Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited a 67-year-old Anchorage man for feeding cabbage to moose at his Hillside home.
Samuel Becker was issued a summons Saturday to appear in Anchorage District Court for intentionally feeding game, a misdemeanor with a fine up to $10,000 and a year in jail, said Megan Peters, troopers spokeswoman.
Feeding Anchorage wildlife -- intentionally or by leaving out unsecured garbage -- is a "huge problem," said Jessy Coltrane, Anchorage-area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She's frequently called out to deal with the consequences.
"Unfortunately, it's rare that we catch people in the act unless they're doing something really egregious that their neighbors are seeing," Coltrane said.
Fish and Game got an email complaint about Becker feeding moose on his property off Huffman Road, and the agency forwarded it to the wildlife troopers, she said.
Moose that are fed by people or that find an easy source of food in garbage tend to get aggressive, Coltrane said. The animals defend the lawns, garbage cans or trash bins where they know they can get easy food. Trash, especially plastic items, can clog up a moose's digestive tract, she said.
"When moose have found their little garbage can stash, they tend to be more cantankerous than bears around it," Coltrane said. "It becomes a public safety hazard."
On Christmas Eve, one of Coltrane's assistants had to shoot a moose near Jewel Lake that was getting into trash.
Negligently feeding wild game, including leaving unsecured garbage, can earn you a $310 citation, Coltrane said. Coltrane said citations are issued more frequently in the summer. She said typically only two or three citations are issued during the winter.
Peters said troopers typically receive more reports of negligent feeding than intentional. In October troopers shot a brown bear in Eagle River drawn to trash that was habitually left outside, she said.
"A lot of times it is just negligent, people leaving food out and not thinking about it," Peters said. "But there are sometimes that people are intentionally doing it and I don't think they realize how dangerous it is."
Troopers have charged someone with intentionally feeding wildlife 14 times in the past year, said troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.
Reach Tegan Hanlon at email@example.com or 257-4589.
By TEGAN HANLON
Alaska Dispatch Publishing