$500 reward offered in cow moose poaching; orphaned calf now at zoo

A hunters organization has put up a $500 reward leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person who killed a cow moose on East Skyline Drive on May 31. The death orphaned a male calf. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game rescued the calf, and it is now at the Alaska Zoo waiting transportation to the Columbus, Ohio, zoo in the fall, said Patrick Lampe, executive director of the zoo in Anchorage.

Dave Lyon, co-chair of the Alaska chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and his son saw the dead cow moose on the side of the road at about Mile 1.5 East Skyline Drive the morning of May 31. Lyon reported the dead moose to Fish and Game. Assistant area biologist Jason Harriman responded. The moose did not have any apparent wounds when he saw it, Lyon said.

Harriman said that based on trauma to the moose, such as bleeding from the nose, he initially thought the cow had been struck by a car. However, when the person salvaging the moose meat found evidence that the moose had been killed, that person notified Alaska Wildlife Troopers.

Wildlife Trooper Luke Kumfer investigated the kill. He said the moose had definitely been intentionally killed, but citing an ongoing investigation did not want to disclose the exact means of its death. Troopers are pursuing leads but have not made any arrests.

Kumfer said the poacher would have had to know the
cow had a calf.

“They don’t get too far away from their mothers,” Kumfer said of spring moose calves. “The person who did this more than likely saw the calf and they just didn’t care.”

Lyon said Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is offering $500 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for killing the cow moose.

“Our organization promotes ethical, fair chase hunting,” Lyon said. “This is anathema to us.”

Kumfer said troopers would appreciate any information on the killing. Tips and information can be called in at the Anchor Point Trooper Post at 235-8239 or by calling Alaska Safeguard, a toll-free line for reporting resource law violations, at 800-478-3377. The person responsible could face charges of hunting an antlerless moose out of season and wanton waste of meat.

Lampi said the orphaned calf is being bottle fed and also fed moose browse. It’s one of four orphaned moose calves at the zoo. Qualifying zoos and other organizations can adopt orphaned Alaska animals by applying for permits through Fish and Game. The calf had been in rough shape when it arrived but is doing better, Lampi said. It will remain at the Alaska Zoo through the summer and be shipped to Columbus in the fall when temperatures are cooler for transporting wildlife.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.