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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Warden assists in triple rescue: Young County Game Warden Brent Isom was patrolling with his flat bottom boat on April 18 when he got a call that a car containing three teenage girls had been washed off the roadway. The warden was on scene within five minutes of the 911 call and joined forces with Young County Sheriff Bryan Walls and Department of Public Safety Corporal Bryan Little. The three officers launched the boat into the creek and were able to come upstream to the girls’ location, where they were holding on to an electrical transmission line tower. The three girls were wet, cold and scared, but otherwise uninjured. They were lowered into the patrol boat and transported back to their parents, who were on the bank watching the event unfold.
- Two for one not always a good thing: Trinity County Game Warden Sam Shanafelt received a phone call from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office April 9 about some deer that had been shot and dumped on a county road. After a couple of days, someone called and provided information which pointed to two young adults in the Woodlake Community. After a lengthy interview by the warden, both adults confessed to shooting at one deer, but killing two. Citations and restitution were issued.
- Literally and figuratively down the river: Jasper County Game Warden Chris Fried received a call on April 15 from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office advising that five people were stranded on the Neches River. The warden soon discovered that the five individuals were not stranded but were floating down the river on tubes at about 1:30 a.m. One of the subjects had to be taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning and two others were arrested for public intoxication.
- The Xbox Files: While patrolling the Neches River on April 17, Jasper County Game Wardens Morgan Inman and Chris Fried issued several citations for no personal flotation devices, undersized catfish, no fishing license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. When leaving the river, the two wardens noticed two vehicles parked on the side of the road. After making contact with the occupants, it was determined that they were in possession of a stolen X-Box taken the night before in a home burglary in Tyler County. The X-Box and suspects were turned over to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office.
- Undersized oysters returned to reefs: Calhoun County Wardens Robert Dominguez and Philip Bird filed on five oyster boat captains on April 19 for undersize cargo in Lavaca Bay. Approximately 140 sacks of oysters were returned to the reefs. Two days earlier Chambers County Game Warden Hector Gonzalez was patrolling Trinity Bay for fishing violations and after checking an oyster boat, filed on the captain for possessing undersize oysters.
- No license rap catches drug offender: Comal County Warden Michael McCall was checking fishing license compliance at a crappie dock on Canyon Lake on April 16 when he encountered two young men who did not have a fishing license. A subsequent warrant check revealed one of the men was wanted in Kaufman County for felony possession of controlled substance. The man was arrested without incident and transported to the Comal County Jail. In addition, each man also received a citation for no fishing license. Cases pending.
- Wardens net netters: Zapata Game Warden Will Hellums received a call from a fisherman on April 8 that a commercial vessel was on Falcon Lake. The warden contacted Warden Stevan Ramos and gathered Warden Roy Martinez, Jim Hogg Game Warden Carlos Maldonado and Capt. Fernando Cervantes. Wardens Martinez and Hellums blocked the escape route back into Mexico while Wardens Ramos, Maldonado, and Captain Cervantes went into the brush. The vessel was found but the fishermen leaped into the water hoping to evade arrest. One subject came back to the patrol boat after some talking, but the second suspect swam into the thick brush. A 17-foot Argos with a 48-horsepower Yamaha Enduro outboard was seized along with 3,300 feet of gill net. Six days later Wardens Ramos and Maldonado seized another 17-footer with a 40-horsepower motor and 3,300 feet of net. Both occupants of this boat were apprehended.
- More Falcon nets: Zapata County Game Warden Jake Cawthon and Starr County Warden Drew Spencer responded on April 19 to an anonymous tip regarding three boats suspected of illegal gill netting on Falcon Lake. As the wardens approached the three vessels to perform water safety inspections, four men fled in a white-and-blue Tahoe ski boat and two other men fled in a yellow-and-white ski boat. A third boat was left abandoned and later seized by wardens. After a pursuit through extremely heavy brush, three of the four men aboard the Tahoe bailed out into the lake. Warden Spencer jumped aboard the Tahoe and arrested one subject and then pulled another subject from the lake, arresting him as well. The two other men were never located. The Tahoe boat was seized and later determined to have been stolen from an individual in Laredo. Along with the Tahoe ski boat and an aluminum center console boat, approximately 4,620 feet of monofilament gill net and 1,650 feet of gar gill net were seized. The yellow and white ski boat was never located. Starr County Game Wardens Dennis Gazaway and Ben Baker and Zapata County Game Wardens Roy Martinez and Sam Padgett all responded quickly to assist.
- Water spinach on the High Plains: Potter County Game Wardens Steve Urben and Shane Lewis assisted a USDA inspector at various food stores in Amarillo. Numerous violations were found such as improperly labeled water spinach (either not labeled at all or labeled ong choy), no retail fish dealer’s license, and no finfish import license. Citations and educational warnings were issued. Retailers were also reminded to keep all water spinach invoices for two years and advised they may only purchase from permitted water spinach growers.
- That’s his story, anyway: Kimble County Warden Lee Morrison was contacted by South Llano State Park in reference to a turkey hunter killing a whitetail deer out of season. When Morrison contacted the hunter he said he was hunting turkey and saw a Sika deer. He said he had been told he could kill exotics so he shot the deer with his shotgun. Three slugs later, the deer was dead and the hunter was shocked to discover he had killed a whitetail. The hunter was adamant that he knew what a Sika deer looked like and reasoned the rain had darkened the coat to make it resemble a Sika. Case pending.
- Illegal lines seized: On April 20, San Saba County Game Warden Brad Reeves and Lampasas County Game Warden Jim Lindeman patrolled the Colorado River downriver from the Colorado Bend State Park. The two wardens pulled 1,200 feet of illegal trotlines and 7 illegal jug lines.
- Spring in East Texas: During one week, Titus County Game Warden Jerry Ash received several orphaned young animals, including an immature owl, two small squirrels, four young raccoons, and three newborn rabbits. Morris County Game Warden Michael Serbanic also received a family of orphaned baby possums.
- Wardens snag snaggers: Marion County Game Wardens Robb Furlow and Rick Lane caught eight people snagging at the spillway on Lake Wright Patman on April 19. They had undersized crappie and bass. Citations pending.
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