The landowner shot the animal May 16 as it approached livestock in a private pasture near Denton. The rancher then reported the death of a wolf as required by law, according to ABC affiliate KTMF-TV, but experts weren't convinced.
"Something was not right about the animal. It does not look like a wild wolf," a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson said.
Update on wolf-like animal shot bear Denton, Montana. pic.twitter.com/otvrPrIWD2— Montana FWP (@MontanaFWP) May 25, 2018
In photographs released by Montana FWP, the animal's paws, claws and teeth are visibly different than those of an average wild wolf.
Montana FWP announced on Friday that it had collected genetic samples from the creature and sent them off for testing to determine exactly what the animal is. A spokesperson said the leading theory is that the animal is a wolf-dog hybrid.
It's not immediately clear how long the genetic testing is expected to take.
Warden Zach Norris told the Associated Press that the killing was lawful because the animal was within the vicinity of livestock, domestic dogs and children.