2 gray wolves found dead in Iowa after being mistaken for coyotes


Two gray wolves – possibly originating from Minnesota – were shot and killed in Iowa this past winter, environment officials have confirmed.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirmed tests found two large canines found dead in Osceola County and Van Buren County were in fact wolves, likely from the Great Lakes population either in Minnesota, Michigan or Wisconsin.

Gray wolves are listed on the endangered species list and it's against federal and Iowa state law to kill one, but no charges are being brought against those who shot the wolves as they are believed to have mistaken them for coyotes.

The wolves will be used by county conservation groups to educate hunters, with the DNR saying they need to be aware of the possibility "that what they are looking at may not be a coyote."

"We understand this is a sensitive topic and that our decision not to charge will be unpopular with some, but in these two incidents, based on the results of our investigation we feel it is the right course of action," said Chuck Gipp, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"Going forward, hunters need to know the difference between the species. On our end, we will provide additional wolf-coyote identification tools on our website and in our publications. We know hunters want to do the right thing and we want to help them."

Wolves are larger and heavier than coyotes, ranging from 5-6 feet long and weighing 50-100 pounds, compared to coyotes which are 3.5-4.5 feet long, weighing around 35-40 pounds.

Coyote hunting is legal all-year round in Iowa, but mostly happens during January and February, after other hunting seasons have closed.

A record number of coyotes were killed by hunters in 2013/14, with 15,347 registered, followed by 13,911 in 2014/15.

Three gray wolves were found shot to death in Minnesota last month, but rather than a case of mistaken identity, the person(s) responsible is thought to have acted maliciously. Officials are offering a reward to catch the killer.

Next Up

Image from iOS (1)

Fatal crash closes eastbound Hwy. 62 in Minneapolis

The closure is expected to be in place for an "extended period of time."

police tape, crime scene

Boy, 15, identified as 1 of 2 killed in shooting after crash in Minneapolis

The shooting happened after two vehicles crashed around 2 a.m. April 12.

White Bear Lake Area High School

Officials: Racist messages in White Bear Lake faked to spotlight issues

The superintendent called them a "hoax" and has since apologized for using that term.

Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin will NOT testify, invokes 5th Amendment privilege

If Chauvin did testify, he would have been subject to cross-examination by the prosecution.

Brooklyn Center, protest, Daunte Wright

CNN employee struck in head by water bottle at Brooklyn Center protest

The man was knocked the ground, clearly dazed by the assault.

wolf collar video

Researchers share first-ever collar camera footage from wild wolf

The Voyageurs Wolf Project called it "fascinating," showing that wolves in northern Minnesota clearly know how to hunt fish.


Reminder: Tornado warning sirens will sound twice today for test

It's part of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota.

Brooklyn Center police, unrest, Daunte Wright

No tear gas used as police, protesters engage again in Brooklyn Center

Fewer arrests were made Wednesday compared to Tuesday.

protest, Daunte Wright, Brooklyn Center

Daunte Wright protests: Police treatment of residents, media in spotlight

There were reports of residents not involved in the protest being detained, and media members being held and forced to show credentials.

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 5.09.01 PM

Defense witness: Cause of Floyd's death 'undetermined'

Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, said there were a number of possible factors that could have led to George Floyd's death.