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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Men caught trapping lynx illegally

March 7, 2012

By Naomi Klouda, HomerTribune.com

Two Anchor Point men were charged Thursday with multiple trapping violations after a wildlife investigation alleged they obtained lynx in a closed season.
 
Alaska Wildlife Troopers issued a court summons to Mathew P. Roderick, 36, and Leslie F. Mofford, 59. Roderick is charged for allegedly trapping without a license, taking a lynx in closed season, unlawful possession and transportation of game, and failure to seal a lynx within 30 days of taking it.
 
Mofford is charged for one count of allegedly possessing game, unsworn falsification and possessing an unsealed black bear hide.
 
On Nov. 30, Soldotna’s Alaska Wildlife Troopers received an anonymous tip about the illegal trapping activity off Tall Tree Avenue near Anchor Point.

On that afternoon, Trooper Trent Chwialkowski went to look and found five different traps where each held baited rabbits, ravens, chickens and lynx carcasses.
 
It is common in trapping the lynx to use wings of birds baited with scents. The use of chicken carcasses is legal, but not ravens and eagles.
 
“At one of the trap sets, I located a dead eagle located approximately 25 feet to the west … lying under a spruce tree,” the trooper wrote in charging documents. “The talons had been intentionally removed.”
 
On Dec. 6, Chwialkowski returned to the set locations and removed eight traps, containing chickens, lynx carcass, and the eagle and raven for evidence.
 
The charges say Roderick had trapped a lynx during a closed season and without a trapping license. Roderick, along with his son, had also harvested two lynx under legal hunting openings, while hunting during that same time frame, and failed to seal either animal within 30 days as required. Roderick unlawfully possessed the alleged illegally trapped lynx and later transported all three hides to Mofford’s residence.
 
In January, Mofford, who had lawfully trapped three lynx of his own, took all six lynx hides to Homer Fish & Game and allegedly falsified the fur-sealing record by claiming he trapped all six lynx outside of Ninilchik in January. During the investigation it was also revealed that Mofford had possessed an unsealed black bear hide.
 
Roderick was granted a Ninilchik Native Association permit to legally hunt and trap on the land off of Talk Tree Avenue. But trapping there wasn’t to begin until Jan. 1. In interviews with the officers, Roderick drew a map and placed marks where he and his son had placed traps, and these were verified by the trooper who confiscated them.
 
On one of his trips to check the traps, Roderick found the eagle with its leg caught. He allegedly stated that he shot the eagle in the head and placed it in a tree for bait. He also admitted to catching two ravens and then using them for bait, but he did not remove the eagle’s talons, he said.
 
Mofford is charged for allegedly sealing all six lynx at the Homer Fish and Game office, claiming he had trapped all six off Brody Road outside Ninilchik in January.
 
Arraignment is scheduled for both on March 27 in Homer Court.
 
Separate federal charges are pending for both the raven and eagle deaths.

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