Large Canine Shot in Northwest Iowa; tissue submitted to identify Species

Written by Theresa Rose on December 9, 2015

A large canine shot Sunday morning by a coyote hunter in Osceola County that resembles a wolf in appearance is being examined by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Testing of the animal’s DNA will be done to identify the species.

Positive identification of wolves cannot be done through visual examination because so many of the characteristics of wolves resemble that of domestic dogs.

“Genetically, wolves are very similar to dogs and there is only a few percentage points difference in the genetic makeup between the two. The genetic lineage between dogs and wolves is about 95 percent the same or more,” said DNR wildlife biologist Vince Evelsizer.

The hunter was using a common technique of spotting and stalking and made a 100-150 yard shot on the animal that was lying on a terrace. Upon approaching the animal, the individual determined it was not a coyote, and immediately contacted the local state conservation officer prior to moving it.

The incident remains under investigation.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to several hundred packs of Great Lakes wolves and, if verified, may be the source of this animal. Once a male wolf reaches age three, they disperse from the pack and can travel more than 500 miles to establish a new home territory.