The Montana Standard reported that three men have been cited for the illegal harvesting of a bull elk, one of Montana’s prized game animals. The incident occurred Saturday, December 7, 2013 when local game wardens were alerted to the hunters in Hunting District 380 in the Elkhorn Mountains.
A phone call was made to Montana’s TIP-MONT hotline from a frustrated witness who claimed he saw three men kill and field dress an elk, while another, described as “trophy” status, had been shot in the back. State game warden Rob Aldridge arrived at the scene, where his colleague Brenna White was already at the site speaking with the caller.
The three men – Arnold Kolberg, 70, his grandson Skyler Kolberg, 29, and son-in-law Ronnie Nehring, 36 – were found attempting to drag one of the elk out of the woods and were interviewed. As it turned out, only Arnold had the proper elk permit, a highly coveted authorization, especially in Hunting District 380.
The hunters were allowed to finish retrieving the elk and were asked to take the wardens to where the other had been stashed. It was found hidden under hay at a home nearby, outside of Radersburg, Montana.
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The three men were taken to the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office for further questioning, where they eventually admitted that the elk hidden under the hay was taken by Skyler, who was cited for hunting without the required permit; for unlawful possession of a game animal; and for conspiracy to obstruct justice. The other two men were tagged with unlawful possession of a game animal and obstructing justice for concealing the elk in the hay stack. They plead guilty to the charges.
Official sentences would have put the men in jail for six months, but that was suspended pending a year of law-abiding citizenship. All three men had their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses revoked for two years. Additionally, they will not be allowed to apply for special hunting permits for seven years.
They’ll also be stigmatized as Montana elk poachers, a status hunters should never want to assume.
Arnold Kolberg was allowed to keep the second bull, which he did shoot legally. While considered a trophy elk, his fine and revoked license counteracted the bull.
If you suspect a wildlife crime in Montana, use the TIP-MONT hotline or visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department website.
Featured image via Wiki Commons user MONGO