FAIRBANKS - A federal magistrate says four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner Jeff King is guilty of illegally killing a moose inside Alaska's Denali National Park.
Federal Magistrate Judge John Roberts on Friday found King not guilty of illegally operating a motorized vehicle on government land during the hunting trip in September 2007.
During a two-day trial in August, King argued that the park did not have properly marked boundaries. But in a decision released Friday, Roberts said it was King's responsibility to know the location of park lands and he could have picked up a map.
Prosecutors say King killed a bull moose about 600 feet inside the park's northern boundary while on a hunting trip with one of his daughters.
Only federally qualified subsistence users, which King is not, are allowed to hunt within park boundaries.
King, who has lived in Denali Park for more than 30 years and hunted in an area near the park's boundary for the last nine years, said the moose he shot was actually the third one he saw. He spotted a bull about 20 minutes after setting up camp, but did not pursue it because it was inside the park's boundary. The second moose he and his daughter, Cali, saw was outside of the park, but it was a cow.
The third moose seemed to be perfect, he said.
"This was too good to be true to find the moose the first night," he said. "I told (Cali) I'd be a fool not to go after that moose."
King testified that he might have missed the moose the first time he shot, as it continued to run toward the park. He said he lost track of it for a minute, but it fell the second time he shot it.
No sentencing date has been set. King could face a maximum six months in prison and a fine of $5,000.
Juneau Empire ©2015. All Rights Reserved.