Around 9 p.m. on January 4, Joshua Carney, half of the Craig Press’ two-person reporting team, got a news tip. A local woman said that while hunting in northwestern Colorado’s Irish Canyon recently, her brother had come across an elk carcass that had been “ripped to pieces.” In the snow beside it, the predator had left a series of tracks shaped like dog paws, save for one distinguishing feature: They were big. Really big. Big enough for a wolf.
Although Carney, 27, had only been on the job a few months, he’d already looked into several similar leads. When he’d called Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), his inquiries were usually met with a chuckle. Yes, CPW had checked it out, and, no, it wasn’t a wolf. “The calls have happened forever,” Carney says. “People can’t tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote.”