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Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- An Oily Situation
A Reeves County game warden received a call from Ward County regarding some illegal hunting taking place near an oil rig. The caller said the three out-of-state hunters were driving the oilfield roads shooting dove from their vehicle. The warden responded to the call that night after the men got off work and saw them cruising the roads, but not shooting. After the vehicle disappeared, the warden waited at the rig to talk to the three men and confirm the hunting story. After some discussion, the three men admitted to shooting dove on the oilfield roads with a pellet gun. The men were charged with hunting without a license and hunting dove by illegal means.
- Learning by Example
While serving an arrest warrant in Lubbock County, two South Plains game wardens heard a distant shotgun blast and decided to investigate. The wardens found a maize field with several guided hunters and a hunting guide, all hunting. When the wardens contacted the group, the guide tried diverting their attention from a large pile of doves and a certain shotgun. After some questioning by the wardens, the guide admitted to having shot more than his daily bag limit of dove with an unplugged shotgun. Citations were issued.
- Covering for a Cousin
A Williamson County game warden was patrolling a new section of a farm-to-market road that dissects several ranches that is not yet open to the public when he spotted a vehicle inside a ranch with a subject standing nearby drinking a beer. The warden watched the individual for about 15 minutes before he heard a gunshot in the distance beyond the truck. When the subject spotted the warden, he immediately got out his phone and appeared to calling someone. The warden started his truck and continued down the road giving the subject the perception that he was leaving. After waiting down the road for a while, the warden returned to the location where the subject was parked and spotted another male with his son near the truck shooting at several doves well after sunset. The warden parked his truck and walked several hundred yards to make contact with the hunters. When he arrived, the hunter with his son was no longer there. The lone hunter was in compliance with state laws and told the warden that the other man was his cousin and was heading back to the house. The man was stalling answering questions about the other hunter as if buying time for his cousin’s escape. The warden was able to make it back to his patrol truck, drive to the front of the property, and find the hunter before he got away. As the warden tried to conduct a compliance check on the man, he denied hunting and became verbally aggressive. The warden advised Williamson County of the situation and requested back up. When two deputies arrived, the man became more compliant, admitted to hunting and said he hid his shotgun in his cousin’s truck. It was discovered that the man not only shot at a dove after sunset, but he did not have a hunting license, or identification.
- Can I Keep Him?
After receiving a call from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, a game warden responded to a Lakeway residence shortly after midnight where the tenants possessed live white-winged dove in an oversized cage. The birds had been brought to the home three or four months ago as nestlings in order to nourish them for release. When asked why they weren’t released, one of the residents said that she had grown attached to them. A citation was issued after the release of the game birds.
- Game Fish Aren’t Bait
A Dimmit County game warden was checking some fishermen along a recently flooded river and noticed a man sitting by himself and not wanting to look his way. After the warden contacted the man and checked his fishing license, the warden noticed a bait bucket in the water. The warden asked the man about the kind of bait he was using and he replied, “Some shad that I caught.” After an inspection of the bait bucket, the warden found the fisherman in possession of seven undersized crappie and five undersized largemouth bass mixed in with the shad and minnows. All of the undersized game fish were released, and citations issued for possession of undersized game fish.
- Little White Lies
A Tarrant County game warden was checking fishermen on Lake Grapevine when she pulled up to a boat that was drift-fishing for catfish. When she made contact, she noticed some large fish scales next to an open pocket knife. As the men searched for their fishing licenses, the warden noticed a small white bass on the floor of the boat next to one of the men’s feet. She asked the men what they were using for bait, and they pointed to a bucket of shad. The warden retrieved the white bass from the floor of the boat, and it was missing one fillet and its tail. The men were asked to reel in their lines, and two of the four lines had been baited with the undersized white bass. The men received an education about the illegality of using game fish for bait, and citations were issued.
- A Shot in the Dark
A McLennan County game warden received a trespass call. While unable to immediately locate the individuals, he decided to wait in the area. After dark, the warden saw a vehicle stop just down the road and noticed a group of people get out with an AR-15 rifle and flashlight. They began to shoot off the road into a nearby creek and field, so the warden approached the group and issued a citation for discharging a firearm from a public road. No evidence of hunting from the road was found. Forty-five minutes later, another truck stopped down the road in the same general area, and a man got out of the truck with an AK-47 and fired numerous rounds into the creek. When the warden made contact with the shooter, he noticed open containers in the vehicle. The subject said he was testing his AK-47 on the turtles in the creek. No turtles were located and citations were issued.
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