Is that a deer on the side of the road?
No, actually; it's a robot planted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and on Saturday morning a Florida man pulled over, got out of his car, and shot it, prompting police officers to emerge from a nearby hiding spot and charge him with shooting deer during closed season, discharging a firearm from a roadway, and taking deer from a right-of-way.
"He crossed a ditch and walked up toward the fence carrying a rifle," the report stated. "He placed the rifle on the fence to steady himself and shot at the replica," hitting it in the neck.
The man was arrested, saying he knew that hunting season was closed and that shooting deer from a roadway is illegal, and was released Sunday after posting $1,120 in bonds. He will appear in court December 12, facing a year in jail and $2,500 in fines if convicted.
The FWC often installs fake deer where illegal deer-harvesting is suspected. The most severe charge a hunter can incur by shooting one is a third-degree felony for firing across a fence line, called trespassing by projectile and offering a maximum sentence of five years in prison plus $5,000 in fines.
"It does help," said FWC Officer Jeffrey Babauta. "Once word gets out that there is a fake deer out there, it deters the bad hunting."