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TPWD News Release — Oct. 7, 2009

Game Warden Field Notes

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

Paying for his crime: On September 20th, a Galveston County game warden received an OGT call about an individual who had killed a pelican. When the warden arrived at the location, he found a dead brown pelican on the beach. Statements were taken from witnesses and when his investigation was completed, he was able to obtain a confession from the violator. Citations were issued and a $4,720 restitution bill is pending.

Record-speed law enforcement: A Coke County game warden received a call about a deer that had possibly been shot on the Coke/Runnels county line inside a high fence. The deer was found on top of a tank dam and had been moved and drug up against the fence. Four hours later, a suspect arrived at the scene, threw over an unidentified object and went to work on the 8-point buck head. The warden was there in record time and the landowner signed affidavit class B criminal trespass; possession of illegally killed deer during closed season. One poacher went to jail.

All the elk in El Paso: Two El Paso game wardens received a call from the El Paso PD about an elk that was discovered in the backyard of a northeast El Paso residence when the owner went out to clean the pool. They arrived to find a very large and very unhappy Aoudad buck. With assistance from the Texas Department of Health veterinarian and his tranquilizer gun, they were able to move the animal without incident.

Educational rattlesnake: On September 20, a Grayson County Game Warden received a call from a man whose 9-year-old son had caught a baby snake that he believed might be a rattlesnake. Warden Moses went to the location and confirmed that the boy had indeed caught a baby Timber Rattler, which is a threatened species. The snake did not have its rattle yet. The snake was confiscated and will be used for educational purposes.

Protecting doves: On September 19, a Somervell County game warden and a Hamilton County game warden were patrolling Hamilton County when they entered a field with eight hunters, five of whom were kids, who were finishing up for the day. When the wardens checked the bag of one of the kids, they found an Inca dove. The hunters were all educated about the Inca dove. They were taught that it is a protected species and they were shown how to identify it. The dove was confiscated.

Rolling on the river: On September 20, a Somervell County game warden was patrolling along the banks of the Paluxy River in Somervell County when she observed three children on two ATVs riding in the river. When Warden Kuykendall pulled up, the kids took off down the river. Warden Kuykendall borrowed an ATV from the Dinosaur Valley State Park and with the assistance of a Park Ranger, the kids were found riding in the river upstream. When the warden and Park Ranger found the boys, they had sunk one of the ATVs up to the seat and were trying to get it out. Warnings were issued to the three juveniles for violations of the 2003 state law prohibited motor vehicle traffic in riverbeds, and the parents were contacted.

Right into the hands of the law: During the early morning hours of Sunday, September 20, a Coryell County game warden was patrolling an area near the Leon River known for poaching activity when he saw a vehicle on a nearby county road stopped on the bridge crossing the river. Several people got out and began moving around. Soon several shots rang out, and the vehicle sped away from the area unknowingly heading straight for the warden. He waited on the highway and when the vehicle exited the county road, a traffic stop was conducted. The driver, a young woman dressed in camouflage, admitted that she and her boyfriend had just shot from the road into the Leon River. The woman stated that she had just gotten a new pistol and needed a place to shoot it. Citations were issued for shooting from a public roadway.

Changing his story: On Sept.17th, a Houston County game warden was contacted by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office regarding the remains of a deer that was found on property that was the subject of a sheriff’s department investigation. The suspect, who was also a convicted felon, was located, and he admitted to killing the deer by running it over with a 4-wheeler. After a three-hour search, the warden located a .22-caliber Magnum rifle hidden under the steps of a residence. The suspect confessed shortly thereafter to killing the deer with the rifle. Later that day, the warden received more information about another carcass left on the side of the road near the location where the first deer had been killed. A subsequent interview with the same suspect the following day yielded another confession for killing the second deer. Another game warden interviewed a second suspect who also admitted to hunting from the road. Cases are pending. Charges include taking game animal from a public roadway; possession of stolen firearms, a 4-wheeler and other miscellaneous personal property; fictitious plates; and felon in possession of a firearm.

Coming clean: On September 20th, a Cherokee County game warden received a call from a landowner who had found a deer carcass on his property with the antlers removed. The warden collected a .22-caliber Magnum shell casing from the scene and noted that 4-wheeler tracks lead from the carcass to a neighbor’s house. The initial interview with neighbor and his grandson resulted in a denial of involvement, but subsequent investigation yielded the collection of a machete used to remove the antlers from the carcass and a full confession from the grandson. Case pending.

Sweaty sleep: On September 17th, a Hardin County game warden received information that a Saratoga resident was in the process of skinning a white-tailed deer behind his residence. Upon the game warden’s arrival, he observed a subject running under a vapor light in the direction of the residence. Moments later, the subject in question appeared from behind his house sweating from head to toe. He told the warden that he had been in bed trying to get some sleep and denied he had been hunting. After receiving consent to search, the warden noticed fresh drag marks leading into the woods. The warden recovered a freshly killed deer that his subject had tried to conceal after hearing the sound of a vehicle entering the neighborhood. Cases pending.

Deer rescue opens dove season: On September 20, an Atascosa County game warden went to Charlotte to donate some confiscated doves. The warden noticed a fawn deer in a dog kennel surrounded by hog dogs at a residence in Charlotte. The warden made contact with the homeowner, wrote a citation, confiscated the fawn deer, took it to a licensed deer rehabber and then continued with his confiscated dove donation.

Hunting in the rain: While working dove hunters in central Duval County on the morning of Sept. 19, a game warden and a deputy game warden heard numerous shots from various locations. After checking three groups of hunters, they issued four citations, and confiscated 23 doves. After lunch, the deputy game warden received a call that a truck was driving down a nearby county road with men were shooting doves off of power lines from the bed of the truck. Three wardens broke camp and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. One of the wardens issued two citations for hunting from a public road and having an open container. That afternoon, scattered showers crept into the area. As the deputy game warden and game warden drove into the showers, hope of finding the hunter became slim. Within the hour, however, two of the wardens heard a number of shots, even though it was raining. As they moved into position to check the field of hunters, the sky was filled with doves. After making contact with the hunters, many of whom were hunting in rain jackets and slickers, 462 doves were confiscated and 23 citations were issued for hunting over bait. At the end of the day, the game wardens and deputy game warden had issued 27 citations and confiscated 485 doves that were illegally killed over baited fields in Duval County. Cases pending.

Fishing in the rain: On Sept. 24, four game wardens helped present a Kidfish youth fishing event for Coronado fifth graders. The event was held at Ceta Canyon. There were about 80 kids and most were able to catch a fish, despite the cold weather and rain.

Birds and burritos: On September 19, a Coleman County game warden helped sponsor a dove hunt at Talpa for six 8-to 10-year-old Webelo Boy Scouts from Troop 644 of Muenster. The boys harvested 18 doves, cooked burritos for breakfast, shot clay birds and camped out in tents to work on their camping badges. The Texas Game Warden Association presented each Boy Scout with a cap.

Drowning in Lake Fork: On Sept. 18 at approximately 6:15 a.m., a 63-year-old Garland man fishing the McDonald’s Tournament (estimated 4,000 participants) on Lake Fork fell overboard. A two-day search ended in recovering the victim’s body in approximately 26 feet of water. Side Scan Sonar was used to locate the victim and divers were used to recover the body. Three District 3 game wardens along with the Wood County SO, Quitman Fire Department, North East TX Search & Recovery Team and the Alert Academy Dive Team assisted in the recovery.

All in a day’s work: September 20th, two Travis County game wardens were patrolling Lady Bird Lake by kayak when they came across two subjects who were just breaking camp from a night’s stay on the shore. While approaching, the wardens noticed a stringer coming off of the end of the kayak beached on the shore. After a short discussion with the subjects, it was determined that neither had a current fishing license nor any identification. After checking the subjects through dispatch, it was discovered that one subject was wanted for failure to report for probation on a theft charge from Hays County. A check of the contents of the kayak revealed a .22-caliber Sig Sauer Pistol, several illegal knives and drug paraphernalia. The subjects were asked to collect their belongings and escorted upstream to a local park where both where cited and one was turned over to Austin PD and charged with possession of prohibited weapons and the outstanding warrant. The wardens went back to kayaking.