Kanabec County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Steven Schulz, 30, was searching Minnesota Highway 23, just outside Mora, just after 10 p.m. when the cow dashed out from a ditch and into the road, according to an incident report from Minnesota State Patrol.
The airbags deployed in Schulz's squad car, the Pioneer Press reported, and he was taken to First Light Hospital in Mora with injuries that didn't appear to be life-threatening.
The cow, however, was killed. The Pioneer Press reported it had come from a nearby farm.
Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith told the newspaper that the squad car appeared to have been totaled by the collision. He added that it was not unusual for deputies to field similar calls in the rural county.
"I'd have to say this is the first time I've ever had them hit the animal they're looking for," he told the Pioneer Press. "But then again, that's exactly why we go look for them. I've been to too many serious accidents and even fatalities caused by livestock on the road."
Mora, a city with a population around 3,600, is about 70 miles north of Minneapolis.