The hunter, who had a permit, thought he shot an especially large coyote, which were in season. But because the animal weighed seven pounds more than the national record for coyotes, a Cooper County conservation agent had tissue samples sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for genetic testing.
Missouri Department of Conservation Resource Scientist and Furbearer Biologist Jeff Beringer said the animal did not have ear tags, tattoos or any identification or indications that it was a captive animal. Although its exact origin is unknown, officials say they believe it came from the Great Lakes region of Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan.
While there is no evidence of a gray wolf breeding population in Missouri, the animals do occasionally wind up here from northern states. In late 2010, a 104-pound timber wolf was shot in Carroll County and, in 2001, a Grundy County landowner killed an 80-pound timber wolf. The latter canine was wearing a radio collar and an ear tag that linked it to Michiganâ??s Upper Peninsula, which is more than 600 miles away.