Direwolf? Wolfdog? Wolfman? Mystery Animal Shot in Montana

A rancher shot an animal in Montana, but nobody seems to know what it was.

Last week in northern Montana an animal was shot and killed outside the fence line of a ranch. Nothing unusual there.

Except, nobody knows what this animal is. Or, rather, was.

It looks something like a wolf. But it also looks like a hyena. Sort of like a malnourished grizzly cub too—but it has a long tail. Its body is the wrong shape for a wolf though, as are the legs, and the fur.

“We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back,” Bruce Auchly, a spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said in a report to local media.

A wolf specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks theorizes it might be a wolf/dog hybrid called, well, a wolfdog. Wolfdogs aren’t unknown in Montana. Typically bred in captivity by private owners, they are sometimes released or escape into the wild. Wolves and dogs can interbreed too, so, who knows what sorts of hybrid cousins are running around out there.

Social media accounts have far more interesting theories, with some postulating that the mysterious canid is a (long-extinct) direwolf, a real, albeit prehistoric animal, and not just a recurring Game of Thrones character. Some say it’s a dogman, a Sasquatch-level rumored animal that, according to some, roams the Montana ranges.

As of now, scientists know it was a female, but that’s about it. It will be weeks or months until the DNA tests are returned. Until then, the animal will remain a mystery.

Photos: Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks


Showing 28 comments
  • scott smith

    Don’t know what it so shoots it! Idiot.

  • Gigi Byrne

    That’s ridiculous that every wild animal gets shot! Leave wildlife alone. Let them be in peace!

    • Noradiocontact

      Hey Cityslickers… Ranchers shoot wolves and coyotes all the time because they threaten livestock, pets, and people. The remote places in America are full of dangerous critters. Go have a burger and leave the shooting to the people that raise your food!

      • Kjell

        Hahahahaha. you just made me spit my coffee out of my mouth.

        • Steve

          Can’t handle the caffeine…

        • SuperWittySmitty

          It sounds as if you’re one of the more dangerous critters out there. Hope no one decides that you are a threat and shoots you!

      • Chris Naumann

        As someone who lives in Montana, let me correct you. Neither wolves or coyote threaten people. Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale that is disingenuously perpetuated as modern post-truth fear-mongering. Do us all a favor, stop conflating the issue.

        • Matthew

          Do us a favor and don’t comment until you have all the facts. Here let me correct you. I can attest to the danger of wolves and coyotes especially if food is scarce, one reason for lack of food could be they have been abandoned by the pack. I’ve actually been chased back into my house by a coyote before. I will agree that typically they are skittish of people, but don’t say they don’t threaten people because I know for a fact that they do.

  • The Woodsman

    My bet is on a wolf-coyote hybrid. Question is…..how? That’s one brave coyote, or one desperate wolf.
    I agree it should not have been shot, unless caught in the act of killing domestic animals.

  • Alison Bramall

    Man + gun = dangerous things to inhabit the planet

    • Hugo

      More like Man+Gun=Shoot anything that isn’t a human or a cow.

  • Deborah

    …..and this is what Adventure Journal chooses to publish? What a shame. Supermarket tabloids maybe but AJ too?

  • Patricia Moore

    Was it bothering you? Because it did not state that it was causing harm in any way. Why did you shoot it? SMH

  • syd

    this partial story will be upsetting to many of us, for some time—must we kill what we don’t understand? dog no, Syd straw

  • Donna Noe

    The wolf or wolf dog shouldn’t have been shot. I had a wolf dog for 15 years. He never hurt anyone. His best friend was a Himalayan cat.
    Farmers do not always have to kill wildlife. Wolves are actually shy and can be quite timid. They do not seek out people. They prey only on livestock if they are ravenous. They were here first, before humans encrouched on their territory.

    • Rob

      Pretty sure you lost them at “shouldn’t have been shot.”

  • Claude LaMont

    It’s a chupacabra!!

  • Dave

    Hey Noradiocontact – please point me to the link for the last article you read where a coyote killed a person. I couldn’t find one. There have only been two, count ’em TWO fatal wolf attacks in North America. Fake “Facts” support misguided hate.

    For transparency, I grew up in a rural area and don’t eat mammals. Reckon I’ll have the veggie burger.

  • Rickie.Lugo


  • Paws newman

    Looking at the legs,tail,and head shape it’s most likely to be a dire wolf most definitely

  • Kevin

    My guess is a coywolf. They are becoming more populated in eastern U.S.. In regards if it should have been shot, I was not there so can’t say. Where I live wild dogs and coyotes are an issue and I have lost a full size German Sheppard to packs of them killing it before as well as other pets. Neighbors of mine has lost animals too, as well as livestock. This makes me be watchful around my family and pets. I will never go around just killing animals, I respect them as much as I can, but unfortunately sometimes the need may rise. I would love to just leave well enough alone. I take precautions to try and avoid any interactions with wild life, so this does not happen.

  • Steve

    I think it’s a Wolf-Monkey. Look it up!

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