New task force targets illegal poachers - FOX 13 News

New task force targets illegal poachers

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The land Anthony Gill's family lives off of is becoming a second home for poachers.

The cattle rancher says illegal hunters are hopping, or often times, cutting his fences to pursue their pastime on his private property.

"This is how my family makes their living. I'm out there with my wife. My son is out there with his wife, my grandson's out there. We never know who's standing around the corner, standing there with a high-powered rifle," Gill said Wednesday.

With new residential areas popping up near property lines, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said it's a serious issue.  They're now forming a task force to catch illegal poachers.

"This is an ongoing effort that we're stepping up, especially now that deer season is upon us, and they're starting to move more," said HCSO Sgt. Ed Raburn.

On Friday, the team arrested Dalton Gant. They didn't have to look far to figure out what he was up to.

"He did, in fact, have a deer with him that he'd killed previously. He was in possession of a rifle, a number of knives," Raburn said.

Homeowners say they're constantly worried about who's hiding out to hunt. It's a concern causing them to take each step with caution.

"This property is ours. We work hard for it. To us, there's no difference in cutting our fence or knocking our gate down, or just crossing the fence. We take it the same way as if somebody came to your house and went in the front door," Gill said.

Gant was charged with felony armed trespassing, and he also lost his hunting license for a few years. He's facing additional citations from FWC.

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