FWC Law Enforcement Report
January 11, 2017
The Florida FWC Division of Law Enforcement reported the following activity during the weekly period ending January 5 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Officers Clark, Hutchinson, Investigator Livesay and Captain Rondeau were patrolling an area in the north end of Escambia County in response to a complaint received the previous week regarding illegal night hunting. While sitting off the road with lights out, Captain Rondeau observed a vehicle drive by shining a light in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. He initiated a traffic stop while Officers Hutchinson and Clark responded as back up. The vehicle was occupied by two male subjects.
There were several guns in the backseat of the vehicle and a dead coyote, the head of an eight‑point whitetail deer and antlers of a three‑point deer in the back of the truck. The vehicle matched the description and tag of the vehicle from the complaint. After interviews and a thorough investigation, it was determined that the subjects illegally killed five antlered deer at night at various locations during the month. A search of the vehicle revealed a total of five long guns. The suspects led officers to their residences where antlers from a three‑point, five‑point, six‑point, eight‑point and nine‑point deer were seized. The suspects were charged with night hunting and multiple charges are pending upon the completion of the investigation.
Officer Lewis saw a man holding a redfish that was clearly over the legal size limit in his Facebook profile picture and located another photo depicting the same redfish on ice in a large cooler. The redfish appeared to take up the entire length of the cooler. In one of the posts, the man commented that the redfish was 38 inches and he caught it in the bayou. Officer Lewis located the man’s address and conducted an interview. The subject eventually, after a couple of different stories, admitted that he harvested the oversized redfish and was planning on eating it. The subject turned over the oversized redfish filets from his freezer and was appropriately cited.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Hutchinson was on patrol during a severe storm when he saw a female subject standing in the rain at an intersection. He turned around and made contact with the subject and discovered that she was a juvenile. He also found out that she had walked several miles from her Florida residence and was walking to Alabama. She refused to provide Officer Hutchinson with her parents’ contact information. Concerned for her safety, she was detained and FWC Dispatch contacted the subject’s parents. Escambia County Sheriff’s Office conducted an interview with the juvenile, and she was released back to the custody of her parents.
Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest and saw a vehicle parked in the middle of a paved road. As he approached, he saw two men sitting in the vehicle with the passenger pointing a hunting rifle out of the passenger side window. Another rifle was next to the driver. Both subjects were wearing camouflage clothing without the required hunter safety orange. When asked what they were doing, the driver said, “We saw a deer cross the road and we were trying to shoot it.” After further questioning, both subjects admitted to trying to shoot a deer from the roadway. The passenger did not have a valid hunting license, a management area permit or a deer permit. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear citation for hunting from a right of way on a prohibited road. The passenger was issued a written warning for the hunting license violation.
Officer Hutchison was patrolling along a highway within the Blackwater Forest when he saw a subject riding a horse next to the field trial area. He recognized the subject from previous encounters and knew the subject had been caught illegally hunting within the field trial area from his horse. After passing the subject, he concealed his vehicle and waited to see if the subject would enter the field trial area. After a few minutes, he drove back towards the area and saw fresh horse tracks leading into the field trial area. He followed the tracks into a wooded area and saw the subject holding a pump shotgun while riding his horse through the trees as if he was trying to jump a deer. When he shouted the subject’s name, the subject spun his horse around and attempted to conceal his firearm by dropping it on the ground. The subject denied possessing a firearm until Officer Hutchinson walked into the woods and located the shotgun lying on the ground. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for hunting in a closed area and hunting license violations.
Officer Hutchinson received a call from about someone illegally dumping deer carcasses from a bridge into a creek. He received a description of the vehicle, but no license plate number. He remembered seeing a vehicle matching the description at a residence of a subject with whom he had had previous encounters. Later that evening, he the vehicle parked in the subject’s yard. Fresh deer blood, hair and meat was in the bed of the vehicle. The subject admitted to illegally dumping the carcasses into the creek and was issued a notice to appear citation for littering in a freshwater creek.
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement. Information provided by FWC.