WOODSTOCK — A large canine struck and killed at night on Feb. 1 on Route 26 by a pickup truck was a dog and not a wolf or wolf hybrid as was widely surmised.

Maine regional wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey said Tuesday in Carrabassett Valley that the “wolf” was actually a mixed breed Alaskan husky.

“It’s absolutely 100 percent domestic dog,” Hulsey said. “It was just so obvious, I didn’t give it a second thought.”

“Just a big ol’ mixed breed dog that looked like it had husky in it, multicolored, and a big rounded head, shorter muzzle, short legs, typical domestic dog feet, and smallish tail even for a dog that big.”

To Hulsey, it didn’t even resemble a wolf hybrid.

“Wolves have ridiculously long legs and big feet, short rounded ears, long straight tails,” he said. “This had none of those whatsoever.”

Talk about the animal possibly being Maine’s first wolf killed by a vehicle began after Maine State Trooper Greg Tirado responded to an accident involving a wolf-dog on Route 26 near Route 232 on Feb. 1.

Because the large pickup truck involved sustained minor damage, Tirado deemed it non-reportable. An animal control officer who inspected the animal thought it was a large husky or Malamute mix.

“It had really big paws and a big humongous head,” Tirado said.

After learning that the canine might even be a wild dog mix with either a coyote or wolf, Tirado said he thought that was “super cool.”

He contacted people who might know and got conflicting information: an Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy said it was an old dog; state transportation workers identified it as a wolf.

“It was kind of cool and I thought maybe I finally found a wolf in Maine,” he said. “It was an interesting looking animal.”

A check of area homeowners revealed no one was missing a dog.

The following day, District Warden Tony Gray took the body to Hulsey who was in Bethel working with other wildlife biologists on a nuisance wildlife problem.

“I had no knowledge that it was any kind of an issue at all and (Gray) says, ‘My colonel just wants me to ask you if you think that’s a wolf,’” Hulsey said.

“I looked at it and said, ‘Absolutely not. Just a mixed breed big dog with no wolf characteristics at all, other than the fact that it’s a canine.’”

Heading home, Hulsey said he contacted his supervisor, Mark Stadler, in Augusta.

“Is there anything going on about a dog that people think is a wolf?” Hulsey said he asked Stadler. “And he said, ‘Oh, yeah, there certainly is.’”

That’s when Hulsey said he told Stadler, “There’s absolutely, positively no way that’s a wolf or a hybrid.”

“I was really surprised to see the news and the amount of attention it was getting, but you know how things spread when people start repeating things,” he said.

Currently, there isn’t any documentation of wolves being in Maine, Hulsey said.

“That being said, there are wolves in Canada not 125 miles from the Maine border,” he said.

“For an individual wolf to travel the distance is not a factor. The biggest factor is south of the St. Lawrence River, the Canadians don’t want wolves and they go after them pretty hard.”

“So, it’s certainly plausible for an individual wolf to make it through that minefield of Canada south of the St. Lawrence,” Hulsey said.

“It may get here, it could live here, it could die here and no one would ever know about it, but it’d be a completely different situation for a whole pack to get through that distance where they go after wolves pretty hard.”

“And you have to have a pack to have any kind of a population, so if the wolf were here, it’d be an individual animal.”

But distinguishing wolves from Maine coyotes isn’t easy. Hulsey said a small wolf weighs 60 pounds and a large coyote, 50 pounds.

A wolf  “could leave tracks and no one would give it a second thought that it wasn’t a coyote, or someone could even conceivably kill one and honestly think it’s a coyote,” he said. “It’s only those wolves up in Alaska that get over 100 pounds. Maine has the same species — gray wolf — they’re just smaller down south.”

“But I wouldn’t be shocked if someone some day hit a wolf here with a car,” Hulsey said. “It would be uncommon, but I wouldn’t be shocked by it.”

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