Environmentalists are calling a picture of a wolf and its smiling trapper disturbing, but Idaho Fish and Game says nothing illegal was done.
The image shows Josh Bransford smiling in front of a trapped wolf near Elk City, Idaho. In the image it appears the wounded animal is surrounded by blood. The photo was reportedly taken before the animal was killed.
"I don't think it has any place in our society," said Brett Haverstick with the Friends of the Clearwater.
The Friends of the Clearwater is one of two environmental groups that want answers on the circumstances of what happened to the wolf. They acknowledge that the trapper didn't break any law but think someone else may have.
Bransford works for the U.S. Forest Service at the Nez Perce National Forest and the picture was taken during his off time. Conservation officers with Idaho Fish and Game looked into the matter and found Bransford had all the necessary licenses and permits to trap wolves legally in Idaho.
While many agree the photo was done in poor taste it's not illegal.
"If there was a mistake here, and we think there was, in the sense that he should not have taken that photo without first dispatching the wolf," Mike Keckler with Idaho Fish and Game said.
Still, the Friends of the Clearwater suspect someone else may have shot at the animal, potentially breaking two laws: tampering with a trapped animal and shooting from the road.
"We are more concerned with the circumstances that surrounded the incident," Haverstick said.
But Idaho Fish and Game say they have no evidence to back that up. They also haven't seen reports of multiple gun shot wounds.
However they do know that Bransford regrets taking the photo now.
"The trapper acknowledges he made a mistake in taking that photograph without first dispatching the wolf and second posting it on the internet. He regrets what he did. This certainly doesn't reflect on all trappers," Keckler said.
Fish and Game said if someone did shoot at the wolf it's possible they didn't know it was trapped since the wolf was a ways away from the road.
Josh Bransford could not be reached for comment on this story.