Elk return to Culverwell land in Moffat County

RBC — Elk returned to Rodney and Margaret Culverwell’s property in rural Moffat County.
And they wanted to let someone know about it.
“Last year, some people questioned whether or not we called the DOW and asked for help,” Margaret said. “So, this year, I want everyone to know the date the elk problem started and the time and date I first called DOW and asked for help.”
Margaret said she placed the call Jan. 7.
“I called the Colorado State Patrol … and asked to have a DOW officer return my phone call because I had elk eating our bull’s hay,” she said. “The elk returned to our bull’s feeding ground, just like last year. The elk are pushing our livestock away from their hay and they are eating our hay.”
She said the Culverwells didn’t want a repeat of what happened last year.
“We asked for help last year,” Margaret said. “We didn’t get help last year. The elk are not starving to death; that’s not why they are coming onto our feed ground. They are simply returning to the same spot they ate last year. Since the problem was not dealt with last winter, we will have to deal with it again and again.’
Rodney Culverwell was sentenced Nov. 4 in Moffat County for four felony convictions for the shooting deaths of four elk last winter on his property. He was sentenced to 60 days in county jail, two years’ probation, 172 hours of community service and $19,567 in fines and fees. He has appealed.
That same day she called the state patrol, Margaret called and left a message with Bill de Vergie, area wildlife manager in Meeker.
“I left a message explaining that the elk were eating my bull’s hay … and was waiting for a return phone call and that I wanted him to know that I was asking for their help,” she said.
Within minutes, Margaret said she received a callback from Tom Knowles of the Meeker DOW office.
“I told him I had 20 elk coming and eating my bull’s hay and I needed to know what he was going to do about it,” Margaret said. “He said he would call Joe Nicholson, who handles the north part of Rangely, because all of the Craig guys were in Utah trapping moose.”
Margaret said she also heard back from Garrett Watson of the DOW office in Craig.
“He said he was in Utah trapping moose and asked if I could meet with Tom Knowles,” Margaret said.
The meeting took place Jan. 8. Margaret met with Knowles and Nicholson.
“We agreed that I would try pyrotechnics,” Margaret said.
“That’s one of the first things we try,” de Vergie said. “They are little explosive devices that make noise. We give those to landowners to use to scare (the elk) off. Usually, it scares them off into the hills. It’s the first step in the process to try to deter animals from into the livestock feed.”
DOW officials visited the Culverwell property, but the elk were already gone.
“Both of them (Knowles and Nicholson) showed up later on where the elk had been eating the hay, and the elk never came in,” Margaret said. “The general consensus was that the elk just simply moved on.”