Tampa man charged with poaching after posting Facebook pic
www2.tbo.com - A Tampa man who posted a photo on his Facebook page standing next to a dead deer was issued a citation to appear in court for shooting and killing a deer and alligator earlier this month, which is not hunting season.
Kyle Edwards, 21, of 211 S. Occident St., faces a year and 60 days in county jail and a possible $1,500 fine for killing both animals. He will appear at the Levy County Courthouse at a later date.
Taking a deer during closed season is a first-degree misdemeanor, and taking an alligator during closed season is a second-degree misdemeanor, said Karen Parker, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Edwards posted a photo on his Facebook page as he stood next to the dead deer and holding an AK-47. Someone called the Fish and Wildlife Commission and complained about photos Edwards posted.
When a Fish and Wildlife Commission investigator met with Edwards, he admitted to shooting and killing the animals, Parker said.
He told investigators he had bought a new AK-47 at a Tampa gun show. On June 10, he went to private property near Bronson in Levy County to camp and shoot his AK-47.
While on private property, Edwards and a friend saw an alligator on a dirt road, and Edwards shot and killed it. Both men cleaned the alligator, ate some of its meat and later gave the rest of the meat to friends, the Fish and Wildlife Commission said.
The following day, Edwards shot and killed a deer. They took photos, including one of Edwards standing next to the dead deer and holding an AK-47.
They cleaned the deer, ate some of the meat and gave the rest of the meat to friends, the Fish and Wildlife Commission said.
The carcasses were disposed on a dump pile near their camp, the Fish and Wildlife Commission said.
Edwards admitted to posting the photographs on his Facebook page and then removing them after the complaint was made but before the Fish and Wildlife Commission had started to investigate, Parker said.
“Unfortunately, poaching is more common than you might expect,” said Parker, who is based in Lake City. “If someone poaches, they are stealing from someone who follows the rules.”
Alligator hunting season lasts from August through November. Hunters must have a permit and can hunt only two alligators per permit, Parker said.
Deer hunting begins in September with archery. In October, hunters can use muzzle loaders. From November through January deer hunting includes general guns, Parker said.
“We are here to stop the activity,” said Jeff Summers, a Fish and Wildlife Commission law enforcement officer based in Lake City. “It’s bad sportsmanship. There is a reason for the season and the rules.”
Edwards couldn’t be reached for comment.