Calhoun County hunter thought he hunted a coyote, DNR says it was a wolf

A hunter reported taking a large animal in Calhoun County in January during a legal coyote hunt, but genetic testing by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources revealed the animal was a gray wolf.

This photo is provided as an example of a gray wolf only. Due to the ongoing investigation, the DNR is not sharing photos of the wolf found in Calhoun County at this time.

“Michigan’s known wolf population is located in the Upper Peninsula. The department continues to search for wolves in the Lower Peninsula, but has found only a few signs of wolves in this part of Michigan since the population recovered of wolves in the state in the 1980s.” the DNR said in a statement Wednesday.

“This particular wolf was observed when a hunter, engaged in a legal coyote hunt accompanied by a guide, reported encountering what was initially believed to be a large coyote. The hunter harvested the animal, which weighed 84 pounds. Eastern coyotes typically weigh between 25 pounds and 40 pounds.

Once found throughout Michigan, wolves are now confined almost exclusively to the Upper Peninsula.

The DNR continues to investigate the wolf’s presence in Calhoun County and does not suspect the animal was part of an established population in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Residents do not need to worry about wolves’ wider presence in the county or the Lower Peninsula, the DNR said. Data collected on collared wolves in the state has shown that the animals can travel thousands of miles, in some cases well beyond their known range.

“This is an unusual case and the DNR is actively investigating the matter to learn more about the origin of this particular animal,” said Brian Roell, a DNR large carnivore specialist. “Although rare, cases of wolves traveling great distances have been documented, including signs of wolves in recent decades in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.”

The DNR highlighted several previous cases of wolves in the north…

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