John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
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In the spirit of “no good deed goes unpunished,” the National Park Service is trying to fine an Alaska man for helping to retrieve a caribou shot by two state wildlife officers.
From the Associated Press:
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — National Park Service authorities have issued a $225 citation to a Cantwell man who helped two off-duty state troops retrieve a caribou they shot while hunting.
The troopers asked 25-year-old Justin Norton to use his all-terrain vehicle to help them collect the caribou from Denali National Park and Preserve, about 150 miles south of Fairbanks. Wildlife Trooper Jim Ellison had legally shot the animal a day earlier.
But Norton, who has lived in Alaska just six months, isn’t a qualified subsistence user, so it’s illegal for him to drive a four-wheeler in the park. Park Service officials met him at a restaurant Friday to issue the ticket for the Aug. 26 incident.
Norton knew the troopers through his girlfriend’s family.
“I was home sick that day and they called me up and said, ‘We shot a caribou. Can you come help us? We’ll give you some meat,'” Norton told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Norton said one of the troopers knew he was new to Alaska but nobody told him he shouldn’t be driving an ATV in the park. He didn’t know it was illegal, and if it was, he assumed the troopers would tell him, he said. Neither trooper was available for comment on Friday.
Norton doesn’t blame Ellison and Trooper Eric Jeffords for the ordeal, he said. They’ve offered to pay his ticket, but Norton said he was inclined to fight it.
“The park service is bullying me,” he said. “I don’t like to be pushed around.”