BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (FOX 13) - Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating after a man says he saw someone shoot and kill two sandhill cranes over the weekend.
“He shot and took off running, I think they just wanted to kill something,” said Tim Hunt.
The Brooksville man and his friend were riding four-wheelers Saturday afternoon near Whitehurst Pond when they witnessed the strange behavior.
After they heard the gunshot, they rode over to see what the man was targeting. After discovering two dead sandhill cranes, the pair chased down the men they say killed the birds.
“You’re going to jail for shooting that sandhill crane,” one says on cellphone video.
During the encounter, Hunt and his fried captured clear footage on their phones of the two men, their truck, and the tag number. They turned that information, along with the two dead sandhill cranes and a shotgun shell, over to FWC investigators.
FOX 13 News is not identifying the people involved because they have not been officially named as suspects.
“It’s just messed up because I was born and raised here in Florida, I’ve been around those birds my whole life, they don’t run from you, they don’t even hide from you,” Hunt said. “He just wanted to watch something die, I guess.”
Posts about the shooting on social media have been shared hundreds of times, many people outraged.
Hunt hopes the two men involved are caught, but also thinks they need support.
“Get him some help, find out psychologically what’s wrong with you that makes you want to go kill animals,” he added.
Florida sandhill cranes are listed as a threatened species by the FWC, and it’s against the law to kill them.