Anchorage Resident Sentenced for Hunting in national Park
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that on January 21, 2010, David Talmadge Harger, resident of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced to a term of one year probation, a fine of $1,000 and a loss of hunting privileges as a result of his guilty plea in federal court to a charge of illegally hunting bull moose in Denali National Park in September 2008.
Harger, age 56, was sentenced by United States District Court Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith.
According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Skrocki, who prosecuted the case, Harger and an associate were hunting bull moose one and-a-half miles within the Denali National Park boundary near the confluence of the Kanikula and Tokositna rivers. Court documents revealed that the two men used a Piper Supercub to fly into the area. After verification that the aircaft was inside park boundaries, National Park Service Law Enforcement personnel landed on the scene to investigate.
According to information presented to the court, Harger admitted to hunting and actually calling in a sublegal bull moose. When advised he was hunting inside the Park boundary, Harger falsely claimed that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game stated they could hunt in that area. Despite having an aircraft GPS, a topo map, state game regulations booklet and obvious geographical landmarks, neither defendant bothered to ascertain or verify their location.
At sentencing, the court was advised that there is a wealth of public and free information available to sport hunters including maps with downloadable GPS waypoints posted on the Denali National Park website. Peter Armington, Chief of Visitor and Resource Protection at Denali, stated “Since the primary purpose of the park is to protect wildlife, Mr. Harger was very fortunate in having the patrolling rangers interrupt his hunt. Had he killed a bull moose within the National Park, the Park Service would have sought substantially greater penalties.”
Rangers from the National Park Service, Talkeetna Ranger Station led the investigation that led to the prosecution of Harger. Harger’s associate has been charged and is awaiting arraignment.