COEUR d’ALENE — A Mica Bay man accused of killing a moose out of season was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene.
But before he could be sentenced, John A. Huckabay, 65, flew to Africa where he works in the medical field.
The court expects him back April 27 for sentencing.
Huckabay is accused of killing a cow moose Oct. 2, 2014 near Red Hog Road at Mica Bay, on the northwest side of Lake Coeur d’Alene. He pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial.
Penalties and fines for killing a moose out of season include a $1,500 civil penalty and a $500 fine and no more than six months in jail. His hunting privileges could be revoked for a year, or up to life, at the discretion of the court.
Huckabay, who works in Africa for a University of Washington medical evaluation program that studies the spread of disease, is known to neighbors and Idaho Fish and Game as someone who likes to hunt.
Over the past decade Huckabay has been a fervent supporter of Idaho Fish and Game by purchasing a slew of hunting and fishing licenses, tags and permits.
The department said he had a tag in 2014 for moose in Unit 2 along the Spokane River, but not for Unit 5 near Mica Bay where the cow moose was killed after some neighbors reported it had become a nuisance.
Huckabay was charged after neighbors heard a rifle shot and later saw Huckabay hoisting a moose into the bed of a teal-colored pickup truck near Red Hog Road.
In an ensuing investigation Idaho Fish and Game officers found the spot where the moose was reportedly shot and killed and followed evidence to a skinned moose hanging at the shop of a butcher with a private operation in Coeur d’Alene.
A conservation officer stuck a thermostat in the meat to determine when the animal was killed, and DNA evidence showed it was from a cow moose, according to court testimony. Evidence pointed to a match between the moose at the butcher’s and the moose shot at Red Hog Road.
Fish and Game officers testified that Huckabay had been contacted by a neighbor about a problem moose, and allegedly told the neighbor he had a tag, that the season was open, although the season in that unit did not open for another two weeks. A short time later, according to testimony, Huckabay told the neighbor he had shot the moose.
After the trial, Huckabay, who has no previous criminal history, posted a $20,000 bond and was returned his passport so he could return to work overseas.
Before his next court appearance, Huckabay will travel to Madagascar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore before returning to Coeur d’Alene to face First District Senior Judge Ben Simpson for sentencing.