As the case against two former Boulder police officers charged in the shooting death of a trophy elk on Mapleton Hill moves forward, the animal's remains rest in a state evidence locker -- but that will change.
The tentative plan for the remains of the animal some called "Big Boy" calls for hundreds of pounds of its packaged meat to be donated to charity.
But if the case continues too long, that might not be possible. A trial is now set for the week of Oct. 14, after both officers pleaded not guilty Friday to the array of charges filed against them. And it's not uncommon for trial dates to be bumped considerably further down the calendar.
"We'll need to figure out when and where, after everything is finalized and the case is adjudicated," said Larry Rogstad, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"Once we get to that point, we'll take a look at the meat and see what kind of shape it is in," Rogstad said. "If the case is dragged out for two years, the disposition (of the meat) might be different than if it was adjudicated today. So at that point we'll make a determination for the most appropriate use."
For now, the meat and other parts of the animal that were salvaged in the investigation are frozen in a secured Colorado Parks and Wildlife evidence room, the location of which Rogstad would not divulge.
He could not disclose Big Boy's size at the time he was shot and killed late the night of Jan. 1 near Ninth and Mapleton streets in Boulder, but said a mature bull elk can weigh in at an average of about 700 pounds.
Allegations against officers
It is alleged that two Boulder officers, Sam Carter, 36, and Brent Curnow, 38, planned the elk's demise up to 20 hours in advance, with Carter alleged to have shot and killed the animal while on duty. Curnow, who was scheduled to work that day but called in sick, allegedly hauled the animal's body away in a pickup truck. The pair resigned in the face of an internal investigation, and both were charged Feb. 7.
On Friday, Rogstad would not say how many pounds of meat were allegedly harvested by the officers.
However, he said an elk that size typically might yield 200 to 300 pounds of meat. The evidence locker, he added, currently holds about 50 packages of meat that were seized from Curnow's residence, according to an arrest affidavit. Those packages range in size from 1- to 2-pound steaks, to larger 5- to 10-pound bundles.
Rogstad said that once the case is completed, the meat "will go to the most appropriate use at the time," and that, if possible, it would be donated to a charity.
"You've got to look at the quality of the meat. You have to make sure the meat is OK for human consumption, after a considerable time," Rogstad said.
He admitted that the officers, themselves, could conceivably be the ultimate recipients of its remains.
"We're holding evidence that might have to be returned to the people, if the case were found in favor of the defendants," Rogstad said. "Right now, our job is just to hold and maintain the evidence in a safe and secure location until someone makes a decision."
Inventory of remains
The elk remains that were seized as evidence also included its head with four-point-by-six-point antlers (with one antler sawed off above the second point), all still connected to its hide, its front and hind legs, minus hooves, and one side of its rib cage.
At the time of the officers' arrest, an Internet domain registration record showed that a website called BuffaloPeaksTaxidermy.com was registered to Curnow's address in Aurora. It listed "Brent Curnow" as the site's contact.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or email@example.com.