News Releases

FWC officers catch major poachers in Lawtey

News Release

Monday, May 15, 2017

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294,

One poaching ring plus two large bucks on a game farm led to major poaching violations for those involved.

During an investigation that began in November, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers worked the case through social media and phone data search warrants, along with interviews of the suspects.

FWC Officer Bret Gill received a complaint about shots being fired in the deer pen on Shadd Farms in Lake Butler, and another anonymous tip led FWC Reserve Capt. David Lee to online information showing the suspects bragging about killing a big buck.

Aaron Griffis (DOB 6/17/92) and Taylor Wise (DOB 1/23/94) have been charged with multiple violations, including grand theft of livestock.

According to FWC Investigator Todd Hoyle, Wise posted several pictures of the poaching incident to his Snapchat social media account. In an interview, Wise admitted shooting an 11-point buck out of Shadd Farms’ deer pen while riding in a vehicle with his child and Griffis. He also explained that after dropping his son off with a friend, he and Griffis drove back to the pen, where they cut the fence and dragged out the deer. They then returned to Lawtey to clean the deer.

The investigation also revealed that Griffis entered Shadd’s deer pen another night.

“After exercising a search warrant issued by the state attorney’s office on Griffis’ social media private messages, we found videos that he posted of himself walking through the woods, shining a light and shooting at a deer,” said FWC Lt. Clay Huff. “There were comments accompanying the video, stating it was a 15-point deer at which he was shooting. Mr. Shadd advised that he had found a 15-point buck dead in his pen.”

Based on the evidence, Wise was charged with the following:  

  • Trespass by projectile 810.09(2)h (third degree felony).           
  • Grand theft livestock 812.014(2)c7 (third degree felony).          
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft 777.03 (third degree felony).   
  • Breaking or injuring fences containing animals 810.115(2) (third degree felony).     
  • Child neglect (without harm) 827.03(2)d (third degree felony).     
  • Taking deer at night 379.404(1) (first degree misdemeanor).     
  • Firearm discharge from public road 790.15 (first degree misdemeanor).   

Griffis has been charged with:

  • Trespass while armed 810.09(2)c (third degree felony).    
  • Grand theft livestock 812.014(2)c7 (third degree felony, two counts).   
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft 777.03  (third degree felony).    
  • Breaking or injuring fences containing animals 810.115(2) (third degree felony).  
  • Taking deer at night 379.404(1) (first degree misdemeanor, two counts).   
  • Possession of firearm by felon 790.23(1)a  (third degree felony).
  • Trespass 810.09(2)a  (first degree misdemeanor).   

Charges were direct filed with the Union County State Attorney’s Office.

“Mr. Shadd appreciated the work that was done and has given a reward to the person who supplied the anonymous tip about the suspects,” Huff said.

In addition to the reward given by Shadd, the person who reported the poaching incident also received a reward from the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Program.

If you suspect a fish, wildlife, boating or environmental law violation, you can call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922 or text to Violations can also be reported online External Website at by clicking on “Report Online.”

You can report violations anonymously and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

FWC Facts:
American kestrels nest in cavities that they do not excavate. Instead, they depend on woodpeckers and natural processes to create holes in trees.

Learn More at AskFWC