Game Warden Field Notes

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Note: This item is more than four 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.

Making Waves

Shortly after sunset one Saturday in June while patrolling Lake Granbury, game wardens came upon a boat adrift on the water without the required navigation lights on and no occupants visible. As the wardens got closer, they observed two naked occupants onboard engaged in intimate activities. Recognizing they’d been spotted, the male occupant started the boat and began driving away despite numerous commands to stop. Once contact was made, both occupants were found to be highly intoxicated. Field sobriety tests were administered to the driver, who was subsequently arrested for boating while intoxicated.

At Least He Can Take a Bath Again

A Henderson County game warden received a call recently with information about a man who had posted a video of a small alligator in his bathtub on Snapchat. The individual was also a suspect in a local illegal hunting incident that took place in January involving a large fallow deer rumored to have been shot from the road. The warden made contact with the individual, who admitted to possessing the alligator and agreed to a meeting where he would hand it over. The warden recovered the three-foot-long alligator, which was later released back into the wild. The suspect also admitted to shooting the fallow deer from the road and told the warden where he had stashed the antlers. The antlers were recovered, and citations were issued for the offenses.

Back-tracked and Busted

A Tyler County game warden got a call from a hunting lease operator stating he had confronted several subjects trespassing on his lease. The warden responded and began cold trailing sets of ATV tracks leading off the property. After following the tracks through several adjacent properties the warden came upon some individuals in a wooded property who were working on an ATV. After waiting for backup from the county sheriff’s office, the warden made contact and initiated arrests for criminal trespass. During an inventory search, the warden discovered various narcotics and paraphernalia and additional charges were added. Cases are pending.

Oh, Deer, Did You See That?

While driving down I-35 near Belton, a caller reached out to let game wardens know he observed two live white-tailed deer fawns in the backseat of a Toyota Prius. The warden got the vehicle information and contacted its owner, who resided in Limestone County, and instructed him to meet at the sheriff’s office and turn over the two deer. Upon arrival, the warden seized the two fawns and noticed one had a hole in its ear due to a missing ear tag. The driver admitted that he worked at a deer breeder facility/ranch in Dimmit County, and that he took both fawns (one from within the breeder facility without a valid permit and the other from outside the facility) without permission from the ranch manager. The warden took the driver into custody for Triple T Violation (Trap/Transport/Transplant Game Animal without permit-Class B Misdemeanor) and Possession of a Live Game Animal. The driver was booked into the Limestone County Jail. Wardens contacted the ranch manager at the breeder facility and received authorization to file additional charges on the subject for taking both deer without landowner consent. Cases are pending.

Boat Karaoke Fail

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, Angelina County game wardens were on patrol for water safety violations at Sam Rayburn Reservoir when they got a call from a concerned fisherman about a large center console boat occupied by several intoxicated people singing at the top of their lungs, and a child not wearing a life jacket.  The wardens made the long run up the lake, found the boat underway and made contact with the operator. After failing field sobriety tests, the operator was arrested for boating while intoxicated, the child was placed in a life jacket, and the merry occupants were escorted ashore. Case is pending.

Got Caught Fishing

Polk County game wardens recently observed an individual walking away from the shoreline with fishing poles and bait bucket in hand. The individual was not in possession of any required identifying information, became agitated and was placed in temporary detention for officer safety. During a pat down search for weapons, the individual cautioned the wardens to be aware he had dirty syringes in his pockets. In addition to the dirty needles, wardens found various illegal narcotics and paraphernalia. After getting his identification, wardens also discovered two state jail felony warrants out of Polk County for burglary. The subject was arrested and cases are pending.

If Only They Were All This Easy

While investigating complaints of several deer camps having been broken into in Polk County, wardens spotted a familiar vehicle parked along a creek they had observed coming off another back road late the previous night. Upon closer inspection, the wardens observed in plain sight a spotlight and a .22 rifle inside the truck and a small pool of dried blood on the tailgate. After making contact, one warden asked if the two individuals remembered seeing them the night before. One guy responded, yes, and asked why the wardens were following them. The warden let him know they had been trailing them for some time. At that point the warden expected the man to admit to hunting feral hogs, which would be legal at night on private property with permission, but instead he informed them they had shot a deer. The clueless poachers also implicated themselves on several other poaching incidents and violations, and led the wardens to the area where they conducted the illegal activities. Upon arrival, the subjects showed where they dumped the carcass and where they stored the meat at their grandmother’s house. The shooter later stated that his daddy and granddaddy were questioned by wardens back in the day, but never got caught in the act, claiming that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Uh, huh. Multiple charges pending.

Eyes in the Sky to the Rescue

Late one night, Coleman County game wardens responded to an emergency search and rescue call regarding two missing kayakers on the Colorado River. The Coleman County Sheriff’s Office pinged one of the kayakers’ phones and obtained an approximate starting point location of where they might be. Using the game wardens’ UAV search and rescue drone, wardens were able to locate the kayakers on a remote bank of the river at 1:30 a.m. The wardens hiked to the kayakers and guided them off the river.