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Trophy buck poached at deer farm will cost shooter a lot of bucks

August 24, 2009 |  8:17 am


A Florida man has learned that his act of poaching is going to cost him a lot more than he likely bargained for.

Dustin Jernigan, of Haines City, Fla., pleaded no contest last month to illegally killing a deer, breaking fences and trespassing while armed. He received a sentence of four years' probation and was fined $500 plus court costs.

His deer of choice, however, was a 12-point trophy breeding buck named Peabody from Shadd's Game Farm near Lake Butler, Fla.

The Gainesville Sun reports that at a hearing last week, a judge ordered Jernigan to pay an additional $68,000 in restitution for poaching Peabody.

State attorney Bill Cervone didn't realize the value of the deer. "That's a huge sum of restitution that would be a big number in any case we dealt with," he said.

Dwight Knight, president of the Florida Deer Assn., wasn't surprised by the amount awarded. "It's kind of like racehorses," Knight said, "you have pedigree on these deer." 

A deer that was in the pen next to Peabody's is the sibling of an animal that sold for $750,000 earlier this year.

John Shadd, owner of the farm where Peabody lived, told the Sun that this may not be over and he might pursue a case against Jernigan in civil court.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Peabody. Credit: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission


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