Did They Really Kill a Coyote in ‘Wind River’?

windriverwolfWhen the drama “Wind River” came out last summer, I wrote a viewer advisory that became one of the most-read articles on this site. But readers still wanted to know: Did they really shoot a coyote in the movie? It looked so realistic, after all.

Since so many of you wanted to know more about the scene, I reached out to Gentle Jungle, who has worked with animals on such films as “Gladiator” and “Dances With Wolves” and provided the animals on “Wind River.”

A Gentle Jungle rep told Moviepaws exactly how the scene was shot: “It was a taxidermied coyote that was shot and lying there in the snow. They put it in with the real ones standing there [and then shot it].” She then quickly nixed one of my (erroneous) theories that a coyote had been shot with a tranquilizer for the scene. “That hasn’t been done for years…. it’s too risky,” she said.

I also spoke to MAP (Movie Animals Protected), The group did not monitor this film shoot, which took place in Wyoming and Utah, but they reassured me that the well-respected Gentle Jungle would never jeopardize an animal’s welfare for the sake of a film scene. And they mentioned that tranquilizing animals — which happened on the Canadian set of “Brokeback Mountain” — is prohibited.

“Using anesthesia to facilitate filming has been prohibited since 1997 after causing several animal deaths during a production,” Karen Rosa of the AHA said in a 2006 statement regarding “Brokeback Mountain.” “Regardless of how it’s administered, anesthesia endangers an animal’s life and health. That’s why we require production companies to find alternatives – like humane training or digital enhancement – that create the same effect without jeopardizing the animal’s safety.”

So there’s the answer: A “stuffie” was used instead of a live coyote in “Wind River” and no animals were tranquilized on set.

The film does not carry a “no animals were harmed” credit, however, because Humane Hollywood (who has trademarked that phrase) told Moviepaws they did not monitor the set either.




20 thoughts on “Did They Really Kill a Coyote in ‘Wind River’?

  1. I don’t know why you didn’t public my reply but seriously, I doubt the explanation that Gentle Jungle gave. It’s clearly a live coyote that was shot first, then the second one a is a taxidermied coyote. I found it very disturbing, just watch the scene again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the above posts. I just watched the opening scene of Wind River on Netflix. I rewound it several times. They shot a real animal. When Jeremy Renner walks up to the coyote carcass in the snow, that could be a stuffed animal, sure. But the shooting scene is of a real coyote, no doubt. Its moving like a live animal right up to the moment of the bullet impact, which is graphic and traumatic. Also (continuity problems) the “prop” coyote in the snow has much lighter colored markings than the animal that is shot, and the real coyote is shot just behind the right shoulder, rolls, and ends up on it’s right side with a very large exit wound on it’s left side behind the shoulder. But the “prop” coyote is found on it’s left side in the snow with a wound that appears to be somewhere in the lower chest behind the front legs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely right. There is no way on earth that it was a ‘stuffie’, it was soft, pliable and from before the rifle shot, and after it was shot it moved like a naturally articulated animal, right down to the way it fell and how it’s legs and muscles moved. That looked so real because it was real, and no amount of lying spin will ever convince me or any objective person who ever sees it, that it was not. It was at that scene that I stopped watching.


      • Horrible. I watched the scene several times and there is no way the animal killed was a stuffie. That’s when I stopped watching also. Shame on Jeremy Renner for allowing the stuffie lie to go forward. I don’t think he shot the animal but to be in a film when something so horrible is shown diminishes Renner considerably in my eyes. A warning should have been posted. i would never knowingly watch a movie in which an anim as l is killed. Last Renner film for me.


  3. Wow, you people are stupid.

    “I watched it. It looked real! That means it’s real! THEY LIED!!!!!!!”

    Even if the people at Gentle Jungle didn’t give a damn about a coyote, they wouldn’t risk their reputation as a company if it got out that they participated in the death of an animal just for a movie.

    ALSO, the filmmakers are not going to risk their reputations just for a single establishing moment in a movie.

    ALSO, MOVIES ARE FAKE. Professional crafts people spend DECADES learning how to make something look real when it isn’t real. Can you morons understand that?

    No one involved with this film has claimed any animals were harmed. No animal rights groups have said any animals were harmed. They only people saying animals were harmed are you idiots who watched the movie and think “It looked real!!”


    • Real or fake. It underscores the importance of a monitor. Not you or any of the frame by frame watchers can really know if an animal was harmed. Actually, you might even say the source of a taxidermied coyote is suspect unless it’s been vetted.

      They filmed in the US (Utah). There is just no good reason not to have a monitor except that you plan to film scenes that could kill an animal and subsequently the production (as happened with Luck).

      I watched the scene and rather than do a rewatch of a scene meant to decieve my eyes, I fast fowarded to the end where, no surpirse, the Humane Society has not signed off. As far as I’m concerned, that shows disregard right there. Those arrangements should go hand in hand with the phone call to Gentle Jungle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • saying they put a taxidermied coyote in and then shot it is laughable. The Coyote’s reaction was Natureal and Real so if it was not completely digital something else is going on and now discovering that the scene was removed makes me think a coyote was actually killed. I’m not with Peta, but why can’t we discover how his shot was accomplished. Was it completely Digital?


    • “It was a taxidermied coyote that was shot and lying there in the snow. They put it in with the real ones standing there [and then shot it].”
      …Also, this is a proven lie as 3 were actually shot and killed in the original version.
      They edited out the 2 other killings and changes it to show him letting the next coyote in his sights go free, which obviously made no sense as that was his job and would also establish that he could shoot several targets in quick succession – important for the film’s finale.
      I don’t know why the publisher of this article has left the Gentle Jungle animal wrangler’s version of events up as proof.
      Animal wranglers are not animal welfare monitors and are actually often in opposition.


  4. The reply was that it was a stuffed animal. Nothing mentioned about computer enhancement. Way to fluid for a mechanical stuffed animal then. The scene also appeared to have been slightly sped up. Why?


  5. This was real and the scumbags are lying about it. You then go and check if the movie carries the “no animals were harmed” tag and find out that it DOESN’T. Moreover, no animal rights/protection group was attached to monitor this film. What a surprise, right?! Red flags all over! Plain and simple, the bastards killed an animal for this movie!


  6. Absolutely disgusting that an animal is killed just for a movie scene.
    Utter bullshit it’s a stuffed animal. No CGI. That’s a live animal that was shot in a ‘one take’ scene…!


  7. This is truly fascinating. I am a filmmaker and I’m well aware of what goes into effects design. Yet, I have not been able to find an answer to this ultra-real-looking shoot of Coyote being blown away. Was it done with a high-speed Phantom Flex Camera/ Picture within picture on a stage? Was it partially or fully digital? No one person seems to be able to answer this on planet Earth. We have real empathic people online saying things like “I’ve looked at the shot and it looks real so, therefore, a Coyote was shot to death”, and we all know how silly that sounds with the scope of film effects possible to create, but it remains truly fascinating because, despite all the amazing space explosions and ethereal wonder, this shot of a coyote being executed in Wind River with an ultra-real death throw and spraying blood seems to be some strange anomaly….how was it actually accomplished?


  8. just like at timestamp 46:44 of the movie, the hawk feeding on the cadaver isn’t real, so if they used CGI there, then do you think the production can’t afford to CGI the coyote too?


  9. nothing in this response convincing me that a coyote was not killed during the filming of Wind River. The shot of a dead coyote was separate from the coyote being shot in midflight. The lack of any supervision during filming combined with the lack of a “ no animals were hurt …..” msg.


Leave a Reply to kevin m Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s