Nome resident Diana Adams will not face criminal charges after wildlife troopers changed her summons for taking a musk ox out of season to a written warning. And while Adams said that’s a relief, she maintains that the July 17 kill was in defense of life and property, or DLP.
Early that morning, Adams discovered a herd of muskox in Icy View and called 911 after attempting to chase them away with her truck. Then she found the animals in her backyard.
“There was a muskox off to my left. It was eating. I walked over; I yelled at it. It stopped, it looked at me, and then it went back to eating,” said Adams. “I went in, I put three slugs into my shotgun and a round of birdshot as warning shot.”
Adams fired that warning shot and continued yelling at the muskox to no avail. One cow walked straight to her dog pen and was nose to nose with her dog Little Sister.
“I really felt scared for the dog. I was afraid the dog would get hurt. So I aimed the shotgun at the animal and even then I didn’t shoot. I just waited,” said Adams. “And when the muskox dipped its head as I’ve seen them do so many times before when they attack something, then I shot it.”
Adams called 911 again immediately after killing the animal, and began processing the meat, which was donated to the XYZ Senior Center. Adams said in the past, the city, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and an Alaska State Trooper told her that killing a muskox is permitted in protection of dogs, but she was informed after the July incident that her kill was not a DLP case.
“I was told that the pen itself did not constitute property under the defense of life and property regulations. I was told that a garden area or landscaping did not constitute protection of property. I didn’t read the regs that way,” said Adams. “To me the circumstances of a DLP need to be specific and outlined if a layperson can’t read them and act accordingly.”
Just days after the citation was issued another muskox attack happened in a dog lot Adams shares with Mitch Erickson off the Little Creek Road. Erickson’s dog Onslo was fatally gored, and the chain-link pen destroyed.
Adams said Wildlife Trooper Mike Cresswell dropped the citation to a warning late last week “in the interest of justice.” Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said Friday the department can’t comment on a case that’s ongoing.