TPWD Game Warden Field Notes

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Note: This item is more than 18 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.

The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.


  • An adult male drowned while saving his 9-year-old son on the Llano River in Kimble County recently. The child stepped into a deep hole and began to struggle. The father dove in head first striking his head on a rock but was able to save his son before he passed out from the head injury and drowned.
  • Brown County game wardens searched for two drowned victims on the Pecan Bayou at Fabis Park. Three subjects went fishing in a 10-foot flat-bottom boat. This craft started to take on water and sink. Two subjects swam to the bank and noticed the third still in the water. One subject went back in to help him. Both subjects went under and did not resurface. Life preservers were floating in the water when they drowned.
  • Recently, Travis County wardens responded in two separate patrol boats to a drowning call in Devil’s Cove on Lake Travis. Upon contact with the rented party barge, it was found that a subject had hit his head on the slide while going down it and once in the water never resurfaced. The scene was secured and search of the area was done with no results. A dragging operation was conducted, but nothing was found. Dive teams searched the area until the body surfaced and was recovered later.

Snake Tales

  • A Menard County game warden reported that recently, a subject was bitten by a water moccasin snake. The victim was transported to Kimble County Hospital and was in fair condition. The victim is a crewmember of a film company that is filming in Menard. While filming a scene on the San Saba River, the victim was bitten by the snake.
  • Wichita and Montague county game wardens took six kids on an overnight trip to a private ranch in Montague County near Forestburg. The trip was to teach the kids safety procedures. They were taught firearm safety and had the opportunity to shoot at clay pigeons. While out on the ranch, they came across a copperhead snake and were counseled on what action to take when encountering poisonous snakes.

Great Catches

  • A Callahan County game warden arrested two subjects and recovered three stolen pickup trucks, a SeaDoo Wave Runner Jet Ski and trailer, a utility trailer, TV, DVD player and numerous others items taken from a store in Clyde. The total value was in the excess of $80,000. He was patrolling T & P Lake when he discovered the jet ski and utility trailer hidden in some brush. He felt there was something wrong, but the items did not come back stolen at that time. Later, he observed the items hooked up to two late model pickups on the way out to the highway from the lake. When stopped, the two subjects were very nervous and kept asking him if there was something wrong. The warden observed the other stolen items in the vehicles and called for backup. With the help of the Sheriff of Callahan County, the subjects and all the items were transported to the county impound. Cases are pending.
  • Maverick County wardens retrieved 1,500 feet of trotline out of the Rio Grande River.
  • While working the Gulf of Mexico game wardens caught two Gulf shrimp boats working off of Sabine Pass in violation of the Gulf closure. Approximately 550 pounds of shrimp were seized. Cases are pending.
  • Recently, a Panola County game warden received a call for assistance from Panola County Sheriff’s Office to help apprehend an escaped fugitive who had fled into the woods near the Sabine River. The fugitive had stabbed an officer in his escape. The warden patrolled the Sabine River by boat for the subject. After evading officers and bloodhounds, the subject was spotted by the warden and the two Marshall police officers from the drug task force who were riding with the warden. The subject was lying beside a boat tied up to the river bank. The naked subject dove into the Sabine River trying to evade the officers in the boat. After several tense minutes struggling with the resisting subject in the water he was pepper sprayed and placed under arrest. Charges are pending.
  • Tarrant County game wardens apprehended two subjects grabbling catfish on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The subjects stated they got the idea from a television broadcast that aired on PBS. Both subjects stated they knew it was illegal in Texas and admitted to grabbling the river in recent weeks with great success. The justice of the peace handed down a $500 fine to both subjects. Restitution is pending on two fish, the largest being a 43-pound flathead catfish. A total of 120 pounds of catfish have been seized for illegal means and methods in less than a week off of the Clear Fork of the Trinity.
  • One recent early morning, Galveston and Fort Bend county game wardens working off of the 65-foot patrol boat caught two Gulf shrimp boats taking shrimp within five miles of the beach. A total of 768 pounds of shrimp was confiscated and sold for $2,304. Cases are pending.
  • Game wardens teamed up to patrol San Antonio Bay one recent evening. Their goal was to locate Seadrift fishermen who were suspected of netting activity. The wardens pulled their patrol vessel several miles down the shoreline of Matagorda Island to avoid being detected by fishermen. At approximately 4 a.m. the next morning, they located the suspects’ vessel and observed it leaving the island shoreline to head across the bay. Suspects were surprised to be boarded by the wardens enroute to Seadrift. Eight criminal cases have been filed and approximately 3,000 feet of monofilament gill net was confiscated. Additional charges may be filed pending the outcome of lab tests in San Marcos on the filets confiscated from the suspects’ vessel.
  • Zapata County game wardens captured two Mexican National commercial fishermen retrieving illegal gill net out of North Falcon Lake. In the darkness, the wardens crept their patrol boat towards the fishermen working their net. The wardens closed to inside 20 feet of the illegal commercial vessel and stunned the commercials with a spotlight blast, then quickly apprehended them. The two illegal commercials were arrested; their boat and motor seized, and confiscated gill net totaling 2,500 feet was destroyed.

Flooding Accidents

  • Game Wardens Chris Amthor, Pecos County, and Fernando Cervantes, Terrell County, and retired Game Warden Don Jackson assisted the Terrell County Sheriff’s Office in locating motorists on Highways 349 and 2400 who were stranded in high water. Sudden rain storms in the area caused flooding on these highways leaving motorists stranded between low water crossings. In one case, water caused extensive damage to a bridge, causing it to be closed until repairs can be made. In addition, the wardens received a report of a travel trailer and truck being washed away by flooding on the Pecos River.
  • On July 29, a big rain averaging 12 inches hit southern Dallas and northern Ellis County causing major flooding. Game Wardens Norman Terry, Teri Potts and Jason Francis from Dallas County, Steve Stapleton from Van Zandt County and Jeff Powell from Ellis County responded to the Lancaster area. They were redeployed to the community of Rocket in Ellis County to rescue a victim who drove through high water causing her vehicle to be washed off the road. The truck was washed 175 yards in the Red Oak Creek flood water until it hit some trees. The female driver was in knee-deep water on top of her pickup truck. A warden and an Ellis County Emergency Management officer made an attempt to rescue the female. Their boat became swamped, and they were able to tie off to trees. Warden Powell and an EMT officer were able to rescue the victim and then assist Warden Terry who was able to get the boat back running when empty of water.
  • A warden responded to the Ovilla, Ellis County area where a bridge on an FM highway washed three vehicles into Red Oak Creek. Two drivers were missing. One body was located that day, and the second person was located on Friday, 3-4 miles from the bridge.

Shoeless Illegal Joes

  • A Tarrant County game warden made contact with several men netting and grabbling fish on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The men swam across the river and got away. Unfortunately, they left their shoes on the bank. Hours later the men were detained, each wearing only one shoe and hobbling through a briar patch. The men had nearly 70 pounds of catfish, with the largest being 40 pounds. The men all admitted to grabbling catfish. Cases are pending.

"Are You Speaking Bourbon?"

  • A Franklin County game warden and a Hopkins County game warden arrested a subject on Lake Cypress Springs for BWI. The subject’s speech was so slurred the wardens first thought he was speaking a different language but then observed his several attempts to stand up. The subject was taken into custody and charged with BWI.

"I’ll Flash You!"

  • Recently, a Franklin County game warden and a Delta County game warden arrested a subject for Felony BWI on Lake Cypress Springs. The subject became belligerent and threatened to take a warden’s flashlight from him and cause bodily injury to the warden with it. While enroute to jail, the subject threatened the two wardens several more times, so as well as being charged with Felony BWI, the subject was also charged with terroristic threatening.

Happy Gator Ending

  • Recently, a Limestone County game warden responded to a call in Leon County about a nuisance alligator. The alligator was traveling back and forth between two landowners’ ponds. One landowner reported the alligator had killed two calves. Assisted by the local landowner, the warden located the 8.5-foot alligator cruising around his pond. The alligator had just traveled from one pond to the other because of kids playing on the dam. The alligator was relocated to another area.