Deer hunter admits to shooting wolf
Published Friday, December 1, 2006 3:31:42 PM Central Time
By RALPH ANSAMI
Globe News Editor
TROUT CREEK -- A deer hunter has confessed to shooting a wolf in the Ewen-Trout Creek area during Michigan's gun-deer season.
The Department of Natural Resources reports the investigation will be turned over to the Ontonagon County Prosecutor's office for a review of possible charges.
The wolf died from a gunshot wound to the rear hind quarters. During a six-hour period early in the gun-deer season, conservation officers scoured the area to identify and process the crime scene, interviewing 12 hunters within the immediate area.
Officers developed a "person of interest" and conducted two follow-up interviews of the shooter. The man claimed he observed two coyotes running through the area and shot twice, thinking he missed both times.
DNR officers said the collared wolf was shot broadside at 25 yards from a hunting blind with a scoped rifle, however.
The animal was located when officers responded to a mortality signal coming from the radio collar of the dead wolf.
The name of the suspect, who may face state and federal forfeitures, is being withheld, pending issuing of charges.
A spokesman for the Ontonagon County prosecutor's office said Thursday no one had been charged in connection with the incident and she thought reports from the DNR had not yet been received.
Federal charges are also possible.
In another incident, DNR officers checked out a mortality code from a wolf in the U.P. When the dead wolf was located, it was half consumed. Based on the scene, evidence led investigators to believe the wolf was killed by other wolves in the area and partially eaten. The kill site was on the boundary between two pack areas.
A third incident, involving an effort to kill a wolf, is under investigation by the DNR.
Conservation officers Doug Hermanson, Brett Gustafson and Sgt. Steven Burton checked a large hunting party in Ontonagon County on opening day. Unlicensed hunters, large baitpiles, untagged traps, untagged deer and wolf trap sets were found on and near the hunted property.
Officers discovered a possible wolf kill on a staked-out deer carcass found just off the property. Tracks and trail cameras on the wolf bait indicate the shooter was from the hunting party. Interviews and forensic evidence found at the site are being analyzed and the case is pending, the DNR reported.
The killing of wolves or any other protected species in Michigan can be reported to the DNR through a toll-free Report All Poaching number, 1 (800) 292-7800.
Non-residents may reach DNR operators by calling (517) 373-1230.
When making a complaint on the RAP hot-line, the caller may remain anonymous.
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