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Facebook photos lead to arrest of illegal hunters

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By The Staff

Two Inverness residents were arrested when an investigation uncovered they had illegally taken a deer and then posted the photos on Facebook.

William Andrew Buchanan and Tara Anne Carver were cited for possession of wildlife taken illegally, according to investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

“FWC officers received information that the photos had been published on Facebook and investigated the tip,” said Lt. Steve Farmer, investigations supervisor. “Investigators then interviewed Buchanan and Carver.”

Buchanan confirmed he was in the photographs, helping skin the deer. He also stated he used his mother’s truck to move the deer when he received a call from Carver, and he provided the chain to hang the deer. However, he wouldn’t admit to shooting the deer or being present when the deer was killed, said Investigator Jim Smith, lead investigator on the case.

“Carver said she published the photographs on her Facebook page, and that the deer was killed sometime in May,” Smith said.

Carver blamed Buchanan for killing the deer but confirmed she had skinned it and stored some of the meat in her uncle’s freezer.

“Fortunately for investigators, pictures can say a thousand words,” Smith said.  

Farmer said there was a third person involved in the case, but he wasn’t charged because he was in county jail awaiting transport to state prison on multiple felony charges.

In a technologically advanced society, Internet websites provide opportunities for the collection of evidence when Florida’s wildlife is illegally killed.  The FWC has created a specialized Internet Crimes Unit to monitor and collect evidence when Florida’s wildlife is exploited. Possession of illegally taken wildlife is a second-degree misdemeanor.

“This case is an excellent example of the FWC’s teamwork and shows our commitment to protecting the natural resources of Florida,” Farmer said.