EFFINGHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Three people from Effingham County are facing a laundry list of charges for illegally hunting deer and turkey.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division say the poaching happened in northern Effingham and southern Screven counties.
An investigating has been ongoing for nearly two years. Game wardens say it all started on social media.
“This was not your small type violations. This was large,” said Game Warden First Class Jordan Crawford, Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division.
Three people, aged 19, 20, and 22, are now cited for illegally hunting.
“Folks that that see themselves as true sportsmen, hunters, and fishermen know that taking deer at night, taking animals out of season is against the law, so this is not something that was just a mistake," Crawford said.
Crawford says this investigation started with community complaints, and really exacerbated when he found social media posts about the illegal hunting.
“We’re seeing it more and more, especially game and fish violations," Crawford said. “There’s just more of that stuff being put out on social media.”
He says the amount of information posted and the blatant disregard for the law are two of the most surprising things about this case.
“A lot of it was based on bragging. Through social media, we found a lot of these animals were not processed, were not used. It was more just so they could post on social media,” Crawford said.
Now, they’re facing 78 misdemeanor charges for things like hunting deer at night from public roads and out of season, and taking more than the bag limit.
“Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division strongly encourages folks to get out and enjoy the resources Georgia calls home. However, we do ask that when you go out and enjoy those resources, you do it within the realm of the law.”
If you think something like this is happening in your community, you can always reach out directly to the DNR Law Enforcement Division or to your local police agency who will connect you to the right people.