Missoula Man Brags on Facebook About Killing Wolves – Story Grabs Nationwide Attention
Wildlife officials are investigating after a Missoula man's Facebook claims he ran over a pair of wolf pups along the Montana-Idaho border. Troy Bridges of Missoula boasted on an anti-wolf Facebook page entitled "Lobo Watch," saying that he killed two wolves with his vehicle back in August.
Bridges was on his way to visit his wife who was previously flown to Seattle for emergency surgery after suffering a brain aneurysm. Here's his post:
I was nearly out of Montana, headed up the side of the Bitterroots toward Lookout Pass. I had stopped at the rest area on the Montana side, at around mile marker 5, and had just started to regain some speed up the steep grade. Just past MM4, a cow elk and calf suddenly ran right out onto Interstate 90, and I let up on the gas and had just started to brake - in case more elk followed.
What followed were two adult wolves. The cow jumped over the concrete barrier seperating West and East traffic lanes, the calf stayed on "my" side - and both were running up the highway, toward the pass. The wolves went after the calf...and I let off the brake and hit the accelerator. I was going to save that calf.
I was driving Christy's van, since it gets better gas mileage, and had just regained some speed, back to about 55 m.p.h. when suddenly four young wolves shot right out in front of me. There was no time to hit the brakes (like I really would?) and I heard two distinct loud "thumps". Out of my mirror, I saw an almost black 50-pound wolf spinning around in the middle of the highway...with one very apparent, very badly broken back leg. In the other mirror, I saw one slightly smaller wolf rolling onto the shoulder.
At the sound of the wolf pup with the broken leg squalling, the two adult wolves cut back across the highway in front of the van and shot up the side of the steep slope. I drove on to the pass, came back down the other side to where I could get back on the West bound lane, and came back to where the dead wolf laid on the shoulder. I saw the other pup - dragging a broken leg - topping a steep bank about 80 or 90 yards upslope, just as it went back into the timber. I thought about going up and putting the young wolf out of its misery...then I gave that second thought. The two adult wolves were still in the very close vicinity...and I did not have a gun in the van.
While I snapped a few photos, I heard the pup howling in distress...and a few minutes later I heard quite a ruckus up above...then all went quiet. I do believe that the adult wolves finished off their severely injurred offspring.
Two wolves out of the equation...and it was all an accident. I love it when things go good. Right now, with my wife laying in recovery 550 miles away...I need a few good things to happen for me. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
The New York Daily News also reported on the boasting, referring to the incident as an "alleged snuff job."
Vivica Crowser from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in Montana, there is no law that says you have to turn a wolf in if you were to strike it with a vehicle. If you shoot it, however, that's a different story.
"With roadkill animals, there's not any requirement to report unless it's an animal—now under the new law—that one of the animals that is able to be salvaged for meat as a roadkill, then you have to report those if you want to take it home with you and get a permit to do so," Crowser said. "Aside from that, there's no legal requirement to report roadkill."
Authorities say they're trying to determine what action they can take since the man used social media and he doesn't have any physical evidence.