Hunters plead guilty to shooting two bull moose in Denali National Park
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that three Southcentral men plead guilty and were sentenced for violating the Lacey Act in the illegal hunting, take and transport of two bull moose shot in Denali National Park in September, 2012.
On Monday, December 16, 2013, Anchorage residents, Charlie W. Hart, 55, and Deric C. Hart, 33, pled guilty to the illegal take and transportation of bull moose from within Denali National Park. Homer resident Michael J. Barth pled guilty last Friday, December 13th. In connection with their guilty pleas, all three men were sentenced before the Hon. Deborah M. Smith, United States Magistrate Judge, to a term of probation of two years, the payment of $15,000 in restitution to Denali National Park for the two moose illegally taken, a $2500 fine, no hunting for one year, and forfeiture of moose antlers, and moose meat as well as one firearm used in the illegal take of a moose.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki, in September 2012, Charles Hart sought permission to moose hunt on a private in-holding of land in the Kantishna area of Denali National Park through a third party. Based on Charles Hart’s request, the third-party contacted a landowner who granted permission to Charlie Hart’s party to hunt the inholding on the express condition that only one (1) bull moose be taken, and that the hunt occur within the confines of the private inholding.
Charlie Hart and Deric Hart admitted that in September 2012 they travelled with co-defendant James Riggs and another individual on the Denali National Park Road to the Kantishna area of Denali National Park to the private inholding. The hunting party obtained appropriate Denali Park Road permits prior to traveling.
During the hunt, all members of the hunt party hunted for bull moose outside the confines of the private inholding and on Denali National Park property. While doing so, the party used electronic moose cow calls and hunted the lands well outside the boundary of the inholding, including the mountainsides above the inholding. Using an electronic cow call for hunting is illegal under state law.
On September 3, 2012, Deric Hart, in the company of Michael Barth and another individual, hunted for bull moose outside of the inholding. While hunting outside the property the group spotted a bull moose a short distance outside the property boundary and/or adjacent the boundary line which Deric Hart killed. Thereafter, the hunt party dragged the unlawfully hunted and killed bull moose onto the private inholding by ATV. The bull moose was thereafter field dressed and the antlers removed from the skull. The bull moose’s antlers measured approximately 64”.
Two days later, on September 5, 2012, Michael Barth and Deric Hart continued to hunt moose on Denali National Park property. As part of his guilty plea, Michael Barth admitted that he was stalking a Moose on Denali National Park property and that co-defendant James Riggs shot and killed the moose and allowed Barth to tag the moose as if Barth had shot and killed it. After shooting the second moose, the party illegally used ATV’s and a UTV in a closed ORV area to drag the moose from the location where it fell, on Denali National Park property, approximately another ½ mile back to the inholding property for field dressing. The second moose’s antlers measured approximately 65”.
The following day, the hunt party loaded the meat and antlers of the two unlawfully killed moose into vehicles and transported them to Anchorage. On the way out of Denali National Park, the party was stopped by the National Park Service and questioned. During the questioning, the hunting party lied to a National Park Ranger about the location and other details of the kills.
Co-defendant James Riggs is scheduled to appear in court on January 6, 2014.
Ms. Loeffler commends the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management for their work in the investigation of this case.