Troopers with the Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement are trying to find out who shot a cow moose in the neck and left it to die off of Marathon Road on Thursday morning.
When troopers arrived at the scene, near the "S" curve near the large gravel pit on the south side of the road, they found the moose down but still alive and suffering.
The moose was killed and given to charity.
Sgt. Glenn Godfrey with wildlife enforcement said troopers are making the case a high priority.
"This is the type of person we'd really like to catch," Godfrey said Friday.
Godfrey said the nature of the shooting was such that it appears the person simply shot the moose and moved on without any regard for the animal.
"To shoot a cow moose and just let it suffer like that, that's a very egregious thing," he said.
Troopers believe the moose was shot sometime between 7 and 7:15 a.m. Thursday. They have a couple leads in the case, but are asking anyone with any information about the incident to come forward.
Godfrey said this is the time of year when troopers typically see a lot of moose hunting violations, normally people who shoot sub-legal bulls. Such a bull moose was recently shot in Nikiski and left to rot. Godfrey said people who self-report shooting a sub-legal moose typically are treated less severely than those who troopers catch trying to cover up their actions.
"The ethical hunters will turn themselves in," he said.
It's possible to make a mistake determining if a moose is legal or not, but for someone to shoot a cow and leave it alive doesn't seem to fit with typical hunter behavior. Instead, Godfrey speculated the killing may have been done simply for the heck of it.
"This seems to be more than someone just making a mistake," he said.
Godfrey said troopers plan to do everything they can to see that whoever shot the moose is brought to justice.
"If we catch the guy who did this, we're going to go full-force after them," he said.
If someone is caught, Godfrey said they'd likely facing charges of taking a moose during a closed season and violating Alaska's wanton waste law. Both offenses are Class A misdemeanors.
Anyone with information on this or any other wildlife-related offense can contact wildlife troopers at 262-4573.
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