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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TPWD Conduct Waterfowl Enforcement
AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) special agents and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) game wardens worked cooperatively to address waterfowl hunting violations in Colorado, Wharton and Calhoun counties during the regular 2003 and 2004 waterfowl seasons.
Service agents and TPWD wardens documented 157 federal and state wildlife violations during the waterfowl season. The fines and restitution resulting from these cases totaled around $50,000. The types of violations included taking waterfowl over the daily limit, failure to properly tag waterfowl, possession of toxic (lead) shot shells while hunting waterfowl, hunting waterfowl without state licenses and/or federal waterfowl hunting stamps, unlawfully hunting waterfowl with electronic waterfowl calls, hunting waterfowl after legal hunting hours and, placing and hunting waterfowl over bait.
One significant investigation involved a commercial waterfowl guide service in Colorado County that was found to be in violation of Federal waterfowl baiting regulations. The investigation revealed that a member of the company intentionally planted and manipulated an agriculture crop for the purposes of luring waterfowl for hunting. Service agents and TPWD game wardens apprehended an employee and clients of the guide service hunting waterfowl on the baited field. The guide service paid $9,950 to the Federal Central Violations Bureau for violating baiting provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Another significant investigation by TPWD game wardens and service agents involved six waterfowl hunters who were accused of taking a significant number of pintail and redhead ducks over their daily bag limits in Calhoun County. The justice court has accessed fines of $2,400 and hunters will face civil restitution to the State of Texas totaling $3,440.
Colorado and Wharton counties consistently have the highest waterfowl harvest rates in the State of Texas. These counties also have a significant number of commercial waterfowl guides operating in them. The State of Texas hosts approximately 500,000 migratory bird hunters annually.
The joint enforcement efforts of the Service and TPWD were successful in addressing waterfowl hunting violations during the 2003 and 2004 hunting seasons.
“This type of cooperation between the USFWS and TPWD law enforcement divisions will ensure that waterfowl enforcement is as effective as possible in protecting this valuable resource during the fall and winter migrations to our state, said Col. James Stinebaugh, the director of law enforcement at TPWD. “The cooperation between our two agencies is an invaluable asset to our efforts to preserve our nation’s waterfowl.”
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