Written by attorney John Michael Phillips

Facebook photos depicting hunting violations lead to arrest

Think Facebook is safe to share your day-to-day life with friends? Besides the lack of privacy, if the photos depict you committing a crime, you better think twice. Actually, you are committing 2 mistakes- doing the activity, then uploading it, as one Florida man learned.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators arrested a Tampa man this month after receiving a complaint about photos posted on Facebook. The complaint said that a deer and alligator had been freshly killed and that the suspected hunter, Kyle Edwards, was also in the photos. Edwards admitted to a FWC investigator he and a friend were on private property “to camp and shoot a new AK-47" he had recently purchased at a Tampa gun show. He saw an alligator, shot and killed it. They cleaned it, ate some of the meat and later gave the rest of the alligator meat to friends. He did the same to a deer the next day. Both carcasses were found by FWC in a nearby dump.

FWC issued Edwards a citation for taking deer during the closed season and for the illegal taking of an alligator, both second-degree misdemeanors.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has three programs that provide for harvesting alligators from the wild: (1) Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, (2) Private Lands Alligator Management Program, and (3) Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program. Each of these programs provides unique opportunities for participation. To participate in the statewide public alligator hunt in Florida, you must have an Alligator Trapping License, an alligator trapping permit, and CITES tags. Here is a link to the various hunting seasons- or here Regulations are located here - Some of the applicable laws- 379.3751 Taking and possession of alligators; trapping licenses; fees.— (1)(a) No person shall take or possess any alligator or the eggs thereof without having first obtained from the commission a trapping license and paid the fee provided in this section. Such license shall be dated when issued and remain valid for 12 months after the date of issuance and shall authorize the person to whom it is issued to take or possess alligators and their eggs, and to sell, possess, and process alligators and their hides and meat, in accordance with law and commission rules. Such license shall not be transferable and shall not be valid unless it bears on its face in indelible ink the name of the person to whom it is issued. Such license shall be in the personal possession of the licensee while such person is taking alligators or their eggs or is selling, possessing, or processing alligators or their eggs, hides, or meat. The failure of the licensee to exhibit such license to the commission or its wildlife officers, when such person is found taking alligators or their eggs or is found selling, possessing, or processing alligators or their eggs, hides, or meat, shall be a violation of law. 379.409 Illegal killing, possessing, or capturing of alligators or other crocodilia or eggs; confiscation of equipment.— (1) It is unlawful to intentionally kill, injure, possess, or capture, or attempt to kill, injure, possess, or capture, an alligator or other crocodilian, or the eggs of an alligator or other crocodilian, unless authorized by the rules of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, in addition to such other punishment as may be provided by law. Any equipment, including but not limited to weapons, vehicles, boats, and lines, used by a person in the commission of a violation of any law, rule, regulation, or order relating to alligators or other crocodilia or the eggs of alligators or other crocodilia shall, upon conviction of such person, be confiscated by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and disposed of according to rules and regulations of the commission. The arresting officer shall promptly make a return of the seizure, describing in detail the property seized and the facts and circumstances under which it was seized, including the names of all persons known to the officer who have an interest in the property. 379.404 Illegal taking and possession of deer and wild turkey; evidence; penalty.— Whoever takes or kills any deer or wild turkey, or possesses a freshly killed deer or wild turkey, during the closed season prescribed by law or by the rules and regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or whoever takes or attempts to take any deer or wild turkey by the use of gun and light in or out of closed season, commits a Level Three violation under s. 379.401 and shall forfeit any license or permit issued to her or him under the provisions of this chapter. No license shall be issued to such person for a period of 3 years following any such violation on the first offense. Any person guilty of a second or subsequent violation shall be permanently ineligible for issuance of a license or permit thereafter. --- --- --- --- --- --- John M. Phillips [email protected] Licensed in Florida, Georgia and Alabama --- --- --- --- --- ---

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