Facebook photos of turkeys lead to charges
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
An anonymous complaint about Facebook photos showing multiple harvested wild turkeys ended with charges being filed against four men for various hunting violations.
Travis Clayton McFatter (DOB 03/24/86), Blake Dalton King (DOB 08/24/92), Zachary David Espenship (DOB 09/12/92), all of Lake City, and Dustin Wayne Parrish (DOB 10/15/86), of Lulu, were cited by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers.
The photographs showed McFatter and King posing with several freshly harvested turkeys and McFatter also posing with a dead alligator.
FWC investigators interviewed the two men. McFatter admitted to investigators that he had killed five turkeys during the season, as well as taking two birds in one day. The legal daily bag limit is one turkey, and the season bag limit is two birds. One of the photos McFatter had posted showed three harvested gobblers. He received that photo from his cousin, Parrish, but didn’t know the details about the birds.
“Mr. McFatter also explained he picked up the road-killed alligator near his house,” said FWC Investigator Todd Hoyle. “He took the gator home, snapped a few photos and ate the meat.”
McFatter was charged with taking over the daily bag limit for turkeys, three counts of taking over the season limit of two turkeys and possession of an untagged alligator. He was also given two noncriminal citations for no hunting license and no turkey stamp.
During his interview with investigators, King admitted to killing four turkeys.
“Mr. King gave permission to search his truck, and investigators found fresh blood in the bed and on the tailgate of his pickup,” Hoyle said. “He told us that he and his friend, Mr. Espenship, were headed home from their hunting club and saw a deer standing on the shoulder of the road. Mr. Espenship then shot the deer.”
Espenship admitted to killing the deer while it stood blinded by the headlights of the truck. He gave investigators four bags of deer meat and the.22-caliber Winchester rifle he used to kill the animal.
King was charged with two counts of taking over the season limit of wild turkey, taking deer out of season and taking deer at night by use of gun and light.
Espenship was charged with taking deer out of season and taking deer at night by use of gun and light.
When investigators interviewed Parrish, he admitted to taking three gobblers – two on the opening morning of spring turkey season and one bird on Easter morning. He was charged with taking over the daily bag limit and taking over the season bag limit.
In all, after a two-day investigation, FWC officials issued a total of 13 misdemeanors and two infractions.
“This is a great case and shows how our investigators and officers work together, as well as how important it is for us to follow up on complaints we receive,” said Capt. Martin Redmond, FWC area supervisor.