A 42-year-old unemployed Red Lodge, Mont., man has
been charged with killing one of 15 wolves restored to Yellowstone
National Park. Chad McKittrick appeared in U.S. District Court on
May 18, where he faced misdemeanor charges of illegally killing the
large male wolf. A hunting partner turned McKittrick over to
authorities, who found the wolf's head and hide on McKittrick's
property. Dusty Steinmasel said that he and McKittrick were bear
hunting near Red Lodge on April 23 when they saw the wolf.
According to Steinmasel, McKittrick said: "It's a wolf. I'm going
to shoot it." Authorities later found the wolf's radio collar in a
culvert. McKittrick now says the shooting was a mistake because he
thought the wolf was a dog or a coyote. He faces up to one year in
jail and a $50,000 fine if convicted. The wolf left a legacy: Eight
pups were whelped by the wolf's mate on private ranch land near Red
Lodge (HCN, 5/15/95). To protect them, federal authorities moved
the family back to a pen inside Yellowstone.