Crime & Courts

2 men get 4-year worldwide hunting ban for moose kill in Denali National Park

A federal judge on Wednesday barred two men from hunting anywhere in the world for four years and fined them for illegally killing a moose and leaving its meat in Denali National Park in 2021.

Christopher Brumwell and Andrew McDonald, both 42, pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor count of unlawful transport of illegally taken wildlife. U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew McCrary Scoble accepted the plea agreement during a hearing Wednesday. Brumwell lives in Anchorage and McDonald is from South Dakota.

Federal prosecutors say several other hunting parties reported them.

The men were hunting in the park’s Dry Creek region in September 2021 when McDonald shot and killed a bull moose inside the park boundary, according to a plea agreement filed in the case. Sport hunting is prohibited within the national park, although it is allowed in the national preserve.

McDonald had been issued a nonresident hunting license and Brumwell had a resident license, prosecutors said.

Three other groups of hunters reported the illegal kill to park officials, prosecutors said. The men salvaged some of the meat that day and took the skull outside of the park boundary to prepare it for a mount, the agreement said.

McDonald initially made false statements to park rangers about killing the moose and transporting portions of it out of the park, the plea agreement said. The rangers instructed the men to pack out the moose, as required by law, but they didn’t comply, according to the plea agreement.


When rangers arrived at the kill site two days later, they found the area had been disturbed by a bear, and they packed out more than 70 pounds of salvageable meat, according to the plea agreement. In total, nearly 200 pounds of meat was salvaged from the moose, but a normal yield is about 500 pounds, prosecutors said. The meat was donated to charities.

Brumwell had gone on one moose hunt previously, but it was McDonald’s first time, their attorneys wrote in separate sentencing memoranda.

The men knew they could not kill a bull moose inside a national park and knew they were close to the boundary area when they shot the animal, but they did not know specifically which land they were on, the memos said. The moose was killed 936 yards inside the park boundary, according to the plea agreement.

The men’s actions were not intentional, “but negligent and the result of fatigue and poor spontaneous judgement,” McDonald’s attorney, Jason Weiner, wrote in a sentencing memo.

The men intended to salvage the meat the day after they shot the moose, but Brumwell returned to camp after he was confronted by another hunter at the site, his attorney wrote.

The men again returned to salvage the remaining meat, as instructed by rangers, but became fearful when they saw the area had been disturbed by a bear, according to their attorneys. They believed the meat was no longer salvageable and that it was not safe to remain in the area, it said.

Scoble on Wednesday sentenced both men to four years of probation. Brumwell was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, while McDonald is required to pay a $2,500 fine and $7,500 in restitution to the park.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at