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GF&P looking into large canid harvested

Given the recent questions and dialogue around a possible wolf being killed near Parkston, Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) would like to provide additional information for clarification.

GF&P was contacted by an individual who shot a large canid-like animal. Due to the size of the animal, GF&P staff questioned whether the animal could possibly be a gray wolf or some type of hybrid, domestic or wild. The protocol that GF&P follows in these situations is to take the animal into possession and work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) officials to ascertain the identity of the animal.

One of the first tasks is to collect a DNA sample from the animal and have a federal laboratory conduct a genetic analysis to confirm the animal's identity (i.e. a coyote, wolf, hybrid, domestic, etc.).

This DNA confirmation process normally takes several weeks. DNA results are still pending and no confirmation is available at this time. GF&P and USFWS officials will work collectively once the confirmation is complete.

Gray wolves remain protected across the entire state of South Dakota under the federal Endangered Species Act. Sportsmen and women as well as fur harvesters are reminded that gray wolves may occur periodically in South Dakota and need to exercise caution if they believe a gray wolf is in the area. GF&P also wants to encourage hunters to always clearly identify their target before firing a firearm at any animal. The federal protections of the Endangered Species Act prohibit the take of a gray wolf unless the animal is threatening human life.

For more information or to learn more about identifying gray wolves and coyotes, please visit gfp.sd.gov/wolf.

— This response from SD GF&P was submitted following a column written by Roger Wiltz, a freelance Outdoors writer who writes weekly for The Daily Republic.