A popular legend has emerged in Indiana: the existence of so-called “coywolves,” or coyote-wolf hybrids. However, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (or DNR) encourages residents to think carefully about what they may actually be seeing.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife recently took to Facebook in order to clear things up. The post reads that beliefs about coywolves may be common in the Midwest, but that the term is incorrect. The reason? There simply aren’t any known wolf populations in the state. What may appear to be wolf-like coyotes are just coyotes with larger, fluffier winter fur coats.
Despite the tone of finality in the DNR’s post, locals are still skeptical. Scott Harter, owner of Indiana Wildlife Management, is one of them. Harter says that he aims to prove the DNR wrong by tracking an eastern coyote-grey wolf breed from Canada that may have migrated to Indiana back in the 1920s.
Harter was recently recruited by the Tri-County Conservancy District and Heartland Crossing Homeowners Association in order to examine a resident’s claims of spotting a coywolf. However, the association later backtracked after discovering that the resident had “misinformed” them.
In efforts to educate the public, the DNR’s post went on to clarify what a coyote actually looks like. They come in a variety of colors ranging from gray to reddish blond, and are much more “slimly built” than a dog (or wolf) would be.
Meanwhile, Harter continues to insist that coywolves exist, and is determined to catch one for testing.