Alaska man sentenced to fine and jail time for poaching, wasting three bull moose

Bull moose photo by Amy Bragg.
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An Alaska man has been sentenced to a hefty fine and some jail time for a reported 21-count conviction, where he was found guilty of poaching and wasting three bull moose.

Anchor Point resident Rusty Counts reportedly killed three moose and left them to rot in the Anchor Point area earlier this year, according to a release issued by the Department of Law.

For this, he was sentenced to pay over $100,000, spend nine months in jail, forfeit the rifle and ATV used in the offenses, and his hunting license was suspended for three years.

In fall of 2018, Alaska Wildlife Troopers in the Anchor Point area say they took reports of two moose who had been shot and "very little of the edible meat salvaged from the animals."

A photo of this incident identified Counts riding away from the scene on a four wheeler. A third moose was later found and also connected to Counts.

Counts was ultimately charged and convicted on 21 counts, including three counts of wanton waste, three counts of taking a moose during a closed season, unlawful possession of game, three counts of failing to validate a harvest ticket, three counts of failing to seal antlers, three counts of failing to report harvest, two counts of taking over limit of moose, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson, called this one of the most egregious poaching cases seen by wildlife troopers in decades.

Peterson said that “given the severity of the offenses the court should find that no punishment short of a lengthy jail sentence, substantial fine, and forfeiture of the instrumentalities will adequately deter others from engaging in a similar slaughter.”

The court imposed a sentence including 270 days incarceration, a $97,650 fine, $3,000 in restitution, forfeiture of the rifle and ATV used in the offenses to the State of Alaska, and a three year hunting license suspension.

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