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South Dakota ranchers lose about 100 cattle when they fall through ice

PINE RIDGE, S.D. - In a rare occurrence, an estimated 100 cattle apparently wandered onto ice, fell through and drowned on a reservoir on the South Dakota-Nebraska border.

PINE RIDGE, S.D. - In a rare occurrence, an estimated 100 cattle apparently wandered onto ice, fell through and drowned on a reservoir on the South Dakota-Nebraska border.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation rancher Mike Carlow, who owned the 200-cow herd with his brother, Pat, thought possibly the strong winds of up to 50 mph on Wednesday night pushed the cattle to seek shelter behind a tree line near the water. When some of them ventured out onto the ice, the weight caused them to fall through.

The carcasses were found Thursday. Carlow said in his 40 years of ranching he never seen his cattle walk out onto the ice.

Bob Fortune, president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, said the large number of deaths resulting from breaking through ice and drowning is extremely rare. He’s only heard of it once or twice in his 50 years in the cattle business and then it’s usually only two or three head.

The loss was estimated at about $300,000 and Mike Carlow said he hopes they can stay in business.

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