“This is What Happened” when Montana Wolf Hunter Shot a Dog

UPDATE on Shooting of dog near Lolo. In his own words, this is the account of the tragedy posted on Facebook by Layne Spence, owner of the dog:

“What is on my mind is the tragedy that has taken place and the miss quotes from the media and the Sheriffs dept. So I am setting the record straight. This is what happened….

I went crosscountry skiing up at Lee Creek campground where I have gone in the past. Knowing it was hunting season I put the bright lights that are on all three of my dogs collars.

After skiing for about 200-300 yards I here “tat”, my dog in front of me, his rear leg is blown off. I scream “no,no,no,stop stop” and as I near my dog who was 15 yards in front of me I hear “tat,tat,tat,tat.”

I look up and there is the “hunter” and I screamed “what have you done?” Screaming hysterically, the man says ” I thought it was a wolf.”

I said “You just killed my dog, you killed one of my kids.”

I started screaming “noooooo.” He started to say something like “can I do something,” not I am sorry.

I said “Do you know what a wolf looks like? You killed my dog.”

The man took off, I just screamed “noooooooo” and tried to put him back together but his leg was torn off and yes 15 yards in front of me and yes he was shot with an ASSAULT rifle, I know I have seen them it was either an AR 15 or AR 14. It was all black had a sound supressor and that was why no big BOOM BOOM semi automatic.

I know guns, I don’t have any but I have shot them before, and yes I have hunted both Bow and Rifle. It is the irresponsible hunters who think they can shoot any animal they see if they are in the woods.

The MT Fish and Wildlife said they couldn’t press any charges because it wasn’t a game animal on the road, it was a domestic animal. What???? Bullshit, So I left my skiis and poles there, put my Little Dave’s bloody and broken body on my shoulder and hiked out to also get my other dogs to safety.

So no charges, I call the police dept who gives me examples of people getting hurt because of the public outcry and are afraid of vigilante violence. But the truth is still one of our rights and so is freedom of speech. I don’t want this guy to get hurt , but something needs to be done…I am heart truly heart broken, everything I do is for my dogs, from where I live, to what I drive, and what I do is predicated on the lives of my dogs…Thank you to everyone who has wished myself and my other dogs Frank and Rex well…Layne”

Layne Spence's Malamutes Rex and Frank sit waiting and watching over Little Dave, front, who was killed by a hunter with an assault rifle

Layne Spence’s Malamutes Rex and Frank sit waiting and watching over Little Dave, front, who was killed by a hunter with an assault rifle

54 thoughts on ““This is What Happened” when Montana Wolf Hunter Shot a Dog

  1. They already have vigilantes in Montana .,
    They are called hunters!

    This story just won’t go away and nor should it. .. He lost a dear loved family member and the wolves lose dear loved family members everyday .. It is clear they don’t understand what they do.
    But I do and I don’t need to justify my feelings .. Our culture of violence is so inbred that ” Layne”
    feels he has to justify his loss .. ” he knows bow and rifle ”
    I say no you don’t have to justify anything ! You are allowed to live in America and not kill anything ever again!

    His ” little Dave” is up there romping with all his wild cousins … The wolves, who don’t have names beloved by many of us, and it breaks one’s heart everyday … Stop the killing !
    They committed no crime they were born wild and ” little Dave” committed no crime but being alive near a human with a gun, he knows the truth as he is back with source …
    RIP all of you beautiful beings and ” little Dave”
    Your families are all weeping, please help comfort the world, it has gone off course. We have missed the point of living … So sorry …We bow our heads in all of your memory and put all of you in our hearts forever …

    • this is just horrible….I hunt with my husband bow or rifle, I thought it was illegal to hunt with a silencer much less an assault rifle….why would he shoot a dog much less a wolf if that is what he thought it was….I am so sorry that happened to little Dave….you are in our prayers. Our animals are our children and it would kill me to if someone did that to one of them. Praying Rex and Frank don’t suffer without their brother…..

  2. Hmm … isn’t a crime going unpunished precisely the sort of thing that encourages “vigilante justice”? If you don’t want people to get enraged and take matters into their own hands, then charge the guy and make sure he gets a penalty worthy of what he did.

    • vigilante justice wouldn’t be necessary if the officials did their jobs and this stupid hunting/trapping crap was stopped. but there are those of us who love wolves and our pets. If this was done to my Mal I’d be up that “hunter’s” ass so far he wouldn’t know what hit him. but sadly any kind of justice won’t replace the loss of Little Dave or the hurt and emptiness in his owner’s heart. but it would help a little.

  3. This is indeed a tragedy for this man, to lose his dog. But all hunting is irresponsible, and this killer was looking to kill a wolf. Either way, it is a murder, and I hope this man begins to realize this.

  4. Looks like an expensive animal was destroyed – any chance for a civil suit? Won’t bring the poor dog back but may make a statement and put the hunters in the spotlight…

  5. I am personally sick of the law being put in place to protect and serve and yet when they are called to protect or take action there only answer seems to be there is nothing we can do?? Really? And then they wonder why people feel they have to take matters into their own hands.im so sorry for the loss of your loved one i cant imagine the pain u are feeling.

    • Didn’t you hear…..the supreme court recently said the police are no longer obligated to protect you. I haven’t hunted since I was a kid. I got all the killing I could stand in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but I have recently started arming myself heavily when I take my WD’s anywhere. God have mercy on anyone hurting my mutts. I won’t.

  6. So sorry for your loss, Layne. Our dogs are our family members, and I cannot even imagine the horror you experienced. There is no excuse for what that ‘hunter’ did, and I can’t believe FWP won’t do anything about it. You should always know what you are shooting at before you pull the trigger, especially when there is a human right there?!! Obviously not a wolf–and even if it was I completely disagree with hunting them. I hope enough people will get upset about this that some authority will feel pressured to do something.

  7. How hard can it be to trace down the owner of an AR-15 with a silencer? My understanding is that the only way you can legally own a silencer in this country is through a special license from the federal ATF involving detailed background checks. But the local police department is afraid of a public outcry and “vigilante justice” if the perpetrator’s name were to become known. Well, vigilante justice is exactly what is called for in this situation. And I can state categorically that if this had happened to one of my animals and I were armed, the turd who did this would by now be a slab of cold meat.

    • This hunter who shot Layne’s dog is already a vigilante…! Just a one man version at the moment, but with plenty back up wolf hunters behind him, I am sure. They seem to be rabid in their quest to kill an amazing wild and intelligent, mate for life being…and will even kill a dog that “looks like a wolf” to achieve his goal. Let’s look at the root cause here of the hatred of the “wolf”
      These laws in Montana were made with no science behind them and result in crazy killing that seems to have gotten out of hand here. Stop the killing of the wolves and bring some sanity to the state of Montana!

    • It wasn’t a silencer it was a suppressor there is a difference. still there is no justification for what this trigger happy idiot did. His hunting rights be suspended indefinitely and he should have to give up all his guns for this irresponsible action…

      • Suspending hunting “rights” is NOT sufficient! What are these hunting “rights” — to kill intelligent and social fellow beings without remorse? People like this should be jailed for cruelty to animals and endangering human lives. Hunting should be banned

    • This post must have made it onto some anti-wolf lists; I’ve received several pro-hunt comments (which were immediately trash canned) that started off sounding apologetic, then ended by trying to justify the dog killing with, ‘they shouldn’t have been out there’, etc.

      One commenter did point out that the assault weapon didn’t have a silencer, it had a muzzle-break or suppressor which would account for the muffled sound the dog guardian heard. Those kind of rifles are not big on accuracy, their sole purpose is to send out a rapid-fire hail of bullets in the general direction of whatever they’re pointed at.

      More and more people have been using military style weapons for hunting lately. If someone were to look into it, I’d bet they’d find a marked increase since Barack Obama was elected president. Not only are people trying to get themselves a semi-automatic or two before a feared government ban on assault weapons, at the same time, they see wolves as a symbol of the government they fear.

      Now that the federal government has handed wolf “management” over to hostile states, we’re seeing a war on wolves, with AR 15s and the like being the weapons of choice…

      • Yeah, it made it to the Montana Wolf Hunting page. The local newspapers have a ton of comments blaming Layne for what happened as well. Even saying he did it on purpose.

  8. I am truly sorry for the loss of this beautiful pet. I love malamutes and to hear of this sickening way for a beloved animal like yours to be hunted and destroyed, I not only find it appalling, but only hope that whoever did this, will be publicly humiliated and found to guilty of some crime. I believe it was a crime and if the authorities can’t do anything about it, I hope that someone else will step up and take care of it. You deserve justice, Layne, and so does your precious animal and I hope that you both will be able to get it. God bless you and your beloved malamutes.

  9. Assault rifle “looking” guns are designed to kill people, nothing else. They are for poor shots who can only spray a lot of bullets in hopes of hitting something, and Military wannabes, that are to cowardly to face off in combat. I never go into any wooded areas during any hunting season. Recently, in Charleston, S.C. (area) where my daughter teaches, a cheerleader was shot in the hand from so far away, the bullet didn’t even go all the way through. Proof that some crazy would spray bullets not only toward town, but toward a school.

  10. In this day and age there is no reason to hunt. Hunting is a legal way for sadists to get their thrills. They will never justify it, it is murder and sadism pure and simple. The thing i hate the most is hunters justification under the guise of Christianity, God does not accept this! Also that they bring money into the economy with hunting licences and they manage wildlife. Stupid, unintelligent rednecks

    • since most of the natural predators have been brought close to the level of extension there is an over population of elk and deer. Since humans have killed off most of the wolves, mountain lions, and beers the elk and deer have not had their numbers in balance since the 1800s. Trophy hunting is just plain murder (i.e. hunting wolves, bears, lions, coyotes, bull elk, etc), but hunting for food where they use as much of the meat as possible is not a bad thing. Many hunters do not enjoy killing the animal but they see it as a way to provide for their family, just like you have to kill the cow to get the beef. Many hunters see it as an opportunity to get away from it all and into the wilderness and are responsible when it comes to pulling the trigger. There are obviously hunters like the one who shot this poor dog who do not fall into this category of responsible hunters but that does not make all hunting bad or that every hunter is an unintelligent redneck.

      • There is nothing responsible about pulling the trigger and blowing away a life of someone who loved his/her life as much as you do, who had hopes and dreams, who loved their children, felt pain and felt happiness.
        Also we do not need meat to live THAT is a myth. and nature takes care of itself it doesn’t need a blood thirsty hunter to get involved

      • I am in no way promoting trophy hunting or the killing of predators like wolves. Back in the early 1900s when humans wiped out all of the wolves in the lower 48 and then hunted most of the other predators to near extinction it made for an imbalance in the food chain. This imbalance allowed for the deer and elk populations to reach extremely large numbers. For nearly 100 years the elk were able to continue to populate with very little threat from any natural predator. Even 19 years after the re-introduction of wolves and the “successful” programs to protect grizzly bears and mountain lions the number of predators are still way below what they should be meaning that there is still an imbalance in the number of elk in particular.

        I am not promoting the killing of predators, I think that they are beautiful animals that have more right to live here than we do. But as long as we have anti-wolf individuals and state governments that are bullied (or paid) into allowing for hunting of wolves or not allowing for the continued growth of the predator population so it could get closer to what it should be, there is going to be an overpopulation of elk and deer. We are never going to get rid of hunting in Montana, but I believe that the hunting of elk or deer when done responsibly is not a terrible thing. I also believe that the government should take a firmer stand when prosecuting hunters like this man who shot someones animal and clearly was endangering people.

      • People with this kind of attitude are taking advantage of the absence of predators to justify hunting ungulates. The fact is, hunting promotes an overpopulation of deer and elk, etc. The more people like you who defend it, the more the state game departments are encouraged to continue their business as usual of selling tags for people to “harvest” those animals and manage for more deer and elk, at the expense of wolves, coyotes and other predators. We believe that the hunting of deer and elk is a terrible thing, in the same way you think that of hunting wolves. We may not end hunting in places like Montana anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we have to go along with it or defend it.

        There are over a million people in Montana. Are each and every one of them entitled to subsist off elk? If so, that doesn’t leave much for the wolves. Please read the About page before you comment again. This is an anti-hunting blog; I do not want you to waste time on a pro-hunting comment that gets sent to the Trash like all others before you have.

        Sorry to you regular readers, several pro-hunt commenters have snuck in over the past few days. It’s time to do some weeding, thin the herd and take out the trash.

  11. I can’t imagine what anguish you must have gone thru, layne. it is too much to put into words, I feel little dave’s pain, and his spirit being blown out of his body. they are us, in a different skin, and a different language, they are not “dumb”. I hunted, and i’m not apologizing for it…..we were responsible, we made sure that that” rustle in the bushes” was a deer. we were not “trophy hunters”, we did not have heads on our wall, or skins laying around. our meals were made with venison from the deer we “killed”, not ……harvested……..i’m getting to hate that word! I don’t get people who kill and maim, and slaughter animals . they have been born without the compassion gene. they can deny, deny, deny, but they really like to see animals…slaughtered….look at the pictures of them, with their hands on an animal, who has its tongue hanging out of it’s mouth, or it’s neck or legs broken, after being caught in a trap. it is not the police, stop putting it off on them, too, they can’t go against the laws that the idiots we put into office, slip thru for their sleazy, rich friends……..it’s because we have been lax in watching what’s been going on….we have to get involved, not LET HIM DO IT, write, vote, sign petitions, get to the places where these committee meetings are going on, if you can. they may have more money, but we all have our voices!! this is the age of computers, how many of us have signed a petition to stop the wolf slaughter this week? or do you care? if we don’t DO something, this will only be the beginning, they are already talking about the buffalo, and now they want to make our federal public parks open to trophy hunting, and fishing. can you imagine going to Yellowstone to see the wildlife, looking thru your binoculars, and seeing a wolf, or buffalo being blown away? good education for the kids,too. oh, yeah, and they want bow hunting to be allowed…..I guess that arrow thru the head, hat isn’t so far fetched. so get behind this, let’s put our voices where they belong!!!! get involved, your contribution, no matter how small,nt money, will help. remember little dave, he was killed because he “looked” like a wolf…..

    • Well said, Diane, and so many others that have spoken out. This whole incident breaks my heart, and to know that there will be (at least so far) no justice for either man or beast is even worse.

  12. So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog Layne. I feel your pain. I also make many decisions based on my dog. Where I live, the car I drive, making sure I buy real organic food for them, where I go or do not go. It is a tragedy.

    I am nervous about going out in the national forest during hunting season. I rarely go but if I do I put a bell on my dog’s collar and put a red vest on him. I also only go where people are mountain biking but mostly try to go other places where there is no hunting.

    It is so sad that some hunters want to kill so badly that they shoot at things moving they cannot really see. What is the purpose of shooting a wolf anyway? It is not food to eat.

    Just know that many people are sending you comfort. It will take time for the pain to go away.

  13. I’m sorry did I miss something here? Since when do wolves wear collars with LIGHTS on them? Is that hunter mentally capable of differentiating a wolf fom a smaller curly haired dog? I think not. So as I understand this-a man is cross country skiing and a “hunter” sees lights on dogs as they are running-I imagine bouncing all over and THINKS that these lights mean wolves??Darwin’s gene pool needs thinning yet again. I am so very sorry this happened to your lil guy.

  14. He should file a great big fat lawsuit. If you can’t get justice through the law, hit him in the wallet. This is insane, hunters are such morons, going into the woods with flasks of whiskey in their pockets shooting anything that moves. Poor Little Dave.

  15. I guess I don’t understand. It’s perfectly legal for people to arbitrarily shoot other people’s dogs in Montana? So if someone shoots my dog who is with me hiking a trail, I can’t file charges against the person for shooting my dog? Isn’t a dog still considered property? So can I charge him with killing my ‘property’? I just don’t understand how it’s possible that there are no legal ramifications against this man who is shooting people’s dogs in the woods.

    • Its a bunch of bs, basically if you say you didn’t know that it was a…fill in the blank, you get off. The hunter isn’t even being charged with illegally hunting in the road.

  16. Layne – I am so sorry for the loss of your dog. I also appreciate the manner in which you wrote this account of what happened. You sound like the type of guy I would want as a friend. I am really upset for you… I truly think the hunter should be accountable for failure to identify his target. Your dogs (from the picture) definitely do NOT look like a wolf. It also sounds like he failed to identify the surroundings — you were not far away. What if it had been you? Would the same logic — I thought Layne was a wolf apply. You are not a game animal either. The logic the Sheriff’s office applies here if flawed. Would the reaction be the same if the hunter shot you, a horse or a cow and then said I thought I was shooting a moose or elk? It’s idiots like that guy that ruin it for the responsible hunters and give the anti-gun/anti-hunters leverage. But I digress. This truly should not be about politics. It is about Little Dave and your loss. I am an animal lover myself and it is never easy to lose a family member. I have shared your pain. Just remember and take comfort he had a great life with you — and he was out doing something you guys luved to do. He’s waiting for you across the Rainbow Bridge.

  17. I am so…. Sorry for your loss of you Malamute! I have owned and loved these dogs for over 20 years! I have 1 that looks just like this animal in the picture of the wolf or Malamute in the start of you story. She is an all white with some faint brown markings like the dog in your start of the story. Man I would have done the exact same thing to the hunter without a second thought as to what I would be facing for my actions. Like you I loved all my Mals like they were my kids… I am sorry for you

  18. Unfortunately, “little Dave” was caught in the crosshairs of politics. This beautiful family dog would not be dead if Sen Tester from Montana didn’t attach the insidious rider that allowed the states to “manage” their endangered species overturning 2 decades of work to recover the almost extinct gray wolf. He added this rider to the contentious 2011 budget bill that Pres Obama signed off on and basically bought his vote that threw the ESA and the wolves with it under the bus. So this is the state of affairs now in Montana! Kill a dog and say it is a “wolf” BOTH are dead ass wrong to do!
    If you are mad please call Sen Tester’s office in Montana or in DC and give em hell..(406)252-0550 or DC (202)224-2644.
    There is a bill right now in the house fathered by Rand Paul that wants all protected endangered species to be “managed” by the states. We tried that boys and this is the end result; management by county sheriff that agree with an assault rifle looking for a “wolf’. What a joke!
    Get involved, we are the people, “they aren’t the boss of us”, as my kids say…Speak out if you feel an injustice has been done.

  19. Makes me very disappointed. People should know better. I want the wolf hunts to be stopped.. Bring the shooters to justice and hold them accountable. Save the wolves and don’t slaughter them.

  20. Yeah I was interested in the lights? Wolves that wear lights? Cause that happens in nature, I think this proves that the scum who shot the dog didnt care one bit as Im going to assume these lights are sold so twat hunters can tell the difference. Hunting animals in this day an age is wrong, if theres no need to do it. I mean these people dont live on the artic do they? Its murder pure an simple. An any pathetic human who thinks this is acceptable I hope they get their karma!!

  21. Hunting is wrong in first place! If hunting was banned this tragic incident won’t happened! RIP little Dave 😥 😥 hope your tragedy will do something to animals protection’s law, be strong mr.Spence

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