By John Ferrugia, Arthur Kane
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer was caught poaching a trophy deer in October, but the state agency tried to keep the poaching incident from becoming public, a six-week CALL7 Investigation found.Travis McKay, then a state park ranger and certified police officer in a Trinidad State Lake Park, was in the Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area Oct. 13, 2012, with a friend when he shot a deer after dark, using a spotlight, records show. Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Bob Holder, along with a federal officer, came along and found the deer in McKay's truck, the citation report shows.
McKay was cited with hunting after hours with a light, illegal taking and possession of a trophy deer and failure to tag the game. He eventually paid more than $11,000 in fines.
Reports obtained exclusively by the CALL7 Investigators show Holder promised repeatedly to keep the incident out of the media and hidden from the public.
"I advised Travis McKay that because of his position as a Park Ranger I would give him the professional courtesy of contacting my supervisor prior to the citation issuance," Holder wrote in his report.
The federal agent said "there would be no one in the community advised of the situation so as not to embarrass any parties involved and that if it did come out it would be McKay or (his friend) that chose to reveal that information," the report said.
Holder "also advised Travis McKay and (his friend) that I had not called in a license clearance on the vehicles or the driver's license clearance on either party to the Colorado State Patrol dispatch to avoid disclosure through scanners, etc. Both McKay and (his friend) thanked me for the consideration," Holder wrote in his report.
Holder also met after hours with McKay and his friend to keep the case quiet. The report says Holder knew McKay as a park ranger and he had known McKay's friend since the friend was a child. More....