Oregon wildlife officials want hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to step into the digital classroom for a quick canid quiz.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife posted a 20-question quiz Tuesday designed to put a seemingly easy proposition to the test: Just pick whether the animal pictured is a coyote or a gray wolf.
It seems easy, right?
Coyotes have big ears, a smaller and pointier muzzle, shorter legs and smaller feet. It’s also legal to hunt them.
Wolves, the larger cousins, are still largely protected throughout the state (aside from recent examples where state officials have killed wolves that they say preyed on livestock repeatedly).
Wolves are significantly larger and have blockier heads, shorter ears and longer legs. But when they are pups, they can resemble coyotes in the fall.
“We encourage everyone who spends time in the outdoors to take this quiz, but especially hunters that pursue coyotes,” Roblyn Brown, ODFW acting wolf coordinator. “It is the responsibility of every hunter to know their target.”
The quiz also has some helpful information on the animals’ behavior and preferred habitats.
Coyotes are pretty much everywhere in Oregon, even in Portland city limits.
But wolves are largely confined to Northeast Oregon, though they’d made inroads in Klamath County and in Southwest Oregon recently.
Killing a wolf is illegal except in the event of a self-defense or if a livestock owner spots an attack in the act.
ODFW noted a hunter in Grant County shot and killed a wolf in 2015 which was wearing a tracking collar.
The hunter said he thought the animal was a coyote, but coyotes would never sport a radio collar, the state said. He faced misdemeanor charges of taking the life of an endangered or threatened animal and a fine of up to $6,250.
Reporter’s Note: I’ll admit it. I got cocky. I breezed through the first dozen or so questions of the quiz, scoffing at the easiness, before getting stumped by one question, then struggling with a second and going against my better judgment. I missed two. Glad my school days are behind me.