If you’re going to hunt illegally, you’re going to pay the price. After years of illegal hunting, one man from Florida is being forced to sell his property over in Nebraska.
This is all following a tip that a game warden happened to get in the fall of 2020. Apparently, the guide was attempting to bait game near an area in Bridgeport near the North Platte River. Josh Widhelm continued to keep an eye on the area when deer season started up that November.
As he was positioned there, he actually saw several different hunters would walk out of the woods together. One of which had a deer he was dragging behind him.
According to Lexington Clipper-Herald, this all would lead to a much larger investigation with a series of serious charges. What exactly did they do wrong?
Well, authorities found 10 deer that they had hunted (along with three of them being trophy bucks).
How Authorities Picked Up on the Florida Man’s Hunting Tricks
Widhelm searched the area with Game and Parks conservation officers the following day. They were able to spot some clear signs that illegal hunting was going on. For starters, the hunters were hunting over huge piles of corn just spewed out on the forest floor. They found tubs of corn kernels, whitetail hair, and a blood puddle all in the area. These hunters were breaking a specific law. That is, you can’t hunt within 200 yards of a feeding site and a deer can’t be shot within 200 years of a feeding site.
At the center of this investigation was one man from Florida — a 60-year-old, Daryll W. Futch. He had a master plan. Essentially, he would serve as a guide of sorts for other people from Florida visiting Nebraska. He went as far as buying them their hunting permits, getting them all cozy inside of shooting stands, and taking and processing any deer they shot and killed. After that, he would send their heads to a local taxidermist and then send all that meat back to Florida.
Futch tried to say that he wasn’t a guide, rather, these hunters are his friends. Well, those hunters were quick to call him out and instead share that they would pay up to $7,000 to come hunt with him in Nebraska.
Citations and Consequences
He is facing 10 citations for the 2020 season, most of which is related to hunting over bait. As a part of the deal with the prosecutor, Futch said he would not hunt or be near hunters for two years. Fast-forward to 2021’s deer season and the small community noticed that Futch was back in town once again.
Quickly, investigators find out that he has a house near Bridgeport. He was once again involved in the guiding process, therefore breaking his court order. A search warrant found five whitetail bucks dead, 20 guns, a freezer full of meat, and many, many other condemning items.
Now, under brand new terms, Futch had to sell his house and the land near Bridgeport where the illegal activities were happening. He could not rent or buy any properties in the area either and once again was told to not hunt, fish, or guide for five years. If he violates these new terms, he’ll get sent to jail for a year.