Game Warden Field Notes
Oct. 12, 2023
Media Contact: TPWD News, Business Hours, 512-389-8030
Note: This item is more than a month 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. Images of individual field notes are available upon request from the TPWD press office.
Investi-gators at the Ready
While responding to an anonymous call about alligator poaching on the Neches River, game wardens from Anderson, Henderson and Smith counties found an alligator shot with a compound bow behind the Lake Palestine Spillway. After injuring the 4.5-foot alligator, the suspect jumped into the river to retrieve the alligator. Two other people assisted in dispatching it with a knife before the trio began taking pictures and a video to post on social media. Eventually, the two accomplices left the scene with the alligator while the shooter remained behind and was discovered by the Henderson and Smith County game wardens. The shooter initially swam to the other side of the river, but ultimately returned to the wardens. After interviewing the suspect, the wardens pieced together a timeline of events and gathered enough evidence to file appropriate charges against the shooter. However, their attempt to locate the alligator and the second and third suspects proved unsuccessful until the shooter provided video to the Anderson County Game Warden better identifying the individuals. As a result of the wardens’ investigation, multiple cases were filed including hunting alligator during a closed season and hunting without a license. The cases are currently pending along with civil restitution.
Hi, I’m the Problem, It’s Me
While patrolling over Labor Day weekend, Panola County Game Wardens contacted several dove hunting groups across the county. While most of their interactions were positive, the wardens contacted three different groups hunting doves over baited areas. They issued a total 19 citations for hunting over bait and seized 108 doves from the three parties.
Jumping Through Hoops
While Texas Game Wardens from the Zapata District were patrolling Falcon Lake, wardens found eight hoop nets on the Texas side containing bluegill, channel catfish, blue catfish, freshwater drum, common carp and Rio Grande cichlid. Wardens seized and destroyed the nets and returned the fish to the water alive and well.
In a Heap of Trouble
A Smith County Game Warden received a call from a landowner about materials dumped along a bridge and creek on his property. While the materials included mostly sheetrock, housing trim and lumber. The warden did find a box with a bar code that allowed him to trace the materials to a local store and, ultimately, the owner of the credit card used for the purchase. The warden interviewed the cardholder, who had just completed a home remodel for his family. He told the warden someone familiar with his family had offered to haul off the unused materials for a small fee. The suspect kept the money and dumped the trash onto private property. Along with Smith County Sheriff’s Office environmental deputies, the warden served a warrant for felony commercial dumping over 200 pounds. When arrested, the suspect had more building materials and trash in the truck.
Just Winging It
A Karnes County Game Warden received a call from someone asking if dove season was open because their neighbors were shooting excessively. When the warden arrived at the location, he could hear shooting. Making his way to the back of the property, he witnessed several subjects hunting doves and found they were over their bag limit of mourning doves, as Karnes County is in the Special White-Wing Dove Zone. Additionally, two of the hunters did not have valid hunting licenses, nor had they taken hunter’s education classes. The warden issued citations, seized and donated 29 doves.
Ignorance Isn’t Always Bliss
A landowner notified a Hays County Game Warden that a hunter killed a white-tail doe out of season. The hunter, who paid a fee to hunt hogs that day, was visiting from Maryland with his son. The landowner found out about the doe after he received pictures from the hunter and his son posing with their harvest and asking for a ride back to their truck. The hunters became irate after the game warden told them it was not deer season. The landowner provided the game warden the signed liability waivers from the hunters, which only mentioned hog hunting. The hunters said they were never told they needed hunting licenses and that they should have been provided with certain services like a hunting guide, verbal education on hunting regulations and signage around the site stating hunting laws. They also assumed that, like Maryland, they didn’t need a hunting license and could hunt anything on private property. The hunters stated that after a day without services and no animal sightings, they became upset with the landowner. During a phone conversation, the landowner stated, “everything is open.” The hunters interpreted the landowner’s statement as every animal on the property is open to be killed, when instead, the landowner was referring to every blind and stand being open for the hunters to use. The game warden issued citations for hunting and possessing white-tail deer in a closed season and not having a nonresident hunting license.