When people think of the Treasure Coast of Florida, they think of pristine sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean surf gently rolling in -- all of this only a short distance north of President Donald J. Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Lago Estate and scarcely100 miles north of downtown Miami and nearby South Beach.
But in recent days, news has been about white-tailed deer, and even huge antlered bucks big enough to qualify for the Boone and Crockett Club record book.
That idea comes after a Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 social media post by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office on the central Florida coastline. That report indicates that deputies had arrested 54-year old Mario Enrique Palacio for allegedly poaching a huge non-typical whitetail on state property near Indiantown.
Here’s what the MCSO social media post details:
“While on patrol, Sergeant Kevin Kryzda noticed a dark truck parked in a wooded area near a construction site off of Citrus Boulevard. Sergeant Kryzda could see the driver using a spotlight to illuminate a deer. As the Sergeant approached, the truck sped off. Sergeant Kryzda notified Deputy Jason Slay who was near-by, AIR-1, and an agricultural detective for assistance. A short time later, Deputy Slay spotted Palacio’s truck as he attempted to leave the area.After Palacio saw the deputy, he pulled over. Around the same time, AIR-1 spotted a very large antlered deer carcass in the wooded area where the truck was originally spotted. Deputies determined that the buck was recently shot by what appeared to be a high-caliber rifle.”
The post goes on to detail that inside Palacio’s truck, MCSO deputies reportedly found a bow, arrows, spotlight, and a single spent shell casing from a .30-06 caliber rifle. While no rifle was initially discovered, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission specially trained K-9 was reportedly used to help investigators discover a .30-06 rifle in the area where Palacio had been seen.
According to the Facebook post, Palacio is reportedly facing a number of charges including Trespass on a Construction Site and Trespass by Lethal Projectile, both felonies. FWC officers are also looking into several other state charges that could be filed.
The MCSO social media report indicates that the buck was processed and the meat was donated to a local facility. The massive buck was also processed and documented as evidence, along with the 23-point rack being green-scored at 205 7/8 inches.
There’s no word yet on whether that score is a net or gross number, an important consideration since the Missoula, Mont.-based Boone and Crockett Club only accepts net scores that are obtained after a mandatory 60-day drying period.
Even under possession of Florida authorities in an alleged poaching case, the huge buck’s rack could potentially qualify it for entry into the prestigious B&C all-time record book (which accepts pick-up entries) if it has an eventual net score that surpasses the 195 0/8-inch net number that is required.
If such all-time record book status is obtained somewhere down the line, that could potentially put this Martin County buck in line to become the second largest non-typical ever recorded in the state. And, if the 60-day score was to somehow prove to be even higher, the buck could even potentially be considered as the new non-typical benchmark in Florida.
Either way, the Martin County buck appears to be one of the largest whitetails ever recorded in Florida. According to the FWC state-wide Big Buck Registry kept since 1982, the largest buck ever taken in the Sunshine State was a Pasco County giant taken north of the Tampa Bay area. While not listed in the Pope and Young Club record book, that archery buck has a net score of 206 0/8 inches and was harvested on Sept. 25, 1999 by James Stovall.
The only other Florida whitetail sporting an official score north of 200 inches is found in the fifth edition of B&C’s Records of North American Whitetail Deer. That record book listing details a Florida Panhandle buck from the World War II era, a 201 3/8-inch non-typical buck sporting 25 scorable points taken by hunter Clark Durrance way back in 1941.
While it remains to be seen exactly where this poached Florida whitetail falls in the record book listings, it follows on the heels of several other high-profile poaching cases reported last year during the fall of 2017.
Those included a pair of poaching cases out of North Texas north of Dallas, one that included what might be the largest poached whitetail of all-time and another that included one of the more unusual sentencings issued to a poacher in such a case.
Stay tuned for more information on this big Florida buck poaching case as it becomes available.