The hunter who shot a Missoula man’s dog on the assumption it was a wolf near Lee Creek campground on Sunday committed a tragedy but probably not a crime, according to county and state law enforcement officials.

“If we have any more information, if the guy comes forward, it will be investigated further,” Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said Monday. “This is an awful accident. But if it doesn’t fit into a state statute that we can enforce, it’s very difficult to investigate. We’re more than willing to help this person. We want to figure out what happened.”

But beyond taking the initial report from dog owner Layne Spence about the shooting, the sheriff’s office did not see evidence of a crime to be investigated, Pavalone said. The report was passed on to the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service, whose law enforcement agents reached the same conclusion Monday.

That’s because, according to the statement Spence gave to law enforcement, the shooter tried to apologize after mistaking the brown-and-white malamute dog for a wolf. Spence told the deputy that he told the man to leave him alone and the man left.

That conversation, according to Pavalone, made it extremely difficult to show criminal intent on the part of the shooter. Without criminal intent, the accidental shooting of a domesticated dog is not a crime. It could trigger a civil lawsuit over the loss of personal property, but the sheriff’s office does not investigate civil disputes.

Spence reported the killing of his dog, Little Dave, to the sheriff’s office Sunday afternoon. Spence told a deputy he was cross-country skiing on a road above the Lee Creek campground with his three malamute dogs when a hunter shot one of them on the road. According to the deputy’s report, Spence said Little Dave was wearing a collar with a light when it was shot about 20 yards in front of him.

“The hunter resumed fire and shot approximately four more times, killing the dog,” Pavalone quoted from Spence’s statement. The deputy confirmed the dog was wearing a lighted collar and was shot at least twice, in the neck and rear leg.

Spence told the deputy the hunter approached him and said he thought the dog was a wolf, according to the report. He said the hunter asked if there was anything he could do, but Spence said he was so distraught he told the man to leave. Spence told the deputy the hunter did not make any threatening gestures toward him, and he knew the hunter was shooting at the dog.

BREAK

On Monday, FWP Warden Capt. Joe Jaquith said his agency is strictly limited to crimes involving game animals. Because the dog was a domesticated pet, it would not fall under a game warden’s jurisdiction. And even though it was allegedly shot while standing in a forest road, and hunters may not shoot game animals on a road, that law doesn’t apply to domesticated pets.

Spence told the deputy the man was wearing camouflage with a hunter orange vest, and was pulling an orange sled. He told the deputy the man had a black rifle that appeared to be semiautomatic, but “didn’t believe it was an assault rifle,” Pavalone said, quoting the report. Spence had earlier told the Missoulian the shooter was carrying “an assault weapon.”

Spence could not be reached for comment on Monday. A phone number he previously gave the Missoulian was reported out of service or disconnected.

Wolf hunting is legal in Montana for any qualified hunter with an over-the-counter license. There is no rule prohibiting the use of military-style rifles in hunting, as long as they are legal for civilian ownership.

The U.S. Forest Service maintains the Lee Creek campground for non-motorized winter use. Lolo National Forest recreation manager Al Hilshey said the area is popular with cross-country skiers who like to bring their dogs.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at rchaney@missoulian.com.

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(145) comments

space wrangler

So let me get this clear. BY definition no crime was committed because it was a domesticated animal. So by that definition I would not need my fishing license to fish FARM raised trout (pellet fed). And that being the case if I happen to "mistakenly" shoot a cow/cattle/Ranch fed BEEF/domestic animal, well no penalty what so ever? BS!I would at the Least be required to pay fair market value to the owner as to make the them "WHOLE" again. I am sure it would not so quick and smooth or let go by FWP, MCSO, USFS or say the USDA!!. It seems the real line is drawn at the monetary Value of the animal. AS many a driver has found out hitting "OPEN RANGE" cattle, and having to pay restitution to the owner. AS many a dog owner has paid for chickens killed....so i ask again? where is the line drawn? If LITTLE DAVE was a sled pulling dog permitted by the USFS would the outcome be any different?? As over here in Paradise Valley, where CHICO hot springs runs Sled tours in Mill creek. I would be in deep CREEK if I shoot a money making DOg. Being Little DAve was I am sure PriceLESS to the owner.. well that is a lot of $$$!! OH YEAH P.S. If controlling non native species is dam important lets put a BOUNTY on the coveted Brown Trout for the demise of the Cutthroat............

Objective observer

FYI. As of Friday, November 22, the Lee Creek Road was open. The gate was open and not locked. So if the hunter shot the dog from the road, it WAS illegal.

space wrangler

or on the ROAD.

oldwoman

As a daughter of a defense attorney ignorance is not a defense nor is it an excuse. The dog is dead, intent enough for me. Hunters are suppose to know what they are shooting at, seems like Montana gives licenses out to just anyone - or did the guy have a license even. How is it legal to be hunting near a campground? or on a road? where people can be walking or hiking and become the victim of a stray bullet. Not all of the rounds went into the dog, but I suppose if a person was hit they would really be putting some effort into finding the perp. Just another reason to have wolves protected, so innocent dogs aren't killed. For some of us our companion animals are family, just non-human family.

BitterrootBlues
BitterrootBlues

IT IS ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF MONTANA TO "HUNT" WITH A SOUND SUPPRESSOR. BOTH, THE MISSOULA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AND THE FWP ARE ALLOWING THIS ILLEGAL ACTION TO BE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG AND ARE NOT DOING THEIR CIVIC DUTY. BECAUSE OF THIS, A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION WILL NOW TAKE PLACE BECAUSE A REGISTERED CLASS 3 DEVICE WAS USED IN THIS INCIDENT AND NO ACTION IS BEING TAKEN BY THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES. THIS IS NEITHER A 2ND AMENDMENT MATTER, NOR A WOLF MATTER. THIS IS A BLATANT CRIME IN THE STATE OF MONTANA AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED ACCORDINGLY AND EXPEDITIOUSLY. PATHETIC COMMENTS FROM MOST. MANY ARE LACKING KNOWLEDGE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, A SOUL.

mini14gb

Umm...seriously? Its pretty obvious that the dog owner is not knowledgeable about firearms. I can guarantee you that FWP would not let this slide. You are being an extremist in assuming that the victim is an expert in firearms.

outsidethecage

Sorry about Little Dave. I'm sure he was a good boy.

That being said, it doesn't sound like the dude is a very good hunter. He's just outside a campground and he shot at a dog with a lighted collar 4 times? Sloppy. Sloppy, lazy, and dumb. Exactly the kind of person who should be running around with a gun under any circumstances.

I'm not against hunting if it is for legitimate reasons like, I don't know, hunting for food or for purposes of population control based on accurate science (not pressure from cattle ranchers grazing on public lands). Trophy hunters are a disgrace. If this guy shot my dog I'd be tempted to shoot him and claim self defense.

Wouldn't be much sport in it though. *sigh* I'm sure living knowing you are this idiot is probably punishment enough.

mini14gb

I'd like to see that collar and how well lit is was during daylight hours buried under the fur of a malamute, I'd bet it wasn't visible at all. I do agree that the hunter made a mistake clearly, dropping the ball but there are mitigating circumstances and anyone saying different is being extreme.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"It's like the seat belt analogy cited earlier. You wear a seat belt in case somebody else causes an accident that involves you. Doesn't mean that you are partially responsible for an accident caused by somebody else. The responsibility lies solely with the hunter to be sure of what he's shooting at."

...........

"Exactly. I guess next time we see someone get killed in a car accident who was not wearing their seatbeat we can expect to see Bittersweet saying it was partly their fault."

.........

The mans dogs in a way are similar to minor children. They aren't always able to make sound decisions to keep themselves safe, that, is up to the parent, custodian, owner. The dogs did drive themselves to the woods that day, they did not know it was wolf season, they had no idea that they may be mistaken for a wolf, they did not choose to jump out of the car without putting on something very noticeable that would distinguish them as a domestic animal.

..........

Here is another way to look at it. If a parent fails to properly harness their child in while driving and they are in an accident, even if it is not their fault, the child is injured (likely because they weren't in their child seat) would the responsible (or irresponsible) parent still be cited for not having that child in a proper restraint? The answer is yes. Why? The accident was not their fault but they were responsible for the safety of the minor.

.........

With that said please understand I feel this hunter made a very very poor decision and as a pet owner and lover it makes me sad that this happened. I also would never take my dogs to the woods in the middle of wolf season without dressing them out in orange. That's MY responsibility to do everything I can to assure they are safe. Does orange prevent all "accidental" (probably not the word to use) shootings? Certainly not and people and pets are killed every year that are decked out in safety orange but for the 30 seconds it takes me to put each of my dogs bright vests on, the peace of mind is worth it to me.

2buck2

"Here is another way to look at it. If a parent fails to properly harness their child in while driving and they are in an accident, even if it is not their fault, the child is injured (likely because they weren't in their child seat) would the responsible (or irresponsible) parent still be cited for not having that child in a proper restraint? The answer is yes. Why? The accident was not their fault but they were responsible for the safety of the minor."

So if my (older) child were wearing the lap belt instead of the full shoulder strap and was in an accident then any injury my child sustains is my fault because the other one might have been more effective in that instance? I would like to see you pull the statistics where people have been issued citations for using their lap belts vs the shoulder belt. It is not as if this owner did not take ANY precaution--he had the flashing lights on his dog. If I get a orange vest for my dog and something happens where the flashing lights would have been more effective it will be my fault for using the less effective type? Cause we all know exactly what type of accidents will happen to us? I guess the better option is to cover your dog entirely in orange, flashing lights, and a have a sign that states "I am a dog, not a wolf--please do not shoot me" while the owner walks behind with a megaphone shouting randomly "Attention any hunters in this area: I am walking my dog so please do not shoot it". Then maybe you are covered. I guess the real answer some of you want is for us dog owners to just stay home during hunting season period. Welcome to Montana, enjoy the outdoors (only if you hunt).

pakwani

Such a dangerous conflict of interest EH, recreational dog walkers and cross country skiers surrounded by AR15 equipped camo wearing companion killers.

rich k

In order to get a wolf tag, FW&P needs to clearly explain and show the visual differences between a Malamute (or Siberian Husky) and a wolf. As well, they need to tell hunters that since wolves look similar to these dogs, make sure the purported wolf does not have a collar, tags, lights, orange flag or vest on.

Here's a few Wolf/Malamute distinctions:
1. Wolves have longer legs and a generally leaner body. Malamutes are a bit shorter and stockier.
2, Wolves tails lay backward or down where a Malamute's most often curls up over the back.
3. Wolves snouts are longer/narrower, Malamutes have medium snouts.
4. Some Malamutes have long fur, wolves rarely do.
5. Wolves are shy, especially if alone. Malamutes are friendly to humans and will often have tails wagging upon sighting a human.

FW&P needs to hand out a flyer that explains these differences and show pictures comparing the two. Tragedies like this will be reduced. The travesty of hunting with an assault weapon requires further education, maybe counseling.

oldie

How about a description Lance? What was the shooter's height and approx. weight? Eye color, and hair color, and length? If he had a suppressor, somebody sold it to him. He can still be tracked down. It would be helpful to have one of his bullets, and of course, any cartridges he might not have picked up. The crime lab is right here in Missoula. The police won't do anything, but maybe somebody at the crime lab might.

Who knows, he might live quite near where he killed Little Dave. I'll bet he lives right near there. If it was me, I'd cruise that neighborhood ceaselessly, day and night, looking for him. He'll have to show his face again; on the street, in a store, in a bar. Lot's of people know him for sure.They have seen him at the rifle range, at the sporting goods store. He's around.

He might have his picture in the high school yearbook. You know what he looks like. Find his face. And share it with the rest of the world. Then once you find him, put his face on Facebook. Or don't. It's up to you.

That's all you would have to do though Let nature take it's course. That fearless wolf hunter disobeyed Mother Nature that day on the ski trail when he had his fun. Just let nature make up it's own mind, in it's own time, in due course. The police won't do anything. No, they won't, so let nature take it's course. She knows best. .

space wrangler

I just came form region 3 HQ. I was told that if that a road is available for traffic of any motor kind, IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT!! If he gate is locked than vehicles may still be there. If snowmobiles can be there, it is ILLEGAL TO SHOOT. If it were in the campground area, illegal to shoot. Tragedy it is!! Illegal absolutely! FWP is ducking their responsibilities!! LEts confirmed the wolf tag.! If a poacher shoots a donkey instead of an elk, it is still a crime, whether or not it is a domesticated animal. The intent to kill the "wolf" was there. The regulations still exist despite the outcome. Target shooting is illegal within 1/2 mile of any trailhead or road. Had the dog been hit if I was practicing, it would be a crime. Opinions are many for sure, but lets look at the letter of the law. FWP needs some consistency in it dam policies! Would a trap been legal there? This far from over.

Don't Care
Don't Care

Not true-You can hunt and shoot on a gated road. I've asked plenty of game wardens. Don;t believe the gals behind the counter. Snowmobiles are not allowed on gated roads for till Dec 1st.

Objective observer

Turns out that the gate on Lee Creek road was open.

Don't Care
Don't Care

"Target shooting is illegal within 1/2 mile of any trailhead or road."
Are you just making this stuff up? Deep Creek shooting range range is right next to a road, so is the trap club out by the Wye. Unless posted, I can shoot anywhere on national forest, not on a road.

Matthew Koehler

UPDATE: In his own words, this is the account of the tragedy posted on Facebook by Layne Spence, owner of the dog:

What is on my mind is the tragedy that has taken place and the miss quotes from the media and the Sheriffs dept. So I am setting the record straight. This is what happened….

I went crosscountry skiing up at Lee Creek campground where I have gone in the past. Knowing it was hunting season I put the bright lights that are on all three of my dogs collars.

After skiing for about 200-300 yards I here “tat”, my dog in front of me, his rear leg is blown off. I scream “no,no,no,stop stop” and as I near my dog who was 15 yards in front of me I hear “tat,tat,tat,tat.”

I look up and there is the “hunter” and I screamed “what have you done?” Screaming hysterically, the man says ” I thought it was a wolf.”

I said “You just killed my dog, you killed one of my kids.”

I started screaming “noooooo.” He started to say something like “can I do something,” not I am sorry.

I said “Do you know what a wolf looks like? You killed my dog.”

The man took off, I just screamed “noooooooo” and tried to put him back together but his leg was torn off and yes 15 yards in front of me and yes he was shot with an ASSAULT rifle, I know I have seen them it was either an AR 15 or AR 14. It was all black had a sound supressor and that was why no big BOOM BOOM semi automatic.

I know guns, I don’t have any but I have shot them before, and yes I have hunted both Bow and Rifle. It is the irresponsible hunters who think they can shoot any animal they see if they are in the woods.

The MT Fish and Wildlife said they couldn’t press any charges because it wasn’t a game animal on the road, it was a domestic animal. What???? Bullshit, So I left my skiis and poles there, put my Little Dave’s bloody and broken body on my shoulder and hiked out to also get my other dogs to safety.

So no charges, I call the police dept who gives me examples of people getting hurt because of the public outcry and are afraid of vigilante violence. But the truth is still one of our rights and so is freedom of speech. I don’t want this guy to get hurt , but something needs to be done…I am heart truly heart broken, everything I do is for my dogs, from where I live, to what I drive, and what I do is predicated on the lives of my dogs…Thank you to everyone who has wished myself and my other dogs Frank and Rex well…Layne

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

Let me know when you get the hunters side there matt, then again, thats how enviros work, just one side with a large dose of alinsky mixed in for emotional impact........and please, no expletives....surprised that it made it passed the censor.

Objective observer

Do you EVER have anything to add to the discussion?. EVER?

Matt posted the dog owner's personal account and you get on him because he doesn't have the hunter's account? Wow, just wow!

Hersbird

I hate to be the definition Nazi around here but the reason the police report doesn't say assault rifle is because it wasn't an assault rifle. An assault rifle has a very specific definition and the color or a noise suppressor have nothing to do with that definition. An assault rifle needs to have selective fire modes, meaning the ability to put it into a full automatic. Even the now expired definition of an assault weapon which was a media created definition needs 2 extra features from this list of 5 features, folding stock, pistol grip, flash suppressor, bayonet mount, or grenade launcher. Again those rules haven't been law for 10 years, and were only in effect for 10 years total. The historical and current definition has been in place since the 1930's.

flyfishdude

First of all, there are only two people who know exactly what happened, the skier and the shooter, and their versions may even be different. Outside of those two it is irresponsible for anybody else to try and theorize exactly what took place in order to assign blame. While this is certainly a tragedy, I think that partial blames lies with both parties involved. I am neither defending nor condemning the actions of either party. I do know one thing, the fact the the shooter may or may not have had an "assault rifle" is completely beside the point and has about as much bearing on the events that took place as what color eyes the shooter had.

Greenland2

The dog owner could have avoided the tragedy by using some common sense and using orange vests. Its like many precautions in life; it's not mandatory to do so, but it saves a lot of sorrow in the long run.

The Hunter should have avoided the tragedy by properly identifying his target. That IS mandatory to do so, and the hunter violated that duty of care.

It seems to me that shooting anything that ISN'T a game species, accidental or otherwise, and which isn't a "varmint" is "per se" negligent shooting, whether it be a house, a sign, a kid, or a dog.

Snowcrest

I put lots of orange on my horses when we pack during hunting season so someone doesn't accidentally shoot them.
I never,ever, let my dogs go into the hills without orange vests so someone doesn't accidentally shoot them.
We never go into the hills during hunting season whether we're hunting or not, without orange vests so some doesn't accidentally shoot us.
You are 7 times less likely to accidentally targeted by a hunter if you wear orange.
It's not rocket science people,if you do not practice this simple act of personal safety for yourself and your animals, you are betting your life and the lives of your animals that no accident can happen ever happen to you. That would be a very foolish gamble.

MT Libertarian

Ummmm....
We've gotten to the point of some people on here actually wanting the hunter to kill himself or be killed. Stop and think about that.
It's a dog.
I would assume these are the same people who are against the death penalty for vicious criminals yet support killing babies.
Unfortunate accident by an idiot? Yes.
But it's a dog, nothing more.

BG72

What a cold hearted #*@ you are.

D

Looks like I'll have to start carrying a gun for protection when I walk my dog on public lands...very sad state of affairs indeed.

Don't Care
Don't Care

I'm sure that is going to end very well for you.

D

I'd just be "standing my ground" wouldn't I???

GaryEG
GaryEG

I know I will from now on. I intend to shoot to kill also. Shoot at me or my animals (personal property) i will shoot back with the intent of killing The person endangering me.

Skeptical

royalwulff said it best - if you are going to kill a living, breathing animal, as an ethical hunter, you are required to be absolutely certain of your target BEFORE you pull the trigger. Just as a hunter must be certain an elk or deer meets the brow tine requirements. Seems to me this supposed hunter is just a gun-happy fool who likes pulling the trigger. Probably gets his jollies from firing multiple times - doesn't matter what he is firing at and who might be around. Whatever happened to KNOW YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND. That's what I learned in hunter's safety classes, and I don't even hunt! I took the class to educate myself. This supposed hunter might try it sometime. He definitely needs to go back and study the rules.

CodyFromCowboyCountry
CodyFromCowboyCountry

People who blame the owner if this dog for what happened are using the same thinking as those who believe getting robbed, or raped, or assaulted is someone's own fault. Regardless of what you think could have been done to prevent this, it is not the fault of someone minding their own business that another person seriously violated ethical and/or legal rules that predictably ended in a death, merely for their own private gratification.

Sheepdawg

What was reported on the news this morning:

The shooter did not "flee" and contacted the dog owner and admitted to a mistake.

The shooter has spoken to authorities and again admitted to it.

Bottom line, shooter made a mistake and NEVER lied about it. Owner has LIED about facts of the case.

kma67

My take on all of this is the hunter and Spence are both at fault! Know what you are shooting at AND we live in Montana....during hunting season WEAR ORANGE on yourself and your animals when out in the mountains!!! Unfortunately there are idiots out there that should not be hunting, which gives all of us that hunt a bad rap. And then we have the "bleeding hearts" who believe hunting is wrong. Stop trying to change the way of life here in Montana. If you don't like it GET THE HECK OUT!!!!! My kids and I hunt, it's food on our table!

BG72

People who hunt wolves don't do so to put food on the table. I'm not saying hunting is wrong or right, but your comment seems to go a bit off course of the whole issue. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and just because it's not the same as yours you are saying they should leave. Everyone has a right to live here, whether they hunt or not.

Don't Care
Don't Care

Shooting a wolf in the woods is no different than shooting a gopher in my garden.

BG72

Hopefully your dog or kid won't be in the way when you shoot that gopher.

GaryEG
GaryEG

I was born and raised in montana So why don't you GET THE HECK OUT!!! You don't eat wolf meat moron!!!!! this guy wasn't trying to put food on his table he was killing for the sole fun of killing. Big difference!!! I don't hunt but I don't care if others hunt as long as it is done correct;y which in this case it wasn't. Defending this piece of crud only makes the defenders seem like pieces of crud also.

Andy B Hamond
Andy B Hamond

An observation:
As shown on so many of the comments seen here, as well as in everyday life, guns and nuts are often found together.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

The same could be said about the hyper-emotional nuts. I wonder how many new laws these nuts will insist upon?

Fawzhuh

Same could be said about "nuts" in possession of internet access, driver's licenses and voting priveleges.

lakeguy406

Let me see if i have this right.... I can be walking/hiking through the woods and someone can LEGALLY shoot my dog off my side ? Nor MY dog. NOT MY DOG ! Just say'in.....
Expect retaliation. A little Montana Justice.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

What are you suggesting?

RobertR

You bleeding heart liberals need to wait until the facts are sorted out. Wolves do have collars, no there not lighted (was the lighted collar working) the hunter was hunting in a legal season and wearing orange, was the area restricted to hunting, did he have a tag for a wolf. Should have the man had an orange vest on the dogs and him self for his and his dogs safety.
Get over the semi auto gun thing because there a lot of personal defense semi autos. Just because a gun looks like an assault gun don't make it an assault weapon. Any gun can be an assault weapon. Do we know if the shooter was wearing hearing protection and could not hear the guy yelling.

Objective observer

RobertR, you bleeding heart conservative [snark], you need to understand that it is the hunter's responsibility, and only the hunter's responsibility, to know what he's shooting at. Besides, this has nothing to do with politics, period.

RobertR

Oh, O it is very political, banning specific weapons, protecting wolves,making more restrictions on hunting and hunters, the list could be endless rules and regulations.

C: you are so right!!!

Objective observer

The type of weapon here is not the issue, it's what he did with the weapon. Wolf hunting is legal (I support it) and the hunter was hunting legally. It's what he did that was unethical, not knowing for sure what he was shooting at. If you're within 300 yards of a popular recreation area/parking lot, you HAVE to be aware that there is a good chance that there are others around.

c

How well do lighted collars work in the daylight? Did the skier really yell before the shooting was over (not many of his other original statements turned out to be true)

Zeby

Royalwolf: Exactly what you said. I really appreciate the owner being honest and level headed through all of this. What a tragedy! So often is not the case and then they start making accusations and statements which are not true. I'm in my 40's and been a hunter all my life. Though I truly believe the wolf needs to be taken to near extinction levels in Montana and would welcome every chance to kill one, I would never ever shoot something I'm not 110% certain of or even think about it. I have had many instances where an animal at first glance looked like something else or something else looked like the species I was hunting, but in no case do you shoot and ask question later. This weekend a whitetail deer in the distance for a moment looked like a coyote, but after looking closer with binoculars it was obvious what it was. I can't tell you how many times I have been around someone either in the park, or some where else I heard someone say "hey that looks like a wolf" when it was a coyote. No comparison just like your dog doesn't look anything like a wolf, but some ignorant people don't know any better. Before you get a black bear tag you have to take an on line test to prove you can tell the difference between a black and a grizzly I'm assuming you have to do the same for a wolf tag. I hope the shooter takes this to heart and doesn't go hunting for a long time. He needs to get a grip on himself and think clearly before hunting again. We should all pray for those involved.

Objective observer

Well said and on target.

Sukey

Your dogs are drop dead beautiful - whoops, bad use of words. But, really, I'm very impressed with the picture of you and your other two dogs. May Little Dave rest in peace and be an agent for change. America loves our dogs and its refreshing to see a dog owner spend quality time with them. Perhaps the publicity of this hideous act will make some other person drooling to shoot something stop, look, identify before shooting.

sukeysafool

It would've been more refreshing to see the dogs wearing orange vest if they were being taken out to the forest.

GaryEG
GaryEG

AGAIN! LETS BLAME THE SKIER!!! YOU IDIOTS FAIL TO REALISE THAT THIS POOR EXCUSE OF A HUMAN BEING SHOT FISRT AND THOUGHT SECOND. THAT'S NOT RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERSHIP NOR IS IT PRACTICING RESPONSIBLE HUNTING HABITS!! AGAIN I WILL SAY THAT YOU ARE THE FOOL, NOT SUKEY!!!!
YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU ALL FAIL TO SEE THE REAL PROBLEM HERE. THAT PROBLEM IS IRRESPONSIBLE, OVERZEALOUS IDIOTS WITH GUNS MAKING THE WOODS MORE DANGEROUS BY JUST BEING THERE. PEOPLE LIKE THIS SO-CALLED HUNTER ARE A BIGGER DANGER TO THE REST OF THE PUBLIC THAN THIS SKIER AND HIS DOGS EVER WILL BE!!!! I KNOW I AM WASTING MY TIME BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TEACH THE CHRONICALLY STUPID!!!

Bright Owl

This is a heartbreaking story for all dog owners. I personal have all my dogs in orange vest for hiking in the backcountry. I am a hunter and it's our job to account for our target. Shame on the hunter that shot the dog! and Shame on any Law Enforcement saying its not a crime and passing the buck to someone else. The woods are for everyone even half breed dog. I get so tired of the hate in the world of wolfs etc. being a full blood Native American I feel the hate from time to time of my breeding. Bummer to it all! and So sorry for your lost of a beloved family!

Rev Black

Another COWARD with a weapon who won't come forward…just like the COWARD who recently shot the grizzly sow with 3 cubs in the Blackfoot Valley….some people just have to kill something, regardless.
And the hunting groups, RMEF, SFW, Hellgate Hunters and Anglers etc….not a sound out of them.
It's obvious why Montana hunters are getting a bad name.

Roger
Roger

There's a few bad apples in every basket - again, don't include ALL hunters and gun owners in with the relatively few bad apples.

RavenWood

Folks, this has nothing to do with the NRA or gun registry - shame on you for taking a tragic story and politicizing it! This is a terrible tragedy, my heart goes out to Mr. Spence. I am sorry for your loss.

Roger
Roger

Now that's a very good comment - but I still believe we don't have all of the facts. Perhaps we never will.

Fawzhuh

Good point, but it begs the question, why did the Missoulian find it necessary to report the type of weapon used? If it had been determined that a Ruger .243 or a Marlin 30-30 lever action with open sights was the weapon used would that information have been germane to the article?

LosandfoundT

By todays standards the owner of the killed dog can kill the shooter of his dog and use the
Stand-your-ground/Kill@Will defense... problem solved!

oldwoman

Totally unacceptable. The dog was shot repeatedly at 20 yards wearing a collar with a light. Really would a wolf be wearing a collar with a light. My dogs have a light on their collar and it can be seen at more than 20 yards. Hunters are suppose to know species recognition, there has to be some violation here if any kind of law enforcement wants to really do anything. Just like the guy in Kentucky who got off being responsible for killing a wolf because he thought it was a coyote. Just another incident of collateral damage as far as hunters and the great state of Montana are concerned!

knapweed

How can this not be reckless endangerment? Gross negligence? Twenty yards away? A lighted collar? In a well-used recreation area? Sorry, law enforcement seems to be ducking their responsibilities on this one. If they won’t respond, here’s hoping the owner can track the perp down and sue him big time. As one who believes wolf hunting is regrettable but necessary for control, that shooter should not be hunting. Responsible hunters should be assisting in his identification, prosecution or other accounting. And the message needs to get out that you can NOT get away with stuff like that.

GaryEG
GaryEG

But instead all the hunters are standing behind this hunter and blaming the skier. How dare anyone recreate in their woods during hunting season. Everyone knows it's hunting season so if your not hunting stay out of the woods. Like I said before Shoot at me or my dogs and I will shoot back!!! Perhaps if the hunter are the hunted they'll wake up and realise they are not the lords of all because they have a gun.

Tiger

So let me get this straight. It is not a crime to mistakenly shoot a domestic animal if I mistake it for wolf. Because my neighbor's Shih tzu that won't stop barking kind of looks like a wolf pup. Where is my bazooka?

Rev Black

"It's the responsibility of those NOT HUNTING to avoid getting shot"
Well, maybe the NRA has it right after all. and we should arm ourselves for protection of life and property (our dogs)
Seems that it just might be a good idea form those that recreate with their animals to arm themselves…..who would have thought???

sukeysafool

It's the responsibility of the dog owner to be responsible and take care of his pets. Dogs wear orange vests when they go outdoors.

GaryEG
GaryEG

sukeysafool... I ask you What was the responsibilty of the hunter in your opinion or does he have any responsibilty at all. I say it's his responsibility NOT TO SHOOT UNLESS HE IS SURE OF HIS TARGET which he obviously wasn't.
You certainly have the fool part of your name correct.

royalwulff

It is completely unacceptable to blame - in any, way, shape or form - the dog or his owner. Period.
As a Lifelong Montana resident AND avid hunter, I would submit that something like this should NEVER happen.
1. Species recognition is absolutely essential for proper, ethical (and legal) hunting. When your heart rate increases at the site of your target, you MUST be able to identify: "Is that a brown bear, or black bear? Is this a whitetail, or Mule deer? Wolf or coyote?... or Dog?" In the front pages of every set of hunter's regs in Montana, there are tutorials to help identify species. If you cannot properly identify EXACTLY what you are about to shoot, you cannot shoot. Period. The ability to differentiate between a malamute and a wolf should be easy - if you know what you are hunting for... If you don't know, you shouldn't hunt. Clearly, this "hunter" cannot tell the difference.
2. Hunter's Safety 101, taught from the very first time I ever handled a firearm, from my grandfather, and a mantra I remember very clearly from class 35 years ago: Always be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of your target before you pull the trigger... ALWAYS!

Is it better to be prepared when taking your dogs into game country? Yes. Would it be wise to dress them in orange? Of course. However, it is not the obligation of the dog or the owner to NOT get shot. It's the responsibility of the hunter to take ONLY a proper shot. Obviously, this did not happen. There are no excuses in this case. The hunter was wrong. End of story.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"It is completely unacceptable to blame - in any, way, shape or form - the dog or his owner. Period."

"Is it better to be prepared when taking your dogs into game country? Yes. Would it be wise to dress them in orange? Of course."

.......

You are contradicting yourself. I believe the blame lies on both parties.

Objective observer

I strongly disagree. It's like the seat belt analogy cited earlier. You wear a seat belt in case somebody else causes an accident that involves you. Doesn't mean that you are partially responsible for an accident caused by somebody else. The responsibility lies solely with the hunter to be sure of what he's shooting at.

2buck2

Exactly. I guess next time we see someone get killed in a car accident who was not wearing their seatbeat we can expect to see Bittersweet saying it was partly their fault.

Hersbird

sounds good saying "period", and "end of story" but what species is a grey wolf? and what species is an Alaskan Malamute? Both are Canis lupus and very similar Canis Lupus at that. So it appears he did know the species he was shooting at after all, period, end of story.

Objective observer

Wrong. If you'd seen the photographs of the dog that was shot, it didn't look like a wolf at all. By your definition, any domestic dog (canis lupus) could be shot by a hunter. And yes, all domestic dogs are a breed within the canis lupus species. Try again.

GaryEG
GaryEG

Hersbird. You are exactly the type of person to shoot first and think later. This guys dog DID NOT LOOK LIKE A WOLF!!! IT LOOKED LIKE A MALAMUTE!! Would you be ok if a hunter shot your corkey-welsh or weiner dog and say " I thought it was a wolf pup"? Probably not Bottom line !!!! IT'S THE HUNTER RESPONSIBILITY TO BE SURE WHAT HE/SHE IS SHOOTING AT!!!! PERIOD!! END OF STORY!!!!

Hersbird

Wow, I don't know how you jump to that conclusion. I'm simply identifying the species involved. It's actually ironic that lately there has been a big push to say the subspecies doesn't make a big difference in the wolf reintroduction to Montana. The Malamute is probably genetically closer to the Canidian wolves they introduced then the proper great plains wolf that used to live here.

huntskifish

I agree with you 100 percent, Royal Wulff.

CareForAll

Surprise, surprise. Another hick hunter who "accidentally" shot a dog. Oops. But big triumph all the same. Because that's what hunters do. They kill. It's arousing. It's thrilling. Big rush of power. On top of the world! He-man dominance. What could be more exhilarating? In another wolf hunter's words, "I'm about to sxxt my pants!"

And the nice wolf hunter in camo said "Duh....I'm sorry. What can I do?" My advice? I don't care what kind of weapon you've got. Automatic, semi-automatic, not automatic. It's all the same to me. Turn it on yourself. I beg you. Gaze down that barrel and squeeze.

I'm disappointed in those of you who say that dogs and skiers and hikers and horses should all wear orange vests so that hunters don't murder them. Why pretend? Killing and benevolent forms of recreation are not compatible uses for the same land. Hunters don't care if somebody gets hurt (in fact, that's the objective!), and neither do the Sheriffs or the state wildlife agency personnel. If somebody gets shot, or if somebody's dog or horse gets shot, let's all shrug our shoulders and remark that accidents happen. Hunting is our heritage, after all. Killing's our heritage and our raison d'etre. It's a great "sport," and even if we don't eat wolf, it's FUN to inflict suffering and FUN to dominate and kill.

huntskifish

I imagine that you wrote this just after wiping the hamburger grease from your mouth. Reality is a bummer, isn't it. All those Native Americans, Eskimos, Aborigines, etc. killing just for fun, for domination. Real hunters hunt for food. Just like always. This D-bag isn't a real hunter. Don't put me in the same category.

Re-Made in Montana

You need therapy.

GaryEG
GaryEG

No the hunter and like minded people need the therapy. Nes flash!!!!HUNTERS DON'T OWN THE WILDERNESS!!! THEY NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SHARE AND NOT SHOOT THE FIRST THING THEY SEE!!! If I go out in the woods during hunting season from now on I will also carry a gun. Not for hunting but for pritection. You shoot at me and my dogs.... I'll shoot back!!!!
Perhaps if the rest of us start taking out irresponsible hunters the east will grab a clue.
Remember hunters I have the right to defend myself and my property!!!!

Roger
Roger

That's a bunch of lies.

are you kidding

This idiot imbecile hunter (so-called) should AT THE VERY LEAST be charged with cruelty to animals and also endangering the public welfare, if he is so stupid he can't see a flashing light on a DOG. COWARD....come forward, identify yourself and allow the grieving owner to sue you civilly. Take the consequences for your idiocy or hide and feel like a man for murdering someone's friend with your big manly gun.

Roger
Roger

Nobody knows all of the facts in this incident, except those involved, and there's no guarantee the dog owner is telling the full truth.

proxymomm

Here in new mexico there was an article in the newspaper about a hunter proudly telling the tale of how he bagged his trophy buck. Part of the story involved the fact that he knew it was close by, so when he saw the bushes moving he just shot at the bush and got the buck. The game warden was there and promptly gave him a ticket for shooting at anything he had not positively identified before shooting at it. This happened during hunting season but identifying your target is one of the most basic laws when hunting in NM and every other state I know of. I do not think your state is an exception to that law. If it is, then I wonder how many accidental or accidentally on purpose shooting deaths happen there compared to all the other states. Yet this report states that the officials can not find any laws that have been broken????

The hundred thousand dollar question in my mind is how well the shooter is connected to people in high places? People are assuming/believing the man when he says he thought it was a wolf. A wolf wearing a lighted collar? And if all three dogs were wearing lighted collars then question is "a pack of wolves wearing lights"???? To meiIt sounds like a well connected local yokel who thought he could get away with shooting a lighted moving target because he is to stupid or lazy to successfully and legally hunt his own rear end!

As outdoor type people we often took our young children, along with our dogs on night hikes and we did not use flashlights because the point was to teach them how to navigate the wilderness at night should they ever need too. When they were very young I used to pin a little light on their backs just to be sure my husband didn't lose track of them. It may sound silly, but unlike many children, ours were never afraid of the dark and until they were old enough to understand the concept of "DANGER" it just seemed like the right thing to do.

If there are no laws there preventing morons (or maybe not) from shooting at anything that moves, then he could also have shot one of my children had we been there, or for that matter they could get away with shooting anybody or anything and just saying "OOPS and I'm sorry.

Another possibility is that there is more to the story than we know and the shooter had an ax to grind with dogs owner and knowing how much he loved his dogs, decided he could get away with hurting the dogs owner by "accidentally on purpose" killing his dog knowing he would get away with it.

This guy needs to file any and every kind of lawsuit he can against the shooter, including civil charges for pain and suffering due to his loss, and if local law enforcement continue to say no laws have been broken so they can do nothing, he needs to go over their heads, irregardless of whether the dogs death was an accident or something else. This is true because if the shooter gets away with what he has done this time, the next time he legally has a gun in his hands, it might be a child that gets shot.

I would suggest that the dogs owner copy this article along with the comments and send it to an organization called F.O.G. and ask what his options are. Its free and they have helped a lot of people all over the country. Local authorities telling him that there is nothing they can do is HOGWASH and if they have been getting away with this type of thing long enough that they dare to even attempt doing it now, then your local law enforcement probably needs to be looked at by higher authorities outside their jurisdiction anyways.

Have spent too much time writing this already so will come back later with contact information for the F.O.G. organization. It stands for Foundation for Open Government and if somebody else wants to look it up and post it, PLEASE DO! I'm a diabetic and right now my eyes are loudly complaining that they need a rest!

Bill C

It is really freaky for someone with all the fears of "COMMON SENSE" to think he represents "common sense". This guy sounds like he could exactly be the sort of guy—like George Zimmerman—who would mistakenly shoot someone first—because of all his fears, which he doesn't take personal responsibility for dealing with—and then not even bother to "ask questions later", either. "I was scared man, and that's all that matters! Doesn't matter that I'm a neurotic bundle of imagined fears...."

COMMON SENSE
COMMON SENSE

Drug cartel backed violent street gangs are imaginary? Home invasions are imaginary? Random violent crime is imaginary? I suppose you side with the government of Iran in believing that the Holocaust was imaginary too. And the twin towers, terrorists didn't do that, that was David Copperfield who made them disappear right? WAKE UP YOU IDIOT! I'll bet your the kind of person who would venture uninvited into someone's back yard, trip over a garden hose & then sue the land owner, the manufacturer of the garden hose and the store that sold the garden hose! You just keep living in your flower power paradise dreamland and when you come face to face with reality & some scumbag has you at knife point demanding you surrender your wallet, don't expect any help from me, I'll be too busy laughing my rear end off. Now why don't you go ride around in your VW bus, roll down the windows & crank some Incense & Peppermints see if you can freak out the establishment! PEACE!

R U KIDDING

Nothing more than an unfortunate incident. Only recourse is civil action. I have a sneaky suspicion we haven't heard or been told the real story. Without the other actor coming forward, we won't hear the other side.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"And even though it was allegedly shot while standing in a forest road, and hunters may not shoot game animals on a road, that law doesn’t apply to domesticated pets."

..........

Some things to consider. I believe that law applies only to roads that are open to motorized vehicle traffic at the time, not sure if this one was. There are thousands of miles of "closed" roads hunters travel and hunt from on foot or horseback and do so legally.

........

MT FWP Wolf Hunting Regulations read.... "It is unlawful to hunt from, on or across any public highway or the shoulder, berm, borrow pit or right of way of any public highway (The entire width between the boundary lines of every publically maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular travel."

.........

With that said even if the road was open to vehicle travel it is ok to shoot a domestic dog that looks like a wolf from the road but illegal to shoot a stuffed (FWP decoy) wolf from the road.

Run - A- Mook

you were not there.
I was not there.
No one was there except the hunter and skier.
until we have the full report. enough said.

R U KIDDING

MCA 87-6-403 a person may not hunt or attempt to hunt any game animal or game bird on, from, or across any public highway or the shoulder, berm, or barrow pit right-of-way of any public highway, as defined in 61-1-101, in the state. MCA 61-1-101 (27) "Highway" or "public highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every publicly maintained way when any part of the publicly maintained way is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. I do not believe the MCA applies here. This is a small claims suit at best ($7000 max), which if the shooter does come forward and a civil suit was filed by the personal property owner, I do not believe a JP would find him guilty. If you don't agree with the law, I recommend you vote for state representatives that reflect your views.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

In short what I was getting at is the law applies to roads that are currently open to vehicle travel, not ones that are seasonally or permanently closed. The shooter already made an off to help or ask what he could do and was turned away, his offer refused.

This morning there was a spokesperson from the Sheriffs office on the radio that didn't sound very happy at all about the contradicting stories this gentleman told the newspaper and the police department.

At this point the "shooter" should not come forward unless it is required by criminal law he do so.

As I said before, very sorry this mans pet was shot.

COMMON SENSE
COMMON SENSE

So...It's a completely different situation because the hunter had a dark colored semi-automatic rifle as opposed to an assault rifle? He's a public menace with an assault rifle, but A-O.K. with a semi-automatic rifle that has identical capabilities to any assault rifle? What kind of senseless mind-job is that? A .223 semi-automatic rifle made by the Ruger company or Remmington or Winchester is perfectly acceptable. Yet add a pistol grip and removable magazine, replace the wooden grips with polymer ones and put a label on it that says Bushmaster, and watch as every liberal in this country grabs their bible and starts praying like they just saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride past their window! Holy cow, That guy's got an assault rifle, a whole mess of folks are about to die!

Let me tell you something. It's not the obviously heavily armed guy with the AR-15 or AK-47 walking alone in the mountains that scares me. It's thing that goes bump in the night that might be a burglar packing a 9mm pistol or a knife that scares me. It's the shady looking fella with his hands in his pockets in the park staring at my kid in the playground that scares me and it's the loud, obnoxious group of people aimlessly roaming the streets at night with powdered noses & unnatural bulges in their jackets that scare me. But it's the AK's and the AR's the left winged crusaders are more concerned with. Street gangs backed and financed by Mexican drug cartels packing 9mm's and .45's kill dozens if not hundreds every day in this country continue unabated, yet it is the law abiding American hunter and sport shooter that is the target of liberal rage. Innocent men, women and children die, tragically and senselessly every day, struck by stray bullets fired by arrogant hoodlums. The hoodlums get a slap on the wrist and get sent to prison where they hook up with their brother gang members on the inside and continue to wreak havoc. And the manufacturer who made the gun that went to a retailer who legitimately sold it to a citizen who had it stolen in a robbery by the same scum sucking maggot who fired the stray bullet that struck little Billy, who just celebrated his 4th birthday and will never live to see his 5th, it is the manufacturer who will get sued and suddenly the word Beretta is synonymous with the word murderer. Find that one a little hard to follow? So do I. Sad truth is, it has happened. Guns are inanimate objects. They do not have a soul. They do not have free will. They do not kill. They simply sit, quietly, idle, a threat to nobody. Until....people, selfish, greedy, power hungry people pick them up. They KILL. Good citizens, responsible people, good people. those concerned with the well being of others, use guns to help ensure the freedom and safety of their fellow citizens by deterring crime and neutralizing imminent dangers.

Personal responsibility, logic, the ability to temper our emotional responses with reason. These are just a few of the things we are in grave danger of loosing forever.

huntskifish

Hi, Gary Marbut!

wonderwhy

This is the problem with allowing wolf hunts. Ignorant people will claim "wolf!" and shoot first think later because they have a personal vendetta against wolves. Didn't we read a story similar to this recently, about a pet being shot and mistaken for a wolf? Wolf advocate or not, we should all be concerned that legal wolf hunts bring out the crazies with their guns.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Food for thought: The vast majority of Montana hunters did not want a wolf hunt and 20 years ago there was no need for one. Montana sportsmen have been forced to manage a species they can not put on the dinner table and a species they did not want here in the first place.

cmeidinger

These two stories are completely different. These dogs were with their owner and had lighted collars, not chasing livestock on someone else's property with no owner present and no identifying collar.

AAO22

As a hunter (including wolves) AND owner of a large dog that could "possibly" be mistaken for a wolf our dog wears a hunter orange collar 24/7 - for his protection. When we hike he wears his blue pack. If we were hiking now he'd wear an orange vest. Its common sense really. Hunters and non-hunters even have their horses wear orange during hunting seasons. This is sad and mistakes do happen. However, the Missoulian did NOT do a FAIR or ACCURATE job reporting this incident. Makes me wonder if they will sensationalize incidents when wolves kill hounds, pets and livestock? Probably not. They truly seem like a biased bunch at the Missoulian. Recreationists need to be aware and responsible. Soon a person or person with their dog will be attacked by wolves while Xcountry skiing around these parts. Its bound to happen with the amount of wolves we have and the fact that wolves kill other canines.

amortdal

Did you read the article? A lighted collar does the job for all but the idiot hunter.

2buck2

I am totally going to call my state representative and ask them if it is indeed the responsibility of the person hiking, skiing or riding their horse to ensure that hunters do not mistake them or their animals as targets. I would encourage the other "lesser" recreationalists to do so as well.

Run - A- Mook

in some states they paint "DONKEY" on the sides of
their donkeys in red paint.

When I was a kid, there was a dairy goat farmer, that
lived down the road from us. During hunting season
he would put red cloth on his goats, so the {flatlanders}
from Illinois wouldn't mistake them for deer.

huntskifish

How do you know if the Missoulian did a fair and accurate job of reporting this story? Were you there? Wouldn't surprise me. Still waiting to hear the story about wolves killing cross country skiers, cause it's never happened, d-bag.

TourGuide

BS. The hunter is still completely at fault for shooting a dog very near to a man. That is a completely irresponsible and reckless gun handling behavior. Illegal? Maybe not but at minimum the "hunter" should pay for the dog (property) and for the dog owner's pain and suffering. If law enforcement will do nothing about it, I would lawyer up. And I would also advise a boot-to-the-head of the "hunter".

BJG1

This so called "hunter" needs to take a class in wolf identification. We all know that wolves and dogs are from the same species......any FOOL can see that, however only a complete FOOL would shoot a dog that is standing close to his owner. This guy, Mister Hunter, should have his guns taken away before he shoots a tall man wearing a fuzzy coat mistaking him for a Yette. What a fool. My sympathy to the owner of the dog. My contempt to the "hunter" and the police.

Roger
Roger

That's assuming everything the guy claims is true - a nebulous assumption.

crowe
crowe

Let me see if I understand this correctly: It's not criminal to "mis-shoot" something? Not even a fine or license suspension?

And, it is the responsibility of those NOT HUNTING to avoid getting shot, not the people who are licensed by the state to hunt? However, wouldn't an expert hunter and outdoorsman be able to recognize what it is they are hunting? "Sorry ma'am, but your horse should've been wearing a vest. I thought you were riding an elk."

So, to take this a step further, how are wolves supposed to recognize commercial livestock from say, wild animals open for hunting, if we, the superior species, can't do it?

Huh.

2buck2

Unfortunately I believe FWP is the one who has jurisdiction to take away the hunting license.

Florence gal

beautifully summarized.. thank you.

sep924

Well said, Crowe.

huntskifish

Exactly. Well said.

hjk30
hjk30

Once again Missoula police fail to do anything let alone their jobs, If i was this guy I would go to whatever police are in that jurisdiction I would not rest until something is done about this. It might not be a crime in the FWP's eyes but I wouldn't stop contacting people and if it all turns out at a dead end I would start my own investigation and find out who the loser is that shot my dog. Thats family right there and people are too quick to pull out a gun and shoot, this guy didn't even know what he was shooting at. This is a heartless act on the hunters part and he should have his hunting license and gun rights taken away!

sledmike

Version 1 "After the man allegedly shot Spence’s dog six times, he took off without another word, leaving Spence to deal with the tragedy of his dead dog".

Version 2 "Spence told the deputy the hunter approached him and said he thought the dog was a wolf. He said the hunter asked if there was anything he could do, but Spence said he was so distraught he told the man to leave".

Version 1" About 15 yards away from him and his dogs, Spence saw a man in camouflage holding an assault weapon."

Version 2 "Spence told the deputy the man was wearing camoflage with a hunter orange vest and was pulling an orange sled. He told the deputy the man had a black rifle that appeard to be be semiautomatic, but “didn’t believe it was an assault rifle,” Pavalone said, quoting the report."

I wouldn't take sides in this incident as there is plenty of problems and sadness for both sides. I would say, though, that this is pretty sloppy (maybe more) reporting.

AAO22

I agree whole-hardheartedly sledmike! Seems the Missoulian is pretty biased. Surprised? I'm not.

theJdogg

Would have been better off the Missoulian would have waited the extra hours to get a more complete story. This version had much less sensationalism. In the original the hunter only wore camo, walked off without asking to help, and had an assault rifle. What changed?

harpjane

I'm not ready to blame the victim. A malamute does not look ANYTHING like a wolf, except that they are both large furry canines! The noses, tails, stride, and leg length are all very distinctive. The hunter should have been better educated. Also since when is it okay to shoot at something on a road?

D

Exactly--and when a human being is screaming at you to stop????

2buck2

Disturbing how few of these "supporters" are not realizing that part.

Roger
Roger

Assuming it's true - a rather nebulous assumption.

GaryEG
GaryEG

Roger why do you assume everything the skier says is a lie and everything the hunter says is the gospel truth? You seem to be looking for any angle to show the skier was 100% at fault. You sir fail on many many levels. IT IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBLITY OF THE HUNTER TO BE 100% SURE OF THEIR TARGET AND BEYOUND SAID TARGET!!! READ YOUR HUNTING REGS BEFORE SHOWING YOUR IGNORANCE!!!

Waltzing Matilda

When the road is an old logging road that is closed to motorized vehicles, it is ok and legal to shoot at something on that "supposed" road.

GaryEG
GaryEG

NO it's not check with the FWP. The article even states that if the hunter had shot a wolf on the road then the FWP could have charged him. Shootin game animals on roads is illegal. That is the problem people with guns don't check laws and regulations they just asume they can do what they want cause they have a gun and are big and bad and shouldn't have to share "their" woods with non-hunters. HAd this been my dog I wouldn't have let him leave. He'd have had to shoot me fisrt. the skier should have taken this guys gun and shoved it up his arse!!!
I'm not against hunting as long as it's done properly. This jerk was endangering every living creature by shoooting first and thinking second.

As usual our cops are worthless and will do nothing. Should they investigate and make sure a crime was not committed? God forbid they do thier job.

Roger
Roger

I just checked the 2013 hunting regulations - you are incorrect. It's only illegal to shoot on a publicly maintained "way" when it's open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

GaryEG
GaryEG

this road IS open for snoemobile triffic thus it is illegal to shoot on,from or across this road. sorry Roger but you are wrong. Snowmobiles are considered vehicles.

Abonides

Another "responsible" gun owner proves that they shouldn't be allowed to own a gun. I fully support a gun registry, licensing and laws requiring ballistic tests on all weapons. Take away these psycho's guns!

speedbow20

Dumbest response so far today, congrats.

MTSierra

How ignorant of a comment in so many ways.

Roger
Roger

Abonides jumps to a conclusion without all of the facts.

GaryEG
GaryEG

Roger You are also jumping to conclusions. You are assuming everything the skier said is a lie. Keep defending the moronic hunter it just shows you both belong in the same boat.

Miss Perfect

I didn't realize the skier had three wolf-like dogs, I thought he just had one. The alleged hunter is a careless moron, but the skier is careless as well. This does look like a pack of wolves.....at first glance. They close range of the encounter suggests the gunman may have been surprised and got too excited.

There is no law that says a cross country skier has to wear blaze orange in the field during hunting season......but it is a darn good idea. All three dogs should have been wearing blaze orange as well.

2buck2

I don't believe this looked anywhere near like a pack of wolves. I have seen packs of wolves. They don't look like Malamutes, and they certainly don't have blinking lights on them. At most I may have confused these with Huskies. But also, please do explain why the hunter continued to fire after hearing a HUMAN BEING shouting at him? What did he confuse that with? Big foot?

c

With so much of the original story turning out to be false, why would you continue believe he shot after the shouting started? He was wearing orange, he did offer assistance, he did not have an assault weapon, and the skier was at least 60 feet away ( gotta wonder if he wasn't lying about being that close too ), all contrary to the original story.

LCHelenajr

maybe the hunter had a hearing problem or was wearing a stocking cap over his head?

Miss Perfect

You still don't see the forest for the trees. While this man with a gun (I don't want to dignify him by calling him a hunter).........this man appears to have been surprised and over reacted.

While I have seen wolves.......I nearly wet myself when a huge malmute snuck up on me in the woods in Alaska. I didn't see the dog until it was just 3-4 yards away and I was stoned scared.

It walked up to me......thought I was toast......but he put his huge head in between my legs so I could scratch his ears.

Some people panic.......I don't. This moron with a gun........he needs to be found and have a background check run on him.

The skier should have known better than to turn these wolf like dogs loose during hunting season. It is no different than the lazy guide who turned his hounds loose to tree a cat near Darby last year........two of his doge were killed by wolves. He put those dogs in harms way......he is responsible, just as the skier is.

You don't agree? Then explain the dead dogs (one skier dog, two hounds). Now recall ........the young man who lost and expensive hound up Ninemile recently.......is he not responsible for the dog's death? Or is it all the wolves fault?

EmilyS

question: other than the apparent "wearing camouflage" violation, did the shooter violate any laws? If it HAD been a wolf, could he have killed it legally in that location?

c

That is a good question. It would be interesting to know what really happened. Did he have orange over his camo? Did he look down through the trees and see a wolf looking canine running up a trail way out ahead of a silent and out of sight skier? Did he really have an assault weapon or just a black semi auto rifle? The skier showed a serious lack of common sense running his wolf looking dogs in the woods without some kind of identifying vest or something to identify his dogs as domestic.

Objective observer

A lighted collar? Maybe orange would have been better but it is ALWAYS the responsibility of the hunter to know what he is shooting at. ALWAYS!

Roger
Roger

That's assuming the story this guy told is true - we don't know that for certain. I've met a lot of dog owners who can't even discern when their dog is acting aggressively - they blame you for somehow causing their dog to behave aggressively.

Objective observer

Roger, it turns out I have several mutual friends with both the dog's owner and those dogs. All have them have nothing but good things to say about this guy and his dogs. I'll take their word for over your conjecture!

Roger
Roger

He was wearing a hunter orange vest, according to the story - so that's evidently a legal hunter.

Miss Perfect

Like I wrote a few minutes earlier.........this man needs to be found and have a background check run on him. He may have even been from Idaho....hence, the fast departure.

I will bet ANYONE $250 that he was past or current felonies. He showed very bad character, no compassion and no sense of responsibility to try to rectify the damage he had done.

God only knows what this creep would have done if he had shot the skier.

Speaking of money.........how can we get a reward fund started?

GaryEG
GaryEG

A lighted collar does not identify the dog as domestic? How many wolves have you seen with lighted collars? You blame the skier. Which makes you an a$$hole in my book. It's the hunters responsibilty to know what he is shooting at. And he kept shooting after the skier started yelling at him to stop. You and other like minded people are the real problem here. Shoot whatever you want and it's not your fault if what you shot had no orange on it. You are the definition of a moron.

c

Dang EmilyS, if we had waited an hour most of our questions would have been answered, the truth isn't quite as sensational as first reported.

EmilyS

I agree the initial reporting was..... sloppy.

But MY question is not answered. Is wolf killing legal in that area?

LCHelenajr

it is legal to wear camo when you are out hunting. There is nothing illegal about this. The dog owner used very poor judgement to allow his dogs to run loose untethered without them wearing orange. This man would still have his dog if Canadian wolves would not have been transplanted to the area.

huntskifish

Hmmm.. apparently Canadian wolves look more like Malamutes, therefore justifying this moron's actions. If the original wolves that white people eradicated had been allowed to survive, this would have never happened.

LCHelenajr

Do anti gun people actually think that this guy only shot the dog because he was packing a semi automatic rifle?

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