PINEDALE — On Tuesday, January 8th Chauncey G Goodrich was found not guilty on charges of shooting a moose.
The following is Goodrich’s response after the trial concluded:
A jury of my peers found me NOT GUILTY which was a verdict we were confident in from the beginning. After finally getting to have our day in court and have our side of the story finally told, it was a relief to be vindicated.
It was an unfortunate circumstance that my family was continually attacked by this moose and could have been prevented. The reason the moose became so habituated and aggressive was because our neighbors were filling 30-40 buckets of grain, twice a day for years, including in the summer months so they could keep them around. It would attract 30+ deer and 6-8 moose daily. The animals would come off the hill directly to the west of our property and through our yard like a herd of cattle following a tractor throwing feed in winter. In fact, it became such a problem we asked our local Game and Fish Game Warden to speak to our neighbors about the detrimental situation it was causing, not only to us, but to the animals too. (We have found dozens of dead deer over several winters that died of starvation from feeding on undigestible supplemental feed and failing to migrate south as they should.)
One specific moose became very aggressive and attacked us multiple times putting us in several life-threatening situations. The Game and Fish responded after the first incident when it charged us and pinned us in our tipi. Game and fish talked to the neighbors about feeding, and the dangers it is to both wildlife and humans. Game and Fish then gave me rubber buck shot and a cracker gun, with instructions to continue to harass (or “haze”) and push the moose off our property in hopes it would not return. I did this for about a year with multiple other occurrences. Then in April of 2017 I was put in another extremely life-threatening situation with the moose. Thank God it wasn’t one of my children because they would most likely not have survived. When I managed to escape, I immediately sent a text to my Game Warden about the situation; he did not respond. In court he admitted he received the text and just ignored it. After this I continued to push the moose off my property per G&F instructions; however, I ran out of rubber buck shot they gave me and the cracker gun was just a fire hazard and not effective on the moose. The night of the incident I carried a gun for protection while I once more attempted to push the moose away from my property only this time it did not have rubber bullets.
I am of course very happy with the “Not Guilty” verdict, but in all sincerity, in this situation nobody won. This is a case that should never have been pursued by the state and was a gross overreach of our government. It used countless tax dollars, as well as costing me and others a total of $10,000 that we will never be paid back. I missed countless days of work and lost business from people who were upset but didn’t know the whole story. People need to understand that I was simply following the instructions my Game Warden gave me, and when it failed to be effective I asserted my right to protect myself. I would also like to THANK those people who gave me financial support and encouragement to see this through because they knew it was an overreach by our government too.
It is my hope that I can use my case to encourage our Game and Fish and state legislation to pass laws that would make it illegal to feed large game animals within a five mile radius of any incorporated township.
Chauncey G Goodrich