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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Hunter up a tree, literally and figuratively
Tarrant County Game Wardens John Padgett and Clint Borchardt found a vehicle parked in the tree line inside a Fort Worth park on Dec. 6. The Fort Worth Marshal’s Office had reported possible illegal hunting in the area several weeks prior. As police vehicles entered the property, the hunter climbed out of a tree and tried to hide. He was found squatting in some brush close to the road and apprehended. A photograph of the subject posing with a deer he had killed was found in his truck. After further questioning, the man said he had shot that deer in Azle, another property he did not have permission to hunt on. The deer, which had not been tagged, was picked up at a local taxidermist. The man, previously convicted of hunting without consent, was also in possession of a drug pipe and methamphetamines. He was charged with hunting without landowner consent, possession of a controlled substance, and cited for the untagged deer for which civil restitution will be sought. Cases pending.
We’re not in Kansas any more
A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper working drug interdiction along IH-35 on Dec. 8 in Wise County made a traffic stop and noticed blood and deer parts in the bed of the truck. The trooper contacted Wise County Game Warden Chris Dowdy, who then contacted Denton County Game Wardens Chip Daigle and Daron Blackerby to assist the trooper. The driver at first said he had shot the deer, and then changed his story to blame someone else. After a lengthy interview the driver said he had brought three bucks back from Kansas intending to process them in Texas and return the meat to Kansas. He said he had only two tags, but he did not want to waste the meat of the third deer. The wardens went to the man’s house and located a 6-point buck from Montague County along with the man’s Kansas tags, but only one tag was for a buck. The other was for a doe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined the investigation and multiple cases are pending.
How not to hunt deer
Shortly before midnight on Dec. 3, Polk County Game Wardens Ryan Hall and David Johnson observed a vehicle traveling very slowly down a county road, occasionally turning so its headlights illuminated the right of way. The wardens stopped the vehicle and found the driver in possession of a loaded .22 Magnum rifle. He later said he had been hunting white-tailed deer from the roadway. Early the next morning, Hall returned to the area and recovered a yearling white-tailed deer near the scene. The animal had a fresh small caliber bullet hole in its neck. The suspected night hunter implicated another subject as well, and additional charges were filed on both subjects. These included a Class A misdemeanor waste of game charge for the shooter, who claimed responsibility for not coming back for the deer. Cases and civil restitution are pending.
Cooler ices case against violator
Polk County Game Warden David Johnson made contact with an individual in a hunting camp on Dec. 4. During a brief conversation, the man said he had just arrived and was unaware of any deer having been killed that weekend. A check of the camp’s skinning rack proved otherwise, but the individual still claimed he didn’t know of any deer being taken. But an inspection of his ice chest revealed a freshly-cleaned deer in a trash bag, with no proof of sex or tag. After a lengthy interview with the subject and his son, the man admitted killing a buck that did not meet Polk County antler restrictions. A deer head was retrieved from the woods and several citations were issued. Cases and civil restitution are pending.
Night hunters see the light
On Dec. 7, Polk County Game Wardens Ryan Hall and David Johnson were called out at 3 a.m. by the sheriff’s department in reference to a night hunting complaint. Three subjects had just shot a deer from the roadway near a residence and had been followed by the homeowner back to their residence. Deputies arrived just as the subjects pulled into their driveway and detained them after they tried to flee on foot. Arriving a short time later, the wardens seized a freshly killed antlerless white-tailed deer. Both subjects admitted to their part in killing the deer from the roadway and named an accomplice. The two subjects were arrested and placed in Polk County Jail for possession of an illegally taken white-tailed deer and Class A hunting at night. Warrants are pending for the third subject.
Road hunt goes to pot, so to speak
On Dec. 2 at approximately 9:30 p.m., Uvalde County Game Warden Henry Lutz received a call from a hunter north of Sabinal reporting that someone was shooting from a vehicle on the road near his hunting camp. Warden Lutz was nearby and located the vehicle, which was occupied by two subjects. The warden found two freshly killed deer in the bed of their truck as well as a small amount of marijuana. Uvalde County warden Rachel Kellner later arrived and assisted with trying to locate any other downed deer. Both subjects were arrested and booked into the Uvalde Jail. One was charged with hunting white-tailed deer at night, a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. The other subject has been caught for night hunting twice previously in Uvalde County, one of the cases as far back as 1992, and already had a Class A conviction for hunting white-tailed deer at night. Warden Lutz is preparing a state jail felony case on this individual.
Tipster a bit too tipsy
Wilson County warden Jesse Garcia received a call Dec. 2 that a deer with its head cut off had been found on the side of the road. The subject who found the deer agreed to meet the warden at the location. Garcia arrived and was inspecting the deer when the man who reported it drove up. The warden noticed the man appeared very unsteady when he got out of his vehicle and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. The subject said he loved having his beer in the afternoon, and he hoped Garcia was not going to take him in. After administrating a field sobriety test, Garcia arrested the subject for DWI and transported him to the Wilson County Jail. Garcia filed a second offense DWI due to a prior conviction, a Class A misdemeanor.
Small caliber equals big trouble for night hunter
Floyd County Game Warden Mark Collins received a landowner call on Nov. 30 advising a mature mule deer buck had been shot and left dead in a remote wheat field near the South Plains community the previous night. The warden responded, gathered evidence, and took photos of the scene. While doing so, he discovered an even larger mule deer buck roughly 500 yards from the first deer. Though mortally wounded, the deer was still alive. After dispatching the second buck, Collins followed the same evidence-gathering procedure and determined both deer had been shot with a small caliber bullet. After a brief interview with the landowner, the only known people on the property that night were determined. Having a suspect name but little else, Collins contacted Floydada Police Chief Darrel Gooch, who proved to be of great assistance. After following several leads, a suspect was arrested and taken before a judge, where multiple charges were filed. Restitution and final payment are pending.
“Fowl” play determined
Floyd County Game Warden Mark Collins and Hockley County warden Jay Oyler encountered a group of successful waterfowl hunters in Floyd County on Dec. 4. They were in possession of numerous freshly killed ducks, geese and sandhill crane, and were busy cleaning the birds. The problem was, they were filleting the meat from the breasts and discarding the carcass, failing to leave a wing attached for species identification. The wardens discovered the group had hunted the previous day and had more birds in an ice chest back at their hotel. The cooler was located and found to contain filleted waterfowl breasts. Multiple cases and warnings filed.
Violator better marksman than he thought
Foard County warden Matt Thompson and Wilbarger County warden Dyke McMahen received a call on Dec. 4 from a Foard County deputy that a man had seen someone shooting from the roadway. The deputy spotted the vehicle the witness had described. The vehicle was stopped, but the two occupants denied shooting from the roadway. After questioning, they finally admitted one of them had shot at a white-tailed buck from the vehicle but missed. Information was gathered, and the two subjects were released. Meanwhile, the deputy went back to the area and discovered a freshly shot white-tailed buck. Arrest warrants were drawn, and the two out-of-state subjects were taken into custody at their hotel for hunting from a vehicle on a public roadway.
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