DENVER (KDVR) — The 52-year-old man arrested for allegedly killing a mother bear and her cubs supposedly cut off their heads and paws before abandoning their carcasses.
That’s according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Problem Solvers after Paul Stromberg was arrested on 15 counts, including three felonies of willful destruction of wildlife.
The volunteer firefighter appeared virtually in a Fremont County courtroom Wednesday morning.
Court documents reveal investigators with Colorado Parks and Wildlife found the carcasses of the sow and her cubs on Sept. 29 after they were tipped off to a social media post on a Facebook page for local discussion. The post read, verbatim, “To who ever poached 2 cubs and a momma bear and dumbed them up Sand Gulch I have strong words for how mad I am.”
Sand Gulch is located in Fremont County near the town of Howard, where Stromberg lives.
Bloody gloves and photos as evidence
When investigators found the remains of the three bears, they also found a pair of red and black Milwaukee-brand gloves 60 yards away along Sand Gulch Road. The gloves appeared to have dried blood on them.
“The evidence showed that the bears were shot somewhere else and intentionally disposed of in the Sand Gulch location,” the affidavit reads. “The claws, skull and teeth of a black bear are desirable trophy parts. Each of the three bears the Wildlife Officers found and investigated had these trophy parts removed and the carcasses abandoned. Colorado Law makes it illegal to hunt or take wildlife and detach or remove, hide, claws, teeth, etc. with the intent to abandon the carcass or body.”
Investigators were contacted by a person who wished to remain anonymous but shared a picture of Stromberg posing with three dead bears that matched the description of the bears found dead in Sand Gulch. In the picture, Stromberg is wearing red and black Milwaukee-brand gloves that closely resemble the gloves found near the carcasses.
According to the affidavit, the anonymous person told Wildlife Officers, “STROMBERG talked about the bears falling out of a tree when he shot them and said it was ‘epic’ when the bears fell out of the tree. STROMBERG said that the bears killed chickens at his house and in return, he ‘took out her whole (expletive) family.’ STROMBERG made a reference to the claws from the bears being removed.”
The affidavit said investigators discovered Stromberg did not have a valid black bear license to hunt bears, and even if he did, he could not legally kill the bears and abandon their carcasses.
Accused Colorado poacher claims death threats
At his virtual court hearing, prosecutors requested Stromberg be forced to appear in person for all future court hearings, saying he shouldn’t be given favorable treatment.
Stromberg’s attorney, Ryan Drengler, responded that Stromberg had become the target of death threats ever since his arrest made national news, “and he’s worried about appearing at a certain place and time in case those threats were credible.”
The judge agreed with the deputy prosecutor for the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and said Stromberg will have to appear at his next court hearing on Oct. 18, when the judge will decide if investigators have to return Stromberg’s cell phone that was seized as evidence.