Wildlife Agency Deepens Investigation Into Killing Of Famous Wolf

Dec 18, 2018

Wolf #926 running with her pack
Credit Yellowstone Wolf Tracker

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been inundated with concerns that the killing of a famous wolf known as #926F was illegal and unethical. The wolf roamed out of Yellowstone National Park during trophy hunting season into an area where it is legal to hunt them. 

#926 had become habituated to people in the park where wolves are protected year round.

Warden Captain Adam Pankratz said his agency has continued to investigate the wolf's death, but he said it's not illegal for a private property owner to notify a hunter when an animal crosses onto their property.

"We don't have any information that a phone call was made and that a hunter immediately drove out there and harvested the wolf," said Pankratz. "But as communities do, they talk to each other and share information, which is not illegal."

Others believed the killing was illegal because it happened between the towns of Cooke City and Silver Gate where many houses are located. But Pankratz said there's no rule limiting how close to town an animal can be killed.

"We are limited by what laws and regulations are on the books," he said. "Currently, there's no regulation that limits a person from hunting near an occupied structure or house on private property."

He said there is a rule that people can't hunt within a quarter mile of buildings on Department of Natural Resources conservation land, but the wolf wasn't killed on that kind of property.

Pankratz said many of these concerns have surfaced on social media and haven't led to eye witness accounts of a hunting violation. He said if people do know something more about this case, or any other wildlife violation, they can reach the agency's 24-hour tipline at 1-800-TIPMONT.