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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Numbers add up to legal trouble: Tarrant County Game Wardens Clint Borchardt and Chelle Mount were checking fishermen along the West Fork of the Trinity River on February 21. The first of two boats they checked had four fishermen. The section behind the last seat was filled to the top of the transom with 122 white bass. The second boat had two fishermen and 64 white bass in their ice chest. All six fishermen received citations for over the limit of white bass.
- Crappie fishermen come up short: Polk County Game Warden David Johnson was patrolling Kickapoo Creek for water safety violations on February 22 when he noticed several boats taking advantage of the crappie bite up the creek. While making contact with three subjects, a water safety inspection was conducted. When a personal flotation device was pulled from below the front deck, the warden noticed a holding basket full of crappie. Several citations were issued for possession of undersized crappie and no fishing license.
- Wardens find novel use of stolen truck: Game Wardens Michael Hummert and Colt Gaulden were patrolling on February 21 when they heard a call that a Department of Public Safety helicopter had detected a LoJack transmission coming from a 90,000-acre ranch in Webb County. Responding to the call, the wardens entered the ranch and spoke with the landowner. The DPS helicopter was hovering over an area where the landowner said a hunter’s camp was located. The wardens entered the camp and found a stolen Ford F-250 four-door truck. The originally white truck had been painted in camouflage, an elevated deer blind had been installed, and fictitious plates had been put on the vehicle.
- Motorcycle goes for a boat ride: Game Wardens Ronnie Langford, Brent Whitus, and Jim Lindeman were patrolling the upper end of Lake Travis in Burnet County on February 20 when a flat-bottom boat containing an upright motorcycle caught their attention. The wardens stopped the unregistered craft to talk to its two occupants. When they ran a check the wardens discovered the motorcycle was reported stolen in Burnet County. The motorcycle and subjects were turned over to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.
- Remember, Don’t Mess With Texas: Gillespie County Warden Scott Krueger received a call from a local rancher on February 22 regarding a dumped blackbuck antelope carcass and large bag of trash in the ditch near the rancher’s residence. Scott located the trash the next morning. At the bottom of the trash bag Scott found a receipt from a store in Fredericksburg. Next he met with the store’s loss prevention director who began a records search. In a few minutes video was found of the suspect checking out, as well as parking lot video of the subject getting into his vehicle. Since he paid with a credit card, Scott was able to get his name. A quick check in the phone book gave Scott an address. After a brief introduction, Scott told the suspect the reason for the visit. A citation was issued, and the trash was cleaned up.
- "Hog" turns out to be illegal doe: Van Zandt County Game Warden Steve Stapleton received a call from a landowner who had found the outline of a deer in the snow with a blood trail leading back to a county road. The landowner said that a short time after he made the discovery, a truck drove up and the driver asked if he could put a hog trap on the rancher’s property. The landowner asked the man if he knew anything about a deer being illegally shot on his property, and the man said he had found a hog and in the spirit of helpfulness had removed it for the rancher. The warden was able to track down the subject and drove to the subject’s house pulling the regional Operation Game Thief trailer for an upcoming event. The warden realized he was likely on the right investigative track when the man saw the OGT trailer and remarked that it looked like he was going to lose his truck "over all of this." It seems he thought the trailer was used to confiscate vehicles and illegal equipment. A freshly killed doe was found hidden in a hay barn. The warden also recovered a .22 short pistol used to kill the deer. Multiple cases pending.
- On-line detective work pays off. Travis County Warden Cody Jones got word on February 19 of a Craigslist posting from someone wanting to purchase whitetail deer meat. The warden made email contact with two persons and working with the Special Operations Unit set up a buy-bust. Both suspects were filed on for setting up an illegal purchase of meat from a game animal.
- Young woman gets another chance at life: Around 11 p.m. on February 21, Travis County Game Warden Braxton Harris was patrolling Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Lake checking a few bank fishermen and late-night kayakers. Beneath the I-35 bridge the warden drove by the one car parked in the area and noticed a hose going from the exhaust pipe into the rear window. After turning the car off and finding its female occupant still breathing, he opened all the car doors and then called for an ambulance. The 25-year-old woman was expected to make a full recovery.
- Nice bucks! Too bad they were taken illegally. Travis County Game Warden Braxton Harris received a call at 4 a.m. February 24 from dispatch to contact an Austin Police Department officer who was detaining two men who had just shot two deer. When the warden arrived, he found the two deer had been shot with a 12-gauge from the roadway. One buck scored 126 2/8 Boon and Crockett points and the other 109 1/8. The deer meat was donated for use by the homeless and the men taken to jail. Cases pending.
- One toke over the line: On February 24, Travis County Warden Cody Jones was searching for a vehicle involved in poaching activity when two subjects approached his state truck while toking on a marijuana pipe. Not until they had walked to within only a few feet of the warden did they realize their mistake and try to hide the illegal substance. Both subjects were issued field release citations for the marijuana possession and released.
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