Alaska Officer busts hunters using radios 2 track moose

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Alaska Officer busts hunters using walkie-talkies to track moose.

ILLEGAL: Hand-held radios violate rules for fair chase.

By S.J. Komarnitsky, Anchorage Daily News

(Published: September 6, 2001)
Wasilla -- One hunter reclined in a lawn chair with a spotting scope trained uphill on a moose in Hatcher Pass. He was giving radio directions to his two companions as they picked and dodged their way though thick brush.

The men missed their target despite the radioed directions, but all three got busted by a state Fish and Wildlife Protection officer, cited for a misdemeanor violation of state game laws.

Add hand-held radios to the list of moose hunting no-nos.

The three men were identified by officials as Richard L. Slater, 64; Sam C. Slater, 36; and Sam Russel, 36, all of Anchorage. None of the men could be reached for comment.

Sgt. Mark Agnew said the men told him they were unaware that walkie-talkies were illegal. The radios ended up being no good anyway once they got in the brush, they said.

State law bans the use of radio communication in hunting moose, putting radios and cellphones on the same list as machine guns, large steel traps and artificial salt licks.

Poison's out, so are bombs and night-vision goggles. And don't even think about digging a pit and trying to chase a moose into it.

The laws are all based on the idea of fair chase, said Sgt. Tory Oleck, a fish and wildlife officer based in Palmer.

And while some of the banned methods sound outlandish enough for a Roadrunner cartoon, Oleck suspects there's a real case for each scenario.

"There's probably some person who thought, Hell, I don't have to shoot my moose. I can just put a stick a dynamite in a pumpkin.' "

For the record -- booby-trapped pumpkins are also off limits.

The Hatcher Pass radio bust last month was the first of its type the officers knew of. But the problem may grow, Oleck said, because the walkie-talkies are so cheap -- a popular model sells for about $100 in Anchorage -- and the temptation to use them so great.

Reporter S.J. Komarnitsky can be reached at [email protected] or 352-6711.
 


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