Alaska drops charge against Leyden hunter

Staff Writer
Published: 12/12/2018 4:07:02 PM

BETHEL, Alaska – The case against a Leyden man facing a wildlife charge in Alaska has been dismissed without prejudice.

The state opted last week to drop the Class A misdemeanor count of wanton waste of moose charged against Michael Dagilus, 44. The charge stemmed from a hunting trip in late September, when Dagilus and Matthew Kelley, 42, of Bolton, hired a wilderness adventure company to bring them to a backcountry field in Bethel, toward the western part of the Alaskan mainland, for an unguided moose hunt.

After the company reported the men returned with “moose meat that didn’t match up with the antlers when picked up in the field,” an investigation indicated Kelley had killed a smaller bull moose on Sept. 27 and then a larger bull moose on Sept. 30, but removed the antlers of only the second moose.​​ According to Alaska’s Office of Special Prosecutions in Anchorage, Dagilus pleaded not guilty to wanton waste of big game and wild fowl in Bethel District Court on Oct. 1, and this week he told The Recorder he is pleased his right to due process resulted in his exoneration.

He faced a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $25,150 fine for the charge.

Dagilus said he has hunted and fished his whole life.

According to online court records, the case against Kelley has also been dismissed. He faced criminal Class A misdemeanors — for killing a moose and failing to salvage the meat, for that moose being over the bag limit for nonresident hunters, for failing to affix a big game locking tag, and for unlawful possession and transportation of big game meat. He faced a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $25,000 fine for each misdemeanor.

Attempts by The Recorder to contact officials in Bethel District Court were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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