Mayor charged with game violations

Posted: Monday, September 18, 2006

ANCHORAGE - The Northwest Arctic Borough mayor, who has strongly advocated for tough enforcement of hunting laws in his region, has been charged with several game violations.

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Ross Schaeffer Sr., hunted ducks without a license, duck stamps, or plugs to limit his shotgun to three rounds on Sept. 3 near Kotzebue, Alaska State Troopers said.

Schaeffer also used toxic lead shot, which was outlawed for waterfowl hunting in the U.S. more than a decade ago after it was linked to high lead levels in birds and humans.

"I made a mistake," Schaeffer, who won the seat in 2000, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday.

Schaeffer and other Kotzebue residents have complained in recent years that they see more wasted meat lying in garbage bins and the surrounding wilderness as the number of out-of-town hunters has increased.

They maintain that the trophy hunters are interested only in caribou antlers from the enormous Western Arctic herd that migrates south from the Brooks Range every fall.

Schaeffer, who leaves office next month, demanded more enforcement after the state removed the lone game warden last year. The state responded to the complaints by sending three game wardens to Kotzebue beginning Aug. 30, to coincide with hunting season, said Lt. Gary Folger, commander of the wildlife officers in the state's northern region.

The charges are misdemeanors, similar to speeding tickets, Folger said.

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