A Jackson County ranch owner is trying to find out who killed a deer on his preserve; so are wildlife officers who've been investigating the case for over a week. Someone who was not much of a shot had shot the wrong deer.
Steve Smith owns and operates the Lily Pad Ranch and Hunt Club in Alford.
"It was in the shoulder. It was a pretty close shot, so it fell right where they shot it."
It's common to hear rifles firing on this land, but not from the road. It seems that recently someone has been doing some unauthorized hunting.
Steve Smith, Preserve Owner, says, "Any time you've got something out in the open and somebody's got a rifle they can pretty much do anything. It's just unfortunate that somebody would do that, but I guess they're out there."
Last Wednesday afternoon someone shot and killed a 400-pound red deer through the 10-foot fence that surrounds the preserve. Florida Wildlife Commission investigators are now looking for the shooter.
Smith says that whoever killed the deer was not much of a sportsman.
"Whoever shot the red deer was actually standing in the road or sitting in a vehicle, shot the deer right there on the other side of the fence, and so I think it was like a 30-foot shot maximum, so it wasn't a very challenging program they had going."
The female deer, or doe, was brought to the preserve to help add to the deer population. The preserve is not set to open until next year.
Steve Smith and his wife now are offering a reward of $1,000 for any information that leads an arrest and conviction of the person who killed their red deer.
Call the Florida Wildlife Commission hotline at 1-888-404-3922 with any information.