USFWS: Man who shot wolf in Colorado will not face charges

DENVER— A coyote hunter who shot a protected gray wolf in western Colorado earlier this year will not face criminal charges. An investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Justice determined that the Colorado resident was legally hunting coyotes near Kremmling, Colo., on April 29th, when he mistook the male gray wolf (Canis lupus) for a member of the smaller canid species. After the shooting, the hunter recognized that the animal he killed may have been a wolf and immediately reported the incident to authorities. An analysis by the Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., confirmed that the animal killed was indeed a gray wolf. The Endangered Species Act has criminal penalties for “any person who knowingly violates any provision…” of the Act. “Our investigation determined that the shooting resulted from misidentification rather than the intentional take of a protected species,” said Mountain-Prairie Region Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Dan Rolince. “Although the hunter did the right thing by reporting his mistake immediately, this is a good reminder to hunters to properly identify their targets before pulling the trigger.” Feature Photo: Gray wolf in snow. Tony and Ann Hough/USFWS / Pitchengine Communities