BEAVER COUNTY — A hunter mistakenly shot a radio-collared northern gray wolf near Beaver on Sunday after he had mistaken it for a coyote while he was hunting.
The coyote hunter shot the wolf near the south end of the Beaver Mountains, a few miles outside of Beaver, according to a press release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
“As soon as the hunter realized the animal he killed wasn’t a coyote,” the release said, “he contacted the Division of Wildlife Resources.”
The DWR then contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who confirmed the animal in question was a 3-year-old female northern grey wolf, the release said. The wolf had previously been fitted with a radio collar near Cody, Wyoming in January.
Wolves are not common in Utah, according to the DWR website, but have been reported on occasion. In 2011, wolves were officially removed from the endangered species list in certain parts of Utah, giving state control to manage and kill wolves within that area.
In the areas where they remain under federal protection, livestock owners may still kill wolves only if:
- The wolves are harassing, chasing, actively disturbing or harming livestock
- Wolves are in the act of killing — biting or grasping — livestock, or within 72-hours after DWR or USDA Wildlife Services personally confirm a wolf was responsible for harming livestock
Under federal law, those who violate the Endangered Species Act by killing an endangered animal could face charges and fines that vary on the type of animal killed.
The DWR is still investigating the incident and will provide additional information as it becomes available.
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