Montana man charged in wolf killing

  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.

*Tom Reed

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