The government knows a criminal transaction when it sees one. This is from Alaska.
The Fairbanks man who is accused of illegally trading moose meat for firewood is taking his case to court.
Chad Gerondale, 41, has hired well-known Fairbanks attorney Bill Satterberg to represent him in the “meat for heat” case, as it has been dubbed by online spectators. . . .
Alaska Wildlife Troopers last week issued Gerondale a summons to appear in court on Feb. 3 to be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of illegal barter of game meat. Troopers issued a news release Friday stating Gerondale had been cited for agreeing to trade 125 pounds of moose meat for two cords of firewood.
Buying, selling or bartering of game meat, except snowshoe hares, is illegal. The one exception is caribou meat in northern and western Alaska (units 22-26) may be bartered, but the meat cannot be taken out of those units.
Gerondale allegedly offered to swap moose meat for firewood on the radio show, Tradio, which airs on KFAR 660 AM.
“The allegations are the guy was on Tradio and said, ‘I need some firewood and I’m willing to trade some moose meat,’” Satterberg said.
Trooper Ken Vanspronsen contacted Gerondale to make a deal and then showed up at his house and issued him a citation, Satterberg said.
He will get a jury trial. That should be interesting.
“Sometimes a good, solid warning for a person is sufficient,” Satterberg said. “If the intention of troopers is to educate the public, I guess this is one way to do it.”
Satterberg, a hunter himself, insinuated that trading game meat for fish and vice-versa is a common practice in Alaska.
“Most people don’t even think about it,” he said.
Sgt. Scott Quist with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers said trading game meat is illegal and troopers will investigate if they hear about it, whether it’s through Craigslist, Tradio, eBay or word of mouth.
“This is the commercialism of game taken under a sport hunting license and it’s not legal,” Quist said. “We don’t charge a lot of people with this, but if somebody is advertising it we will absolutely follow up on it.”
The jury must decide. Juries need not be bound by the law. They are autonomous. But attorneys are not allowed to tell the jury this.
As he reads the state statute, AS 16.05.920, Satterberg said even the offer of buying, selling or trading game meat is illegal.
“If you say, ‘I’ve got some moose meat; you’ve got some salmon, let’s trade,’ that’s a crime,” Satterberg said. “Simply making the statement is the crime. That’s a serious First Amendment question.”