Is This Georgia Canine Part Wolf?

Brad Gill | April 2, 2011

This trail-camera photo is likely an illegal wolf-dog hybrid. The photo was snapped in February 2011 in Habersham County.

Marty and Glad Simmons, of Clarkesville, were just hoping for a few nice shots of some deer on their trail camera, which is located several hundred yards from their Habersham County home. However, when they had a photo of a large dog standing on a log, which appeared not to be a coyote, residents began to cry, “wolf.” GON got the picture and sent it off to Jon Rachael, state wildlife manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Idaho has a hunting season on wolves.

“Sure (looks) like there is a lot of wolf in this animal,” said Jon. “The real question is where it came from… (It’s) impossible to tell from a picture, but clearly it is not an animal that should be wandering around on its own in Georgia.”

That raised enough of an eyebrow that we contacted Don McGowan, Georgia WRD senior wildlife biologist.

“I don’t think it’s a coyote. The tail is weird, it’s not a coyote tail, it’s more of a dog tail,” said Don. “I think it’s probably a wolf-dog hybrid, and we’ve had those before. Folks get a notion for something exotic, and they’ll get them from a breeder out of state. They’re not legal in Georgia.”

In states where these crosses are legal, most prefer the husky-wolf cross. Don said last summer he had a half-dozen calls about possible illegal wolf hybrids on the loose that had escaped from homes.

Marty and Glad Simmons said they actually have four of five photos of the wolf hybrid that have been taken over the last several months, but they’re mostly taken at night. They’ve never actually seen the dog.

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