Two weeks ago, a man in Montana caught two wolves on his property attacking his goats and took action. He shot and killed them both in an act of defense to protect his livestock.
The unnamed man spoke with The Western News last week as he recalled the encounter. Yet he only shared his story under the condition of anonymity in fear of possible harassment from animal advocacy groups. The man did say he lives west of Troy, Montana in Lincoln County on the Kootenai River with his wife and son. While speaking to the outlet, he admitted that he’d never come face to face with wolves until earlier this month.
“I had never had an encounter with wolves before this,” the man told the local newspaper. “And I’ve spent a lot of time hunting deer and elk here and in northern Idaho.”
The family first realized they had an issue on Saturday, July 9th. That’s when the couple’s son found their pet rabbits killed but not eaten. At the time, the man assumed a coyote or feral dog was to blame. However, the next morning, his wife heard their goats screaming during a second attack.
“Then I heard it, too, and I grabbed my son’s deer rifle and ran across the yard in my skivvies,” the man explained.
Upon reaching their barn, the man stopped and yelled out. Not long after, a light-colored wolf came strolling out and the homeowner took aim.
“I hesitated for a second, but then I got him in the scope and shot,” he said. “I lost sight of it when the rifle recoiled and then I saw it again. I thought to myself, ‘That’s pretty poor shooting for something that’s about 50 feet away.’ But I shot again and it dropped.”
Homeowner Says He Didn’t Want to Kill the Two Wolves, But He Had to Defend His Livestock
The man later realized that his second shot didn’t strike his original target. In fact, when he lost sight of the first wolf during the recoil, a second wolf came into view. After the man entered the barn, he found two dead gray wolves. He hadn’t missed his shots at all, instead he took out two wolves with two shots.
As he looked around the barn, he discovered that his goats were mostly unharmed. To the relief of the family, they took the goats to a local veterinarian and they didn’t even require stitches.
“While they were tore up, they didn’t need stitches,” the man told The Western News. “I’m not sure how they’ll ultimately do, but they are on the mend. I’m glad they didn’t get disemboweled or have an artery torn. It would have been much different.”
Following the incident, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Game Warden Sawyer Johnson came to their property to collect the dead wolves. The man shared that Johnson thinks the wolves were two young males that got away from their pack. But Johnson admitted he’d have to get a second opinion from a biologist.
While speaking with the newspaper, the man also added that he plans on building a higher fence around his barn to deter further attacks. He shared that he didn’t want to kill the wild animals, but he had to defend his livestock.
“I didn’t set out to kill these wolves, but they were in my barn trying to kill my goats,” he said. “People need to realize wolves are not these cuddly, furry animals and they are among us.”