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Gray Wolf Returns to Kentucky, Hunter Shoots Her

Gray Wolf Returns to Kentucky, Hunter Shoots Her

For the first time in 150 years, a female gray wolf made its way into Kentucky this past March. Tragically, the return of the now-endangered canis lupus to a part of the United States that wolves have long been absent from was only confirmed after she was dead.

James Troyer saw the gray wolf in a hay ridge while out predator hunting on his Hart County property on March 16. From 100 yards away, he suspected that the animal was a coyote and killed her.

Upon inspecting the animal he had just shot, Troyer realized something was different about her, as he says in the Courier-Journal: “I was like – wow – that thing was big! It looked like a wolf, but who is going to believe I shot a wolf?”

Kevin Raymond, a wildlife biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, indeed found that the animal was twice as big as a coyote. But wildlife officials were none too sure that the deceased animal was a gray wolf and even thought she could have been German shepherd.

DNA samples analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center in Colorado confirmed that the animal was an endangered gray wolf and that its genetic profile matched that of wolves from the Great Lakes region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Oregon confirmed these findings.

Killing and importing an endangered gray wolf is against the law. Officials are not prosecuting Troyer, though, on the grounds that he mistakenly thought he was firing at a coyote, which can be hunted under Kentucky state law.

The female gray wolf showed signs that she may have been in captivity. Wolves are, of course, natural carnivores; in the wild, their diet requires that they crush bones, a practice that results in them having less plaque on their teeth. Like hunting gray wolves, importing them in Kentucky is also illegal.

Gray wolves could once be found throughout the 48 lower U.S. states until ranchers and hunters nearly eradicated them in the 1930s. Their populations are starting to make a comeback in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes region; they have been known to roam over great distances. In 2011, a gray wolf was seen for the first time in 80 years in California.

Thanks to the welcome increase in their numbers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed taking them off the endangered species list.

The killing of the female gray wolf — mistaken for a coyote or a German shepherd — in Kentucky is one more reason why the wolves very much need endangered species protections. After being absent from so many parts of the United States for decades, for over a century in some places, gray wolves are only just starting to make a comeback. Why take away their chances for survival just as they are starting to thrive again?

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241 comments

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11:39AM PST on Dec 19, 2013

I'd off this Murderous lowlife James Troyer

4:18PM PST on Dec 17, 2013

WOLVES AND OTHER ANIMALS CAN SHOW US A WHOLE LOT ABOUT SURVIVAL AND WHEN WE GET TO KNOW THEM THEY ALSO SHOW US LOVE.
STOP THE KILLING!
ONE DAY SOON YOU WILL WISH THERE ARE ANIMALS AROUND TO SEE, SORRY ABOUT THAT YOU KILLED THEM ALL.

10:28AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

one more problem with hunters, half the time they don't even know what they are shooting!!
Not joking, where I come from, half the time they shoot each other ( which I have no objection to) , but it does show how much they have on the ball.

8:08AM PST on Dec 13, 2013

“I was like – wow – that thing was big! It looked like a wolf, but who is going to believe I shot a wolf?” WHAT A STUPID ASSHOLE! The inbred should never be allowed to own a firearm.


7:15PM PST on Dec 9, 2013

Noted, Signed (and Tweeted - with an interjection to the post of SHAMEFUL hunter) - this just makes me sick inside that heartless beings like this hunter have to KILL everything. What right did he have to do that? He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but I know that's not the reality because just enough other hunters out there are hunting these magnificent animals into extinction - it's heartbreaking.

10:20AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

James Troyer is a brainless idiot and should have been prosecuted for killing the wolf. Do any of us really believe he shot her by mistake ? If his eyes are that bad he shouldn't be carrying a gun !

7:25AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

F@@king scumbag, bloody feel sick .... F@@k you

6:43AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

Oh no, the rotten scurvy piece of rubbish - I would have taken that gun and shoved it where the sun doesn't shine and pulled the trigger. This bastard rotten sob does not deserve to still be walking on 2 legs. My heart breaks for these precious wolves. They have as much right to this earth as we do and sub humans that don't want to believe this must be dealt with appropriately.

8:14PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

I don't believe a word he is saying. If you can't tell a Grey Wolf from a German shepherd or a Coyote he shouldn't have a darn gun It could have been a person if he couldn't. the difference.
what an Idiot and murderer,

4:11PM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Who could believe I shot a Wolf he asked.

We could murdering fool.

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