BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested two cousins for night hunting deer in the Osceola Wildlife Management Area.
FWC law enforcement officers received information two men were illegally hunting deer, according to a release from FWC spokesperson Karen Parker. Parker said they had information the hunting was taking place in the area of Sandhill Grade in Baker County and that an 8-point buck had been killed prior to the start of hunting season.
FWC believed the illegal hunting was taking place after 18-year-old Macclenny resident James Harris posted a picture of an 8-point buck on the internet in August. Parker said the deer in the photo appeared to be freshly killed. Harris, who is suspected of illegal hunting, also had a picture posted online of him holding a small alligator.
Investigators interviewed Harris and others about the illegal hunting. Parker said Harris told police he caught the alligator in the Osceola WMA and released it into the woods.
Parker said James Harris admitted he and his cousin, 22-year-old Statenville, Georgia, resident William Harris, had killed the 8-point buck off County Road 250 in Osceola WMA at night.
James said he and his cousin saw the deer standing on the side of the road and William got out of the truck and shoot the deer. James then drove the truck to pick up both William and the deer.
Parker said when they spoke to William Harris he told investigators the same story as James and even handed over the .22 rifle and flashlight used when they killed the buck. The antlers, which William also turned over, were placed into evidence.
Parker said the cousins were cooperative when confronted with the evidence FWC investigators had gathered, effectively closing the case.
William Harris was cited for taking deer during closed season, taking wildlife at night with a gun and light, taking wildlife during closed season in a WMA and taking wildlife from a public roadway.
Parker said James Harris was cited with the same charges for participating in the illegal hunt and helping clean the deer. James was also charged with possession of an alligator without a permit and received written warnings for no hunting license, no deer permit, no WMA stamp and driving without a valid license.
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