Key deer are cousins to the North American whitetail… just a little smaller.
The deer reach just 60 to 90 pounds. About 50 years ago, there were only about 30 key deer alive; but, because of one man and his unusual conservation methods, the deer are making a comeback.
Unfortunately, the species was overhunted. In 1939, Florida made hunting the deer illegal, which helped. So did the unorthodox efforts of Jack Watson. With a six-gun and a Thompson submachine gun, Watson “hunted” poachers.
He would offer them a choice: his way or their way. Watson’s way was for the poachers to stop hunting and leave. Also, if he found a poacher’s boat along the shoreline, he’d set fire to it. Today, there are around 600 to 700 key deer.
Check out this video to learn more: