Local/Regional News
10:07 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Officials Confirm Gray Wolf Killed In Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says federal officials have confirmed that a gray wolf was killed in Kentucky for the first time in more than a century.

The agency says wolves have been gone from Kentucky since the mid-1800s, so it's a mystery how the federally endangered animal ended up in Hart County near Munfordville in March.

Great Lakes Region wolf biologists said an exam of the animal suggested that it might have spent some time in captivity.

Hart County resident James Troyer shot the animal while hunting for predators on his family's farm. Troyer said at first he thought he shot a coyote, but when he got a closer look, the animal looked more like a wolf.

"I was like — wow — that thing was big!" he said in a statement released by the Fish and Wildlife Department. "It looked like a wolf, but who is going to believe I shot a wolf?"

Since free-ranging wolves haven't been seen in the state in more than 100 years, biologists were skeptical but recent results from DNA testing proved the animal was a wolf.

Although federal and state laws forbid the possession, importation or hunting of gray wolves, officials say Troyer won't face any charges. They say Troyer had no expectation of killing a gray wolf since it was the first free-ranging one documented in modern history in the state.