Bell Shows His Musk Ox Horns
Souvenir from hunting trip has become controversy for GOP state Senate candidate
ANCHORAGE - Republican Senate candidate Bob Bell agreed to show CBS 11 news the carved musk ox horns he says he got from an artist in Nome following his subsistence hunt near there in 2010.
The visual evidence has not silenced Bell's critics.
Writing in the Alaska Dispatch today, Craig Medred demanded that Bell produce the horns.
CBS 11 asked to see the horns and gave Bell five minutes’ notice. Bell immediately agreed.
He said the trophy value clearly has been destroyed.
"They have no trophy value because of the carving and because they're cut off the skull plate, so you can't make the measurements you would make to score them for Boone and Crockett or Safari Club, or whatever."
The issue of the horns has been a constant in campaign literature opposing Bell, coming both from his opponent, Democratic Senator Hollis French, and from independent groups supporting French.
Bell says he's tried to run a clean campaign.
"And unfortunately my opponent hasn't. He’s still bringing up these horns. He’s still sending out to people in the district saying there's something wrong with these horns. And that's too bad, because I really would like to discuss the issues, like oil taxes and public safety and all those things with him, but he doesn't seem to want to engage on those subjects."
Medred and former state wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott, who also has written about the issue in the Alaska Dispatch, both emailed CBS 11 news to say a photo posted of the horns shows that they were not cut according to regulations.
But Bell said state troopers looked into it already, although troopers refuse to comment.
"These horns -- and I'm sure that's what the troopers saw -- are not score-able. It’s as simple as that. They’re pieces of art."
And centerpieces of the campaign against him.
In an email, French says Medred and Sinnott have to be taken seriously, but he says he does not know whether Bell broke the law.
In a brief telephone conversation, French said he would stop campaigning on the issue.