Man seen in video jumping on pelican booked into Key West jail

William Hunter Hardesty, 31, held on $80,000 bond


KEY WEST, Fla. – A Maryland man who filmed himself jumping on a pelican in the Florida Keys was booked into the Key West jail Monday night.

Maryland State Police notified the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on March 15 that they arrested William Hunter Hardesty, 31, on a warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Hardesty faces one count of intentional feeding of pelicans, two counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and two counts of animal cruelty.

The video shows Hardesty, of Davidsonville, Maryland, luring a pelican toward a dock with a fish. As the pelican approached, Hardesty jumped from the dock and grabbed the pelican in the water. The pelican struggled with Hardesty to get free and at one point the animal bit him.

"Yea they bite hard!!!" Hardesty wrote when he posted the video on Facebook last month.

The FWC and Monroe County Sheriff’s Officer are also investigating another post that showed the man posing with what appears to be a key deer inside a home, authorities said.

Hardesty remained in jail Tuesday morning on an $80,000 bond.

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