After A Farmer Found This Mysterious Creature, The Nature Of The Beast Left Experts Baffled

When a Montana farmer spotted a mysterious creature approaching his land, he shot it before it could advance any further. And it’s little wonder that he acted in this way, as at first glance the animal appeared to be wolf-like. Yet when experts arrived at the farm, they were left completely dumbfounded.

In May 2018 a rancher saw a fearsome-looking animal approaching his livestock near Denton, Montana. And, quite possibly making matters worse, the beast in question was unidentifiable. While it looked like a wolf, the creature’s larger-than-normal ears and short legs appeared to make such an identification unlikely.

Yet although the rancher didn’t know what species the predator belonged to, he wasn’t about to take any chances. So, when it advanced within a few hundred yards of his animals, he shot the intruder dead. And while the creature hadn’t actually caused any harm to his livestock, by law the farmer still had every right to kill it.

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Zach Norris from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) told the Great Falls Tribune, “It was close to the cattle and residences. There were domestic dogs in the area, and then there were children. It was legitimate for the wolf-like animal to be shot based upon Senate Bill 200.”

Meanwhile, after the rancher had shot the unknown animal dead in its tracks, the MFWP stepped in to investigate its origins. Experts were, furthermore, certain that the creature came from the same family as wolves and dogs. And yet they couldn’t figure out which species it actually belonged to.

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The animal’s squat limbs and oversized ears seemed to suggest that it couldn’t be a wolf. And there were other signs that all was not as it first seemed: the canine teeth and front paws were too modestly sized, while the front-paw claws weren’t short enough. The creature’s fur was also different to that of a regular lupine coat. As a result, then, the investigators found themselves stumped when it came to identifying the animal.

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“We [will] have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report,” Bruce Auchly, MFWP information manager, told the Great Falls Tribune. “It was near a rancher’s place, it was shot, and our game wardens went to investigate. [Then] the whole animal was sent to our lab in Bozeman. That’s the last I heard of it.”

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However, while the experts were baffled about the creature’s true identity, there was no shortage of theories on the internet. When pictures of the deceased animal emerged online, people jumped to all kinds of conclusions regarding what it might have been.

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One of those theories suggested that the animal in question may have been a dire wolf. However, there was one major flaw in this hypothesis: the animals have been extinct for thousands of years. And so one of them turning up out of the blue on a Montana ranch seemed pretty unlikely.

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Another commentator suggested that the strange creature may have been a young bear that was severely malnourished. “That’s a grizzly cub,” they claimed. “Under a year and starving from the look [of it].”

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Elsewhere online, some speculated that the animal was a Dogman. This legendary beast reputedly stalks the forests of North America. But just as with other creatures from folklore, such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, there’s no substantial evidence that Dogmen actually exist. That doesn’t, however, stop people from talking about them as if they do.

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Referring to the unidentified beast in Denton, one commentator wrote, “That could very well be what’s being called [a] Dogman. They’re spotted each day, and the government quells any and all reports. Several people report being strong-armed into keeping quiet about their reports by men wearing black suits.”

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Still, not everyone turned to cryptozoology for answers about the animal’s origin. Ty Smucker, resident wolf expert at the MFWP, believes the creature’s unusual looks have a perfectly reasonable explanation. He did, however, admit that its features threw him at first.

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Explaining his confusion, Smucker told the Great Falls Tribune, “Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures. The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There’s just something off about it.”

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Yet despite his misgivings, Smucker had concluded that the creature was most likely some kind of wolf-dog hybrid. In recent years, the wolf specialist had, after all, heard of such crossbreeds causing problems for ranchers in and around Montana.

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Explaining his theory, Smucker said, “We’ve had a few instances of wolf-dog hybrids out there. One was out somewhere in eastern central Montana killing sheep like crazy. Finally, we caught it, and it turned out to be a hybrid.”

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But while dogs and wolves have bred together in captivity, the chances of the animals mating in a natural setting are slim. That’s chiefly because wolves are extremely territorial. And as a result, they’re more liable to viciously attack dogs that stray close than allow them into their packs.

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Meanwhile, wolfdogs are known to display unpredictable behaviors, ranging from submissive and calm to territorial and aggressive. Because of this, the animals tend to make for challenging pets, and their owners often give them up. And with that in mind, there is tight control over wolfdog breeding.

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Perhaps, then, the Denton creature was indeed an abandoned wolf-dog hybrid. For Smucker, it was a possibility at least. “Over the years we’ve had incidences where someone has a wolfdog. I don’t know if it gets too big or if it just wanders off,” he explained to the Tribune.

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The truth, though, is that no one will know what the creature was until its DNA tests come back from the lab – and according to an MFWP press release, that could take weeks. So until then, the online speculation may become even more arguably outrageous.

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