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Photo: Wolf Wandering Missouri Shot Dead By Hunter Who Thinks It's a Coyote

Categories: Animals

dead wolf, conservation.jpg
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation
Dead wolf. Big photo below.
What are you more afraid of, a coyote wandering around Missouri -- or a wolf?

In this case, it doesn't really matter, because the animal on the loose was killed by a hunter, says the Missouri Department of Conservation. The canine in question, new analysis shows, was in fact a wolf, though the hunter who killed the animal thought it was a coyote. Classic case of mistaken identity, officials say.

Either way we are safe from the animal that apparently wandered here from out of state.

But with wolf sightings typically very rare in Missouri, should we be worried?

As with the elk-eating mountain lion last month, probably not!

The conservation department in its press release says:

Also known as timber wolves, gray wolves once inhabited northern Missouri but were gone from the state by the late 1800s due to hunting and habitat loss.

[MDC Resource Scientist and Furbearer Biologist Jeff] Beringer said that there is no evidence of a breeding population in the state, but wolves occasionally wander into Missouri from northern states. He added that MDC has never stocked wolves and has no plans to restore this once-native species.

The wolf in this case was shot and killed last year by a hunter in Howard County -- who apparently thought it was a coyote -- but this week, officials have new results about its identity. Tissue samples from the 81-pound male animal were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for genetic testing and recently received DNA test results offer some new details.

wolf shot.jpg
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

The animal, the department says, was a gray wolf from the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan. There are no signs like ear tags or tattoos that it was a captive animal.

And in case you were wondering about the risks, here's how the department describes gray wolves' relationship to humans:

Wolves have been hated and feared -- and admired and respected -- by humans for millennia. They symbolize wilderness, freedom and loyalty. Their reintroduction in the West remains contentious among many.

Intense stuff.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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5 comments
mflan579
mflan579

What jerks!  So what if it was a coyote or even a wolf why would they feel the need to shoot it? I guess it made them feel powerful.  Such a shame for the animal coming in contact with wanna be men. 

tara1721
tara1721

Not much of a "hunter" if they can't tell a coyote from a wolf. 

flatrock61
flatrock61

typical man just had to shoot it

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

Why would he shoot a random coyote? Had em all over my mom's place, they don't usually interfere (unless you have chickens, lol). Was the animal attacking him or just minding his own business? Fishy...

Herman
Herman

You need to be pretty unfamiliar with the two species to think this was a coyote. It's waaay too big.

Wikipedia: Coyotes typically grow to 30–34 in (76–86 cm) in length, not counting a tail of 12–16 in (30–41 cm), stand about 23–26 in (58–66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh from 15–46 lb (6.8–21 kg). Northern coyotes are typically larger than southern subspecies, with the largest coyotes on record weighing 74.75 pounds (33.91 kg) and measuring 1.75 m (5.7 ft) in total length.

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