Fla. Deer Poachers Incriminate Themselves on Social Media

Two suspected deer poachers are charged with multiple felonies in Florida after they allegedly bragged about their violations on social media.

From Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission Facebook

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission (FWC) said the suspects incriminated themselves in the case by posting several images of poaching incidents at Shadd Farms near Lake Butler, Fla., to their social media accounts.

Aaron Griffis, 24, and Taylor Wise, 23, are accused of several violations, including grand theft livestock, hunting at night and poaching (see the complete list of charges below).

The investigation began in November after a complaint about shots being fired in the deer pen at Shadd Farms, a private game farm and hunting preserve. Another tip led to online information showing the suspects bragging about killing a big buck.

Investigators said Wise posted photos of the poaching incident to his Snapchat account.

According to a FWC news release:

In an interview, Wise admitted shooting an 11-point buck out of Shadd Farms' deer pen while riding in a vehicle with his child and Griffis. He also explained that after dropping his son off with a friend, he and Griffis drove back to the pen, where they cut the fence and dragged out the deer. They then returned to Lawtey to clean the deer.

The investigation also revealed that Griffis entered Shadd's deer pen another night.

"After exercising a search warrant issued by the state attorney's office on Griffis' social media private messages, we found videos that he posted of himself walking through the woods, shining a light and shooting at a deer," said FWC Lt. Clay Huff. "There were comments accompanying the video, stating it was a 15-point deer at which he was shooting. Mr. Shadd advised that he had found a 15-point buck dead in his pen."

Wise faces these charges

  • Trespass by projectile (third degree felony).          
  • Grand theft livestock (third degree felony).          
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft (third degree felony).  
  • Breaking or injuring fences containing animals (third degree felony).    
  • Child neglect (without harm) (third degree felony).    
  • Taking deer at night (first degree misdemeanor).    
  • Firearm discharge from public road (first degree misdemeanor).  

Griffis faces these charges:

  • Trespass while armed (third degree felony).    
  • Grand theft livestock (third degree felony, two counts).  
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft (third degree felony).    
  • Breaking or injuring fences containing animals (third degree felony). 
  • Taking deer at night (first degree misdemeanor, two counts).  
  • Possession of firearm by felon (third degree felony).
  • Trespass (first degree misdemeanor).  

"Mr. Shadd appreciated the work that was done and has given a reward to the person who supplied the anonymous tip about the suspects," Huff said.

The tipster also received an award via FWC's Wildlife Alert Program. 

Report a poacher: Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922 or text to Tip@MyFWC.com, and MyFWC.com/WildlifeAlert by clicking on "Report Online." You can report violations anonymously and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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