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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Hanging Evidence
A Pecos County game warden received a call about two mule deer killed on a local ranch enrolled in the Managed Lands Deer Permit program. Since there are several white-tailed deer hunters on the ranch, a Jeff Davis County game warden met up with the game warden and they inspected the place, including a walk-in cooler, while the hunters were out for an afternoon hunt. Inside the cooler, the wardens found two illegal mule deer does. In all, 15 hunters were checked, three citations were issued and two mule deer does were seized.
- Smoked Out
A game warden patrolling Coleman County came across a van with no lights on pulling a trailer. He stopped the vehicle and could smell a strong odor of marijuana. The warden asked the driver and passengers to get out and was surprised to see seven adult males emerge. When the warden asked the passengers where they were coming from, they said Denver and headed to Austin. When asked if they had been smoking marijuana, they said yes but that it was not illegal in Colorado. After gaining consent to search the vehicle, the warden found a pipe and several baggies of marijuana. Tickets for possession of drug paraphernalia were filed on the violators. Cases pending.
- Lost and Found
A Burleson County game warden received a call from parents who told the operator that their son was missing and has been known to wander into the neighboring 2,000-acre ranch. The warden and local first responders searched the area and the boy was located about six hours later in a restaurant four miles from his house.
- Excuses, Excuses…
A Houston County game warden went into a camp where a doe had been harvested and quartered. The deer had been tagged properly and the harvest log was filled out. The warden asked the hunter if he had shot it with a crossbow, but the subject said the deer was shot with a regular bow. After observing the bow, the warden noticed a broken, bloody arrow in the quiver. Everything looked okay until the warden examined the meat. There was a broadhead puncture wound and exit wound that the subject kept pointing to. After observing it further, the warden found a small bullet hole in the meat. He asked the hunter if he had any shotguns, rifles or pistols in his truck, and the subject said no. After the man gave permission to search the truck, the warden found a shotgun hidden behind the backseat. He asked the hunter why he didn’t tell the truth about the shotgun, and the subject said he thought he had only asked about pistols. The warden asked the hunter where the gut pile and hide was, and was led to a spot behind the camp, but the warden saw no hide. The subject told the warden that a coyote must have drug it off. After circling the camp, the warden found the hide. When the warden spread out the hide, he noted a buckshot hole. Seeing that, the subject put his hands in the air and asked, “How much is the ticket?” Case and civil restitution pending.
- Recipe for a Citation
Two Nacogdoches County game wardens were checking bowhunters when they noticed heavy traffic going through a gate. The wardens entered the property and contacted an individual cooking deer meat in a camp over an open fire. The subject claimed they were only hunting hogs and that no deer had been harvested. Two more hunters arrived in camp with the same story. After the wardens located a skinning rack with deer hair, fresh blood, and a backstrap of a deer in a plastic bag, they investigated the camp further and found a hidden deer head from a buck with a 5 to 6-inch spread. The deer was harvested illegally with a bolt-action rifle during archery-only season. Multiple citations issued. Cases pending.
- Looking for Trouble
A Montgomery County game warden responded to a call in Walden on Lake Conroe. Montgomery County deputies stopped a suspicious vehicle that was suspected of stealing copper from houses in the neighborhood. While searching the vehicle, the deputies found a loaded rifle equipped with laser sights, a bow equipped with a flashlight, and a flashlight in the truck. Both subjects were interviewed by the game warden and said they were driving around the subdivision looking for a deer to shoot. The next day, the warden followed up on the call by searching the original location where the subjects were seen and getting a statement from the reporting caller. While searching the lot, the warden found an arrow matching those that were found in the truck. Both subjects were arrested, and multiple cases are pending.
A Montgomery County game warden received an Operation Game Thief call about four high school-age males road hunting in a neighborhood with a bow. The caller gave a good description, but the violators were gone before she arrived. The next night, with the help of another game warden, the wardens patrolled the neighborhoods where the subjects were last seen and noticed a truck turning around and shining a light on several deer. The wardens stopped the surprised violator who had a bow in his lap, window down, and an LED nock of his arrow lit up. The subject confessed to trying to get a better look at the nearby buck to see if its rack was wider than 13-inches because he didn’t want to break the antler restriction law. He also confessed to road hunting with three friends in the same area the night before. The suspect identified the men he was with the previous night, along with providing a detailed list of their poaching activities. Charges are pending on all individuals involved.
- Scouting for a Thief
A Montgomery County game warden received a call from the manager of a Boy Scout camp in Conroe. They’d had several items stolen over the last few months, including gas from their bulk tanks. The warden was able to set up a department-issued camera that immediately sends photographic evidence to his cell phone when photos are taken. A few nights later, photographs of a suspect pumping gas into his truck and gas cans in the truck bed began pouring in. Wardens and other officers responded immediately and apprehended the suspect. The suspect was arrested for theft and for felony tampering with physical evidence after deleting photos of Craigslist ads he had posted of stolen equipment. Additional photos were recovered that showed items he had previously stolen from the Boy Scout camp. Multiple cases pending.
- Another Day at the Office
Game wardens from Dimmit and Zavala County, along with Border Patrol agents and Dimmit County Sheriff’s deputies, retrieved 11 individuals by TPWD boat from a fishing camp that had been flooded by a fast rise on the Nueces River. The occupants of the camp, including three elderly individuals, lost eight vehicles to the flooding. Everyone and four dogs were transported to a shelter located in Carrizo Springs by Dimmit County deputies and Border Patrol agents.
- A Costly Dove Hunt
A Webb County game warden on patrol heard shots coming from a ranch. After locating the hunter, the warden noticed a line of cracked corn and milo around a tank where four individuals were dove hunting. After checking the first two hunters, the warden made his way to the last two hunters who had left the spot where they were hunting. These two hunters told the warden they had their limit and were through hunting. After inspecting further, the warden found an additional 15 doves hidden in the brush. All hunters were cited for hunting for hunting dove over bait, and two individuals were cited for hunting over the daily bag limit. A total of 73 doves were seized from the hunters. The following week, the hunters paid a total of $1,590 in fines to the court.
- Fishing for Trouble
Two Willacy County game wardens were patrolling in the Port Mansfield area and inspected a local fishing tournament. Wardens found that approximately 25 percent of the fish guides in this tournament did not possess their all-water fish guide license. After further investigation, and with the assistance of two Cameron County wardens, they found that most of the fish guides also did not possess their current Coast Guard license and requirements. Fish guides were cited for no fish guide license. The wardens continued to follow up on license status on guides still guiding in the Port Mansfield area and found violations still occurring. Citations were again issued and turned over to USCG.
- Barking up the Wrong Tree
A Briscoe County game warden was contacted by a local landowner concerning people trespassing on his property. A few minutes later, the landowner called again and said the subjects were speeding away in their vehicle. The rancher followed the vehicle long enough to tell the warden which direction they were headed. Luckily for the warden, the subjects were headed down the highway toward his position. After stopping the vehicle, the warden found five individuals from New Mexico with large knives and a truck bed full of dogs. The rancher arrived soon after the stop, and once the sheriff’s department got there, the warden gained the facts from the landowner. The five were hunting hogs with dogs on the landowner’s property without permission. Cases pending.
- Shedding Light on the Situation
While on patrol, a Henderson County game warden noticed a spotlight beam on a county road. The warden saw a pickup truck drive slowly down the county road with a subject standing in the bed shining the light into the adjacent fields. The driver stopped the truck, jumped out and hopped a fence to get a better aim. The warden contacted the two hunters, who were from Alaska, and explained the laws regarding hunting from public roads in Texas. Cases pending.
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