By Ryan Parker
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife ranger was fined and demoted, but not terminated, for using artificial light while poaching a trophy mule deer after legal hunting hours last October.
Rick Cables, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told The Denver Post on Tuesday the punishment for the incident was adequate but acknowledged some employees who were unhappy the ranger wasn't fired.
Last October, Travis McKay, a park ranger of the Trinidad Lake State Park, was cited for poaching a trophy mule deer after hunting hours while using artificial light, according to incident report.
The wildlife officer who stopped McKay originally congratulated him on the kill, but noticed the deer wasn't tagged, the report states.
McKay originally lied to the wildlife officer about what time the animal had been shot, but the man's phone, which had a text message about the kill, showed it was killed after hours, according to the report.
McKay finally admitted to poaching the deer and was issued a fine of more than $11,000, most of which stemmed from the deer being a trophy animal.
"The officer (McKay) did a rotten thing and made a big mistake," Cables said.
In addition to paying the fine, McKay was stripped of his law enforcement status and took a pay cut when he was transferred to the Cheery Creek State Park as a park technician, Cables said.
"We changed this individual's life with these actions," Cables said. "We feel the actions were appropriate." More....