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TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Game wardens continue border lake cleanup ... Wardens participating in the third wave of Operation Pescador seized 13,400 feet of illegal gill net on Falcon Lake. Wardens apprehended four violators and seized four boats and motors. Wardens have seized a total of 68,450 feet of gill net, 12 boats and motors, and have arrested 18 violators since the beginning of this operation.
Young waterfowlers jump the gun ... The Abilene office received a call about some young people hunting ducks illegally at Fort Phantom Lake March 15. A Taylor County game warden responded and located the suspects. One of them was almost 14 years old, and the other two were 11 and 12. The game warden educated the young men about places you can’t hunt, open and closed seasons, hunting migratory birds with a pellet rifle and hunting license requirements. The grandmother of one of the young fellows offered to handle the situation, and the suspects were released to her.
Fishing felons ... A Harris County game warden checked three subjects fishing at Sheldon Reservoir March 12. Two of the subjects were found to be in possession of marijuana and a loaded .38-caliber pistol. A criminal history check on the two subjects came back that both had prior felony convictions. The third subject, who was driving, admitted he had more marijuana in his vehicle and gave consent to search. Warden Spitzer’s search revealed a bag of marijuana along with 5 grams of cocaine, speed pills, a loaded .25-caliber pistol and an ASP baton. Felony cases are pending in county court.
Who’s that fisherman? Two south Texas wardens worked a plain clothes detail on the South Padre Island jetties March 12. Eleven citations were filed for exceeding the daily bag limit of sheepshead, and 53 fish were seized.
If they’d been better shots, they would have gotten bigger fines ... On March 11 at approximately 10 a.m., a Pecos County game warden received a call from the sheriff’s office in reference to a suspicious vehicle with blood running out of the bed of the truck. The game warden located the vehicle and made contact with the driver. Suspects first told the game warden that the blood was from a coyote. Further investigation revealed the driver and passenger had killed one white-tailed doe and one mule deer doe from the public road at approximately 2 a.m. The suspects, one juvenile and one 17-year-old admitted to shooting at approximately six deer during their excursion but had managed to kill only two. Several charges were filed as well as civil restitution.
Theoretically, that was a bad idea ... On March 6, two Van Zandt county game wardens wrapped-up an illegal alligator case almost two years in the making. The original tip came from a beautician at a nail salon who informed the fiancee of one of the wardens of a subject killing a five-foot alligator from a county road 21 months prior. After some extensive backtracking, wardens located the shooter, who immediately confessed to the crime. he shooter said he had shot the alligator, and then much to his dismay ran into a game warden the very next day. The shooter asked the warden about theoretically hunting alligators and was informed it was highly illegal to kill them. The shooter returned home and buried the alligator in a very deep grave with the bucket of a tractor. The case ended with the shooter and accompanying wardens digging up the alligator in a remote cow pasture with the same tractor. Multiple cases are pending.
Gotta run, Warden, but here’s my parole officer’s card ... On March 6, an Orange County game warden to check a vehicle parked along an isolated county road in Vidor. Upon making contact with the driver, a crack pipe and hypodermic needle fell onto the roadway. A scuffle ensued, and the suspect jumped into a nearby swamp and fled into the woods after being pepper sprayed. Fortunately, the driver left his driver’s license and parole officer’s card in his vehicle. Two hours later the suspect returned to his residence where the game warden placed him under arrest for multiple violations, including tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest, and evading arrest or detention.
This boat was no party ... A game warden boarded a snapper fishing vessel returning from a state water fishing trip March 6. Twelve people were cited for no non-resident fishing license, 48 red snapper were seized $300 in revenue confiscated and $2,200 civil restitution assessed.
Game warden helps transport heart attack victim ... A Chambers County game warden was asked by the sheriff’s office to assist in transporting EMS personnel to a camp house on the Trinity River that can be accessed by boat only March 2. An individual had suffered a heart attack and needed assistance. The subject was transported to the hospital and was listed in stable condition.
Don’t poach in front of the game warden’s home ... On March 1, two game wardens were returning from a public hearing in Carthage. Approximately one mile from one of the game warden’s home, they observed a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. Subjects were observed putting something in the back of the pickup truck. When the subjects were approached, they advised they were coon hunting but could not get the spotlight to work. Upon further investigation, it was found that both subjects did not have a hunting license, driver license, or insurance, and an open container of alcohol was in the vehicle.
Game warden rescues kayaker ... A Refugio County game warden received a call for assistance from the local sheriff’s office Feb. 25. A kayaker had become lost on Copano Bay near Bayside. The kayaker had called from her cell phone and stated that she did not know where she was and that she was very cold and tired. The game warden launched his patrol boat and made contact with the kayaker and asked her to describe the surroundings. The game warden was able to determine her location and made his way toward her. The low tide forced the game warden to beach his boat on shore, and walk about half a mile through shoulder-high grass to the kayaker’s location. The kayaker was very tired and shivering from the cold, and she was very grateful the game warden for his assistance and quick response.
Reckless immigration ... An Aransas County game warden was returning to Rockport from a meeting in Refugio Feb. 24 when he observed a vehicle being driven very erratically. The game warden activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The vehicle continued into Rockport at high speed and moving all over the roadway. Two other game wardens as well as the Aransas County Sheriff’s Department responded to assist the first game warden. The vehicle stopped at a residence and five male subjects ran to a nearby wooded area. The first game warden held nine other subjects in the vehicle while the other game wardens and sheriff’s deputies located and apprehended the other five subjects. When the smoke cleared, the driver was charged with reckless driving and the other 13 subjects were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Shellfish violators keep wardens busy ... On February 20, two Harris County game wardens caught an oyster boat captain harvesting oysters in a prohibited area in Galveston Bay. Thirty-eight sacks of oysters were returned to the reef, and the captain was transported to the Chambers County Jail. Game wardens all along the coast have had a busy spring checking oyster boats and returning under-sized shellfish to local reefs.
Wardens rescue inadvertent bridge jumper ... On February 19, Bowie and Cass County game wardens responded to the county line for a wreck involving five vehicles and three pedestrians on the Sulphur River Bridge, which had iced over. The pedestrians jumped over the bridge to get out of the way of the oncoming wreck when one subject landed close to the river in a rocky area. It was believed she landed in the water, so the wardens were called out with their boat. The wardens located the subject and transported her in critical condition by boat to a waiting EMS unit. There were no fatalities in the accident.
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