A Michigan man hunting coyotes thought he shot the biggest one ever, but found out he shot a gray wolf in lower Michigan's Calhoun County.

Michigan's Gray Wolves

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Michigan once had gray wolves roaming in every county in the state. Settlers moving into the state found they were a problem with their livestock and nearly killed them all.

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The gray wolf has bounced back in Michigan's Upper Peninsula because of the Department of Natural Resources' efforts to reintroduce them and the Federal Government making them endangered species.

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Just because the gray wolf is mostly found in the Upper Peninsula, doesn't mean the occasional animal doesn't travel south into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

Read More: Wolves Are Doing Well On MI's Isle Royal, Moose Are Another Story

Michigan Coyote Hunter Mistakenly Shoots Gray Wolf In Calhoun County

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Calhoun County is east of Kalamazoo, south of Lansing, and a long way from the Upper Peninsula for a gray wolf to travel. Like cougars, wolves are known to travel thousands of miles virtually undetected unless someone gets lucky and spots one or a trail camera catches one on film.

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According to WOOD, a man was hunting coyotes with a guide in Calhoun County back in January, when they spotted what looked to be a record-sized animal. The hunter-harvested what he thought to be an oversized coyote but it turned out to be an endangered gray wolf.

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A larger coyote can weigh a little over 40 pounds but the gray wolf shot in Calhoun County weighed nearly 85 pounds which is a big difference in size. I have hunted and depending on what time of the day the animal was shot, and the lighting conditions, it is easy for a hunter to misjudge the accurate size. The hunter and the guide would not be looking for a gray wolf since they are mostly found in the U.P. I see how they might make the mistake but the animal was about double the size of a normal coyote.

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The DNR doesn't believe the wolf is part of an established pack but will look into where this animal originated.

The Wolves of Michigan

10 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Gray Wolves

In 2020, voters approved the re-introduction of wolves to Colorado's forests.

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