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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Left for Dead
Two Val Verde County game wardens responded to an illegal hunting call in a Lake Amistad neighborhood. Residents reported seeing a large buck roaming around the neighborhood with an arrow in its chest. The wardens found the buck, though it had to be euthanized because its injury was severe. The wardens determined the arrow was a crossbow bolt and are conducting an investigation, since no hunting is allowed in the neighborhood.
“Some” Is an Understatement
While a Grayson County game warden was talking to the two occupants of the vehicle he had just stopped, he learned they were returning to Louisiana from a duck hunting trip in northwestern Texas. The warden asked if they had any game in the vehicle, and they said they had “some” ducks. Before opening the hunters’ two ice chests, the warden asked if they had too many ducks, and the driver said they probably did have too many ducks for just two people. The warden counted 107 ducks in the hunters’ possession. The men claimed some of the ducks belonged to other hunters, though they couldn’t provide any documentation to support their claim. While neither hunter could remember exactly how many ducks he’d taken, they both admitted to exceeding their daily bag limits during the hunting trip. The warden then discovered one of the hunters did not have a hunting license, and neither hunter had a migratory bird endorsement. The warden filed multiple cases for being over the daily bag limit, hunting without a license and hunting without a migratory bird endorsement. The hunter who did have a valid Texas hunting license was allowed to keep his possession limit of 18 ducks, but the other 89 ducks, with a civil restitution value of over $9,000, were seized and donated.
After receiving a call from dispatch about an overturned boat, two game wardens responded to the scene. Two adult hunters and an 11-year-old hunter had parked their duck boat alongside a levee, and, as the first hunter stepped on the levee, it gave way. The current flipped the boat over, tossing the other hunter and the child into the water. The other hunter managed to pull the child from the current and both swam to higher ground. The two wardens located the hunters and took them to a more accessible area where Trinity City Fire and Rescue could pick them up.
Don’t Do the Crime If You Can’t Pay the Fine
Two Cherokee County game wardens responded to a call about a deer someone found shot in the roadway. The witness gave a description of a vehicle he saw near the area. Investigating late into the night and into the next day, the wardens found two suspects who confessed to killing the deer with a 12-gauge shotgun from the roadway at night. One of the suspects had a suspended hunting license because he failed to pay civil restitution on a previous deer charge from a few years ago. The case is still pending.
Paraphernalia and Personal Plants
As two Atascosa County game wardens followed up on a pending investigation at a suspect’s property, one of the wardens saw marijuana plants growing through an outbuilding’s screen door. The homeowners, who said they were growing the marijuana for personal use, gave the wardens consent to search their home. The warden noticed drug paraphernalia in the bedroom, for which the warden cited both suspects. The wardens seized the marijuana plants for evidence, and the investigation is ongoing.
A Kimble County game warden investigated an accidental shooting at a hunting camp. As two teenagers were getting ready at their camp house for the evening’s hunt, one teenager was sitting on his bed inspecting his firearm while the other one got dressed. The teenager looking at his firearm accidentally discharged it and shot his friend in the right thigh. The bullet exited the victim’s left leg. The victim was taken to the hospital where he underwent several surgeries. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Following the Trail of Evidence
After finishing a youth hunt in Howard County, a game warden received a call about an abandoned vehicle with New Mexico tags near a gut pile in Borden County. When the warden arrived on scene, he found a fresh gut pile about 10 feet behind the abandoned truck. He also saw fresh blood and deer hair in the bed of the truck. After some observation, the warden found a name on an old package in the bed of the truck that did not match the name of the truck’s registered owner. The warden then contacted the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico, where the truck was registered, and requested they contact the truck’s owner. The Sheriff’s Office reported back that the owner’s son-in-law, whose name matched the name on the package, was driving the truck. The truck’s owners advised their son-in-law was most likely in a hunting camp somewhere in Texas. A Borden County game warden provided the warden with locations of several nearby hunting camps known to be used by New Mexico residents. In the second camp the warden searched, he found the very tired and very drunk son-in-law. After a brief interview, the warden discovered the son-in-law and a friend had illegally taken four deer, including two bucks, from a public road. Cases and restitution are pending.
A game warden assisted the Moore County Sheriff’s Office in responding to a call about a reckless driver on a nearby highway. The warden was the second officer on the scene, where he saw a pickup truck crashed into the highway’s center median and the driver passed out behind the wheel. After speaking with the driver when she regained consciousness, the warden observed she was heavily intoxicated. After failing the sobriety tests, the sheriff’s deputy arrested the driver for driving while intoxicated. A probable cause search of the car revealed drug paraphernalia and several open containers of vodka. The driver later consented to providing a breath sample, which showed she had a 0.153 blood alcohol content. The driver was then booked into the Moore County jail.
Doing the Right Thing…Sort Of
A game warden was home celebrating his wife’s birthday when two very nervous men knocked on his front door. They said they were pig hunting from a nearby road, and they were worried they had shot a deer by accident. One of the men saw a group of four road hunters being jailed a couple weeks prior, and he didn’t want that to happen to him and his friend. The warden contacted a Baylor County game warden for assistance since the road was located in Baylor County. The wardens didn’t find any deer, but they filed charges for hunting from a public road on the two hunters.
“We Just Want to Go Home.”
A Comanche County game warden got a call from a hunter who said he saw someone spotlighting on the road near his camp. As the warden drove to the scene, the hunter called back and said he had just heard a gunshot. The hunter also said he saw a truck leave the scene, but he could still see two people with flashlights searching the woods. The warden intercepted the truck as it reached the highway and talked to the suspect, who denied hunting or spotlighting, even though he had a freshly fired rifle and a spotlight in the front seat. A deputy arrived on scene and stayed with the suspect as the warden searched for the two other people with flashlights. About five miles down the road, the warden found two teenage girls with flashlights walking on the road. The warden identified himself and asked the girls if they needed help. One of the girls said, “Our daddy shot a deer, and he made us drag it to the fence. Then he left us here, and we don’t know where he went, and we’re lost and scared and just want to go home!” The warden loaded the 10-point buck into his truck and took the girls back to their father’s location, where the suspect cooperated and was charged with hunting deer at night from a public road. He was also charged with civil restitution for the buck. The girls were released to a family member.
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