In the video, widely circulated on Facebook, a man from Georgia looks into the camera, then strikes a deer with a large, hardcover textbook.
Despite the deer’s cries, the man hits the deer four more times before the recording stops.
Now that man and two others who are also from Georgia face multiple charges, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials said.
“These individuals have to pay the consequences of this horrendous incident,” Col. Todd Callaway, the commission’s enforcement chief, said in a statement.
The investigation began Jan. 28, when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources contacted officials in Arkansas.
That investigation, the commission said in the statement, led them to Joshua Rewis, 20, of Villa Rica. He is the man seen in the video beating the deer in the back of a vehicle, officials said.
According to the statement, Rewis told officers he, Cody Jones, 25, of Carrollton, and Travis Strickland, 25, of Winston, were traveling in a car driven by Johnna Sigler, 19, of Stuttgart, Ark., when the deer was hit on U.S. Highway 165 near Stuttgart.
The group did not contact the Arkansas County Sheriff’s Office to report the accident, the commission said. Instead, they pulled over and the three men loaded the live deer into the vehicle. Rewis told officers he planned to tag the deer and clean it.
Inside the vehicle, the deer became active. That, officials said, is when Rewis began striking the deer with the book.
“After the deer began crying out,” the commission said, “the group pulled over and the men dragged the deer to a ditch along the highway and left it.”
Rewis was charged with cruelty to animals and wasting wildlife. Jones and Strickland were charged with criminal aiding and abetting. Sigler was issued a warning citation for aiding and abetting.