Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:38 PM on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trappers charged in lynx, eagle incident



By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

An Anchor Point trapper has been charged with state and federal crimes for trapping lynx out of season and taking a bald eagle and raven. Another trapper also faces charges of possessing an illegally taken lynx. Mathew Roderick, 36, of Anchor Point, has been charged with trapping without a license, taking and trapping lynx during a closed season, unlawful possession and transportation of game and two counts of failure to seal a lynx hide within 30 days. Leslie Mofford, 59, of Anchor Point, was charged with possessing an illegally taken lynx and having an unsealed black bear hide.

Roderick also has been charged with violating the U.S. Federal Migratory Bird Act for catching two ravens and using them for bait and with violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for shooting a bald eagle caught in one of his traps.

The charges came about after Alaska Wildlife Troopers last November received a tip that someone was trapping illegally on Ninilchik Native Association land at the end of Tall Tree Avenue near Anchor Point. Troopers investigated and found five trap sites baited with rabbits, ravens, chicken and lynx carcasses. They also found a dead eagle nearby with its talons removed. State regulations set the lynx trapping season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, 2012.

Troopers also learned that Roderick had received a 30-day hunting permit from the Ninilchik Native Association to hunt on its land. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer went to Roderick's Anchor Point home and saw leg hold traps and dead rabbits in the bed of his Chevrolet pickup truck.

Wildlife Trooper Trent Chwialkowski alleged in a criminal complaint that during an interview, Roderick admitted setting the traps, shooting two lynx and trapping one. He said he found an eagle caught in a leg hold trap, shot it in the head and used it for bait. Roderick also said he caught two ravens, Chwialkowski alleged. Roderick said he took his lynx to Mofford's home in Anchor Point. Chwialkowski found six lynx at Mofford's garage. Mofford said he sealed all six lynx, including Roderick's, the trooper alleged. Mofford also had an unsealed black bear hide he said he found at a road kill, Chwialkowski wrote in the complaint.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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