JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
There’s something in the air come All Hallows’ Eve. It’s likely the sweet fragrance of a freshly carved jack-o-lantern that coaxes moose from the safety of wooded areas.
Even though pumpkins aren’t native to Alaska, that doesn’t stop moose from strolling up a residential driveway to enjoy the exotic snack.
No matter how close to Halloween, if a moose is caught feeding on your pumpkin, jack-o-lantern or decorations such as hay, cornstalks, or straw, the end result will be the same – a $330 ticket, said Mark Sledge, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron senior conservation law enforcement officer.
People who purposely or negligently leave human food, animal food, mineral supplements, or garbage in a manner that attracts wildlife are subject the same $330 fine.
“We can’t deviate from state law,” said James Wendland, 673d CES chief conservation law enforcement officer. “Generally people put their pumpkins out Halloween night and pull them in when they’re done. However, even doing that – if wildlife get to it, it’s still considered negligent feeding.”
By Oct. 31, sunset is projected for 6 p.m., giving animals the cover of night to make off with their orange treats.
“We recommend people use the plastic artificial pumpkins with the LED lights,” Sledge said. “By putting out a fresh pumpkin, people are attracting a moose into their neighborhood where kids are going to be walking around in the dark. They’re creating a hazard.”
JBER is home to not just moose, but coyotes, foxes and bears, among other animals.
Base wildlife conservation agents plan to increase patrols on Halloween night to mitigate any chance encounters.
If you do have a wildlife encounter which poses a threat, call Security Forces to dispatch a conservation law enforcement officer at 552-3421.