Game Warden Field Notes

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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

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

Scientists Overboard
Two Terrell County game wardens and some deputy sheriffs responded to a 911 call about a boating accident with injuries on the Rio Grande River. A university research group with several boats was coming down the river when one boat hit a submerged rock. The collision, which threw four of the boat’s five occupants overboard, resulted in two injuries. One injured researcher was airlifted to a nearby medical facility while the other injured person was driven to an ambulance waiting nearby. Together with the agency’s Forensics Reconstruction and Mapping Team, the wardens are investigating the accident.

Not the Best Time to Take a Drink
Two Val Verde County game wardens were on patrol checking dove hunters east of Del Rio. As they sat at an intersection, they saw the driver of a passing vehicle take a drink from a bottle of wine. The wardens initiated a traffic stop and asked the driver about the open bottle of wine they saw in the passenger seat. The man said he was on his way to meet with his priest because he was going to be an altar server that morning. He planned to provide the bottle of wine as a gift, he said, but he wanted to see what flavor the wine was, so he took a drink. The wardens filed a case for having an open container of alcohol.

Stranded but Not Abandoned
A Grayson County game warden received a call from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office about a possible stranded boat on the Oklahoma side of Lake Texoma. The caller said a young man flagged her down as she drove by the Denison Dam boat ramp. The young man told the woman his boat had broken down, so he swam for two hours back to the shore to find help. The warden went to the boat ramp and talked to the young man, who said when his boat broke down a few hours earlier, he’d put on a life jacket and tried to swim his small boat to shore. After about 30 minutes, however, the young man said he had to let go of the boat, on which three passengers were still waiting for rescue. The Grayson County Sherriff’s Office had advised the warden that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol would not be able to immediately respond to search for the stranded boaters, so the warden launched his patrol boat and quickly located the stranded boaters, about three miles into the Oklahoma side of the lake. The warden towed the boat back to the nearest boat ramp. The passengers were cold but otherwise all right.

Shock on the Border
A Red River County game warden received a call from the Red River County Sherriff’s Office about a landowner who said several subjects were shocking fish in the Red River. The warden had dispatch call the warden in McCurtain County, Oklahoma before he went to the river. When he arrived at the river, the warden saw the suspects exit the river on the Oklahoma side. The warden relayed a description of the suspects’ vehicle to the McCurtain County officers, who stopped and held the suspects until Oklahoma wardens arrived. The wardens didn’t find any fish with the suspects, but they did confiscate a shocking device.

You Look Familiar…
As a Delta County game warden and a Hunt County warden patrolled Greenville City lakes early one morning, they contacted a man who was sitting in his parked truck. One warden immediately recognized the man as someone he had arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault of a peace officer in 2011. During the arrest, the warden had found methamphetamine when he searched his vehicle. The man served three years in prison and was released on parole. The wardens noticed the suspect seemed very nervous as they spoke to him, though he consented to a vehicle search. The wardens found a glass pipe and methamphetamine. The suspect said he would be going back to prison for violating his parole.

Voices in the Bushes
A Freestone County game warden received a call from a landowner, shortly after midnight, about a possible road hunter. He had seen a truck drive slowly past his property several times, shining headlights into his pasture. The warden went to the property, and as he was getting a description of the suspect’s vehicle from the landowner, the truck he was looking for happened to drive right by the warden’s vehicle. The warden observed the truck shine its headlights into the landowner’s pasture several times before following the truck. When the truck stopped in the middle of a public roadway for a few minutes, the warden initiated a traffic stop. Although the warden did not find any hunting equipment in the truck during a consensual search, he did find a glass pipe and methamphetamine. The driver said it looked like a drug pipe but it wasn’t his. The warden asked the suspect why he was shining his lights in the pasture. The man said he was “looking for the voices in the bushes.” When the warden asked what the voices were saying, the man said he kept hearing a high-pitched “Whoooooop!” The warden arrested the suspect for possession of a controlled substance.

Captain America Lives in Texas
As a Wharton County game warden patrolled a field during the South Zone dove season opener, he came across one hunter dressed like Captain America, wearing flag shorts and a Captain America T-shirt. The hunter harvested 15 birds opening morning. When the warden checked the same field later that afternoon, he saw a familiar face: Captain America was still there, shooting dove, even though he had reached his daily bag limit that morning. The warden walked over to the hunter and asked him how his hunt was going. Captain America said it was “going great” and that he had already harvested 10 birds that afternoon. When the warden asked him how he did that morning, the hunter paused before realizing he had talked to the same warden that morning. The warden advised Captain America to consider wearing camouflage next time he was out hunting. The warden seized his 10 birds and issued a citation.

Don’t Lie to the Wardens
As two Atascosa County game wardens checked dove hunters in the special white-winged dove area of Atascosa County, they saw a hunter cleaning six mourning doves. The wardens saw the hunter toss something in the brush as they drove up. After inspecting his pile of cleaned birds, the wardens saw two quail carcasses. The hunter denied harvesting the quail, even though he was hunting alone. The wardens looked in the brush where they had seen the hunter throw something and found two quail breasts. The wardens gave the hunter a citation for exceeding the daily bag limit of mourning dove and for possessing quail in closed season.

You Really Should Have Hunted Legally
While setting up on a suspected baited area, a LaSalle County game warden and a Dimmit County game warden heard some shots nearby and decided to investigate. Upon arriving at a tank dam where they heard the shots, they saw three individuals standing on top of the dam hunting dove. After talking to the three people, the wardens found a sack of milo in the back of the men’s vehicle and all over the ground around the hunters. The wardens also found one of the hunters was over his daily bag limit of mourning dove, another hunter was hunting without a license and all three were hunting over a baited area. The man without a hunting license reluctantly gave his ID to the wardens, who discovered the man had a warrant for child neglect. The wardens took him to the LaSalle County Jail.