Justin Lightfoot laughed when he saw a cutline under a picture he had taken recently on Otter Tail Lake.

Shot at some distance in daylight, the animal in the photo had the size and shape of a wolf. The cutline stated it “appeared to be a wolf.” The story with the photo stated it “could have been a coyote.”

“I have shot a hundred coyotes and that was a wolf,” Lightfoot said Thursday in a phone call to The Daily Journal.

The similarities between the two predators usually ends with their size. An adult coyote stands about 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 20-50 pounds. A timber or gray wolf is 26-32 inches high at the shoulder and typically weighs between 50-110 pounds. 

The fishing guide went on to say the wolf was attempting to cross the big lake but a pressure ridge had forced water onto the ice and the wolf was trying to find a safe way to travel around it.

Lightfoot added that the predator was later spotted near Barky’s Resort on the west side of Otter Tail.

Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Tricia Plautz told the Journal Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, the animal had not been confirmed as a wolf. She also said that Otter Tail County presently has a “decent-sized” pack of wolves.

Neither wolves or coyotes want anything to do with humans but small pets can be a different matter. Both predators prefer wild game but when that is scarce there is plenty of evidence that they will seek out domesticated pets and even livestock.

Coyotes can be hunted and trapped year-round in Minnesota but there is presently no season for taking wolves.


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