The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) is currently investigating four people involved in a video that shows a deer being hit repeatedly with a thick textbook while in the back of a pickup truck. According to Game and Fish, the group included three men from Georgia and a woman from Arkansas. The video was believed to have been recorded in Arkansas County, and an anonymous informer mentioned that the group was in the state for duck hunting.
Col. Todd Callaway, AGFC Chief of Enforcement, said he is disgusted and appalled by the behavior shown in the video.
“We take these things very seriously,” he said in a press release. “Arkansas has a long history of ethical hunters and this flies in the face of our hunting traditions.”
According to KATV, a friend of the men in the video came forward and said that the group encountered the deer after it was hit by a car. The men loaded the animal in the back of the truck and when it regained consciousness, began to beat it with a thick accounting textbook.
“Seeing that makes you question what his motive was for even allowing the deer to be in his backseat. Why wouldn’t he put it in the bed of the truck, why wouldn’t you call [someone]? I mean, it’s just weird that he would put it in that type of situation,” said the informer.
Since the video was posted to social media and other places online, the man actually hitting the deer has already been readily identified, although AGFC has not yet released his information. He is believed to live in Villa Rica, Georgia, where the police department is investigating along with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Officials say that after seeing the video, it appears to be a clear case of wanton animal cruelty. However, since it did not involve pets like a cat or a dog, the punishment is significantly lighter.
“The individual seen beating the deer could be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $1,000 and receive up to a year in jail under Arkansas’s criminal animal cruelty law. He also could be charged with an AGFC violation of wanton waste of the deer and fined up to $2,500,” officials stated. “The other three people could be facing criminal violations of aiding and abetting in the incident. Those violations carry a fine of $250.”
The video quickly went viral on social media and drew the ire of many viewers. Hunters were especially very vocal on what many have called a blatant disregard of the most basic ethics and traditions of hunting.
“This right here is what happens when the person is raised in the outdoors but is not taught respect for the animal. I was raised that when I hunt, the animal I shoot, dies within seconds of being shot. I was raised too that everything I shoot, I look for. I don’t stop until I find it,” wrote one commenter on Facebook. “They claim to be hunters and so it is easy just to label all hunters like this. I as a hunter who respects what I hunt will not defend this, I condemn this.”
It should be noted that the group was not hunting for deer during the incident.
Due to the extremely disturbing nature of the video, many news organizations have declined to show the recording. In the interest of providing objective reporting, OutdoorHub has embedded it below.
Warning: Video may be disturbing or graphic to some viewers.
Posted by The Exposure on Wednesday, January 27, 2016