On May 16th, a lone wolf-like animal was shot and killed on a ranch outside of Denton.
With long grayish fur, an enormous head and an extended snout, the animal had many features of a common wolf. However, the creature's ears were much too large and it's legs and body were too short.
"We have no idea what this creature is. We have to wait until we get a DNA report back," said Bruce Auchly, information manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "It was near a rancher's place, it was shot, and our game wardens went to investigate. The whole animal was sent to our lab in Bozeman. That's the last I ever heard of it."
Here's more from Great Falls Tribune:
Social media from around the Lewistown area was buzzing last week; with many people chiming in on what they believed the creature to be.
"That's a grizzly cub," one commentator wrote. "Under a year and starving from the look."
"Maybe a dire wolf," wrote another, "because I don't believe they are all gone."
Speculation roamed as far as identifying that animal as a crypto-canid species said to roam the forests of North America.
"That could very well be what’s being called Dogman," one poster suggested. "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. These are just facts. Look into if if you don’t believe it."
"Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures," said Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP. "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."
Smucker's own speculation runs toward some type of wolf/dog hybrid. He noted several occasions within the last few years in which canid predators, neither all wolf nor all dog were causing problems with ranchers east of the Continental Divide.
"We've had a few instances of wolf/dog hybrids out there," Smucker said. "One was out somewhere in eastern central Montana killing sheep like crazy. Finally, we caught it and it turned out to be a hybrid."