Roadkilled moose salvage operation sparks debate online

Published: Jan. 21, 2019 at 7:01 PM AKST
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A heated debate over proper handling of non-salvagable, road-killed moose remains began after a video was posted to Facebook on Saturday, showing the remains of a moose that died after a vehicle collision near Palmer.

The video was posted the Alaska Moose Federation Facebook page by Don Dyer, the group's executive director.

Complaints primarily focused on the close proximity of the carcass to a bike trail where the moose died; however, Jeff Gail says that once he finished salvaging the meat from the moose, troopers at the scene told him he'd moved the remains far enough.

During a follow-up interview, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Dan Dahl explained that the rules of the roadkill salvage program vary slightly depending on where the moose in question is located.

"Applicants are responsible for moving the whole moose, carcass and everything from that private property, as well as moving it well off the roadway and out of public sight if on public land," Dahl said.

According to the Alaska Roadkill Salvage packet, the major difference between salvaging a moose on private versus public property is the "gut pile."

The packet specifies that, while the whole moose is to be taken from private property, only the gut pile may remain on public property under the condition that it's moved well out of public site.

Gail says when he questioned the trooper at the scene about disposing of the carcass, he was told otherwise.

"I asked 'Is it okay for me to leave the gut pile, the fur and stuff? Can I drag it way over this hill right down here?'" Gail said. "And he said 'Absolutely, as far as I know that's completely legal, I can't see it from here.'"

Gail admittedly missed a small embryo that was taken from the would-be mother moose, but he says that he went back the next day to double-check his work and removed it before he ever knew the video was posted online.

"I did want to explain the situation," Gail said. "I felt that I was within my rights to follow the trooper's guidelines."

After the video started gaining attention online, Gail and Dyer eventually met up to retrieve the carcass and take it to the dump.

Dyer felt the need to make the additional efforts as an important step to help prevent the gathering of predatory species in a high traffic area.

"Alaska Moose Federation is not the police and we don't think we are," Dyer said. "This is just something that people need to be aware of, especially as we have more human encroachment."