The next time you think you see a big coyote in Kansas you’d better do a double-take. There’s a chance, albeit a very, very slim one, it might be an even larger canine predator.
On Nov. 13 a Missouri deer hunter shot what he thought was a large coyote and it turned out to be a wolf. It appears to be a wild male, possibly from the Great Lakes region. Testing is underway but won’t be known for some time.
As you’ll read, a wild wolf tagged in the far north was shot in Missouri about nine years ago, too.
So, wolves in Kansas? It may have already happened.
About 23 years ago a friend living in Butler County repeatedly saw what he thought was a huge coyote hanging very close to his house and barns.
When he shot the animal he knew he had something larger than a coyote a soon as he got to it.
Biologists and game wardens examined the animal and couldn’t be sure if it was a pure-bred wild wolf, a domestic pure-bred or a possible hybrid.
My friend was allowed to keep the wolf and got it mounted.
No doubt it could happen again.
Wolves are spreading across the Northern Rockies. Their population has spread far beyond the Yellowstone eco-system where they were re-introduced several years ago.
Over about the past year a Colorado mountain lion has logged more than 1,000 miles across the prairies of Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico.
Wolves are better built for distance travel than any feline.
Who knows, maybe some day I’ll hear more stories about sighted wolves than sighted mountain lions.
No, I could never be that lucky.