Ranger was ‘having a hard time’

Posted Sept. 22, 2008, at 8:18 p.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — An Allagash Wilderness Waterway assistant ranger accused of helping a man illegally shoot a moose told authorities he was having “a hard time getting by,” according to court records.

Assistant Ranger Reid Caron, 30, who is employed by the Department of Conservation, and Jess Mcbreairty, 44, each were summoned last week for hunting moose out of season and for night hunting.

Both Allagash men are expected to make their initial court appearance on the Class D charges on Dec. 19 at Fort Kent District Court, according to Lt. Doug Tibbetts of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The minimum sentence for a Class D offense is a $1,000 fine and three days in jail and the maximum is a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

On Sept. 8, Wardens Gary Sibley, Chad Abbott and Jeffrey Spencer of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife were called to the scene of a dead moose in T15, R10 near mile 12 of St. Francis Road. Two .30-30-caliber bullets were taken from the chest of the bull moose which had been dead for several hours, according to an affidavit filed in Fort Kent District Court.

Upon further investigation, the wardens found five other shell casings of the same caliber south of the moose, the report stated. The casings were evenly spaced and lying in the roadway within 100 yards of the moose, Sibley wrote in the affidavit. The location of some of the casings was consistent with shooting out of the window of a vehicle, he wrote.

During the investigation, wardens talked with Caron, who allegedly told Spencer that he was “having a hard time getting by” and that he and Mcbreairty decided to get some meat on the night of Sept. 7, according to the affidavit.

In his interview with wardens, Caron, who has been a ranger in the Allagash for about seven years, allegedly told Spencer that Mcbreairty had a .30-30-caliber rifle with him when the pair left for St. Francis Road, a dirt road. Caron said they went riding around for a while, “looking for some meat” when they saw a bull moose step into the roadway. He recalled that Mcbreairty leaned out the passenger window and fired five or six times until the moose fell over in the road.

Wardens were told that both men got out of the vehicle and were getting ready to dress the moose when a vehicle came by traveling south, according to the affidavit. Caron said he and Mcbreairty left the area as “fast as they could” and took Carney Road back to Allagash. Caron said the pair did see another moose on the way home “but could not get a shot,” according to the report. The pair returned to Mcbreairty’s house on Walker Brook Road and Mcbreairty took the rifle inside, the affidavit noted.

During the search of Mcbreairty’s home, wardens confiscated marijuana plants, three spent .30-30 casings found near a spruce tree behind the house, and a sheath knife in a gun case. A Winchester .30-30 rifle in a soft gun case was found behind a refrigerator, a Zig Zag cigarette roller, a package of Zig Zag rolling papers, an empty box of .30-30 ammunition, and a bag of marijuana was found on a shelf under a microwave, according to an evidence control sheet filed in court.

Mcbreairty was not quoted in the affidavit.

According to the state of Maine Web site, Caron is paid about $1,236 every two weeks as a ranger. It could not be determined Monday if Caron has been placed on leave.

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