Famous Yellowstone wolf killed by hunter outside the park

Famous Yellowstone wolf killed by hunter outside the park

Outdoors

Famous Yellowstone wolf killed by hunter outside the park

A gray wolf popular among visitors to Yellowstone National Park  has been killed by a hunter outside the park.

The dark-colored female of the Lamar Canyon Pack, cataloged as 926F and affectionately known as ‘Spitfire,’ was shot last Saturday outside Cooke City, Montana.

Abby Nelson, a wolf management specialist with Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the Jackson Hole News and Guide that the animal was legally harvested during hunting season.

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Nelson added, “The circumstances are obviously a little bit harder for people to stomach, because that pack had showed signs of habituation.”

News of 926F’s death has saddened fans of Yellowstone National Park in part because members of the Lamar Canyon Pack are somewhat accustomed to the presence of humans, and are often viewed from park roads.

Rachel Tilseth, in a post on the Love Wolves Facebook page, used a photo by Vanessa Vought and stated: “Sad news coming out of Yellowstone National Park: 926F was shot in Montana’s wolf trophy hunt… 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack was the daughter of the famous O-Six wolf that was also killed by a trophy hunter as she left the safety of YNP boundary. Thanks to the heartless trophy hunter 926F joins her mother in the spirit world cut down far too soon.”

Wildlife photographer Deby Dixon posted a Facebook tribute to 926F, stating that “her eyes were always bright and she was always ready to go; nothing stopped her.”

Wolf 926F. Photo courtesy of Deby Dixon

The Wolf Conservation Center criticized the state for allowing sport hunting for Yellowstone-area wolves, citing a recent study showing that the apex predators help generate millions annually in regional tourism revenue.

Montana allows wolf hunting as a means of managing the state’s overall wolf population, which it considers to be stable. Licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for non-residents. Hunting is not allowed inside national park boundaries.

The most recent estimate lists the population at “a minimum of 536 wolves in 126 packs.”

–Image used with permission of photographer Deby Dixon

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