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Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Warrant Uncovers More Than 100 Stolen Items: Feb. 6, a Young County game warden received a call from a hog hunter who reported seeing two suspicious looking all-terrain vehicles on the road. When the warden and several Young County deputies arrived on the scene, the suspects fled the scene in their vehicles. A high-speed chase ensued. After an extensive search, the suspects were not located, but the evidence was seized. The investigation determined that both ATVs were stolen. The warden remained in the area until 11:00 p.m., when he observed a vehicle leaving a nearby pasture. Upon receiving backup, a felony vehicle stop was made. Four subjects were arrested without incident. After searching the property with warrants, the officers recovered more than 100 stolen items, including: stolen hunting equipment, commercial tools, TVs and guns. The ongoing investigation has resolved numerous cases in several counties. Felony charges up to $20,000 were filed for possession of drug items, evading arrest, deadly conduct and stolen property.
Eight Deer Heads in a Shed: Feb. 5, a Potter County game warden and a Randall County game warden went to an Amarillo home to investigate a city clean-up crew member’s claim that there were eight deer heads in a shed behind the home. After inspecting the deer heads, the wardens determined them to be fresh, noting that deer season had ended two months ago. The occupant of the home invited the wardens inside and showed them the fresh deer meat that filled his freezer. The occupant said the last deer was brought home two days ago. Soon after, the main suspect arrived at the home and confessed to killing eight mule deer during the last seven to eight months.A hunting rifle that had been stolen 10 years ago was also found in the home. Cases are pending.
Get Your Own License: Jan. 19, a Val Verde County game warden inspected the kills of a hunting camp and found several misdemeanors. The warden found two deer to be tagged with a female’s hunting license, as well as a 6-point buck in violation of the spike and antlerless season. Upon returning to the camp, one hunter said there were no female hunters in the group. Shortly after, another hunter said his wife killed the two does, but left camp to return home. After a short visit with the warden, the hunter said he had used his wife’s tags and that she had not been hunting. Another hunter stepped forward and claimed ownership of the 6-point buck. Appropriate charges were filed on both hunters. Cases and restitution are pending on the three deer.
Alligators Don’t Make Nice Family Pets: Jan. 18, two Howard and Dawson County game wardens executed a search warrant for an alligator on a residence in Big Spring. Upon entering the bedroom of the house, the wardens saw a 4-foot long alligator in a round tank. The alligator was seized and was subsequently pressed into educational service, as it made an appearance in programs at three local schools. The alligator was released into an alligator-friendly environment Jan. 21.
Young Hunters Spotlight White-Tailed Deer at Night: In January, a Kendall County game warden filed multiple charges against two young hunters, after receiving information about their late night hunting activities. Upon being caught with a freshly killed buck at 2:00 a.m., the hunters said they didn’t know spotlighting and hunting white-tailed deer at night is illegal. Ironically, they said they were aware that shooting deer without a hunting license is illegal.
Call it Game Warden’s Intuition: In January, a Lamb County game warden testified before a grand jury concerning a case he filed against a Bailey County man for hunting without landowner consent. During the mule deer season, the warden received a call from a landowner saying a deer had been shot from the road. Upon the warden’s arrival, an adjoining landowner said there had been a misunderstanding and that his hunters had shot the deer, causing it to run across the road and die. Feeling uneasy about the story, the warden began an investigation that proved that the story had been concocted by the hunters who had tagged and reported the deer.
Bragging About Illegal Activity Proves Unwise: In January, an Ellis County game warden concluded an investigation on a subject who illegally obtained a free military license. The subject denied knowledge of the illegality of obtaining the free license until he was shown transcripts of his bragging on an Internet hunting forum about how easy it was to get away with. After a thorough tutorial on the consequences of tampering with government documents, the subject wrote a statement of confession for illegally obtaining the free military license and for illegally killing five deer this past hunting season. The deer were seized and multiple cases and restitution are pending.
Annual Handicapped Youth Hunt: For the twelfth year, Kerr County game wardens participated in an annual January youth hunt for persons with disabilities. The hunt, which was sponsored by a local landowner, included 18 children. The children were permitted to hunt in a high-fenced, managed area with no restrictions on the taking of animals. Each child was assisted with the hunt by a parent or guardian and a representative of the ranch. Sixteen children successfully harvested bucks, including a 15-point buck, with a 23-inch spread.
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