By Eve Byron
The lure of the renowned bull elk in the Elkhorn Mountains got three Broadwater County men in trouble on Saturday.
Rob Aldridge, a game warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, received a TIPMONT call about two large bull elk being shot in Hunting District 380 by three men. The caller said one elk had been field dressed and taken, but the other — described by the caller as a trophy bull — was left flopping around with a broken back. The caller was angry over the elk being left to suffer.
While Aldridge drove to the scene, another warden, Brenna White, already was patrolling in the area and met with the caller. Sgt. Dave Loewen parked on the most likely exit route to try to ensure the suspects couldn’t escape.
White noticed a vehicle driving up an unmarked spur road and noted that it was the same vehicle that had passed her earlier while she was speaking with the people who called in the incident. So she drove up the road and found the vehicle parked in the area where the elk allegedly had been shot. She got out of her truck, started searching for the elk and suspects, and eventually found three men —Arnold Kolberg, 70, his grandson Skyler Kolberg, 29, and son-in-law Ronnie Nehring, 36, — pulling out a large bull elk.
White checked their licenses and took their guns, and then escorted them back to her truck. Moments later, Aldridge arrived, and they split up the hunting party to interview them.
The wardens found that only Arnold Kolberg had a coveted bull elk permit for that hunting district. Skyler Kolberg told them that he had shot a bull that his grandfather injured, and then his grandfather proceeded to shoot another bull, which is the one they were dragging out.
Skyler Kolberg “further explained that he had taken the first bull to his house earlier in the day,” according to White. “The suspect being interviewed by Warden Aldridge (Nehring) struggled to say anything truthful.”
The wardens told the three men to finish retrieving the second elk, then asked to be taken to where the first elk had been stashed. They went to a house on Lone Mountain Road outside of Radersberg, where the first bull elk was buried in hay. The wardens measured the rack and found out that while it was close, it didn’t meet the criteria for being a trophy bull.
The wardens seized the elk and took the men to the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office, where they were interviewed again. More....