Hunter accidentally kills northern gray wolf after mistaking it for coyote

Stock image | St. George News

BEAVER COUNTY — A hunter mistakenly shot a radio-collared northern gray wolf near Beaver on Sunday after he had mistaken it for a coyote while he was hunting.

The coyote hunter shot the wolf near the south end of the Beaver Mountains, a few miles outside of Beaver, according to a press release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“As soon as the hunter realized the animal he killed wasn’t a coyote,” the release said, “he contacted the Division of Wildlife Resources.”

The DWR then contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who confirmed the animal in question was a 3-year-old female northern grey wolf, the release said. The wolf had previously been fitted with a radio collar near Cody, Wyoming in January.

Wolves are not common in Utah, according to the DWR website, but have been reported on occasion. In 2011, wolves were officially removed from the endangered species list in certain parts of Utah, giving state control to manage and kill wolves within that area.

The highlighted zone on the ma denotes  the only area where the State of Utah has authority to manage or kill wolves. In the rest of the state, wolves are still considered an endangered species and fall under federal control. | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News
The highlighted zone on the map denotes the only area where the State of Utah has authority to manage or kill wolves. In the rest of the state, wolves are still considered an endangered species and fall under federal control | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

In the areas where they remain under federal protection, livestock owners may still kill wolves only if:

  • The wolves are harassing, chasing, actively disturbing or harming livestock
  • Wolves are in the act of killing — biting or grasping — livestock, or within 72-hours after DWR or USDA Wildlife Services personally confirm a wolf was responsible for harming livestock

Under federal law, those who violate the Endangered Species Act by killing an endangered animal could face charges and fines that vary on the type of animal killed.

The DWR is still investigating the incident and will provide additional information as it becomes available.


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  • ladybugavenger December 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Sounds innocent, just mistaken identity…oops

    • Koolaid December 29, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      I heard a story about a hunter mistaking a female jogger for a dear. He apparently saw her white furry gloves and mistook her for a white tailed dear, and “BLAM!”, he got hisself a Bambi!

  • diane December 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Riiight…how the hell do you confuse the two unless your a complete moron? Some “hunter”.

    • Albemarle December 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Interesting that KSL reports they were not hunting, but shot and killed the wolf while it was attacking the shooter’s livestock. These are two completely different scenarios. If this predator was killing livestock, then shoot away, coyote or wolf. If simply a hunting mistake, shame on them for not knowing the difference.

      • Julie Applegate December 29, 2014 at 8:22 pm

        Albemarle, the information in this article came from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and it includes everything that we know to date. If we find out more about this incident, we will certainly publish it; DWR is still investigating. Thank you for your comment.
        Julie Applegate
        Assistant Editor, St. George News

        • Roger December 30, 2014 at 9:38 am

          The Hunter needs to be prosecuted! He has no business hunting if hes not smart enough to tell the Difference!

  • Dave Rabbitt December 29, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    “The Mule Deer Protection Act pays a $50 bounty for every coyote that is killed. There is no fee to participate in the program, but you have to access online registration and training, before you are ‘qualified’ for the $50 bounty.

    In order to claim the money, hunters must document when and where each coyote was killed and bring the animal’s scalp and lower jaw to one of the DWR’s check-in sites across the state”.

    … Seems cruel (to me) to scalp and animal, remove it’s lower jaw and leave it to rot. But hey, this is America and it’s my SOVEREIGN RIGHT to destroy whatever I deem necessary… Mkay? It astounds me to think that people feel the need to eradicate a species of animal, as if it were an annoying insect. But anyway –

    The only real question that remains is: Was this hunter registered?

    • David Cox December 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Umm Dave…if you had read the rest of the requirements for registration you would have learned that you only register to receive the $50.00. You can hunt coyote 24/7/365 without a license or registration in Utah because coyote are a nuisance predator who’s population is difficult to control…where’s the evidence you ask…go read the DWR reports on the deer herds in Utah and why they started offering the $50.00 in the first place…you might learn something.

      If you’d ever actually hunted coyote you would know that they can be confused with a young wolf at distance and possibly on the move, especially when wolves are so uncommon in the area. Let’s give the guy a break until we know all the facts before we toss him in jail for murder okay!!!
      I say his willingness to notify the DWR as soon as he noticed his mistake is our best insight into the integrity of the hunter…a lying dirtbag out on a thrill hunt would just leave it and notify no one hoping to get away with the mistake.

  • arts and letters December 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I feel sick. Is this the female that was identified not long ago around here? Although eastern coyotes do resemble wolves, western coyotes don’t look much like wolves unless you’re just gun-happy.

  • 375ultra December 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm


  • observer December 29, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    If he’s a hunter then he should have seen the collar in his scope. No excuses. Unless the hunter’s residence is at the south end of the Tushar Mountains, then he wasn’t protecting his livestock.

    • Whysayanything December 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Who said he had a scope? The bigger question is why he would even say anything to anyone? Many are thinking just not saying.

    • ignorantasses December 31, 2014 at 9:25 am

      You’re all ignorant and niave. Take your nasty comments somewhere else.

  • Delong December 29, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    The Wolf was reportedly attacking livestock in other news sources. Good for the shooter. The last thing we need in Utah are wolves! Additionally, grey wolves and coyotes look very similar. I would have pressed the trigger too.

    • Dana December 30, 2014 at 5:24 am

      They do not look alike unless you’re blind. He wasn’t much of a hunter if he could not tell the difference.

      • Officer McGruff December 30, 2014 at 9:40 am

        Even if he was blind, he couldn’t “look” at the animal. Sheesh….get a clue DANA.

  • Koolaid December 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    It’s a good thing it was a wolf and not a stray dog. If it had been a stray dog, these Dixie people would want to cut off his ears and hang his hide from a fencepost. Remember, these Dixie people like them stray dogs.

  • Coyote Hunter December 29, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    You don’t have to be registered or have a license to hunt Coyotes in Utah. They also put tracking collars on Coyotes.

  • Brian December 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”… good ole ‘murika coming out on top once again!

    • Whocaresaboutwolves December 30, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Your a fool!

  • tight magic undies December 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Accidentally my a…

  • Mark December 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I can’t believe we can’t just wipe them out. I am a big game hunter and am very disappointed that wolves are allowed to roam in Utah. The only way to control the populations of deer and elk are to limit the number of predators. Once, the wolves start to populate the elk populations will rapidly decline, like those of the bitter root in Montana. It is ridiculous to allow them to be introduced into Utah. I highly doubt they migrated…they were planted here.

    • redrock1 December 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Because it’s all about you and what you want versus things that are indesputably far more important. Fortunately, the old, antiquated land ethos is dying. We’re moving into a more progressive era (slowly). In ten years anthropocentrism will be a relic. Google it.

  • Officer McGruff December 30, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Just another canine.

  • Carol Bowns December 30, 2014 at 10:57 am

    As we say in livestock circles: Shoot, shovel, and shut up. We don’t raise livestock, and wildlife to feed predators. These animals were never intended to be in Southern Utah. These fellers aren’t wearing collars because they stay put. As the law reads molesting, or intending to molest is a legal harvest. What until child gets drug out of a tend, and they will not be high in popularity with the Berkinstock gallery. Good job young man with the price of ammunition I hope it only took one slug.

    • tight magic undies December 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      You wouldn’t happen to be related to the Bundy’s would you?

    • redrock1 December 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      James Bowns (though a good guy that I actually liked) taught this ridiculous and anthropocentric garbage. I’m sure he would have loved the Bundy’s and probably knew a few. He and I had little in common in terms of our land etihcs an he perhaps solidified my own beliefs more due to his slanted, ignorant, cattleman pandering perspective. But, this ignorance is on its way our the door and you don’t have to look far from Utah to see the changes happening.

  • Joe Smith December 30, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Don’t want no big bad woofs– already got one and his name is Obama! and he’s comin’ to take the guns!

  • Joanna December 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Good on him for being conscientious enough to report it.

  • Marksman December 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I served in a certain country and I must admit. I heard rumors that a few Suni was mistaken for Sheites no one got a ticket, arrested or investigated. I know a wolf is different.

  • zowiemama December 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Accidentally…yeh, right, accidentally on purpose. So sick of this shoot first, ask questions later mentality and especially a good wolf/coyote/fox/whatever is a dead one. Sorry, people, humans are NOT the center of the universe. The wild dogs of whatever kind were here long before the domestic cows were. Yes, it’s good that he reported it, but it’s still dead, it’s still a crime, and he still needs to pay the penalty for shooting it. This is like a case of it being easier to apologize than to avoid the wrong act.

  • gp December 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    it’s been all over the news and internet that a female collard wolf was in the area.. and with so many people going on about how they would kill the wolf it doesn’t surprise me that she is dead already.

  • John bomb December 31, 2014 at 9:05 am


  • ignorantasses December 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Take your ignorant comments somewhere else. Go about your own business it was a freaking ACCIDENT. They do look the same from a distance. You think you can go up to it first and say oh nope thats a wolf not a coyote i cant shoot it. Hahah you guys are so naive.

  • cody allen December 31, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Just as the decline of the whitetail deer in NW Montana was being blamed on wolves until further research showed the deer were contracting a disease from the local moose population and it was killing the deer. Easy to point fingers to something you don’t understand or are afraid of. I’m all about management but don’t be ignorant to the truth. I believe once the population is up we should be allowed to hunt just like anything else. But I am against the taking of wildlife illegally. Rules and laws are put in place for a reason. Such as I can’t just go out and kill every drunk driver I see because its illegal even though they are responsible for so many injuries and deaths?? And yes I’m comparing humans to an animal. Cause quite frankly I don’t hold one above the other. And again I am not a liberal or a hippie or a tree hugger I just think logically and use my brain.

  • . December 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I would have shot it too without hesitation, controlling the predator population is one of the best things humans have done in the wildlife world. Everyone on here wouldn’t be so butthurt if that wolf was chomping down on your 5 year old kid outside playing with their toys.

    • redrock1 December 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      More U.S. children die from accidents, suicide and homocide in one year than have died in recorded history from wolves. And, it’s not about wolves – it’s about ignorance.

      • IN THE GAME December 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        Homocide…. Hummmmm…

  • Roger December 31, 2014 at 10:06 am

    This person needs to be prosecuted and be relieved of his hunting privileges for life! That would compare to shooting a bull elk, when it was a cow only zone. People that just shoot, and don’t care about identifying their target shouldn’t be allowed to hunt!

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