Montana’s Shunka Warakin
There have been numerous legends and stories about monster wolves throughout history. The ancient Dire Wolf lived in North America and Eastern Asia. It is larger than the average wolf, but did it die?
That is the question many scientists are asking themselves. Especially when there have been reports about a strange wolf-like creature called the Shunka Warakin. What is the Shunka Warakin?
The name translates as “carries off dogs,” according to Loren Coleman. Coleman is a famous Cryptozoologist who hunts cryptids. He says it is based on the Ioway name “shhuhnkha Warahwalkin” for the wolf-like creature.
In 1896, a Montana rancher shot and killed a wolf-like creature thought to be the Shunka Warakin. Israel Ammon Hutchins owned the Sun Ranch, located outside Yellowstone. Hutchins gave the carcass to a taxidermist named Joseph Sherwood. Sherwood stuffed it and mounted it, then put it on display at his general store-museum in Henry’s Lake, Idaho.
Sherwood didn’t know what it was, so he named it “Ringdocus.” The stuffed animal is the only evidence of this unusual wolf-hybrid creature. It went missing without being examined until 2007.
The first sighting of this beastie started in the 1880s when settlers first arrived. Members of the Hutchins family settled in the Madison River Valley. It was soon after the settlers arrived that they started seeing a strange wolf-like creature.
Ross Hutchins published a book: Trails to Nature’s Mysteries: The Life of a Working Naturalist. Hutchins described encounters with the Shunka Warakin, his grandfather had. He told how one night, his grandfather awakened by barking dogs ran outside. Outside, Hutchins’ grandfather saw a wolf-like creature chasing his wife’s geese. He fired at it but missed and ran off towards the river.
Then, in December 2005, a strange wolf-like creature began killing livestock. It had killed over 120 various types of livestock in McCone, Dawson, and Garfield counties. Newspaper articles about the mysterious killings appeared. The unusual predator described as being 105 lbs is more significant than most dogs. Its weight is closer to Gray Wolves, but it has a pointed face. That is not normal for Gray Wolves, nor is its gray-and-cream-colored fur with flecks of orange.
In 2007, Hutchins grandson, Jack Kirby, tracked the missing animal down. Kirby followed the creature to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello. It is now on loan for display in the Madison Valley History Museum in Montana.
Stories of the Shunka Warakin died down as legends do. Another cryptozoologist Mark Hall heard about a group of creatures resembling the wolf-like monster. Reports of sightings came out of Nebraska, Iowa, Alberta, and Illinois.
Western wolves are grey or white, but there have been no brown wolves reported. DNA test results show there is a similarity to coyotes. Yet, it is still inconclusive, and the experts are still waiting for better results.
Ranchers disagree. To the ranchers, it was a wolf, and it killed 60 of Mr. Whiteside’s sheep and 21 ewes. The creature bit all of the animals on the right side of their rear. In their minds, it was the same method of operation or M.O. The ranchers believe that the Shunka Warakin killed over 200 sheep. Mr. Steuber of the wildlife services could only verify 58 killed. Wildlife services killed one of them from a plane in 2006. Steuber wouldn’t confirm it was a wolf. He only stated that it was a huge Canid-type creature. Unlike a wolf, the beastie’s fur was orange, red, and yellow fur.
The strange deaths of these ranchers’ livestock initiated a feud between ranchers and wolves. The wolves got blamed for all the livestock killings, whether guilty or not. Montana is close to Yellowstone National park in Wyoming. Ranchers have a theory that the wolves migrated from the park to their ranches.
According to a report by Natural History, wolves do not migrate. They do travel up to 30 miles a day to hunt for food. The distance between Montana and Wyoming is a little further than 30 miles. That means that either there is an established wolf pack in Montana, or it’s not a wolf. Livestock killings took place in three different Montana counties, which are more than 30 miles apart.
Not normal behavior for gray wolves to traverse between three counties. If it isn’t a wolf, is it the Shunka Warakin?
A rancher shot a wolf-like creature outside Denton, Montana. It didn’t look like a wolf, and officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (Montana FWP) were confused. DNA tests came back saying it was a wolf. It didn’t look like any known wolf.
The internet had a field day, and posts saying it was a Dire Wolf or even a werewolf flooded the site. It had shorter legs, large ears, and multi-colored fur. Sargeant Kyle Andersene of the Montana FWP told a local radio station that it didn’t look like a wolf. Experts wonder if it could be a purebred or hybrid.
The Montana Gray Wolf Program thinks there are around 900 Gray Wolves in Montana. This report came out in 2017, so not too long ago. Why weren’t the ranchers aware of Gray Wolves being Montana then?
Whatever is hunting the sheep in Montana isn’t a normal wolf. It doesn’t look like or act like a normal wolf. Is it a Dire Wolf from ancient bygone days like in Game Of Thrones?
In 2018, a man posted on YouTube a video of substantial black wolf-like creatures. One was attacking the man’s dog. They were not ordinary wolves, and speculation they could be Dire Wolves flooded the site. The animals killed by ranchers had orange-red-yellow fur.
Timberwolves or Gray Wolves are not known to be other than gray-white-black. Since Montana is known to have Gray Wolves, it wouldn’t be surprising that DNA tests would say Gray Wolf. Except, there have been hundreds of livestock killings. There have been DNA tests that came inconclusive, so what is the truth?
Maybe there are two types of wolves running loose in Montana. One type is Gray Wolf, while the other is the unknown species. The Shunka Warakin may be alive and well in Montana. If you are ever in Montana, keep a lookout for the Shunka Warakin.