke said.

The $18,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. If two or more people offer information, the reward may be split, according to Misek of Bismarck.

In addition to the July 4 shootings, in May near Hankinson, ND, 14 cows and a calf were killed.

The May crime included 14 head of cattle with an estimated value of $30,000, possibly the largest shooting known in North Dakota history. The shooters entered the pasture owned by David Kluge of Hankinson and opened fire. Thirteen cows died immediately and another was injured and had to be destroyed.

The reward in that case is up to $4,100, according to Misek. The amount includes $1,000 from NDSA; $1,000 from Richard Clise of Camano Island, WA, who said he was outraged by the killings; and donations from Ransom Angus, Rutland, ND; Sundance Farm Distributing, Hankinson; Leona Bush, and Wade and Lynn Moser, all of Bismarck.

The shootings happened on different sides of the state, and evidence in the case indicates they are not connected, according to reports from Steve Brooks, NDSA’s brand board chairman. Misek said authorities have some leads in the Richland County case but not in the Oliver County case.

There also have been no breaks in the shooting deaths of four horses—including two pregnant mares—in Griggs County in May 2011. Those killings came about a week and a half after three cows were shot to death in a pasture about a half-mile away.

Unlike most cattle killings, in these cases, the full carcass of each was left behind, where the more typical loss includes animals shot and butchered, leaving behind only parts of the animals.


Authorities are asking for the public’s help if anyone has information that would help solve this crime. Tips can be shared by calling the NDSA office at 701/223- 2522 or the Oliver County Sheriff’s Department at 701/794-3450. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor