May 18, 2013

An Elk Sees The Light

An employee of the government of Colorado, a Parks And Wildlife Ranger no less, got caught poaching a trophy sized mule deer. After dark. With a spotlight.

So what happened to him? He was fined and demoted:

"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."

$11,000 is a big fine (why, that's worth almost a couple of bricks of .22LR nowadays) but I saw no mention of probation, or a jail sentence, not even a deferred one. Contrast that with 2 men from Tennessee that poached a bear here. There's also the Minnesotan that baited a bear, the Coloradan that poached a Big Horn, and the Coloradans who poached an elk.

The big difference between those latter mentioned offenders and this McKay is that McKay was, and still is, a public servant. He was responsible for enforcing the game laws of this state. That means his actions should have been viewed as more sinister, just as a cop who robs a bank should have his actions viewed as more dastardly than a non government employee.

All that said I'm not a fan of the game laws here (or anywhere for that matter). The fees are high, the seasons convoluted, and for anything other than small game you almost need a calculator, compass and Ouija Board to figure out where and when to hunt.

Plus I have the odd notion that hunting is a Right, and charging fees as well as setting burdensome conditions on a Right is just plain wrong. I don't think killing "the King's deer" or its modern equivalent should be a crime, so I don't view poachers as dastardly or "unsportsmanlike" per se. Perhaps one day I'll actually have time to explore those aspects of hunting and law in depth.

In this case however, McKay, to the best of my knowledge, didn't assert that the laws were unjust or that he was exercising a Right. Nor did he make "a big mistake". He broke the law that he presumably had enforced against others. He broke a law that he was paid to enforce against others. He has no place in government, lest after years he winds up in a position of power or influence.

Another incident involving government agents breaking game laws happened recently. It really deserves a post of its own because of the attendant antics surrounding the public reaction, but to sum it up, two Boulder, Colorado cops were fired and face multiple misdemeanor and felony charges for poaching an elk.

When Boulder of all places takes actions by government employees this seriously, it's hard to accept the notion that a big fine, demotion, transfer and loss of hunting privileges was appropriate when a Parks and Wildlife Ranger breaks the game laws. (Yes he got a pay cut, but he's still getting paid to be a public servant.)

As I mentioned, Colorado's game laws are not easy to navigate, and what with the gun owner control laws that go into effect July 1rst of this year I'd recommend avoiding Colorado as it's too risky. If that isn't enough of a deterrent then think about this kind of guy, who willfully disregarded the law for no good reason, being the one to make sure your papers are in order on your next hunting excursion.

Posted by Publicola at May 18, 2013 03:32 AM | TrackBack

Massage McHenry

Posted by: Massage Woodstock at March 27, 2014 06:15 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?