Florida men facing felony charge over viral video of bare-handed alligator capture

By Ben Hooper  |  Aug. 31, 2016 at 9:24 AM
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Florida wildlife officials said two men are facing charges after posting video of an illegal bare-handed alligator capture on Facebook.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said officers questioned David Swick, 31, of Wellington, and Brian Bunting, 28, of Newberry, in May after viewing a video Bunting posted to Facebook April 3.

The video shows Swick wading out into knee-deep water in Palm Beach County to grab an alligator the men spotted while fishing.

"You guys ever seen someone get bit by an alligator before? Look at this one right here. C'mon buddy, c'mon buddy," Bunting says at the start of the video.

Bunting also posted a photo of the alligator after its capture.

"Hand catching gators while fishing is what we do!" he wrote.

The FWC said the men violated laws that make it illegal to kill, possess or capture an alligator without a permit. They could face up to five years in prison for the illegal capture.

The arrest report, obtained by WPEC-TV, states the men told officers "they both knew not to mess with alligators, but caught it for fun."

The men said they released the alligator unharmed.

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