Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer said the MDC staff took measurements and collected tissue and hair samples for DNA analysis. The test showed the animal was a coyote.
According to Beringer, the coyote was a male approximately 3 years old. It had no tattoos, microchip or evidence of ear tags that would indicate it might have escaped or been released from captivity.
The coyote’s size and the size and shape of its feet were similar to those of a wolf, leading to speculation it could be a coyote-wolf hybrid. Gray wolves, also known as timber wolves, once inhabited northern Missouri but were gone from the state by the late 1800s, due to hunting and habitat loss. Wolves persisted in Minnesota. From there, they dispersed into Wisconsin and Michigan, which now have wolf populations of their own.