Having opened on Aug. 20, the moose hunting season has only just begun. Yet, wildlife authorities already have bagged a few violators taking game illegally or unethically.
"We had the first poaching down in Seward before the season even began," said Sgt. Glenn Godfrey with the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement in Soldotna.
Cody R. Gilmore, 18, of Seward, was cited by troopers for taking two bull moose during closed season. Gilmore shot two spike-fork moose near the Resurrection River on Aug. 19, the evening before the season legally opened.
Gilmore also was charged with illegal possession and transportation. He was arraigned Tuesday in the Seward District Court on the aforementioned charges.
Gilmore pleaded "no contest" and was ordered to pay $3,000 for taking game during closed season and $1,500 on the illegal possession and transportation.
Gilmore also was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, forfeit a $700 rifle, and had his hunting privileges revoked for three years.
"We've also had one incident of a hunter not salvaging all the meat," Godfrey said.
Marty Ray Savely, 44, of Kasilof, was cited Aug. 20 for failing to salvage all the edible meat from a bull moose taken down in the Falls Creek Road area in Clam Gulch.
Wanton waste of big game meat is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and one year in jail.
Alaska hunting regulations detail the big game meat that must be salvaged, which includes meat of the ribs, neck, brisket, front quarters as far as the knee, hindquarters as far as the hock, and meat along the backbone between the front and hindquarters.
"We've had three self turn-ins, too, from people taking illegal moose," Godfrey said.
He explained that a legal bull moose must have either a rack with more than a 50-inch spread between the antlers, or be a bulls with at least three brow tines on either side, or be a bull with one antler that on either side is a spike (one point) or a fork (2 points). In the case of the spike-forks, the antler on the other side can be any configuration.
Bulls with palmated antlers (paddles) seldom are legal under the spike-fork requirement.
To better understand the spike-fork or 50-inch antler restriction, the Fish and Game office in Soldotna has a video that can be checked out titled "Is This Moose Legal?"
Godfrey said most of the bulls taken illegally weren't taken with the intention of breaking the law.
"Most people that take an illegal bull just aren't looking at it long enough and from enough sides. An animal may look legal from the side, but from the front it's a whole different picture and may not be legal," he said.
Godfrey added that 75-percent of the the moose taken illegally are the result of people who didn't evaluate the animal long enough before taking their shot.
Any game animal taken illegally remains the property of the state. Hunters who mistakenly takes moose they thought were legal are responsible for salvaging the meat and antlers and transporting their harvest to the nearest Alaska Department of Fish and Game or Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement for surrender.
Hunters who comply with this regulation,will not be prosecuted for illegally possessing the animal, and they are less likely to be punished for illegally taking the animal.
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