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Are there any Sportsman Lawyers on this forum that work near West Palm in Florida???

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Are there any Sportsman Lawyers on this forum that work near West Palm in Florida???

Old 08-26-2015, 04:05 AM
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Default Are there any Sportsman Lawyers on this forum that work near West Palm in Florida???

Just figured I would post this up here and hopefully someone is willing to help or can point us in the right direction. My brother and his girlfriend got a violation while gator hunting a few weekends ago. They did everything right except one thing... They made a mistake and dispatched the animal with a pistol and not a bang stick. Even though they had positive control of the animal and it was dispatched quickly and humanely as possible, it is not legal to utilize a pistol for this which they were not aware of. Well, they got a violation from the US fish and wildlife which apparently is a misdemeanor so it isn't something to blow off. It was her tag, she is a novice hunter, and as you can imagine, she is very nervous about the possible outcome. I have already given him the 3rd degree about double checking regs before hunting a new area etc especially with new hunters... At this point they know they messed up and even though it was an honest mistake they want to get it squared away with as little damage as possible so she won't be completely deterred from hunting again. If anyone knows of any lawyers or if there is one on this site please PM me so I can get them in contact with someone who can help. We are not talking about redneck poachers here, we are talking about 2 hard working native Floridians who were just trying to enjoy our states resources. They just made a dumb mistake in the process.

Thanks in advance for anyone who is able to assist.
Old 08-26-2015, 04:55 AM
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You lost me when you said that a pistol (or any other weapon) isn't legal when the idea is to kill the gator. Then you followed up by claiming that what they did was dumb.

Can you or somebody explain the concept that the F&G Dept uses in order to make a rule like that?

Either way, sorry they are having to go through this.
Old 08-26-2015, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
You lost me when you said that a pistol (or any other weapon) isn't legal when the idea is to kill the gator. Then you followed up by claiming that what they did was dumb.

Can you or somebody explain the concept that the F&G Dept uses in order to make a rule like that?

Either way, sorry they are having to go through this.
Really...you want someone to explain a gov't rule...Let alone a fwc ruling...
Old 08-26-2015, 05:10 AM
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I say it was a dumb mistake b/c they didn't go over the rules a few times just to make sure they didn't break any laws prior to hunting. The laws change so much these days that you can be a life long hunter and mess up if you don't double check before you go. Anyways, it was a limited quota hunt and it was in the preserve which hasn't been hunted in years until they opened it this year. Since it's in a preserve the feds are the ones who enforce the laws and there are no firearms allowed in the preserve which they found out. I know that FWC doesn't pay any mind to how a gator is dispatched as long as it was done responsibly which means that the hunters have to have positive control of the animal by using a harpoon and then killing it as quickly as possible. The US Fish and Wildlife apparently does not see it the same way. The bang stick is the only option when hunting in the preserve is what they learned and were cited for.
Old 08-26-2015, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
You lost me when you said that a pistol (or any other weapon) isn't legal when the idea is to kill the gator. Then you followed up by claiming that what they did was dumb.

Can you or somebody explain the concept that the F&G Dept uses in order to make a rule like that?

Either way, sorry they are having to go through this.
You must have the gator "secure' with a line. Firearms are not allowed as they believe people would just kill the gators and not retrieve them, or worse have a wounded gator dive under and never be found.

Same reason baited hooks are not allowed in FL.

As for the OP, there are several very good Fl attorneys on this site.
Old 08-26-2015, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gumpire View Post
Really...you want someone to explain a gov't rule...Let alone a fwc ruling...
LOL that's a good one
Old 08-26-2015, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by 85diver View Post
I say it was a dumb mistake b/c they didn't go over the rules a few times just to make sure they didn't break any laws prior to hunting. The laws change so much these days that you can be a life long hunter and mess up if you don't double check before you go. Anyways, it was a limited quota hunt and it was in the preserve which hasn't been hunted in years until they opened it this year. Since it's in a preserve the feds are the ones who enforce the laws and there are no firearms allowed in the preserve which they found out. I know that FWC doesn't pay any mind to how a gator is dispatched as long as it was done responsibly which means that the hunters have to have positive control of the animal by using a harpoon and then killing it as quickly as possible. The US Fish and Wildlife apparently does not see it the same way. The bang stick is the only option when hunting in the preserve is what they learned and were cited for.
Now you lost me as that is patently untrue.

Direct from the FWC website

http://myfwc.com/media/1357817/alligator_cwa_faq.pdf

WHAT METHODS CAN YOU USE TO TAKE ALLIGATORS?
Alligators may be taken only by the use of artificial lures or baited, wooden pegs less than two (2) inches in length attached to a hand-held restraining line and hand-held snares, harpoons, gigs, snatch hooks, and manually operated spears, spearguns, crossbows and bows with projectiles attached to a restraining line. The use of baited hooks, gig-equipped bang sticks, or firearms for taking alligators is prohibited except that bang sticks are permitted for taking alligators attached to a restraining line.

Did your brother and girlfriend even read the rules and regs?
Old 08-26-2015, 05:43 AM
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How did they get caught? stopped by the game warden and inspected it?
Old 08-26-2015, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersus View Post
Now you lost me as that is patently untrue.

Direct from the FWC website

http://myfwc.com/media/1357817/alligator_cwa_faq.pdf

WHAT METHODS CAN YOU USE TO TAKE ALLIGATORS?
Alligators may be taken only by the use of artificial lures or baited, wooden pegs less than two (2) inches in length attached to a hand-held restraining line and hand-held snares, harpoons, gigs, snatch hooks, and manually operated spears, spearguns, crossbows and bows with projectiles attached to a restraining line. The use of baited hooks, gig-equipped bang sticks, or firearms for taking alligators is prohibited except that bang sticks are permitted for taking alligators attached to a restraining line.

Did your brother and girlfriend even read the rules and regs?
Without getting into a pissing match,I know what the rules are and I follow them. I've been hunting gators for a while now and when I learned to hunt them I was taught with a bangstick but it's worth mentioning that it hasn't always been illegal to take a gator with a firearm. Sometime in 07 or 08 is when it changed which is why a lot of FWC officers who have been on the job for a while don't consider it to be a huge deal if the hunters have tagged a legal sized gator and can show that they had positive control over the animal before it was killed. Having a harpoon in the boat is what they are looking for. This is from different FWC officers that I know and have spoken to on other occasions.

But anyways, I got what you are pointing out and again I know the regs and have read them. I double checked just to make sure after hearing my brothers story. Like I said, I wasn't on the hunt, if I was we would've known the most up to date rules and this would've never happened. I run a fishing charter company out of South FL and I know first hand that if you don't pay attention to the rules and updated regs then it is only a matter of time before it bites ya in the ass. I'm also not saying that they were correct in what they did. They are rookie hunters, another thing I didn't mention is that they were hunting with one other person who is a trapper and also guides gator hunts in FL. He wasn't guiding at the time as he is just a friend of theirs. He wasn't cited b/c it was her gator tag. It was his pistol that was used to kill the gator and the feds never took it. Out of everyone he should have known and probably did but didn't think that it was a problem. I don't know him first hand so I'm not vouching. Basically, they are not blaming anyone other than themselves, they just want to get it sorted out without it being a bigger deal than it really is. Bottom line is that they made a mistake, they didn't intentionally go out and blast a bunch of gators from the bank with a pistol with no rhyme or reason.

They got stopped at the ramp. It's pretty common during gator season on the limited quota hunts to have a wildlife person checking tags and collecting data on what has been taken. FWC checked them and they passed. Then the US fish and wildlife checked them and they were cited.

I'm not trying to blab their story all over the web, I'm just trying to see if there is a good attorney or someone on this site that may be able to help them. Figured it couldn't hurt since this site has a lot of good people.
Old 08-26-2015, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 85diver View Post
Without getting into a pissing match,I know what the rules are and I follow them. I've been hunting gators for a while now and when I learned to hunt them I was taught with a bangstick but it's worth mentioning that it hasn't always been illegal to take a gator with a firearm. Sometime in 07 or 08 is when it changed which is why a lot of FWC officers who have been on the job for a while don't consider it to be a huge deal if the hunters have tagged a legal sized gator and can show that they had positive control over the animal before it was killed. Having a harpoon in the boat is what they are looking for. This is from different FWC officers that I know and have spoken to on other occasions.

But anyways, I got what you are pointing out and again I know the regs and have read them. I double checked just to make sure after hearing my brothers story. Like I said, I wasn't on the hunt, if I was we would've known the most up to date rules and this would've never happened. I run a fishing charter company out of South FL and I know first hand that if you don't pay attention to the rules and updated regs then it is only a matter of time before it bites ya in the ass. I'm also not saying that they were correct in what they did. They are rookie hunters, another thing I didn't mention is that they were hunting with one other person who is a trapper and also guides gator hunts in FL. He wasn't guiding at the time as he is just a friend of theirs. He wasn't cited b/c it was her gator tag. It was his pistol that was used to kill the gator and the feds never took it. Out of everyone he should have known and probably did but didn't think that it was a problem. I don't know him first hand so I'm not vouching. Basically, they are not blaming anyone other than themselves, they just want to get it sorted out without it being a bigger deal than it really is. Bottom line is that they made a mistake, they didn't intentionally go out and blast a bunch of gators from the bank with a pistol with no rhyme or reason.

They got stopped at the ramp. It's pretty common during gator season on the limited quota hunts to have a wildlife person checking tags and collecting data on what has been taken. FWC checked them and they passed. Then the US fish and wildlife checked them and they were cited.

I'm not trying to blab their story all over the web, I'm just trying to see if there is a good attorney or someone on this site that may be able to help them. Figured it couldn't hurt since this site has a lot of good people.
No pissing match intended, was just confused a bit is all.

Seems they know they made a mistake, are owning up to it, and want to minimize it as much as possible.
Old 08-26-2015, 07:11 AM
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Contact Anthem he is in wpb.
Old 08-26-2015, 08:08 AM
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I find it very difficult to believe that your "friends" did not know the regulations. It seems more likely they assumed they wouldn't get caught.

But to be fair I do not know them or what they knew.
Old 08-26-2015, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mikefloyd View Post
I find it very difficult to believe that your "friends" did not know the regulations. It seems more likely they assumed they wouldn't get caught.

But to be fair I do not know them or what they knew.
They aren't my friends, they were my brother and his girlfriend. But thanks for your very very helpful post. And your assumption is wrong.

Shmaltz, thanks I'll PM him today.
Old 08-26-2015, 12:48 PM
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I get this, really, I do but, why would they need representation? Magistrate will only do what the law says to do and may even give them some leeway if they are clean. IMO, representation would be the last thing I would want the Magistrate to see. What is the amount of the fine?
Old 08-26-2015, 12:51 PM
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Your opinion is incorrect virtually all judges would prefer defendant be represented.
Old 08-27-2015, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Schmaltz~Herring View Post
Your opinion is incorrect virtually all judges would prefer defendant be represented.
They are guilty what else is a lawyer going to do for them?
Old 08-28-2015, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenner 23 View Post
They are guilty what else is a lawyer going to do for them?
Get them a reduced fine or community service. I'd rather have an attorney with me than stand alone.
Old 08-28-2015, 11:05 AM
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What on earth could a lawyer do........???


Well, probably negotiate with the prosecutor to plead guilty to a lesser charge before court, pay a fine and be done with it.

You do realize that's what lawyers do right?

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