DNA Testing Confirms Montana Mystery Animal Was Gray Wolf

MT wolf mystery solved

In May a mystery creature was shot and killed on a ranch outside Denton. What the heck is it? Locals buzzed about the possibilities. Some said wolf with weird genetics…others grizzly cub…conspiracy theorists screamed Dire Wolf, an extinct prehistoric carnivore that some people swear still lives…or Dogman, a relative to Sasquatch, a large cryptozoological creature that looks and walks like an upright canid.

The DNA results are in and, ho-hum, it was a common old gray wolf. This press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks explains:

The canine creature shot in Montana a month ago that captured the curiosity of the nation is actually a gray wolf. DNA from the animal, which was shot legally by a rancher near Denton on May 16, was tested at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensic laboratory in Ashland, Ore.

The lab compared the animal’s DNA with thousands of other DNA samples from wolves, coyotes and dogs. The conclusion was clear – this animal is a gray wolf from the northern Rocky Mountains.

Confusion about the animal might be due to the condition of the animal and the photos, which seemed to show short legs and big ears. Inspection of the animal at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife health lab in Bozeman revealed a relatively normal looking, dark brown wolf.

Physical variations aren’t unusual for animals, said Mary Curtis, geneticist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Within species there can be variability that’s not surprising at all,” Curtis said.

The wolf was a non-lactating female, which means she didn’t have a litter of pups. However, any unique physical features she has might also appear in her siblings or parents and may continue to be passed along by others in her family. The wolf measured 45 inches from the tip of the nose to the rump and weighed 84.5 pounds. It’s estimated that the wolf was between 2 and 3 years old.

According to the 2017 Montana Gray Wolf Program Annual Report, population estimates suggest there are approximately 900 wolves in Montana. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Montana has far exceeded wolf recovery goals.

Property owners in Montana have broad legal authority to shoot wolves they feel might be a threat to their livestock, as was the case with this wolf near Denton.

DIY: Man Turns 250-Pound Tank Into BBQ Cooker (Plus How To Roast Deer)

Just in time for the first weekend of summer, our friend Matt “Flatlander” Cheever tells us about his awesome DIY BBQ project, plus provides tips for roasting venison:

Sometimes sitting around a campfire dreaming up projects, schemes and adventures with our buddies is the best part of deer camp.  In one of those conversations among friends I was offered a free 250-gallon propane tank. “Wouldn’t that make a great BBQ pit,” we all reckoned. “You could put it on a trailer and make it mobile.”

I like a challenge… But maybe I bit off more than I could chew?

Six years and several thousand dollars later my “free” project is finished! It’s worth every penny!

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Fifty-five pounds of welding wire, two different trailers (single axle wasn’t enough) and the pit is done. It will last for decades, feed thousands and bring together friends and family for a common bond, something we need a lot more of in this country.

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Thirty-two-hundred pounds of pure steel beauty is now rolling smoke and cooking hogs, venison, turkey, fish and anything else that walks or comes into range.

This dream kind of started with the idea of roasting a whole deer. As with cooking a whole hog, it would be a striking visualization. But in all honesty, it’s better to do deer quarters or roasts so as not to over-cook prime cuts. So here’s how you do it:

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–De-bone or bone-in is fine. Either way, I like to inject the deer meat with Creole butter and garlic from the Cajun injector company. Then I smear it with a thick coating of yellow mustard (don’t worry you won’t taste any mustard once the meat is roasted, it tenderizes the venison and turns to almost a BBQ crust). Then season with salt and black pepper.

–Roast the meat on your cooker about an hour a pound at 250 degrees…wrap in foil it after two hours (meat only takes on smoke for two hours anyway). It doesn’t hurt to baste the meat during cooking with a beer or apple juice, or maybe even hard cider in the fall.

–Pull the meat off at 165 degrees internal temp if you want to slice it like a thin steak or brisket. Pull it off at 195 degrees if you want to shred it. I like to let the meat sit and rest a good 20-30 minutes after coming off the cooker.

–If you plan to cook a large back quarter of a deer, you may want to drape some bacon or pork belly over the roast to hold moisture and keep it from drying out.

–When the meat is done, serve it in soft-shell tacos, on a bun or however you like, but be sure to do it while sitting around a fire with your buddies, scheming up your next crazy idea! Be safe, God bless and BBQ on–Flatlander

 

Why Do Deer Jump The Bow String?

early season bowhunting

Hey Mike: Wondering if you could settle a friendly argument. A buddy and I were discussing deer jumping the string. I say it is all noise related and they instinctively react; he says it could also be visual—they see the arrow coming. Wondering your thoughts? Also, do you ever see a bow being fast enough that you don’t have to worry about them jumping the string or is that impossible? Thanks–Jake in WI

Jake, you win, it’s an instinctive reaction. I heard a guy say one time, “It’s like when somebody blows a horn or sets off a firecracker close, you jump.” When a deer hears your bow go off in his natural environment, same thing.

I’ve heard people say a deer might see the arrow and react…I guess it’s possible a doe or buck might glimpse the blur of an arrow out the corner of their eye, but I doubt it happens often.

Actually, “jumping the string” is a misnomer, it should be called “ducking and rolling.” Doe or buck hears your bow go off, drops its chest down toward the ground and whirls to run in one motion. Can’t see it with the eye, but watch a slow-motion video of it, and it’s amazing.

Some deer drop at the bow sound, others don’t. Unpredictability has to do with distance to deer, quietness of bow, foliage that does/does not muffle sound, etc. You never know, so hold the correct sight pin on bottom third of the vitals. Deer drops, you pierce mid to high lungs; deer does not drop, you sear heart/low lungs. Either way, you kill deer.

I suck at physics, but I understand the speed of sound is around 1,126 fps while the fastest compound bow shoots an arrow at 360 fps or so. So no, I am reasonably sure there will never be a bow that propels an arrow that deer cannot jump (or rather duck).

Summer 2018: First Trail Cam Bucks

md dan june 2018 buckOur friend Dan says, “I’m keeping an eye on this one.” He just did his first card pull of the summer and has more than 1,300 pics from just 2 cams…”15 different bucks so far, this one is the biggest for now…3 others have potential with a lot of growing to do in the next 2 months.”

Dan says more bucks are likely to show up on their “summer range” soon in his area. Last summer, by mid-July, Dan had accumulated more than 10,000 images of deer, and 30 different bucks. It’s a unique and interesting situation, click here for details.

By Dan’s standards the buck action at my Virginia mineral/camera sites is minimal right now, though the wide rack below popped up on my Spartan Camera app last night, he’s gonna be a cool deer. Send me your trail cam images and stories to share, I’ll always keep your location secret.

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Why You Should Buy Another Gun Now

hanback stalking 783.jpg compressdSaw this on the Outdoor Wire and thought it made a good point. Put some of your tax savings that are coming in 2019 on a new handgun for home protection or a new rifle for deer hunting (treat yourself to a father’s day gift):

Much has been printed and broadcast recently about soft firearms sales. According to the liberal mass media outlets and their hatred of firearms, the gun industry is on the brink of death. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

You can do your part to help drive up firearm ownership numbers in the months ahead. Go shopping.

Those who watch firearms sales follow the NICS background checks numbers. May 2018 set an all-time monthly record for NICS checks—the federal gun clearinghouse for those making a firearms purchase. In most recent months, the monthly sales total has been around or above 2 million firearms purchased. Many are being purchased for self-defense, but hunting and recreation are also huge uses.

With hunting seasons and National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sept. 22, 2018) on the horizon, you should make plans now to buy another firearm.

Need some reasons to buy another firearm? Read on…

–Guns provide hours of fun for you, family and friends.

–Firearms can be used to protect you and your family and friends.

–Guns provide food when you go hunting.

–Firearms create jobs. By some estimates, more than 310,000 full-time American jobs are related directly to firearms. Per the NSSF, “Companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute, and sell firearms, ammunition, and hunting equipment employ as many as 149,113 people in the country and generate an additional 161,795 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries.”

–Firearms help the US economy. Again, according to NSSF numbers, “…in 2017, the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $51.41 billion in total economic activity in the country.”

What will your next gun purchase be? Start shopping. Good news is that many places are having sales fight now to make way for the new 2018 models.

Photo: Hanback with one of his favorite deer rifles, Remington Model 783 in .270 topped with Trijicon’s world-class 3X-9X Accupoint scope.