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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Neighborhood Watch
A warden received a call from Bell County dispatch from a witness who saw someone in a vehicle shoot a deer in a new subdivision in Temple, load it up and leave the scene. As soon as the operator said the street names, the warden recognized the location as his neighborhood. In fact, he jogs there at night. When he responded, the warden met with the person who made the complaint and was given a license plate number for a vehicle registered in Williamson County. The plates also matched with a hunting license held by someone living around the corner from where the deer was shot. The warden went to the house, located the subject and found a doe in a shed in his yard. The man confessed that he and his uncle had shot the deer. During the interview, the man said, “Yeah, I hope we didn’t get you out of bed! I knew you lived around the corner and me and my uncle had the conversation before we left that it might not be a good idea because the game warden lives right around the corner!” Several deer and weapons seized, and multiple citations issued.
- You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide
A Gillespie County game warden received a call from a landowner who had a photo of two unknown hunters standing over a dead deer under his game feeder. The warden found drag marks and blood evidence leading through two other properties. After spending the day knocking on doors and meeting with other landowners, the warden found the subject’s residence, or former residence. The warden spoke to the suspect’s mother and found out that the suspects had moved back to Alabama two days after the deer was shot. The warden then contacted the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for assistance. Alabama wardens interviewed the suspects and secured the evidence. The meat will be donated to a needy family in Baldwin County, Ala. Cases pending.
- Ruger’s Nose, Knows
Two game wardens received a call in southern Travis County regarding possible hunting without landowner consent. When the wardens arrived, they found a truck pulled off the road near a construction site and decided to wait until the owner returned. Hours later, the subject had someone drop him off at his vehicle. When confronted, he admitted digging for artifacts and fishing without landowner’s consent. The subject had numerous prior drug charges and seemed to be very nervous during the interview. One of the wardens ran police dog Ruger around the truck and he alerted outside the driver’s door. Ruger then searched inside the vehicle and reacted to the sunglass compartment where less than two ounces of marijuana was found. Numerous citations issued. Cases pending.
- Therapeutic Rampage
Three Sabine County game wardens were dispatched to FM 330, where they met with U.S. Forest Service officers who had detained a man for various violations. The subject shot three white-tailed does, all untagged. The wardens seized the deer, and numerous charges are pending. The man said he was not happy with the way his archery season went and he took his frustrations out on anything he saw that morning.
- Rules and Regulations
A Jasper County game warden was patrolling the national forest and saw a man riding an ATV on an adjacent deer lease with two eight-point bucks on the back. After contacting the individual, the warden found that the deer antlers were less than 13 inches wide. The man said he had been hunting his whole life, and for a decade or more years on this lease. He wasn’t aware that he couldn’t take two eight-point bucks. Regulations were discussed. Cases pending.
- Too Little, Too Late
An Angela County game warden who pulled into a deer camp to check hunters came across a man from Lufkin who had killed a 14-inch, six-point buck on opening day. As he continued to check the camp, the warden saw that a deer had been freshly dressed at the skinning rack. The man told the warden that his girlfriend had killed her first buck, but neither the deer nor the hunter was at the camp. The warden asked the man if he had a picture of the 17-inch, nine-point deer, and the he showed him a photo from his phone of a big deer hanging from the skinning rack by the antlers. The game warden asked if he had a photo of his girlfriend with her first deer and the man said no. After further investigation, the warden found that the Lufkin man killed the buck, then called his girlfriend and asked her to purchase a hunting license and tag the deer. Citations were issued.
- Homemade Silencer Not Golden
Two Harris County game wardens responded to a call about two individuals hunting illegally. When the wardens arrived, one of the suspects had been detained by a Harris County deputy while the other was still in the woods. During the interview, the subject said they were just target shooting, but the wardens found a .17 HMR rifle, range finder, skinning knife, binoculars, a set of rattling sticks and baby bottle nipples that were used as a homemade suppressor. A few hours later the second individual came out of the woods and confessed not only to target shooting but also hunting. The second individual’s rifle, which was a .22, was located in the woods. Later, during the investigation, the wardens learned that the first subject may have possibly shot a white-tailed buck the night before. After getting consent to go to the subject’s house to inspect the deer, the wardens found a bloated deer in back of the subject’s truck that had been shot in the head with a small caliber gun. Charges filed and cases are pending.
- See You Later, Alligator
While patrolling Hidalgo County, two game wardens received information about an alligator that was being kept in a tub as a pet. The wardens went to the residence and the homeowners admitted to having the alligator in the backyard. The alligator was seized and later released. The homeowners were educated on the risk and criminal penalties of having an alligator as a pet.
- Honesty is the Best Policy
An Upshur County game warden was checking a fisherman at Lake of the Pines as he loaded his boat with a four-year-old impatiently waiting in the front seat. The warden asked the man how the fishing was, and he said that he did not catch any fish. While the man was loading the trailer, the child stuck his head out of the window and said, “Don’t take our fish, game warden” several times. The boy told the warden that the fish were in the boat. The man finished loading the boat, crawled through the car into the driver’s seat, avoiding the warden, and drove off the ramp and out of the parking lot avoiding an inspection. After the warden pursued the man for a short while, he stopped and during the inspection, the warden found 21 black bass in his live well. The man admitted to catching all of the fish, and said he had no choice but to run off the ramp toward the highway and try and escape because he had no fishing license, undersized fish, and was over the possession limit. Cases pending.
- “You just weren’t the man I wanted to see today”
While patrolling near the Brazos River, a Palo Pinto County game warden saw someone operating a truck in the closed portion of the river bed. The warden asked him to turn off his truck and exit the vehicle, but the driver said he would not and fled the scene. When the warden notified dispatch of the pursuit, a Palo Pinto County deputy in the area deployed a spike strip. After driving over the spikes, the subject continued driving on three flat tires until he reached his residence. The driver then exited his truck and made his way to the front door, but the warden chased him on foot and was able to apprehend him before he made it inside. While conducting an inventory of the vehicle, a Palo Pinto sheriff’s deputy found a loaded and cocked .22-caliber revolver under the driver’s seat, and a half empty case of beer. At the jail, the driver was filed on for driving while intoxicated and evading arrest with a motor vehicle. The warden asked the man why he fled, and the driver said, “You just weren’t the man I wanted to see today.”
- Swerving into Trouble
A Jasper County game warden was patrolling his way back home after sitting out for night hunting violation when he came up on a vehicle in his lane of traffic on his side of the divided highway. After swerving and missing a head-on collision by inches, the warden turned around and pulled the car over. The driver was filed on for several violations including driving while intoxicated. The passenger, also given a FST, was arrested for public intoxication. After interviewing both subjects, the warden found that they left a local bar and never realized that they were on the wrong side of the four-lane highway. Several cases pending.
- A Poor Role Model
A Shelby County game warden was patrolling during a youth-only hunting weekend, when he started to enter a deer lease and a truck approached him. The driver said that his grandson shot a doe that morning. The warden decided to inspect the doe and found a total of four untagged deer in the hunter’s possession. A young, excited boy approached the game warden and said that he had shot two deer and his father shot the other two. The warden asked the boy if his father shot them with a rifle or bow, and replied that a rifle was used. The adult confessed to killing two bucks with his rifle; one was a four-point buck less than 13 inches wide, and the other was a 10-point. His unsupervised son, who shot a buck less than 13 inches wide that day, had not taken hunter education and hunted alone that morning. Restitution and cases pending.
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