Rare Grand Canyon wolf likely dead in Utah

wolf-north-rim

Echo, the wolf spotted last month on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Image: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

I am heartbroken to report that on December 28, a hunter in southern Utah shot and killed a young, collared female gray wolf — likely the same wolf seen a few weeks ago near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. DNA confirmation is still to come. The hunter claimed he didn’t see the collar and thought he was shooting a coyote.

Gray wolves are endangered, protected animals and conservationists and environmentalists were overjoyed when the Grand Canyon wolf, named Echo in a children’s naming contest, was found so far from the Northern Rockies where she was first collared. She was the first gray wolf seen in the Grand Canyon region in 70 years.

Personally, I doubt the shooting was a mistake. I doubt a hunter would mistake a wolf for a coyote, especially one wearing a collar. I’m inclined to think that, despite the law, most western hunters and ranchers will shoot any wolf they see if they think they can get away with it. And just because this particular Utah hunter reported the “mistaken” killing himself does not, in my book, let him off the hook.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this is the 11th documented case since 1981 where a hunter has killed a wolf and claimed to have mistaken it for a coyote.

As an afterthought, I’m wondering why the collars used on endangered animals are not brightly colored — hunter/blaze/safety orange for example. The only reason I can think of is that it would alert their prey. But if a hunter can wear the color and still hunt successfully, why couldn’t a wolf?

Even if the dead wolf turns out not to be Echo, the loss is still a tragedy. And unlikely as it would be in a state once determined to eradicate wolves and that pays $50 bounties on coyotes (which would obviously encourage shooting anything that looks even remotely like a coyote), I hope the hunter is prosecuted.



Categories: wolves

17 replies

  1. Jail the lying bastard and throw away the key, excuse the French PT, but stories like this get me riled, He’ll boast to his mates (buddys) how he got away with killing this animal.

    I hate guns!

    • I’m both heartsick and angry. But the truth is, the guy was probably out there alone and there’s absolutely no way to prove he knew he was shooting a wolf. He’ll get away with it. And yes, he’ll probably be boasting about it.

      Utah needs to stop paying bounties on coyotes so there’s no excuse for shooting anything that looks like either a wolf or a coyote.

      • There’s a bunch of lawsuits trying to stop these bounties and shooting contests right now. CA managed to pass a state ban…Utah is going to be difficult

        • Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana — all the interior western states. They’ll fight such laws tooth and nail and even if the laws pass, I doubt many will observe them. Ranchers, hunters, and outfitters think they have a right to shoot any predator.

        • Bad epidemic of being above the law going around. But probably tradition more in some states than others. Northern CA was very vocal about their “freedom to hunt coyotes”. (Still passed the law against organized hunts for prizes anyway)
          It is interesting to see which types of laws each regional area has decided to ignore.

        • As long as people get away with saying “But I thought it was a coyote …,” the wolves are in danger. You’d think a law against shooting coyotes would stop all that. But if a guy in the woods shoots a coyote and leaves it, who’ll ever know?

        • There’s a law against assault and murder, but…
          Too many excuses excused. “Let me ‘spain it to you. You just ain’t seeing it right.”
          And too many who think they are special and not to be denied.
          Share the space is an alien concept…of course, the word “share” is vague and confusing to so many, right?
          Sigh. If they want to put the monarch on the endangered list, the predators like coyote/wolves must be sheltered, too in order to keep things in balance – as many of the National Parks are realizing.
          Commonsense seems to play little role. The Administration/fed agencies last month just increased the number of eagles/birds of prey that windmill farms are allowed to kill each month…but let one individual kill a single eagle….Dirty little “secrets” there in DC. Blood on hands in many ways.
          All that happens in shadows or the dark woods is difficult to see
          Sigh.

  2. Hunters, at least honorable and law abiding, know not to shoot unless they KNOW their intended target is just that. A totally stupid act and a major loss to the wolves as well as to those who support them in any way. Such a sad story; 3rd loss today of a celebrity.

    • Either stupid or deliberately malicious. I’ve no patience with either. Maybe they could yank his hunting license, assuming one even needs one to kill a coyote.

      • Sadly like many vehicle drivers, some will continue even if license taken away. No regard for anything.
        Society only works when all agree to obey the laws. Oddly often the ones who complain the most about “personal freedoms” are ones who choose to break laws as it pleases them.
        And then there’s the egotistical self centered spoiled ones….

  3. LordBeariOfBow…I agree that the hunter should know its prey.However it was not the gun,or rifle that did the killing. It was the hunter.If he didn’t use a gun it could have been a bow and arrow or some other weapon.

    • Yes, but a rifle makes it so much easier.

        • People like this make it very difficult for those who follow the laws and have commonsense. ( hard to call him a hunter if he can’t identify his target and breaks all logic by shooting when he doesn’t know what he is shooting at….people like him are the reason ranchers/farmers do paint “COW” in big letters on their livestock)
          Bright orange collars ( like court ordered dangerous dog collars here) sound like a logical idea. Will have to investigate why not done. Worry it will make them too easy to spot by their prey maybe?
          Everyone should be contacting their congressional representatives here demanding the wolf be returned to the endangered animal protected list. (Fed. Wildlife agency: listening at all?)
          Kill only for food. No other reason

        • They were delisted the last time because the hunter/rancher lobby slipped the delisting into a must-pass budget bill at the last minute. I hate Washington.

  4. I was looking for this article yesterday when I started my post. So glad you found it and posted this.
    The Sierra Club needs some loud support on this issue.

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  1. Confirmed: Wolf killed in Utah was Echo | Pied Type

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