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Iditarod champion Jeff King charged with illegal moose kill

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King has been charged with illegally killing a moose inside Denali National Park and Preserve.

According to charging documents, King, who finished second this year in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, also illegally drove an all-terrain vehicle inside the park. Both charges are misdemeanors.

The case was investigated by national park rangers. Denali spokeswoman Kris Fister said the moose kill site was inside the north border of the park. King was hunting in the area last September and had set up camp about a third of a mile north of the park boundary, Fister said.

King said Wednesday that he was not aware he'd been charged with anything and declined comment.

King was hunting last September out of a camp about a third of a mile north of the Denali park boundary, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Fairbanks by park ranger John Leonard. Leonard and an Alaska state trooper, conducting a hunting patrol, found King at his camp with parts from a freshly killed bull moose, along with an ARGO vehicle, the document says.

Charging documents say King said he'd hunted in the area for the past nine years and was using a GPS, so he was familiar with the border. He also told the investigators that he had seen a silver park boundary marker.

A subsequent search turned up a bone pile about 300 feet north of the park boundary and a mile from King's camp. However, the bones apparently had been moved from the kill site, which was inside the park boundary about three quarters of a mile from King's camp and clearly visible from it, the affidavit says.

Tire tracks between the kill site and the bone pile looked like tracks left by an ARGO, the affidavit says.

Moose cannot be taken inside the national park except by qualified federal subsistence users, and the affidavit says King was not a qualified subsistence hunter.

Each of the charges carry a penalty of up to six months in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine, assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Cooper said. King's arraignment is scheduled for May 8.



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