Davis Motor Sales banner ad

wolf 300HART COUNTY, Ky. (8/14/13) – Over the past few years, there have been reports, some with actual proof, of animals that are not indigenous to the state of Kentucky that are  moving into the area. Some have been suspected to have been brought in by people.
 
As for those that have been proven to have been spotted, there are wild hogs, armadillos, and lately the black bears spotted in various locations in Western Kentucky. Now, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed a new breed of creature that has somehow gotten into the state.
 
Federal officials have confirmed that an animal taken by a hunter near Munfordville in Hart County, KY on March 16 is a gray wolf.
 
A DNA analysis performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center in Colorado determined the 73-pound animal was a federally endangered gray wolf with a genetic makeup resembling wolves native to the Great Lakes Region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Oregon confirmed the finding.
 
How the wolf found its way to a Munfordville hay ridge at daybreak in March remains a mystery. Wolves have been gone from the state since the mid-1800s.
 
Great Lakes Region wolf biologists said the animal's dental characteristics - a large amount of plaque on its teeth - suggest it may have spent some time in captivity. A largely carnivorous diet requiring the crushing of bone as they eat produces much less plaque on the teeth of wild wolves.
 
Hart County resident James Troyer took the animal with a shot from 100 yards away while predator hunting on his family's farm. Troyer, 31, said he had taken a coyote off the property just two weeks earlier.
 
But when he approached the downed animal he noticed it was much larger. "I was like - wow - that thing was big!" he recalled. "It looked like a wolf, but who is going to believe I shot a wolf?"
 
Because a free-ranging wolf has not been seen in the state for more than a century, biologists were skeptical at first. However, wildlife officials were aware that a few radio-collared northern wolves have wandered as far south as Missouri in the past decade.
 
Wolves resemble coyotes, except they are much larger. From a distance, the size difference is difficult to determine.
 
Troyer convinced Kevin Raymond, a wildlife biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, to look at the animal. Once Raymond saw the animal was twice the size of a coyote, he contacted furbearer biologist Laura Patton, who submitted samples to federal officials for DNA testing.
 
Because state and federal laws prohibit the possession, importation into Kentucky or hunting of gray wolves, federal officials took possession of the pelt. Since this is the first free-ranging gray wolf documented in Kentucky's modern history, federal or state charges are not expected because there were no prior biological expectations for any hunter to encounter a wolf.
 
J.L. Graham
SurfKY News
Information provided Seth Stewart (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Walmart Evacuated after Customer Alerts 911 of Gas Smell; Store Reopens Hour Later

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (2/26/15) — Walmart was evacuated Wednesday evening after a customer alerted authorities concerning a… Read More

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will, Threatening to Kill Her with Machete

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (2/26/15) — A Madisonville man is accused of holding a woman against her will for approximately two… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6404

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 5554

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 24, 2015 5371

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 5339

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5179

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 4881

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 26, 2015 2146

Woman Charged for Allegedly Selling Hydrocodone

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 1988

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 1303

Probation and Parole Violators - February 26,…

in Video by Crime Stoppers
February 26, 2015 1134

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
February 26, 2015 1030

Area College Students Touched by Cancer are…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 979

Walmart Evacuated after Customer Alerts 911 of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 912

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 26, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 26, 2015 830

Super Sunday Hall of Fame Alumni Honored College…

in Top News For All Sites by Joyce Riggs
February 26, 2015 747

Lions Man, Woman of Year Announced

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Findley
February 26, 2015 536

Man Charged with Meth Possession after Traffic…

in Local (Henderson) Top News by Courtney Millikan