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Man sentenced for killing Fla. panther in Georgia

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Press Release

Florida panther killed by David Adams in Troup County, GA on Nov. 16, 2008. Photo: Georgia DNR.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that David Adams, 60, formerly of Newnan, Georgia, was sentenced today in United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, after pleading guilty to the unlawful take of a Florida panther, a species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on November 16, 2008, Adams shot and killed a cougar known as a Florida panther while deer hunting in Troup County, Ga.  At the time of the shooting, Adams knew he was shooting at a species of cougar, for which there was no open hunting season in the State of Georgia.  The bullet fired from Adams’ gun entered the Florida panther in the rear portion of the rib cage by the right hindquarters just below the spine and lodged in the inside of the panther’s right front shoulder.

The Florida panther has been listed as an endangered species since March 11, 1967.  The Puma concolor coryi (the scientific name for the Florida panther) is a sub-species of the Puma concolor, which is known by many names such as, cougar, puma, catamount, and mountain lion.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits the “take” of an endangered species.  As defined within the Endangered Species Act, “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.  The maximum penalties for criminal violations of the Endangered Species Act can result in imprisonment of up to one year, and/or up to $100,000 in fines.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have worked for years to bring the Florida panther back from the edge of extinction.  The population has been growing since its low point of less than 30 panthers in the wild in the late 1980s, to more than 100 to 160 adults today.  Genetic testing showed this panther was an offspring of panther FP137 (South Florida).

Adams was sentenced to two years probation, with a special condition of probation that he may not hunt or obtain a hunting license anywhere in the United States during the period of probation.  In addition, he was sentenced to pay a fine of $2,000.

“Today’s sentencing affirms our commitment to investigate violations of the federal wildlife laws intended to protect our Nation’s most imperiled species,” said Luis J. Santiago, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Law Enforcement Rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.   For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit


Chipa Wolfe
+5 #1 Chipa Wolfe 2011-08-26 09:36
There is no fine or prison sentence that will bring back that beautiful cat from the dead but even worse, there is no clear message being sent to the slug hunters and poachers who can't wait to pull the trigger on such an animal. The irony is, someone can get in as much if not more trouble for trying to help an injured or orphaned animal than those that recklessly kill one with no remorse other than getting caught. Lawyers, pleas, money being exchanged by judicial lubricators and palm butterers do little to nothing for protecting an animal of less than 200 from extinction when our DNR field agents work so hard to assure their survival. Probation and the inability to hunt for two years is a slur to every animal in the woods, every continuous respectful subsistence hunter and every citizen that finances wildlife protection via their tax dollars. There has never been a single big cat or bear attack on a human in Georgia yet these majestic animals remain under constant attack by man.
Jennifer Guinn
0 #2 Jennifer Guinn 2011-08-26 14:37
If we had a healthy population of predators, we would not see the extreme overgrazing of vegetation and the high danger of hitting deer on the roadways that we have. The trees that fall during storms aare not being replaced because the small trees are eaten as soon as they sprout.
S Anderson
+2 #3 S Anderson 2011-08-26 16:41
Makes you wonder what such a sleaze bag might pull the trigger on next. He should never be allowed to hunt or possess a firearm for the rest of his life. Better yet, I'd like to introduce him to Hiaasen's character (Skink) and take a tour through our beloved Everglades.
-1 #4 Seventhunders 2011-08-30 12:15
See, to me this is just as uncalled for as the man who shot the beautiful Black Bear in GrandView. But yet there are those who condone this senseless shooting even though it was done out of season and the bear according to DNR was posing no threat to the man whatsoever. But because this animal is on the endangered list does it make it more worse than those who are not, such as our Georgia Black Bear? I think not. Live and let live.
melissa Gillette
-2 #5 melissa Gillette 2011-08-30 15:42
why does that name remind me of someone?? I remember a Adams that waved a gun around to intimidate someone in a car behind him and went to jail for it. Any relation? [Editor's Note: None that we are aware of.]

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