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Wildlife troopers investigating caribou illegally killed in Soldotna

Caribou play in a neighborhood off Kalifornsky Beach Road.
Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter
Caribou play in a neighborhood off Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Wildlife Troopers are looking for information on a caribou that was illegally killed and improperly harvested near Soldotna last week.

Chris Johnson is the wildlife trooper handling the case. He said the caribou was shot near Wendy Lane on either Wednesday or Thursday of last week, and was wastefully harvested.

“This was straight up like a poaching incident here. They only took the hindquarters and the backstrap and left the rest of the meat to waste,” Johnson said. “It’s one thing to accidentally shoot an animal and harvest it all, but when someone wastes half the animal, it is straight up poaching.”

The caribou wasn’t just improperly harvested — Johnson said the Kenai lowland caribou herd only has 65 members, and hasn’t been available for hunting for about 20 years. There are several open caribou hunts on the Kenai Peninsula, but nothing especially close to where this incident occurred.

Troopers have been soliciting tips from the public since Monday. Johnson said he went door-to-door knocking in the neighborhood, but doesn’t have much information yet.

“I really don’t have much to go on with this, other than a dead caribou and half of it was wasted, half of it was taken,” he said.

You can submit a tip to Soldotna Wildlife Troopers at (907) 262-4573, or via text by texting AKTIPS to 847411.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
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