Dad, son sentenced for aerial herding, killing of a bull moose south of Fairbanks
February 29, 2012
By Tim Mowry, NewsMiner.com
FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks father and son accused of using an
airplane to herd a large bull moose the father shot south of
Fairbanks in September reached a plea deal with the state this week
that resulted in a $5,000 fine and seven days in jail for the father
and the loss of an airplane for the son.
Kevin M. Foster,
46, pleaded guilty to same-day airborne hunting, while Kevin Foster
II, 22, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession or transportation of
game. The two hunters were
originally charged with same-day
airborne hunting, unlawful methods of taking game (use of a cell
phone), unlawful methods of herding game and unlawful possession of
illegally taken game.
Alaska game laws prohibit taking most
big game on the same day a hunter flies. Regulations also prohibit
the use of two-way radio communications, including cell phones, in
the taking of big game.
The elder Foster was fined $5,000,
sentenced to seven days in jail and ordered to pay $1,000
restitution for the moose. He also forfeited the hide, antlers and
meat of the moose to the state, as well as a Winchester model 70
.338-caliber rifle with a scope. His hunting privileges were revoked
for five years and he was put on probation for five years.
The younger Foster forfeited his Cessna 140 and was fined $2,000.
His hunting privileges were revoked for one year.
Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Scott Quist, who investigated the case,
said the elder Foster shot a large bull with an antler spread in the
high 50 inches on Sept. 20 in game management unit 20A about 40
miles south of Fairbanks.
According to charging documents
filed in court, troopers received a phone call from another hunter
in the area just before
5 p.m. that day reporting an
aircraft was being used to herd moose to a hunter on the ground.
“He saw an aircraft diving in a manner that he couldn’t
conceive somebody flying like that unless he was herding a moose,”
Quist said. “He didn’t see the actual (shooting).”
hunter provided troopers with the plane’s tail number, which FAA
records showed belonged to the younger Foster.
contacted Foster II later that day as he was parking his plane on
the East Ramp at Fairbanks International Airport. He told troopers
he had flown to his father’s moose camp and admitted to talking to
his father from the air on a cell phone but denied talking to him
about a large bull he saw near the camp as he was landing. The
younger Foster claimed his father mentioned the moose after he
landed and then went and shot it. Troopers seized the plane and the
younger Foster’s cell phone at the airport.
Quist flew to
the camp the next day to interview Foster Sr., who initially denied
his son communicated with him about the location of the moose. He
later admitted he was trying to protect his son by denying what
The elder Foster said his son talked to him via cell phone about
the location of the moose while he was flying.
admitted his son took off and circled the area while he stalked and
shot the moose. The father denied his son was attempting to herd the
moose to him.
According to the witness who phoned troopers,
the plane circled the same area several times while repeatedly
making diving loops. Troopers obtained a search warrant for the GPS
in the plane, which showed Foster II took off at 3:53 p.m. on Sept.
20 and was in continual motion for 14 minutes. The GPS tracking
device showed Foster II flew 13.6 miles making continuous circles in
an area of only 0.417 square miles at an average speed of 58 knots,
which was consistent with what the witness reported.
Prosecutor Andrew Peterson from the Office of Special Prosecutions
in Anchorage, who negotiated the plea deal, said had it not been for
a witness in the field who reported the incident and the fact
troopers were able to contact the younger Foster and seize his phone
and airplane before he could speak with his father to coordinate a
story, the case probably “would have gone totally undetected.”
“But for the fact there was a witness in the field who observed this
and reported it, the state never would have known about it,”
“There’s nothing about two guys coming out of the woods with a
moose and a plane that would arouse suspicion.”
hopes the stiff penalties send a message to hunters about same-day
“It’s just not worth it,” Peterson said.
Both Fosters appeared telephonically in the Nenana District
court on Tuesday. Attempts to reach either for comment were
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