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AK: Iditarod champion accused of illegally killing a moose

Jeff King illegal hunting trial starts Monday

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Chris Freiberg
Published Sunday, August 17, 2008

FAIRBANKS — The trial of a four-time Iditarod champion accused of illegally killing a moose in Denali National Park is set to begin Monday in federal court.

Jeff King, a 52-year-old Denali Park resident who last won the Iditarod in 2006 and came in close second place in 2008, is charged with taking wildlife in a national park and illegally operating a motor vehicle in a park.

If convicted on the two misdemeanor counts, he faces up to a year in prison and a fine of $10,000.

An Alaska State Trooper and Denali Park ranger contacted King in early September while conducting a hunting patrol. At that time, King indicated that he had killed the bull moose in a general area just outside the park’s northernmost boundary.

However, further investigation of the kill site two days later showed the moose had apparently been killed about 600 feet inside the park’s border. Tire tracks from an Argo ATV also were found near the site.

Only federally qualified subsistence users, which King is not, are allowed to hunt within park boundaries.

When questioned by authorities, King told them he knew he shot the moose close to the park’s border, but that he had hunted there for nine years and had a good idea of where the bounder was located, according to court filings.

He also told them that he had not brought a GPS unit with him for the hunt and he was unable to find the coordinates of the park’s northern boundary on the Park’s official Web site, according to the same court papers.

Soon after the charges were filed in April, King said he was most bothered by the insinuation that he had tried to deceive authorities by moving parts of the moose out of the park after it was shot. King said he took the moose back to his camp to the cut the meat off the bones and make it easier to haul before dumping the bones near the original kill site, about a mile away.

“The fact they think I was hiding something ... the whole thing is humiliating,” King said at the time. “To think that I would fool anyone with an armload of femur bones as being a kill site, that’s ludicrous.”

King said Friday that his lawyer, fellow musher Myron Angstman of Bethel, advised him not to comment for this article. Angstman did not return a call seeking comment.

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