TAMPA — Early Monday, a woman drove into a scene that could have been from a detective movie. She saw three men loading what looked like a body into the trunk of a vehicle along Interstate 75, according to Gary Morse, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman.
The woman, whose name was not released, called 911. She followed the men to Lake Magdalene Boulevard and Florida Avenue, where a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy pulled over their car at 2:45 a.m.
Inside, deputies found two dead deer, a buck and a doe, along with at least one rifle and a spotlight.
The men in the car were identified as Eliecer Delapaz, 38, of 3401 N MacDill Ave., Elioenai Gonzalez, 39, of 2521 W Beach St. and Elionai Silverio, 19, also of the Beach Street address. They were charged with the unlawful taking of deer.
According to the Conservation Commission, this region's season for hunting deer runs through Jan. 18. But Morse said hunting at night with a light is always illegal. Temporarily blinded by light, deer make an easy target.
"It's essentially like shooting fish in a barrel," Morse said. "It's unsportsmanlike."
Morse said any hunter knows the hunting hours: a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. He calls those who skirt the rules poachers.
"Real hunters don't do stuff like that," Morse said.
Delapaz, Gonzalez and Silverio were taken to the Hillsborough County Jail. All three were released on bail of $500 to $1,000.
Times staff writer Elisabeth Parker contributed to this report.