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TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Paying the Price — An Ector County Game Warden concluded an investigation started in August of 2003. The investigation involved an individual who videotaped himself killing a mallard duck and shooting at mourning doves, mockingbirds and killdeers at the Odessa Country Club at Mission Dorado. He then posted the video on the Internet. The individual was filed on for hunting without landowner consent and hunting from a motor vehicle on a public road, both Class A misdemeanors. The subject pleaded nolo contendere to the offenses and was assessed fines of $1,500 plus court costs, 10 days in the Midland County Jail, 80 hours of community service to be determined by TPWD, and two years hunting license suspension. The case was prosecuted by the Midland County District Attorney’s office.
’Dreamcatcher’ Gets Caught. — Recently, a Reeves County Game Warden received a call from the Pecos Police Department in regard to a suspect in possession of feathers in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Pecos. The warden responded to the call to find the person was collecting bird feathers to make "dream-catchers." The suspect was in possession of more than 20 protected nongame species’ feathers. The suspect had no identification or any documentation to prove who he was, but stated that he was a resident of Alabama. After a search of the vehicle with the help of other officers, a bag of marijuana was found. The suspect was charged with possession of protected nongame species parts. Pecos officers charged the suspect with possession of a controlled substance.
Everything’s Coming up Roses, Or Meth — On Christmas Day, a Wichita County Game Warden received a call from a local rancher about a suspect who was possibly stealing some anhydrous ammonia. The rancher stated they had just hired the suspect and that he was down by the barns around the anhydrous nurse tanks. The rancher had gone to see what the suspect was doing and observed an air tank and some fittings in the back of the suspect’s truck. When the man pulled out onto the public road, the warden stopped him. He claimed he was getting the anhydrous for his father’s rose garden. He said it made the roses bloom three times per year. When asked if the roses were blooming in the dead of winter, he did not have an answer. The subject was arrested on 3rd degree felony charges of transporting chemicals in an illegal container. Cases are pending.
Snagging Not Fish But Fines — On New Years Day, Wichita County Game Wardens watched eight suspects fishing on a local lake. The suspects were in three boats in the middle of the lake and fishing with silver spoons with treble hooks, using a jigging type of motion. What was suspicious was that the suspects were catching large flathead catfish. While watching the suspects through spotting scopes, it was noted that the fish were being hooked in the sides and fins. These fish were balled up in a deep hole in the lake, and the subjects were snagging the fish with the treble hooks. As night fell, the suspects came back to shore one at a time and loaded up and left the lake. Once the dust had settled, 16 citations had been issued for possession of illegally taken wildlife and 27 flathead catfish had been seized. Estimated live weight of the seized fish was more than 500 pounds. Fines will total more than $8,800.
Poaching an Endangered Species — A Matagorda County Game Warden received a tip concerning someone abusing wildlife recently and the resulting investigation uncovered one dead brown pelican. The individual was fishing from the bank in West Matagorda Bay and confessed to luring the bird with his fishing bait until it got close enough that he could "whack it on the head with a stick." The Justice of the Peace "whacked" the violator with a $584-fine, and a very large civil restitution fee is probably pending since the bird is on the state’s threatened species list.
Advice if a Deer Ends up in Your Home — Jan. 8, a Montgomery County Game Warden received a call from a woman near Conroe. She explained that a doe deer had been entangled in a small fence in her backyard. She had gone outside, leaving her door open, to see if she could help the deer. The deer freed itself then entered her home through the open door. The warden suggested that she open all of her doors, get out of sight and that the deer would find its way out of the house on its own. She didn’t want to do that and contacted a Wildlife Rehabilitator. The wildlife rehabilitator said he would lasso the deer then take out of the house. The rehabilitator roped the deer around the neck and things didn’t go well. The house was demolished from the struggle and the deer died in the process.
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