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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
How Not to Respond to Law Enforcement
A landowner in Val Verde County alerted game wardens about high-powered rifle shots heard after dark on a neighboring property. The shooting was taking place on a small acreage rural subdivision. Upon arrival at the “hunting camp,” the game warden observed an individual sitting by a campfire chamber a round in a semiautomatic handgun he had picked up. The warden hurriedly activated his red and blue lights and identified himself as he opened his door. As the warden yelled, “State game warden, state police, drop the gun,” the man continued to advance with the loaded handgun. The subject was yelling back, “I don’t believe you.” After several tense seconds of back and forth exchanges the situation was deescalated and the warden was able to safely secure the handgun and all the other firearms with the group. The warden shared advice on how to respond when approached by law enforcement and then checked the camp. An untagged white-tailed deer was discovered and violations for hunting white-tailed deer without a valid license and no hunter education certificate were identified. The deer was seized. Citations and restitution are pending.
A local meat processor shared video evidence with game wardens showing two individuals dropping off a doe at approximately 3:45 a.m. The deer was untagged and appeared to be freshly-killed. From the video, the warden was able to get a good description of the vehicle and the subjects. While on patrol a couple of weeks later, the warden spotted the suspect vehicle and followed it to a local gas station. She recognized the driver from the video and made contact. Coincidentally, while she was questioning the subject, another vehicle pulled up and she was able to identify that driver as the second subject from the video. Both subjects were interviewed and acknowledged to shooting the doe off the roadway, sometime after midnight, with a .22 rifle. Additionally, neither subject possessed a valid hunting license. Charges were filed and civil restitution is pending.
Back in the Spotlight
A Tom Green County game warden responding to a call about someone spotlighting from the roadway arrived on the scene to find a state trooper in contact with a vehicle. The trooper advised that there was a spotlight and two rifles in the pickup. The driver was arrested for DWI and the passenger was released; both denied spotlighting. The next day, the landowner who called in the spotlighting complaint asked wardens if anyone was caught poaching because he heard two shots. Wardens returned to the area to look for evidence of illegal road hunting, located a doe that had been shot and recovered bullet fragments from the deer. The wardens made contact with the driver who had been arrested and he gave consent to search his truck. They found two shell casings in the front driver’s side floorboard. When questioning both the driver and the passenger about the deer, both denied any wrongdoing and advised they would be seeking legal counsel. The wardens seized the rifle believed to have been used to kill the doe and let the two subjects know it would be sent off for testing. The following day, the driver contacted the warden and asked if they could meet up so he could confess about what happened that night. The two admitted to spotlighting and shooting the doe from their truck at night. Charges and civil restitution are pending.
Hold My Beer Kid
A Delta County game warden was parked along a county road one evening when he heard several gunshots and then observed a car and pickup turn onto the road. Contact was made with the pickup occupied by a man and his two sons, ages 10 and 13. There were several firearms and spotlights in the pickup and the 13-year-old was holding an open bottle of beer. The man stated his sons had received new guns for Christmas and they wanted to try them out. The man admitted to hunting from the roadway and handing his son the open beer when he saw the game warden. Backup was called and a state trooper arrested the father on suspicion of DWI, third or more. Charges for hunting from a public roadway were also filed.
Where’d You Get That Deer?
Although not uncommon to see a deer leg sticking out of a pickup bed, seeing one in the parking lot at the lake raises curiosity. A Titus County game warden on his way to Lake Monticello to check fishermen witnessed a pickup driving into the parking lot with a white-tailed deer foot sticking out of the top of the truck bed. The driver admitted that another individual had shot and given him the illegal deer. However, a check on the driver revealed that he had nine outstanding warrants in multiple counties and he was arrested. A subsequent investigation determined the doe was shot out of season with a crossbow in Franklin County. Citations were issued to the shooter for no hunting license, possession of an antlerless white-tailed deer without a permit, untagged white-tailed deer, and waste of game animal.
No Family Secrets Here
While on patrol in Webb County, game wardens noticed the head of a freshly harvested buck white-tailed deer hanging from a tree at a nearby residence. After a brief interview, the homeowner admitted to shooting the deer and not having a valid hunting license. During a conversation with the subject’s cousin, wardens learned the subject had not only taken this buck two days ago on an unknown individual’s property, he had also shot a white-tailed buck from his vehicle on a public roadway about three weeks earlier. While on the scene, wardens obtained consent to look inside of the vehicle that allegedly was used during the commission of the offense and located binoculars, rifle, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and a clear plastic bag containing a white powdery substance that tested positive as cocaine. Cases and civil restitution are pending.
More than Just Their Mojo Working
A DeWitt County game warden on patrol observed some “mojo” dove decoys working in a field. Contact was made with two dove hunters. After checking licenses and birds, the warden walked the areas where the two hunters were sitting and on closer inspection milo was found around a tank dam and along a road. It is illegal to bait or hunt over bait for migratory game birds. Citations for placing bait and hunting over bait were issued and 23 dove were seized.
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On Christmas Day, a Brooks County game warden responding to a call about some possible illegal dove hunters in Falfurrias noticed three individuals next to a pickup shooting into the air. After making contact with the shooters and their parents it was determined only one hunter possessed a hunting license and was letting the others hunt under his license. A search the pickup revealed 12 woodpeckers, three loggerhead shrikes, a meadowlark and a lesser goldfinch had been shot. No doves had been harvested. All songbirds were seized and multiple charges filed. Cases are pending.
It May Be Small Game to You
While on patrol, a Willacy County game warden noticed a group of hunters field dressing a white-tailed deer within the El Sauz Ranch. The warden made contact with the individuals and discovered that the hunter who had just harvested the white-tailed deer was a Louisiana resident and had only purchased a non-resident small game license. A general non-resident hunting license is required for hunting deer and other big game wildlife. The warden instructed the hunters to follow him back to camp where the ranch’s cold storage facility was located. Upon inspecting the cold storage and the storage log book, the warden discovered two more white-tailed deer that were harvested without a valid hunting license by another hunter within the same group. Three white-tailed deer were seized and citations issued. Cases and restitution are pending.
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