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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Drunk in Love
While patrolling near the Trinity River in Walker County, the local game warden stopped a vehicle for failing to maintain a single lane of traffic. When the warden made contact with the driver, he showed signs of impairment. After performing poorly on the standard field sobriety test, the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated. This was his second offense. Shortly after, the suspect’s wife arrived at the scene and stopped behind the warden’s patrol vehicle. She also displayed signs of impairment and did poorly on the standard field sobriety tests. She was subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated, her first offense.
- A Shot in the Foot
A Montgomery County game warden received a call regarding a hunter who accidentally shot himself in the foot while loading a deer he had killed. During the investigation, it was found that the hunter did not possess a valid license and had tagged the deer with another hunter’s tag. Additionally, the buck was not legal, and the hunter had never taken a hunter education class. The buck was seized and donated; the hunter was issued three citations plus a warning, and restitution was assessed.
- Captain Confused
Two Calhoun County game wardens made contact with a commercial oyster vessel while patrolling San Antonio Bay doing commercial oyster enforcement. The vessel’s captain said that he did not know he needed an oyster boat captain’s license to harvest oysters commercially. He was escorted to the docks and placed under arrest for taking oysters without an oyster boat captain’s license, a Class B misdemeanor. The oysters were sold to the highest bidder. Case pending.
- Don’t Mess With Texas... or Arkansas
A Gregg County game warden responded to a Longview Animal Control call regarding a decaying doe hanging in a resident’s tree. When the warden located the deer, he also discovered an additional untagged doe behind the property and an untagged nine-point buck. Two of the four individuals interviewed claimed they harvested the two deer in Arkansas. One of the subjects confessed to taking a fourth deer in Texas, which was wasted and dumped in Arkansas. When questioned about the discrepancy between their harvest dates versus the date printed on their Arkansas hunting licenses, two of the subjects acknowledged hunting without a license. The warden then contacted Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers who advised that they were pursuing more than $2,500 in charges. They also said that two of the men face one year suspensions, while another would receive a lifetime hunting license suspension in Arkansas. Civil restitution and multiple charges were filed, including no hunting license; hunting during closed season; failure to keep game in edible condition; untagged deer; and no harvest log. Investigation is ongoing and cases pending.
- “For Medicinal Purposes”
A landowner was watching deer on his property when he heard a gunshot nearby. He called the Montgomery County game warden to report someone hunting without landowner consent. He believed that his neighbor had attempted to shoot a deer. When the warden made contact with the neighbor at his home, he immediately noticed a strong odor consistent with marijuana. After a short interview, the man admitted to growing marijuana plants in his home “for medicinal purposes.” Four plants of varying sizes were seized, and the subject was arrested for Class A possession of marijuana. The plants were taken to the Montgomery County crime lab. It turned out that the subject had nothing to do with the original call. Cases pending.
- Wrong State of Mind
A Bowie County game warden received a call from Arkansas Game and Fish officers in reference to a truck they had stopped that was traveling east on Interstate 30 from Texas. The vehicle contained 10 whitetail deer, a bobcat and a turkey breast that had all been harvested in Central Texas. It is illegal to transport a deer with bones from a chronic wasting disease state into the state of Arkansas. Since the wildlife officers in Arkansas were not entirely familiar with Texas laws, they requested the Bowie County warden to inspect the subject’s game for any Texas violations. The warden inspected the deer at the Arkansas Game and Fish district office and wrote several citations for tagging proof-of-sex violations. The state of Arkansas filed several cases for transporting deer with bone still attached, seized all of the animals and parts for their violations, and tested the deer for chronic wasting disease.
- A Loon on the Pontoon
While on boat patrol in the Rio Grande near Chimney Park, the local game warden noticed a pontoon boat traveling eastbound. As he passed the boat, he immediately recognized one of the passengers as someone who had a felony and misdemeanor warrant pending in Cameron County. The warden stopped the pontoon, identifying himself as a state game warden. He then asked the passenger on the pontoon boat to board the patrol boat and advised him of two warrants for his arrest. The man was then transported to Cameron County Jail for warrants that included a felony charge of false financial statements and a misdemeanor charge of tampering with ID numbers.
- Escaping the Line of Fire
A Harris County game warden was investigating poaching activity on the north side of the county, when he noticed a dim light and moved toward the source. He then saw a man aiming a rifle at him, quickly announced his presence and positioned himself out of the line of fire. The poacher fled on foot into the woods. Two wardens, a captain and Harris County sheriff deputies responded. While conducting a search of the area, the county K-9 officer located the poacher’s rifle and hunting gear hidden in the woods. Investigation is pending.
- The One That (Almost) Got Away
A Karnes County game warden received a call from a ranch caretaker who found a truck on the property and witnessed a man with a gun run off into a bush. When the warden made contact with the suspected poacher, he stated that he knew the ranch owners but admitted that he did not have permission to be hunting there. The hunter informed the warden that he was hunting hogs but got scared when he saw the truck and ran. Because the owners did not want to file charges, no citation was issued for hunting without landowner consent. However, since the hunter did not have a valid Texas hunting license, a citation was issued for hunting without a license. The following day, the warden received a call from the landowner’s daughter, informing him that there was a gutted buck on the ranch. The suspected poacher was interviewed again and confessed that he had shot the deer but left it because he was afraid someone would catch him. Cases for hunting whitetail deer without a hunting license and waste of game are pending.
- Honey, I’m Home…and so is Your Uncle
Two Nacogdoches County game wardens noticed an individual cleaning a deer in his garage. The deer was not tagged. When questioned, the subject claimed he had taken the tag off and placed it in his wallet to prevent losing it. The subject then said that his wife had taken his wallet to purchase ice. Once the man’s wife returned, a brief interview was conducted, and it was determined that she had shot the deer without a hunting license. During the interview, the husband’s uncle arrived and told the wardens he had shot a doe earlier. The uncle claimed that his hunting license was at his house with the deer, but it was determined that he did not have a hunting license. The deer meat was donated, and citations were issued for antler restrictions and criminal trespassing. Cases and restitution pending.
- Shoe’s Clues
A Zavala County landowner called his local game warden to express concern about a burglary that occurred on a neighboring ranch several days earlier. When the warden arrived at the ranch, he found tire tracks and shoe prints leading to a ranch several miles away. The vehicle tracks and shoe prints matched those detected at the burglary scene. The investigation led to a suspect who provided the warden with a verbal and written statement regarding his involvement. The suspect also gave consent to search his residence. There, the warden found various amounts of heroin and cocaine. The individual was turned over to Zavala County Sheriff’s Department with first and second degree felony charges pending. In addition, three other burglaries were cleared due to this suspect’s arrest. All stolen items were recovered.
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