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Federal officials investigate possible gray wolf shooting

Britton-area man Mike Werner shot and killed this animal that may be a gray wolf. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the case, according to a state conservation officer. (Courtesy photo)

ABERDEEN (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the case of a South Dakota man who shot an animal that might have been a gray wolf, an illegal act in the state.

Aberdeen American News reports that Mike Werner alleges he was hunting coyotes in Marshall County on Jan. 13 when he shot and killed what he thought was a larger, dark coyote. Werner says he called the local game warden after noticing the animal resembled a wolf.

Casey Dowler is a conservation officer with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. Dowler says the animal is being tested at a federal lab.

Gray wolf sightings are uncommon in the northeast part of the state. Wolves are protected under the state's Endangered Species Act.

Federal officials say they're unable to comment on the ongoing investigation.