U.S. Humane Society asks for 'aggressive' prosecution of elk kill cases

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— The Humane Society of the United States is watching the court progress of two Moffat County ranchers charged in March with illegally killing 34 elk.

The group sent a letter to 14th Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink on Tuesday asking her to, if warranted, "aggressively prosecute" the two suspects.

"Wildlife belongs to all people and when poachers step into America's wild backyard and kill animals, we need to take that seriously," said Humane Society Colorado Director, Holly Tarry, who wrote the letter to Roesink.

The District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment.

Rodney Culverwell, 41, and Kenneth Wolgram, 43, were charged April 1 with multiple counts of willful destruction of big game, a Class 5 felony, and illegally possessing wildlife, a misdemeanor.

Culverwell is charged with 18 counts of each crime and Wolgram is charged with 16 counts of each crime.

The suspects appeared at their first advisement hearing April 15. Neither one currently has an attorney of record.

Both were ordered to appear at a status conference at 3 p.m. May 5 in Moffat County District Court to show whether they have found legal representation.

The Humane Society's letter states poachers are prolific throughout Colorado and these two cases should be used to make a statement.

"The Humane Society of the United States asks you to send a strong message to all poachers to think twice before robbing Colorado's citizens of valued wildlife," reads the letter signed by Tarry.

It also states wildlife officials estimate there are as many animals killed from poaching as legal hunts.

Randy Hampton, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman, said the DOW does not have an official estimate on poaching numbers across the state.

"It's impossible to tell, really, because poaching occurs in such remote areas that no one really knows," he said.

Tarry said it is a standard practice for the Humane Society to contact prosecutors in poaching cases, and that this case is not different.

The Humane Society works with law enforcement and prosecutors, she added. The group does not have reason to believe Roesink's office would prosecute the case beneath its ability.

Hampton said the DOW has "very good" communication with Roesink's office.

Although there are "rare instances that a case gets plead down that (DOW officials) may not agree with," Hampton said, there is no reason to believe that would happen in this case.

The DOW does not have a recommendation for how to prosecute Culverwell or Wolgram, Hampton said.

"At this time," he said, "we look at it as they are innocent until proven guilty."

Comments

bearscout 6 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe that I actually agree with taxslave about something...the shameful property on the west side of Craig and the captive elk. I'm glad I don't have to drive by it on a regular basis as it makes me sick. I hope that if someone buys that property they do away with that aspect of the 'business'.

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lonelyone 6 years, 4 months ago

When we first moved to Craig, I was shocked to hear about these elk farms and how you could go in and pick out the one you wanted and shoot it and off you go! That is not how my father hunted and my brothers and many other people I know would hunt. We heard of men from big companies who had so little time that they could spare from their important jobs, that they'd fly in, pick out a bull, shoot it, hop back in the plane and then let someone else take care of things. And they paid lots of money to do so, but still, that's not hunting. The only thing I see good about these elk farms, is that people who come through our area from big cities who wouldn't know an elk or deer if they hit it, can see what they look like. Granted it's not the same as seeing them out in an open field with a herd of 200 head, but in many ways it's not much different from a zoo. And if your we're so concerned about these elk, what about the buffalo out in Lay? They aren't treated any better, as far as having shade and shelter?!!?!!

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jmemcse 6 years, 4 months ago

The Humane Society should stick to making sure prairie dogs get fed breakfast in bed.

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lonelyone 6 years, 4 months ago

For Heavens Sake, don't give them any ideas!! lol

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taxslave 6 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps they can explain the elk farm on the West side of town. Those elk are out in that fenced field without any trees, shade, or shelter both summer and winter long. I think it's a cruel and shamful operation.

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trout2k 6 years, 4 months ago

A lot of all or nothing when it comes to the elk and the humane society.....interesting. Let's bash the humane society? Foolish. As a fellow hunter and outdoorsman, the humane society does not represent my personal beliefs completely, but why bash them when they're right. The men who did this are garbage and give all northwest Coloradoans a bad name....and I would never....never make the mistake of putting them in the mix with hunters. All true hunters were appalled by their actions. Punish them to the maximum extent of the law!

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slipknot 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe a petition or a letter should be sent to the State Attorney General requesting a Special Prosecutor for this case or Moffat County with this case in particular. Because as it appears to all of us the local DA is not prepared or willing to actively prosecute this case as needs be. It also appears to me that the problem is not going to go away, Roesink is a DA who appears to have an separate agenda that runs contrary to the general population of MoCo.

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hunter 6 years, 4 months ago

Well the elk farm/ranch is just that a farm/ranch. Those elk really are no different than everyday cattle. I see nothing wrong with how they are kept. They have areas large enough for excercise, They have the ability establish social order and rank, they also have the ability to eat and drink freely. It is a farm. If people want to pay big bucks to come out and shoot one so be it. It is difficult to draw a line between what is hunting and what is not hunting. As a sportsman I hate to ever see the argument go that direction. If given the pprotunity the antis will slowly abolish all hunting. they will start with areas like pin hunting, pdog shooting, lion hunting with hounds, bear baiting, trapping etc. In the end they will not stop. It does not matter if you do it or not, they will eventually take something you do. Look a tthe list I just provided. Over 1/2 of it has been taken away or is actively being taken away. After they get rid of those they will find another to pick at. PLEASE DO NOT FALL vICTIM TO THATS NOT HUNTING OR NOT HOW I WOULD HUNT. wE NEED TO SUPPORT EVERY ASPECT OF THE OUTDOORS OTHERWISE WE WILL SLOWLY LOOSE IT ALL.

As far as the DA, I am sure they will not get what they deserve. I hate the HS as much as anyother rational person, but in cases like this I hope they have a positive influence on the case. If the men in question broke the law then they should face the penalities. If you or I were charge with tresspassing on the land they owned they would want max penalties as well.

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