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Wyoming man accused of capturing live wolf and showing it off in bar before killing it

The wolf was allegedly shown off in a bar before it was killed  (Getty/iStockphoto)
The wolf was allegedly shown off in a bar before it was killed (Getty/iStockphoto)

A Wyoming man has been accused of catching a live wolf, taping its mouth shut, and showing it off in a bar – before killing it around the back of the establishment.

The incident took place in Sublette County, where it is legal to kill wolves, on 29 February.

While it is legal, keeping the animal alive and tormenting it would be an “egregious violation” of hunting ethics, two anonymous sources familiar with the incident told Cowboy State Daily.

The wolf’s mouth was allegedly taped shut and was flaunted in a bar in the small town of Daniel, Wyoming, one source told the outlet, saying that they had seen photos of this happening.

The man allegedly ran the wolf down with a snowmobile on 29 February, disabling the animal, according to an account of events.

Instead of killing the animal there and then, he allegedly kept the wolf, taking it back to his residence before setting out to a bar.

After bringing it to the bar, he then purportedly took it out behind the building, where he killed it.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department verified that somebody had been cited and fined for being in possession of a live wolf, but it did not identify the person, nor any exact details in the case.

They said that the incident was reported to them anonymously “that an individual was alleged to be in possession of a live wolf” on 29 February.

“The individual was hunting when he came across the wolf in the predator zone and intended to harvest it,” Breanna Ball, a Game and Fish Department spokesperson, told Cowboy State Daily.

“However, the wolf was transported alive back to his residence and later to a business in Daniel, WY. The individual euthanized the wolf later that day,” she added.

“The individual was cited for violating Chapter 10, Importation and Possession of Live Warm-Blooded Wildlife,” Game and Fish said, with the outlet reporting that the offence carries a $250 fine.

Ms Ball added to KHOL that the killing “appears to be an isolated incident”.

However, some are worried that the alleged act could seriously affect the public’s view of Wyoming’s wolf management policy.

“When this story gets out, and it will, this is going to drastically change the discussion about wolf management in Wyoming,” one of the anonymous sources told the outlet.

The majority of the state is considered a “predatory zone” for wolves, as they are considered predators by state law, meaning that they can be “harvested” but people must report this within 10 days.

A smaller area of Wyoming inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have banned hunting and other areas are called a “trophy hunting zone” where hunting is further regulated by the authorities and you must have a license to kill them within specific hunting seasons.

As of 2017, wolves were no longer thought of as an endangered species and the management of gray wolves was returned to the state of Wyoming.

Doug Smith, a retired biologist who led the wolf programme at Yellowstone National Park for nearly three decades told Cowboy State Daily that wolf management is “difficult and emotional.”

“Hearing about cases like this makes it hard [for reasonable approach]. It angers [the public] and if people can’t make good choices and be ethical then they need regulations. They lose freedoms,” he told the outlet.

However, Lander, Wyoming-based Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Scott Becker, who is also their Mountain-Prairie Region wolf coordinator, said that the case may not have much of an effect on wolf management across the region.

“Although the optics of this incident are not great, because wolves are not listed in the NRM (Northern Rocky Mountains), it will likely have little bearing on wolf conservation and management in the NRM states,” he told the outlet.

The Independent has contacted the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Sublette County Circuit Court for further information.