Outdoors blog

Wolf hunter who shot skier’s malamute hasn’t apologized

Before the shooting, Layne Spence posed for a photo with his malamutes, Rex, Frank and Little Dave. Little Dave, on the right, was shot and killed on Nov. 17 near the popular winter recreation area of Lookout Pass by a hunter who mistook the dog for a wolf. (courtesy)
Before the shooting, Layne Spence posed for a photo with his malamutes, Rex, Frank and Little Dave. Little Dave, on the right, was shot and killed on Nov. 17 near the popular winter recreation area of Lookout Pass by a hunter who mistook the dog for a wolf. (courtesy)

HUNTING -- The story of a Montana wolf hunter shooting a pet malamute as it romped with its owner near Lolo Pass in November is a long way from being as dead as the dog.

USA Today has just posted a story rehashing and updating the Nov. 18 reports that an unnamed hunter in camouflage shot one of three malamutes being exercised on a closed forest road as its owner, Layne Spence, cross-country skied with them.

While law enforcement officials still say no laws were broken, Spence of Missoula contends state law prohibits hunters from shooting on or across roadways an that hunters should always identify their prey before shooting.

He points out that a hunter could be fined for not positively determining whether an elk is a cow or a spike.  Spence contends his malamute, Little Dave, did not look like a wolf. Indeed, a duck hunter must be able to tell the difference between a mallard hen and a mallard drake in all lighting conditions.

But what gets me, a lifelong hunter, is buried deep in the USA Today story when Spence points out he doesn't want to get the hunter into bad trouble. Mainly, he said, "I just want an apology."

Holy smokes.  You shoot a guy's dog while he's yelling at you to stop and you don't have the guts to say "I'm sorry."

This hunter ranks in my memory as one of the most despicable representatives of the sport of hunting, not to mention the human race.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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