January 27, 2003
Road kills being stolen
By TIM MOWRY, Fairbanks News-Miner Staff Writer
Hundreds of moose are killed by cars and trucks each year on Interior roads. Most end up in the freezers of hungry families who need them, thanks to local charities on call 24 hours a day that send out volunteers any time of day or night to cut up road kills.
But a few end up in the hands of thieves who steal them from the roadside before charities arrive on scene to deal with it.
"We've had moose get hit, we call a charity and someone comes along and steals it before (the charity) gets there," said Trooper James Burton with the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Agency in Fairbanks.
In just six months of working in Fairbanks, Burton has dealt with two cases in which a road-killed moose was stolen before charities responded.
"We try to stay with the moose until someone gets there but we can't babysit a dead moose forever," Burton said.
Taking a moose that you or someone else hits is illegal because any big game animal that is killed or injured by a vehicle becomes property of the state, Burton said. A person could be charged with taking a moose by unlawful methods and means, possession of meat of an animal out of season and theft.
Last year, about 200 moose were reported killed on Interior roadways.
Most of the time, with cell phones being as prevalent as they are, the person who hits the moose calls troopers, remains at the scene until they get there and fills out an accident report, said Burton. Troopers keep a list of local charities that salvage road-killed moose and immediately begin calling those charities until one of them responds, which can take an hour or two--or more--depending where the moose was hit.
While some reported roadkills are stolen, other road kills are simply taken by the people who hit them, he said. Calves are especially vulnerable to being stolen or carted off. Calves are smaller and don't do as much damage to vehicles as adult moose, reducing the need to report the accident for insurance purposes. In addition, it's easier to heft a 300- or 400-pound calf into the back of a pickup truck than it is an adult moose.
"A couple of big guys can get out, heave it into a truck and they're gone," Burton said.
That's what Burton suspects may have happened to a partially salvaged calf moose that was found on the side of Spinach Creek Road in the Goldstream Valley earlier this week.
Spinach Creek Road resident Celina Brotherton saw the moose as she was driving to town Monday and notified Fish and Wildlife Protection troopers, who investigated the scene on Tuesday.
Burton, the investigating officer, said it appeared the moose had been hit by a vehicle before it was shot in the head.
"There's indications it may have been hit by a vehicle and then shot and salvaged," Burton said.
Both hindquarters, one front quarter and the backstrap were taken off but the neck meat, ribs and one front quarter were not salvaged.
It appears the moose was dumped after it was killed and butchered somewhere else, Burton said.
"There wasn't evidence that it had died there," the trooper said.
Troopers retrieved a bullet from the moose's skull for evidence and they were looking for a dark blue Dodge pickup pulling a snowmachine trailer with a white canopy that was seen in the area.
The carcass of the moose was donated to the Alaska Trappers Association for bait and club members cleaned it up on Tuesday night, Burton said.
Anyone with information can call troopers at 451-5100 or (800) 478-3377 if they want to remain anonymous.
Staff writer Tim Mowry can be reached at email@example.com or 459-7587.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a brave and scarce man, hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, however, the timid join him... for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -Mark Twain
I help manage a roadkill list and this has never been a problem for me, but I live in South Central Alaska, and we don't have to give the moose to charities, instead we split the moose to who we want to give it to, or whoever is on my roadkill list.
Will the real Moose Hunter please stand up?
SC answer sounds more like it- stealing is a big word- I've had troopers leave a road hit moose that was almost dead and not let us salvage it-alsao seen them go bad when Charities didn't get there- and then there were those that the RR hit- but we couldn't get them- even with 100 hunbgry dogs- oh no they went to delta herd area at about 2000 per rather than let a tax paying citizen have hem- have Timo ever seen the butchering job done by Charities- i have= and at least some suck.