Man Tackles Pelican in Florida Keys, Gets Slapped in Face With Beak

Hardesty tackles a pelican

Officials are wondering what to do with a Maryland man who posted video of himself jumping on a federally protected pelican while others laughed.

Hunter Hardesty reportedly shared the video Thursday. It appears to show him in the Florida Keys, leaning over the edge of a harbor with something in his hands. He then seems to jump off the harbor and land on top of the pelican. A scuffle ensues, and onlookers laugh.

The bird then smacked the man across the face with its beak and flew away.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission spokesperson Officer Bob Duke said the animal in the video appears to be a brown pelican, The Baltimore Sun reported. Those birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, which ban even feeding the animal. The commission and the state's attorney's office is working to determine what charges might be appropriate in the case.

“We never want to harm wildlife, and that's what he was doing. He was enticing the pelican and then jumped on it," Duke told the Sun.

Hardesty did not return the Sun's request for comment Saturday.


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