KODIAK, Alaska – My finest writing seem to stem from admitting illegal activities whether or not the law happens to catch up with me. In this case they did; I was swiftly brought to justice and it was this very blog what gave me away.
The Alaska State Troopers log tells the story much more succinctly than I ever could:
Location: Kodiak Case number:10-108748
Type: False Statement on Trapping License
Text: On 11/16/2010 at 1351 hours, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Kodiak Post, issued an AUC to Jacob Alexander Resneck, 32 yoa of Kodiak, in Kodiak for making a False Statement on an Alaska Resident Trapping License application. An investigation by Troopers revealed Resneck claimed to qualify for an Alaska Resident Trapping License by having resided in Alaska for 12 consecutive months prior to the application of the license, when in fact Resneck had only resided in Alaska for 6 months prior to the application of the license. Bail was set at $310.00.
Received Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:28 AM and posted Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:51 AM
Here’s the long version: My father was in town. For those that know Dusty he’s hyperactive and rarely sits still. He barely drinks yet loves the nightlife so that for weeks after he’d left bartenders in town were asking where he was. One day trying to keep up with his energy I suggested a walk up a nearby peak to check out the wind turbines. Upon reaching the summit of Pillar Mountain he announced he was bored so we resolved to get lost. We set off downhill on a path I’d never noticed before.
After reaching the lowlands we came upon an animal close to death, panting with its eyes closed in the middle of the trail. It was a red fox, with no visible wounds nor drag marks. We marveled at its pelt before heading down to the roadway and hitchhiked to the U.S. Coast Guard base to relieve our hunger.
But that fox had lit a fire under my dad’s ass. He wanted the pelt. Back in town he retrieved the large cardboard box that had shipped my guitar from Saranac Lake, New York and with barely a word we returned to the woods.
I didn’t know what he had in mind as he marched purposefully back up the trail with cardboard box under arm toward the dead or dying fox. The afternoon sun was setting. We had nothing but a folding knife and length of rope to dispatch this wild animal. But my dad seemed purposeful in his mission. There was no arguing. In fact we hardly spoke as he marched ahead.
Rigor mortis had already set in. I was relieved that the poor thing had expired in the time it had taken us to eat a large pizza. We scooped the cold, dead mammal into the large cardboard box. Now what? Having lived in Kodiak for little more than a month I had very few bonafide skinners on speed dial. But this being Alaska I had no worry that the few people I did know would have a long list of folks who would queue up to skin this boxed up creature.
I was wrong.
We chased up every number given to us, staked out the parking lot at the local sporting goods store, all for naught. My father cursed himself for not accosting an especially Davey Crocket-looking guy he’d spotted in a parking lot. Finally we found one who would skin it but there was a catch: we’d need a valid hunting or trapping license. Now we’d neither trapped nor murdered the beast – it was dead when we found it (the second time) but rules are rules. I resolved to get a license the following day.
Alaska is one of those states that prides itself on its low-tax base. It raises money from oil and gas royalties and rich Texans that land in float planes to bag trophy game. Hence the two-tiered license regime. An in-state trapper’s license is $15; non-residents pay $250. Now I can legally vote in this state but trap an animal as a resident? Not until I’ve been here 12 consecutive months.
“How long have you lived in Alaska?” The blonde sporting goods clerk asked me as she filled in the form for my trapping license. I felt silly for needing one, I hadn’t exactly “trapped” anything. It was already dead – I’d merely help scoop it into a cardboard box. But there’s only two types of game licenses: hunting and trapping. Scavenging isn’t a recognized option.
“About a year,” I mumbled.
“So… you’ve lived in Alaska for 12 consecutive months?” she clarified.
“Well… I was in Bristol Bay for the summer, I won’t get a (dividend check) but kinda…” I trailed off. She rolled her eyes and wrote “12 consecutive months.”
That night the fox was skinned for $20 bucks by a friendly taxidermist My dad was pleased and he hung it outside in a plastic bag where the freezing temperatures promised to keep it from spoiling.
The following morning my confusion with TSA regulations cause my dad to be denied boarding his plane. I’m used to showing up 20 minutes before takeoff. But this being a jet, it required the full rigamarole. This gave my sulking father another 24 hours in Kodiak.
That day the Alaska State Troopers paid a visit to my office. I wasn’t there at the time but found the Wildlife Trooper’s card when I returned from lunch.
“So tell me about this fox,” said Trooper Sands after I’d sat him down in a conference room, away from the curious stares of my co-workers. Doing some quick arithmetic I realized that plausible deniability wasn’t an option. Especially after he produced some print outs of this Dispatches from Elsewhere blog. It clearly shown that this time last year I was in Bangladesh having similar interviews with law enforcement.
I told him the whole story. He laughed and thanked me for my “honesty.” I corrected him that I was indeed guilty of perjury so wasn’t exactly “honest” but he said it seemed an “honest mistake” even if he was gonna write me a ticket.
“It gets so tiring getting lied to.” he said. “But I will have to write you a ticket – and it’s quite spendy.” The last word a particularly Northwestern word that the trooper – originally from Texas – must’ve picked up in Alaska.
A few weeks later I got an email from a former colleague in Dillingham, Alaska. “Sooo… when’s the court date?” He asked. I’d made the statewide trooper blotter.
Then reading further on, I came across this:
————————————————————— Location: Kodiak
Case Number: 10-109661 Type: Take Deer Closed Season / Shoot From Roadway
Text: On 11/19/10 at 2100 hours, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Kodiak Post,
issued a summons to Byron Peter Kashevarof, 27 yoa of Kodiak, in Kodiak
for Taking a Deer in a Closed Area, and a citation for Shooting from a Roadway.
An investigation by Troopers revealed Kashevarof shot a doe Sitka Blacktail Deer
on 11/19/10 at 1721 hours from his stopped vehicle on the Chiniak Highway near
Dragonfly Lake while the deer season along the Kodiak Road Zone was closed to
the taking of Sitka Blacktail Deer. Bail was set at $310.00 for Shooting from
the Roadway. A mandatory Court Appearance is scheduled in the Kodiak District
Court for December 10, 2010 for taking a deer in a closed area.
Author: SDS1 Received Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:28 AM and posted Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:39 AM
In other words, a guy shoots a doe from the road, out-of-season, and gets the same fine? Wait – he has to go to court too. But still. I’m no poacher. Just a cheapskate scavenger.