BETHEL, Alaska — A Franklin County man has been charged with one Class A misdemeanor count of wanton waste of moose in Alaska after the wilderness adventure company he and another man hired reported to police the men returned with “moose meat that didn’t match up with the antlers when picked up in the field.”
According to the Division of Alaska State Troopers, Michael Dagilus, 44, of Leyden, and Matthew Kelley, 42, of Bolton, were transported by Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures to a backcountry field in Bethel, toward the western part of the Alaskan mainland, for an unguided moose hunt last week. An investigation indicated Kelley had killed a smaller bull moose on Sept. 27 and then a larger bull moose on Sept. 30, but removed the antlers of only the second moose.
Megan A. Peters, a spokeswoman for Alaska State Troopers, said Kelley allegedly failed to harvest the meat from the larger moose, as required by law, and left behind the smaller moose’s antlers.
According to Alaska’s Office of Special Prosecutions in Anchorage, Dagilus pleaded not guilty to wanton waste of big game and wild fowl in Bethel District Court on Oct. 1. He pleaded guilty to a minor offense of failing to validate his moose harvest ticket. He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $25,150 fine for the wanton waste charge. A calendar call, described by someone in the Office of Special Prosecutions as similar to a pre-trial calendar, is set for Nov. 21.
“I’m looking forward to due process,” Dagilus told The Recorder.
According to the Office of Special Prosecutions, Kelley pleaded guilty to four criminal Class A misdemeanors — for killing a moose and failing to salvage the meat, for that moose being over the bag limit for nonresident hunters, for failing to affix a big game locking tag, and for unlawful possession and transportation of big game meat. He also pleaded guilty to a minor offense of failing to validate his moose harvest ticket. He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $25,000 fine for each misdemeanor.
Assistant District Attorney Monroe Tyler said, based on his consultation with Alaska State Troopers, district attorneys and assistant district attorneys, this case is “probably the most serious in the state this year.” He said the minimum penalty for wanton waste of big game and wild fowl is seven days in jail and a $2,500 fine.