No charges in Kremmling wolf shooting
November 25, 2015
A coyote hunter who shot a gray wolf near Kremmling on April 29 will not face criminal charges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said.
After conducting a joint investigation, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Justice determined the man was legally hunting coyotes when he mistook the male wolf for a coyote.
The man immediately reported the incident to authorities.
A DNA analysis from at the Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., confirmed the animal was a wolf.
Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and knowingly killing a wolf carries criminal penalties.
The Fish and Wildlife Service announced in June that a coyote hunter who shot a female gray wolf near the Grand Canyon in December 2014 would not face charges because he believed the animal was a coyote.
Fish and Wildlife Service officials previously told the Sky-Hi News that the wolf killed near Kremmling was likely a "disperser," or a lone wolf leaving its pack and striking out on its own.
The behavior is typical for gray wolves, which have established populations in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
Dispersers have been found as far afield as South Dakota, Colorado and the Grand Canyon.