Game Warden Field Notes

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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Note: This item is more than seven 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.

Better Safe than Sorry
As a Val Verde County game warden ate a late lunch at a boat ramp on Lake Amistad, he was approached by two men wearing camouflage and waders. The hunters told the warden they had gone out that morning to hunt ducks on kayaks a few miles away. However, a cold front with 47-mile-an-hour winds blew over the lake in midmorning, making it impossible to navigate. The hunters sought shelter in a nearby cove before deciding to seek help. Fortunately, they found the game warden not long after starting their search for help. The warden launched his boat, made his way across the white-capping lake and, with the help of the two hunters, found the abandoned kayaks and gear.

Accident on I-10
A Hudspeth County game warden assisted in a failure-to-yield incident at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 10. The warden identified the car that failed to yield as stolen. As the vehicle’s two occupants tried to avoid apprehension by driving against traffic, the driver struck an 18-wheeler head on, blocking all lanes of westbound traffic for six hours. In the accident, the passenger was ejected from the vehicle and later pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was airlifted to the nearest hospital for multiple injuries. While searching the vehicle, the warden found a softball-sized amount of crystal meth, about 50 unidentified pills and a scale. Cases and charges are pending.

Doe Drowning
As a Red River County game warden watched for night road hunting from his vehicle, a truck drove down the road he was watching, slowed down and turned around. Unaware of the warden’s presence, the truck stopped at a nearby creek. The warden soon heard a loud splash. After the warden made contact with the driver, the man admitted to killing a doe that night, out of season, and then dumping the carcass in the creek to get rid of it. Multiple cases against the individual are pending.

Bambi’s Not a Pet
A Grayson County game warden received a call from a Sherman Police Department officer about a yearling white-tailed deer he had noticed in a small pen in someone’s yard. The warden went to the scene and, with the help of a local animal control officer, captured the deer and transferred it to a permitted rehabilitator so it could eventually be released back into the wild. The warden cited the resident of the house for possessing a live deer without a permit. The case is pending.

Thank Goodness They Wore Life Jackets
A Limestone County game warden got a call about a father and son who hadn’t returned home from their fishing trip. After calling both her husband and son multiple times, the wife and her other son went to Lake Limestone to look for their missing family members. They found the dad’s truck and trailer, but his boat was nowhere to be seen. When the warden arrived on scene, he saw a light flashing sporadically in the distance, in the middle of the lake. The warden launched his patrol boat and, upon arriving at the source of the light, found a man and child sitting on top of a capsized vessel. High winds had caused the boat to take on water and capsize on top of a tree stump, which kept the boat partially above water. The father and son, who were both wearing life jackets, were okay, though they were very cold, hungry and shaken. The warden took them back to the boat ramp and their waiting family members, gave them some food and let them warm up. Fortunately, neither individual needed medical attention.

Catch and Release
When a Shelby County game warden returned to an area where he had previously seen hoop nets hanging from a tree, he also found multiple nets in the nearby river. The warden monitored the area over the next few days without seeing any fishermen, but one day noticed the nets had been baited and some were moved to a different location. The warden monitored the area for another 10 hours before he finally saw a fisherman bait a couple nets and place them in the water. The warden made contact with the subject and found 22 illegal hoop nets with about 15 catfish, all of which the warden released back into the river.

Can’t Hide from the Law… or the Church
A Starr County game warden and a Zapata County warden were on patrol when a “be on the lookout” warning was issued by the local sheriff’s department for a vehicle used in the burglary of a local church. While the wardens sat at a four-way stop, they saw a vehicle matching the BOLO run a stop sign in front of them. The wardens pursued the vehicle. The chase finally ended at a residence, where the wardens determined the man was indeed the suspect who had burglarized the church. The wardens found the stolen property and handed the suspect and vehicle over to the local sheriff’s office. The suspect was subsequently charged with burglary of a building.

Ramming a Game Warden Boat Is Not Very Effective
As Starr and Zapata county game wardens patrolled the Rio Grande River, they spotted a commercial fisherman on the U.S. side of the river. When the wardens tried to make contact with him, the fisherman started ramming the warden’s boat with his own boat. During the commotion, the wardens managed to board the fisherman’s boat and disable it. They took the fisherman into custody for possession of a prohibited device in state waters. The wardens seized the boat, motor and 9,000 feet of gill net.

Nice Try
A Comal County game warden came across a photo on a popular Facebook hunting group of a woman holding her first buck. After further investigation, the warden determined the woman did not have a hunting license. Her boyfriend had used his own license and tag to make it look like the woman had taken the deer legally. The game warden found the woman and her boyfriend, who told the warden it was all a big joke, and he had actually shot the deer. After getting statements from the pair, the warden interviewed several other individuals who had received text messages and phone calls from the woman. They said the woman told them she had shot her first buck. The wardens determined the female had in fact shot the deer and used her boyfriend’s license and tag to cover it up. The pair paid a fine and civil restitution.

Do You Really Know All the Game Wardens?
A game warden got a call from a landowner about trespassers on his property. The landowner said he had seen a group of quail hunters jump his fence. When he confronted them and said he was going to call the game wardens, one of the trespassers said, “Go ahead, I know all the game wardens and will be expecting their call.” The warden responded and gathered evidence at the scene. During his investigation, he found the names of all four suspects. After interviewing the suspects, all four confessed to not only the trespass but to hunting from the road and killing roadrunners, a protected nongame bird.

The Old Switcheroo
A game warden was patrolling the Canadian River area in Potter County when he saw a pickup truck, driven by a male, fail to stop at a stop sign and then get onto the nearby highway at a high rate of speed. As the warden pursued the truck, the male driver suddenly pulled off the roadway. The warden initiated a traffic stop. However, as he approached the pickup, he noticed the male he had just seen driving the truck had switched places with his female passenger, who was now in the driver’s seat. During a brief interview with the male, the warden noticed signs of intoxication and administered standardized field sobriety tests. The male failed the tests and was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated. He provided a breath sample that registered a 0.234 blood alcohol level.

Yes, Game Wardens Do Care about Warrants
As a Travis County game warden and a ride along were checking bank fishermen along the Colorado River, they encountered an individual in a makeshift camp. The man said he only used the camp as a weekend getaway. When the warden asked for his identification, the man provided false information—his date of birth and stated age didn’t add up. The warden discovered a warrant with no extradition limits had been issued for the man’s parole revocation. The weekend camper said he knew he had warrants out for his arrest but thought game wardens didn’t care about warrants and would just go away. The warden filed additional charges of false identification as a fugitive from justice.

Mr. X Has a Date with the Judge
Travis County game wardens were checking bank fishermen on Lake Austin when they found one individual fishing without a license. When shown a photo taken from over half a mile away of him fishing, the individual adamantly stated the subject in the photo was not him. When signing the citation promising to appear before a judge, the man scratched a large bold “X.” The wardens asked why the X didn’t match the signature on his driver’s license, but the man simply said he just changed his signature and will now be known as Mr. X.