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Case File  #4   November 2006

Young Men Headed Down the Wrong Road - Killing a Moose in Closed Season

On November 2, 2006, Warden Chad Abbott received a phone call of a dead cow moose in a field in the town of Madawaska in northern Maine. Warden Abbott responded, located the moose and recovered rifle bullets from the moose carcass. Despite using a metal detector and Warden Jeff Spencer's canine, Warden Abbott was unable to locate the shell casings. The moose appeared to have been shot in the field and then dragged to the edge of a small hedgerow in an attempt to make it less visible. No meat had been taken from the moose. At this point, Warden Abbott had exhausted all leads and, unless new information developed, the crime would go unsolved.

Later in the day, a call came into Operation Game Thief from an individual claiming to have information on who had killed the moose. Warden Abbott met with the complainant and discussed the names of the juveniles who had killed the moose. Both names were of seniors in the local high school. Wardens Abbott and Spencer located the suspect vehicle at the high school and observed a rifle barrel protruding from under a jacket in the back of the pickup truck. Both shooters were interviewed at their residences with their parents present and confessions were obtained. One of the students had hit the moose two times with a 300 Win mag while the other had fired and missed with a 20 guage slug. The two young men later told the wardens that they had picked up the casings and threw them out later on another road. A third senior had used his truck to help drag the moose out of the field.

The penalties?
The student who used his truck to drag the moose was charged with illegal transportation of moose and fined $200. The student who fired the 300 mag, killing the moose, was fined $1000 but, because he was a juvenile, was not sentenced to the mandatory three days in jail. The student who missed the moose quit school as a result of possessing a firearm on school property and an alternative sentence was imposed. He paid a $500 fine for illegal transportation of moose and the more serious charge of illegal possession of moose was filed for six months pending completion of 50 hours of community service and that he obtain his GED.

This case would not have been solved if it had not been for the concerned citizen who called OGT and provided the information. Hopefully, these young men have learned a painful lesson regarding our fish and wildlife resources and our laws designed to protect these resources.

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