BIG PINE KEY, Fla. – A man from Big Pine Key was arrested Saturday after fatally shooting a Key deer in his backyard, state wildlife authorities said.
Grant Wilson, 33, faces one felony count of killing or wounding a protected species.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Wilson admitted to shooting the Key deer with a pellet gun because he said it was eating the plants in his garden.
Witnesses spotted the deer carcass after Wilson hid it in mangroves just outside his home and called the FWC, authorities said.
Two pellet guns and the carcass were seized by the FWC as evidence.
"We are responsible for conserving Florida's natural resources, and for such a precious species to be taken illegally is deeply unsettling," said FWC Maj. Alfredo Escanio. "To have this act committed by a resident of the Florida Keys is even more troubling. Acts like this will not be tolerated."
Key deers are only found in the Florida Keys and are a federally designated endangered species. The FWC said the Key deer is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer and cannot be hunted.
Wilson faces up to five years in federal prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
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