MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — A Morton County rancher lost 44 cows and 80 calves when they fell through ice on the Cannonball River.

Dick Ressler tells KXMB-TV that he realized he was short some animals when he was rounding them up recently. The animals were found drowned where the Cannonball meets the Missouri River, after an aerial and ground search.

Morton County Emergency Manager Tom Doering tells The Bismarck Tribune one theory is that the cattle were chased onto the ice by coyotes, but he and Ressler say the mystery likely will never be solved.

Kist Livestock in Mandan has set up a fund to help Ressler with the financial loss.

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