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Minnesota couple's close encounter with "huge" wolf goes viral

Tyler Netter shares a video he took of a lone wolf running along Highway 10 in Rice, Minnesota.

CBS Minnesota

Tyler Netter and his wife were taking a leisurely drive Sunday morning through Rice, Minnesota when they both spotted a furry creature pacing back and forth along the side of a road.

They pulled over to take a closer look, and quickly realized it was a gray wolf.

“I initially knew it wasn’t a coyote. Way too big. Not sure if it was a different type of dog, a husky or a shepherd of some sort,” Netter told CBS Minnesota. “It was just shocking. Out in the middle of the day. One of the most elusive animals out there.”

While sitting safely in the car, the couple took a video of the frustrated wolf running in circles around a fenced-in yard. Slowly, the wolf moved toward the road. Netter blocked its path with his car so the animal wouldn’t reach the highway.

“It sees you; it doesn’t know what to do,” Netter’s wife said on camera.

“He’s just got to find a way to get around this fence,” Netter replied.

Wolf in Rice, MN

Wolves are slowly getting closer and closer to the Twin Cities. This one was filmed today in Rice, MN by Tyler Netter. Thanks for letting us post this!

Posted by Minnesota Hunting Club on Sunday, February 5, 2017

At times, the wolf came within feet of Netter’s car. But that didn’t stop the Minnesota man from continuing his mission to help the wolf find his way back into the woods.

“He’s huge, he’s gorgeous,” Netter said.

Toward the end of the nearly two-minute video the wolf appeared to be on its way home.

Afterward, Netter reported the rare sighting to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The organization told CBS Minnesota the lone wolf could be looking to return to its pack, and the animals have been known to occasionally venture into central Minnesota.

But Netter said he’s never seen a wolf in that area before.

The Netters shared their video on Facebook, which made its way onto the Minnesota Hunting Club’s Facebook page, garnering more than 110,000 views.

“They [wolves] need to be managed,” one Facebook user suggested.

“It’s a lone wolf, more desperate without a pack,” another said.

Minnesota’s wolf population has grown in recent years. In 2014, it was estimated that there were about 2,423 wolves in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.