RUGBY, N.D. – A northern North Dakota farmer, Daryl Klein, is facing multiple counts of unlawful taking of a big game animal for shooting at least 20 deer because he was frustrated “with the deer eating his grain.”

A North Dakota Game and Fish Department warden responding to a tip called in to the Report All Poachers hotline discovered “approximately 20” dead deer in or near the Klein farmstead near Balta. Some reports have the number of dead and wounded deer as high as 29.

Balta is about 60 miles east of Minot.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the northeast district court in Rugby, NDG&F Warden Jonathon Peterson interviewed Klein and that Klein “admitted he had shot the deer with a Stevens model 2000 caliber .22-250 and gave that rifle to Game Warden Peterson.”

Klein reportedly admitted to killing at least seven deer “and likely more,” according to the affidavit.

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An investigation revealed several deer lying dead in the area around Klein’s farmstead in early January 2017 with many of the recovered animals sent to Bismarck to be necropsied. The complaint against Klein was filed Aug. 22, 2017.

Klein is facing seven counts of misdemeanor A charges, each punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine. In addition, the state is expected to seek $500 restitution for each dead deer attributed to Klein. A pre-trial conference will be Jan. 29 at the Rugby courthouse.