Frozen deer and divorce

Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010

To the victor goes the spoiled?

Divorces tend to be messy, but toss in a deer that was frozen whole, with resulting legal consequences, and the messiness only amplifies.

Carrie and Joshua Adams have been engaged in a painstaking divorce battle involving drug use and spying allegations, according to the case file.

In April, Carrie was ordered out of their shared Ninilchik home until a Superior Court judge reversed the decision last month, ordering Joshua out and giving Carrie the right to move back in.  

So, in the middle of August, Carrie returned to the home and started going through things that Joshua had left in the house.

Carrie's friend, Gene Steik, who is the vice president of the Ninilchik Native Association, helped her move in and found something interesting in the bait freezer.

"He said there's a baby deer in my freezer, and I'm like, 'What?'" Carrie remembers.

She envisioned deer meat cut into steaks, but that image quickly changed when she saw what was actually in the freezer.

"It's a baby deer. No, really, it's a real baby deer. It's like a baby deer. Frozen just like that. Nothing cut off of it," Carrie recalled of her reaction to seeing the animal.

So Steik called the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to look into it, because Carrie said she didn't want to get into any trouble for an animal Joshua had killed.

"I don't know what this brings upon him, and I don't even care. I'm not trying to start anything. I just don't want to get blamed for having a baby deer in my freezer," Carrie said.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers investigated and discovered that, in 2009, Joshua Adams, 36, killed a Sitka blacktail deer and froze it without field dressing or skinning it, according to trooper investigation. The meat is no longer good to eat, so Joshua received a summons for wanton waste.

Joshua got the approximately 30-pound yearling, along with a few deer, from Montague Island and maintains he field dressed the animal before putting it in the freezer.

He says he was hanging the meat, trying to age it, when he got a call about a job in Anchor Point that would keep him away from his home for seven days.  

"So I threw it in the freezer whole," Joshua, a commercial fishing guide, said. "It's no different than being in a vacuum-sealed bag."

Wildlife Sgt. Paul McConnell said freezing animals whole isn't exactly common.

"In the 14 years I have been doing this, I have never seen it," McConnell said.  

Joshua thinks Carrie has employed the frozen deer as a pawn in their ongoing divorce fight, using it as a means to cast negative light on him. Carrie denies that claim.

"I still feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick," Joshua said.

"I'd have taken the deer out of the (expletive) freezer if I thought there was anything wrong with it."  

Andrew Waite can be reached at

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