FWC charges four with illegal hunting

Local News

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. — After nearly a yearlong investigation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) charged four people with multiple hunting-related crimes including night hunting, over-the-season bag limit of white-tailed deer, petit theft and entering fraudulent information into the FWC Harvest Reporting System.

In February of last year, FWC officers received information of illegal deer harvest that was taking place at night on private property without landowner permission. A suspect, Dustin Bryant of Freeport, was identified and officers began gathering information. Phone records for Bryant were subpoenaed and, through further investigation, several other suspects were identified, FWC officials wrote in a news release.

“I appreciate the dedication of our officers and their supervisors for their diligence in staying with this case for almost a yearlong investigation,” said Maj. Craig Duval, commander of the FWC’s Northwest Region. “I am incredibly proud of their tireless efforts in conserving our state’s natural resources.”

Arrest warrants were issued for the suspects and they were subsequently booked into the Walton County Jail on Jan. 8.

Dustin Bryant

Phone records also showed that violations occurred in Alabama, officials wrote. Two of the suspects, Bryant and James Mcleod, were charged with additional violations by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

James Mcleod

Dustin Bryant, 38, of Freeport, is charged with unlawful to take or possess any freshly killed deer or turkey with the use of a gun and light at night, petit theft, entering false information on licenses or permits, entering a wildlife management area posted as closed to public access, failure to report deer harvest within 24 hours of taking of deer and operation of ATVs prohibited on Lafayette Creek WMA.

James Mcleod, 29, of Freeport, is charged with two counts of unlawful to take or possess any freshly killed deer or turkey with the use of a gun and light at night, petit theft, one count taking more than the bag limit per season two counts of hunting in a Wildlife Management Area in an area posted as closed, failure to report deer harvest within 24 hours of taking of deer, operation of ATVs prohibited on Lafayette Creek WMA, Operation of a vehicle in a closed area.

Dalton Morrison

Kristan O’Neill 23, of Santa Rosa Beach, is charged with one count of unlawful to take or possess any freshly killed deer or turkey with the use of a gun and light at night and one count of entering false information on licenses or permits.

Dalton Morrison, 27, of Freeport, is charged with unlawful to take or possess any freshly killed deer or turkey with the use of a gun and light at night and solicitation and conspiracy to commit a crime.

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