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Big Game Conservation & Politics Missouri News

Missouri Man Kills Mystery Animal; Is it a Coyote/Wolf Hybrid?

by PH Online Editors   |  November 11th, 2012 27

Photo from Columbia Daily Tribune.

A Missouri man killed what could be a U.S. record-breaking 81-pound coyote. The only problem? Nobody’s really sure if it is a coyote at all.

The man, who remains anonymous, was bowhunting in Cooper County when what he thought was an enormous coyote walked out in front of him, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. With a proper permit, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the man shot the animal and reported it to officials.

After receiving the report, Cooper County conservation agent Mike Abdon said he went to check out the hunter’s kill, where he met a crowd of intrigued onlookers gathered around a pickup truck.

“I wasn’t quite for sure what it was,” Abdon said. “It looked like a coyote, but it didn’t. My first thoughts of it was just the sheer size of its feet. Its overall size was also a determining factor.”

The U.S. record coyote is 74 pounds, which means this would be the new record if it is indeed a coyote. Abdon said that the animal will be taken to a regional office for testing, which could take up to six months. There is the possibility that the animal is some sort of hybrid, too. Abdon said he didn’t believe the animal was fully developed, so it had the potential to be much larger.

According to the MDC, no grey wolves are currently present in Missouri. The species was believed to have gone extinct by the end of the 19th century, and unlike other states, Missouri has never attempted to reintroduce the controversial predator. John George, regional wildlife supervisor, said any possible reintroduction of the grey wolf is a touchy subject.

“It is very controversial to reintroduce any type of large carnivore,” George said. “You need huge blocks of undeveloped land when you consider that.”

Other states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have both taken part in wolf reintroduction programs, and both states are currently in the midst of their first sanctioned hunting seasons. There have been legal battles, mauled hound dogs and death threats on Facebook about the issue, as the polarizing wolf issue remains center stage.

  • wolf hater

    This is something I have said for some time now. We all know that dogs will cross breed, we used to call them mutts and now they get big money for them. Anyway if this holds true that if a wolf and a coyote cross breed you will end up with both having great hunting skill, but a coyote does not mind being around populated areas, the wolf does not. Now bring the wolf into it that, they can bring down a full size elk. Sit back and watch these move into cities and towns, look out out wolf lovers hide your kids and pets.

    • Jon

      If you are going to insult someone for stating their opinion, at least use proper grammer. To express that you feel "wolf hater" is a moron, such as I view you, you should type "You're a moron."

      • Gramma Poleese

        You should spell grammar correctly.

        • Grammar Cop

          Please sell Police correctly.

    • Vanessa

      omg what the hell ever they bring down elk because that is what they eat. They don't eat people they are very shy animals. Obviously you have never seen a wolf i on the other hand have and as soon as they all seen me they ran off in the other direction. you my friend are a dumbass

      • Andrew

        in france alone there have been over 3000 wolf related deaths of humans. other countries in the hundreds. wolves can and have killed lots of people. thats why they were hunted to extinction all over the world. people feared them for a reason. im not saying a hybrid coyote/wolf would hurt someone but if it grew over 100 lbs, we are on the menu

        • Fact Checker

          3000 in France? Where did you get this statistic?

  • Pete

    PH Online Editors,

    Please follow up on this. I'm very interested to see what their testing reveals.



    • shootbrownelk

      The test results came back! Wolfhater is indeed, a moron!

  • Unclebuck2

    Missouri may not have interduced wolfs back in to their state, but wolfs can careless about state boundaries. They will migrate to wherever their is food and no human pressure.

  • Garry

    Did or did not the Springfield Missouri Zoo lose two Mexican Wolfs, a female and a male. The male was recaptured but the pregnant female was not.

    • Julie from E. Oregon

      I did some research but haven't found record she was ever recovered. Does anyone know? We have wolves in eastern OR and surrounding states, and they're having a heyday w/our big game. Incredible to think of a coyote-wolf hybrid, but I wouldn't want to be in the backwoods w/o a side-iron. My friend just trapped a 50 pound coyote. Either breed, along with a growing number of aggressive cougar, is formidible on game and bovine in our area. Sorry, folks, but most 'citified' folks don't understand the consequences to our rural habitat and economy.

  • Michael Miedzianoweski

    I think there could always be a chance of cross breeding in the wild , and if there is than this would be one heck of a surprise to the people of Missouri , I would not think there would be a danger to the public as of yet BUT as with any species it could get aggressive , This will surely change the outlook for the wolfs and maybe they were not totally extinct but just smart enough to hide from man and try to just survive in peace , Than again as it was pointed out Wolves DO NOT care about state lines .

  • Elsa

    Please check your facts- wolves were NOT reintroduced in MN and WI and neither state has had reintroduction programs. Wolves were never completely exterminated from MN and they eventually recolonized WI on their own.

    • Rob

      No offense but maybe you should check your facts also.

  • Forrest Ebert

    I live in California and not only do we have the Mtn. Lion problem but now we have the "Lone" wolf from Oregon in the Northern part of our state and if it is true they can cross breed thenwe are in trouble for sure as there are a lot of yotes to mingle with and with the game animals already being in trouble this could spell disaster for them as well! I have also seen what the "Wolf" has done to the western part of Montana's Elk herds not good at all!

  • John ODonnell

    We have seen and I have killed very large coyotes in New York State. My largest kill was over 60 lbs and have seen larger. NY borders the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario and has untold thousand of acres of suitable habitate and a varied game population and although thankfully the liberals have not yet clamored for the reintroduction of the wolf it is reasonable to believe that canadian wolf will travel ( w/o a passport) into the wilds of the US to prey on the game and breed with the native species. In 2012 a large mountain lion was spotted and photgraphed in a downstate suburb of NYC and was finally killed by a car in Connecticut. The DNA of that big cat was traced back to scat in Idaho.

    • guest

      Actually, the DNA indicated that the cat in Connecticut was from South Dakota. We have evidence that that same cat passed through my state of Wisconsin.

  • Bill, the beef guy

    An article in another hunting magazine contended that 22% of Maine coyote DNA was actually wolf DNA. And dog/coyote crosses produce fertile hybrids, which scares me more than wolf/coyote hybrids. Dogs will kill just for the fun of it and are ubiquitous. One of the remote farms I hunt always has a surplus of stray dogs from the size of fluffy, a discarded house pet, (although they don't last long) to hounds, bird dogs, dobermans, German shepherds and pit bulls. AND worse still, crosses of all the above. One of my friends had his tree stand circled for about 3 hours, then he started killing one at a time until he ran out of cartridges. He called a buddy on the phone and was rescued by 4 wheeler. The dogs backed off, but did not leave and when they returned in a couple of days to retrieve his stand, it looked as if the remaining living had eaten the dead.

    • DogLover

      Bill: You are one of the most uninformed people I’ve come across in some time. The only thing you have right is the fact that the “eastern coyote” has been proven, through DNA, to be part wolf. BUT, coydogs – the offspring of coyotes and dogs – are usually INFERTILE and actually rarely live past infancy.
      Your first ignorant OPINION, however, was in regards to coydogs being “scarier” than coyote/wolf hybrids. How can a coyote/DOG hybrid “scare” you more than a coywolf? Coywolves are the result of the hybridization of two WILD animals!
      In case you’ve forgotten: Dogs are domesticated animals. They are tame because MAN has bred (and overbred) them to be domestic for thousands upon thousands of years. As a result, dogs are DEPENDENT upon man for survival.
      I must now address another of your ignorant statements. Domestic dogs do NOT “kill for the fun of it”. The farmland “stray” dogs in your post are an unfortunate byproduct of today’s throwaway society. This “stray” dog population consisted of former PETS that were simply discarded when they were no longer convenient. As a result, these dogs had to learn to survive on “instincts” that were long ago bred out of their genes.
      It’s a heartbreaking scenario. The dogs you described had most likely reverted to a semi-feral state out of pure necessity and the sheer will to survive. No HUMAN cared enough to provide them with food, water, or shelter (as evidenced by your frequent trips to the farm while doing NOTHING to stop the suffering of “man’s best friend”).
      Of course, these dogs were at one time accustomed to HUMANS providing food, water, and shelter for them. Because the basics were no longer provided to them, these “stray” farmland dogs had to revert to their ancestral selves – hunting, scavenging, and fighting for territory and mating rights. The pack behavior you described is a natural behavioral outcome of domestic animals having been forced to survive completely independently of man.
      Almighty Man, in his infinite wisdom, purposely bred these dependent animals for desirable domestic traits. In this case, as with so many others, Almighty Man then just left them to fend for themselves without the survival techniques that are innate in WILD animals.
      These dogs were doing solely what their instincts told them to do in order to live. They weren’t out to “kill for the fun of it”. That, Bill, is something strictly ascribed to HUMAN nature. Aren’t you on a HUNTING site, after all?
      Lastly, what do you mean when you describe CROSSES of dobermans, German shepherds and pit bulls “WORSE STILL”? Are you suggesting that cross breeds and mixed breeds are “worse still” than PUREBRED dogs? In what way are they “worse”?
      The point of your post, I believe, is to demonstrate how dogs are “scary” and how they kill “for fun”. So what do the crossbreeds of the aforementioned dog breeds have to do with your point? Do you believe that crossbreeds – (being “worse still”, and all) – are scarIER and more LIKELY to “kill for fun” than their purebred counterparts? Or, do you just have something against mixed breed dogs?
      Your ideas and opinions are all over the place and lack merit or foundation. To me, what’s “scary” is that people like you continue to populate this country, spreading your ignorance and hate. Here’s what’s “worse” than that: You actually believe people will think you’re intelligent just because you use a word like “ubiquitous”.

      • Why so angry?

        Wow you are one angry individual. Hilarious to hear you preach on “spreading hate.” LOL Dogs DO kill for the “fun” of it, are you kidding me? Tame pet dogs in city neighborhoods are let out to roam by ignorant owners and form packs, killing cats and any other small animals they can chase down and surround. My cat was ripped to shreds, and a few months ago 2 roaming dogs apparently jumped my fence somehow and killed every backyard chicken I had and ripped into a quail pen to kill those as well. Just caught and shook them to death, then left. They barely lost feathers, the dogs did not mutilate them at all. Dogs like this usually get more bold and expand their mock “prey” to kids on bikes and joggers. These are pet house dogs that revert to their hunting instincts when allowed to roam freely in a pack. Not dobermans or pit bulls, small mixed breeds and yellow labs (the ones that killed my chickens and cats in my neighborhood). The dogs are just acting on instinct. It’s the irresponsible owners that are to fault. However these animals need to be, and almost always are, destroyed either before are after they have targeted a human. Just to be clear, I am a dog lover and have a 10 year old dog I raised from a pup. My dog stays on a leash, and my kid knows to immediately come inside if she spots a loose dog.

  • NSHabs

    DNA testing on a similar animal shot and killed in Newfoundland proves it was a coyote.

  • shootbrownelk

    That hybrid was probably one of our Wyoming wolves…they're running out of Elk, Deer and Moose around here.

  • Paul S.

    My friend just showed me a picture of a wolf shot by his buddy in Wisconcin. He also shot a hugh 8 pointer. The wolf looked like it was actually bigger than the deer! How big can a wolf get? He should have had this wolf recorded. I did not realize predators this large were roaming the woods where I hunt. A predator this size will kill elk ,deer and men. Paul S.

  • Tiantai

    Judging by the photo, this coyote that the man shot is very likely a coywolf (a Grey wolf xcoyote hybrid) similar to the Eastern coyotes. While Missouri did not reintroduce any pure Grey wolves, those animals can still migrate and in places where there are not much wolves, a Grey wolf would then resort to hybridizing with a coyote. Although wolves rarely mate with coyotes due to the hostility between the two species, in places where the Grey wolve's population has been driven to extinction, a Grey wolf migrating into said places would then change from being hostile to becoming friendly with a coyote of an opposite gender during the breeding season and pop comes a pack of coywolves. Given that, I honestly believe that this animal (who was sadly shot) is a coywolf and there are probably others out there in Missouri. A lot of Eastern subspecies of the Grey wolves are actually coywolves to varying percentages.

  • sm. town mom

    I'm in Miller Co. Missouri & in the country on my way home from town I swear I seen a grey wolf. It was a cub not any bigger than a regular pet dog would be, very skinny. We locked eyes for 4-5sec. & it was a grey wolf. Out here where I'm at we've had Mt. Lion cubs in our back yard, bobcats that's as tall as the engine of my car. Hybrids or eveloution. This is what's around here. We have 10acres & have seen enough animals I've made a habbit of learning what I see to identify them. I have 3 kids & many many nieces & nephews. If I dnt no the animal I'm seeing in my woods I'm doing what I can to find out about it. I have a red tailed fox that keeps me stranded in the shed.


    I hope these genetic findings are publicized. I live in MI and believe it was a big mistake to introduce
    wolves. Biologists and the natural resource dept set a reasonable and self sustaining target number
    that would be met before the wolves were delisted and could be hunted. We are long past that number
    and now have to waste millions to go head to head with peta and hsus in court to allow a wolf season to
    manage the excess numbers. NO WOLVES——– NO PROBLEMS. MANAGED HUNT. FEWER PROBLEMS.

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