Game Warden Field Notes

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Note: This item is more than three 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 (TPWD) law enforcement reports.

He’s a Rescue

Texas Game Wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents inspected some antique resale stores. These locations had alligator skulls, black bear mounts, waterfowl mounts, raptor mounts and migratory bird mounts for sale. During the inspection of one store, an individual entered with a pet possum. In order to possess, sell, or purchase a fur-bearer, a person must have a valid Fur-bearing Propagation Permit.  The possum was confiscated and relocated to a licensed rehabber. Citations were issued and cases are pending.

Dude, Where’s My Car?

A Bexar County game warden was patrolling Calaveras Creek by boat because the banks are closed to the public when they saw a person trespassing then hide in the mesquite brush. The warden called for backup and two additional wardens and a K-9 officer arrived to assist. After an exhaustive search, they were still trying to locate the subject. One of the wardens continued navigating their vessel father north into the creek when they spotted someone walking on the other side. The subject was stopped and told he was trespassing. He said he didn’t have any fish or fishing gear and was walking back to the roadway where his van was parked. The subject said his friend brought him to the property but had already left and was waiting at the van. The warden exited the vessel and walked along the subject’s path where they found an ice chest with six tilapia, one black bass and a cast net. The man said he left the ice chest on the trail because he got scared. The K-9 handler radioed the warden to let them know the other suspect and van were gone. The man said, “How am I supposed to get home?” He told the warden his phone, wallet and money were in the van and his friend was supposed to wait for him and take him home. The warden arrested the man for criminal trespass, had him board the vessel and transported him to the Bexar County Jail. Case pending with the District Attorney’s office.

Gig ‘Em

A Uvalde County game warden found an unaccompanied vehicle at a Nueces River crossing. Believing the occupants got into another vehicle and drove down the river, the warden drove to a hill overlooking the river a couple of miles away. There they saw four individuals walking down the river, three with gigs and spears and one with a fishing pole. The warden saw two of the individuals with snorkeling gear dive into the river with the gigs. Another person in the group waved to the divers, who proceeded to dive and emerged with a catfish at the end of a gig. The warden drove down to the group and discovered a fishing pole but no other fishing, gigging or snorkeling equipment. After searching the area, the warden found the gigs and spears, which had been thrown in the water and concealed. The gigged catfish were nowhere to be seen. The warden interviewed the four individually and found none of them had a fishing license. After talking with each subject, one finally admitted to gigging a catfish and leaving it at their last fishing spot some distance away. The catfish was retrieved and seized along with three gigs and spears. Multiple citations were issued with civil restitution.

Not so Happy Hour

A Coryell County game warden and Falls County game warden were patrolling the Lake Waco area of McLennan County when they noticed a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. When the wardens attempted to pass the vehicle, a truck cut them off, driving down the wrong side of the road. The vehicle pulled back over to the side of the road and waved the wardens to drive by. During the traffic stop, the wardens noticed the driver was unable to turn down the music on his radio. When asked what he was doing, the driver said, “I was just trying to…” The driver then picked up his beer and handed it to the wardens. The driver’s speech was slurred, and he was unable to keep his balance as he exited the vehicle. After the Standard Field Sobriety Test was administered, the driver was transported to the McLennan County Jail and was booked into jail for a DWI. A blood specimen was obtained. The case is pending.

And That’s the Boat-tom Line

Three Bell County game wardens were patrolling Lake Belton checking crappie, white bass and tournament fishermen when they came across a vessel hull identification number that did not conform to the U.S. Coast Guard standards. The wardens ran the TX number and the vessel was flagged for a mandatory boat inspection. The man operating the vessel had purchased the boat several days ago from another person who didn’t put the vessel in their name and failed to provide a title to the boat. The wardens contacted the current registered owner who said the boat had been stolen from Belton in 2009. A police report was never made. The vessel was seized and citations were issued to the subject who sold the vessel.

His Name is Mudd (Bugs)

A Jefferson County game warden followed up on information from a social media post where a subject was selling live crawfish. When the warden contacted the seller, he claimed to own a catering company that sold live crawfish to local restaurants and individuals. The sale of live crawfish for commercial and personal use would require a Texas Wholesale Fish Dealer License. The man claimed over the phone that he was properly licensed in Texas and Louisiana.  After requesting an in-person meeting with the subject, the warden discovered that the subject did not possess any type of commercial license and his vehicle was not properly marked to transport aquatic products.

Don’t be Shellfish

Two Jefferson County game wardens were patrolling the ship channel near Port Arthur when they saw a commercial truck about to be loaded with a pallet of shrimp at one of the local wholesale shrimp processing facilities. They stopped to inspect the vehicle and discovered it already had a cargo of 15 crates of fresh blue crab on board. The driver was acting very suspicious and claimed to have bought the crabs legally in Louisiana and transported them into Texas, which requires a Texas Wholesale Fish Dealer License. The driver could not produce a wholesale license or an aquatic product transportation invoice, or other documentation for where the crabs had originated. Wardens for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries were contacted to assist with the investigation. They interviewed the dealer in Louisiana where the driver claimed the crabs had originated and discovered that the driver was being deceptive. Texas game wardens seized all 15 crates of crabs and sold them to the highest bidder as required by law. The driver was issued citations and given warnings.

Oh-Fish-ially in Trouble

Galveston County game wardens received a call about two individuals who were catching sheepshead fish with a net and keeping over their bag limit. The wardens saw two over-flowing coolers with fish. When the wardens asked how they caught all the fish, they said, “with the net”. When inspecting the coolers, the wardens found two hidden bags also containing fish. The two individuals were in possession of 47 sheepshead (27 undersized), three speckled sea trout and one 28” red drum. Multiple citations were issued to each individual. Cases are pending.