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Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Hunter sleeps while everyone searches for him
On November 27, a Fannin County game warden was notified by Fannin County Sheriff's Department of a lost hunter on the Caddo National Grasslands. The hunter, a 76-year-old diabetic with a heart condition, was late returning to camp. Scent dogs were used all night to locate the man, but he didn’t turn up. When daylight approached, searchers expected the worst and horses were brought in to begin canvassing the area for a body. At 10:30 a.m., however, the elderly hunter walked back into camp. He said he had gotten lost and then took his medication which made him sleepy. He failed to wake up from all the noise made during the search.
Deadly hunting accident still under investigation
On November 25, Red River County game wardens investigated a hunting accident. The deceased, a 32-year-old male, was found by his uncle on their deer lease. The subject had been shot and died at the scene. His death is under investigation.
Close call leaves only a finger hurt
A Tom Green County game warden investigated a hunting accident Nov. 24. The grandson had been handling the victim’s shotgun before placing it back into the case without checking the safety. The grandfather picked up the gun case to inspect the weapon, but the case was unzipped. The shotgun fell out and the butt of the weapon struck the bed of the truck. The gun fired, hitting the grandfather in the right hand, doing extensive damage to the right index finger.
Don’t blame it on the 5-year-old
In late November, while patrolling the Alabama Creek WMA, a Trinity County game warden came across a man and his 5-year-old son with a five-point buck. The man stated his son had killed the deer earlier that day. Upon checking their hunting licenses, he noticed the father had used all of his tags and showed to have killed a buck in Alabama Creek. Upon turning them loose, two other men came out of the forest and stated they had heard the adult male shoot and saw him drag the deer out. The warden caught up with the hunter who confessed to killing the deer. Cases are pending.
Hunter takes aim at helicopter
In early November hunters were calling in to Tom Green County game wardens to complain of a low-flying helicopter that was scaring deer and ruining their hunt. On Nov. 7, the helicopter’s pilot was located at a local airport. Upon further questioning, the wardens learned that one of the complaining hunters had given the pilot permission to conduct low altitude flights and land on his property. This was confirmed with the landowner who stated that he had simply forgotten. The pilot said he knew he had messed up when his student pointed out a hunter looking at them through his rifle’s scope. The hunter’s aim promptly put the helicopter back in the hangar.
Getting a late start on hunter’s education
A Jeff Davis County game warden was alerted Nov. 6 of a suspicious vehicle spotted on private property. The warden obtained a license plate number for the vehicle and located the two suspects. The men, ages 56 and 67 admitted to staying overnight on the private land and hunting mule deer. They said they decided to go deer hunting after buying a hunting license at a local store. Neither individual had ever hunted before. The warden explained the term “open season” to the two.
Warden gets honest answers from young boy
While patrolling the Davy Crocket National Forest Nov. 4, a Trinity County game warden was informed of a killed, untagged dear. At their camp, the warden spoke with the subjects, three adults and one youth. In response to their hunting, the adults said they had not seen anything. When the warden asked the young boy, however, he excitedly told him about the deer and asked the warden if he wanted to see it. The deer was hidden in the woods in a cooler back behind the camp area covered with a blanket. The hunter who killed the deer did not have a hunting license and the other two hunters had a license but no hunter’s education. Three cases filed.
Deer stand or a free night’s stay?
A lease hunter attempted to get in his deer stand Nov. 4 and encountered a trespasser who was already in it. A Montgomery County game warden was called, and the trespassing man was escorted off the property. After placing the suspect in handcuffs and interviewing him, it was learned that the man was homeless and was actually living in different stands on the lease. Other lease hunters had noticed several stands on the large lease had been tampered with in the past few weeks. The suspect had an extensive criminal and mental health history. He was released to a family member; case pending.
A team-effort rescue
On the night of Nov. 1, Calhoun County’s game warden received a call from the sheriff's office concerning five overdue boaters who had launched from the Port Lavaca City Harbor. Port Lavaca Fire Department and Coast Guard assisted in the search. The capsized boaters were pulled from the water and returned to shore. One subject was hospitalized with hypothermia.
Don’t forget to get a receipt
Inspections on Falcon Lake Oct. 28 turned up a boat with no serial number on the motor. Under questioning, the operator stated he had purchased the motor for $1,800 cash at a local shop and was not given a bill of sale or certificate of title for the motor. The boat, trailer and motor were seized pending further investigation by TPWD Marine Theft Investigators.
Pretty sure it’s not for arts and crafts
While patrolling the Lubbock playa lakes for fishing violations Oct. 29, Lubbock wardens encountered three individuals stripping a large amount of copper wire in a secluded area. With a rash of wire thefts reported from construction sites around the Lubbock area, the wardens were suspicious of the stories they were told. Lubbock police department detectives were called on to assist and the investigation is continuing.
“We’re dove, I mean, duck hunting”
On opening day of duck season, a Bell County game warden noticed a suspicious vehicle parked outside the corps of engineers land outside Lake Belton. The two occupants from the vehicle were walking along the land with shotguns. Assuming they were duck hunters, the warden asked if they had any luck hunting ducks. The two adamantly stated they were not duck hunting but dove hunting. The warden pointed out that dove season was closed. Cases pending.
Scouts try to earn “unnecessary risk” badge
Game wardens from Burleson and Lee Counties were called to Somerville Lake Oct. 27 in reference to six canoeists who had capsized in high winds. The national weather service reported winds at 30 m.p.h. with gusts up to 40 m.p.h. Abandoned canoes and paddles were found floating in the lake. The occupants of the canoes were eventually found by the south end of the lake by a passerby. The three adults and three teenagers were members of a scouting group. Wardens cautioned the group’s leaders about putting the lives in danger in bad weather conditions. No merit badges were issued.
Warden says God doesn’t excuse roadside hunting
A Bell County game warden was setting on one his prime spots for road hunters Oct. 25 when a driver approached and shot an armadillo off the road. When the suspect was apprehended, he advised the warden that he was killing it for the oil of the armadillo to treat a medical condition, and that God told him it was okay. The suspect was informed that God forget to let the wardens know. The case is pending.
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