A large wolf-like animal shot and killed May 16 by a rancher near Denton which now has wildlife officials and the public wondering what it was.
The animal came within several hundred yards of the rancher’s livestock. FWP said in a statement the rancher shot it and reported it as required by law. The animal was a young, non-lactating female and a canid, a member of the dog family, which includes dogs, foxes, coyotes, and wolves.
The animal originally was reported as a wolf by the rancher, but wolf specialists looked at photos of the animal and doubted it was a purebred wolf.
The statement released by FWP says the canine teeth were too short, the front paws too small and the claws on the front paw were too long.
FWP has since sent the carcass to the Department’s lab in Bozeman where tissue samples will be collected, then shipped to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Laboratory in Ashland, Org.
The process of this DNA testing can take a week, but they do not know how long it will take depending on the lab's backlog of cases.
DENTON - One family in Denton said they called Fish Wildlife and Parks after they shot what appeared to be a wolf on their ranch.
According to KXLO in Lewistown, game wardens came out to pick the animal up and sent pictures to a wolf specialist in Great Falls. It wasn't until then that they realized this may not be a purebred wolf but rather a hybrid of a wolf and something else.
The animal has been sent to Bozeman where the state veterinarian will take a closer look and pull DNA to see exactly what this creature is.
There was no loss of any livestock during the incident.
Denton is a small ranching community located east of Great Falls on Highway 81.