COOPER LANDING -- A Cooper Landing man whose wild turkeys roamed around a neighboring elementary school playground was convicted Tuesday of releasing wild game without a valid permit.
In an interview Wednesday, Wayne Koecher, 63, said he was on vacation in Minnesota last November when some of his five turkeys escaped their pen and paid several visits to Cooper Landing Elementary School, located next to his home.
"They just strayed -- they got out of their pen and strayed to the school," Koecher said.
Witnesses said they saw a brown bear chasing the turkeys on school grounds. Koecher was "totally uncooperative" in keeping his turkeys contained, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement Wednesday.
Koecher said he has no more turkeys because they were either butchered, attacked by animals or shot when they strayed off his property.
"I've given up because of all the hassle," he said. "They're extremely hard to keep penned up."
Koecher must pay a $500 fine.
Anchorage Daily News