|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-08-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 30, 2008
Officials Call for Caution over Busy Boating Weekend
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are urging boaters and swimmers to be especially careful as thousands take to the state's lakes and bays over the last holiday weekend of the summer.
"Typically, we see more accidents on the three big summer holidays -- Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day weekends," said Maj. Alfonso Campos, chief of marine safety enforcement for TPWD. "There are more people on the water and it's usually a party atmosphere. For some folks, these long weekends are the only time they go out all year."
As of the last week of August, there have been 101 water fatalities in Texas so far this year. That's down from 140 for the same period in 2007. Of those 101 reported victims, 32 died in boating accidents, compared to 45 by this time last year. There have been 173 reported boating accidents this year on Texas waters.
"We've seen what seems like a really sharp spike in shoreline drownings in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex," said Game Warden Lt. Jennifer Kemp. "It's everyone from unsupervised children to young adults who don't know how to swim. Do yourself and your family a favor: if you're not a strong swimmer, please wear a life jacket."
Last year marked a four-year high in Texas boating fatalities, with 52, even though nationwide the number of fatalities dropped.
Boating and water safety advocates hope to see the downward trend in Texas this year continue.
"There are two things people can do that will really improve their chances of coming home safe," said Aaron Reed, a TPWD spokesman and boating education instructor. "First, designate a driver for the boat and for a safe ride home. It's neither safe nor socially acceptable to drive drunk in a car or a truck, and the same holds true for boats. Second, wear a lifejacket. The new inflatable lifejackets, including the belt packs, are comfortable and effective."
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in about one-third of all boating fatalities in Texas. Of victims who drowned in boating accidents nationwide, approximately 85 percent were not wearing lifejackets. Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) are similar to those for Driving While Intoxicated and can include suspension of the boat operator's automobile driver's license.
TPWD game wardens will be out in force on state waters over the holiday weekend. TPWD and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) "Nobody's Waterproof" water safety outreach teams also will be on the water at Lake Travis this weekend, with the LCRA team providing safety games and free life jackets in the Mansfield Dam Recreation Area up to Devil's Hollow and the TPWD team reaching boaters from Pace Bend Park to The Pier, both on Sunday.
There have been eight drownings at Lake Travis so far this year.
Editors' Note: To schedule a ride on the LCRA Nobody's Waterproof boat from Mansfield Dam, call Jennifer Scharlach at 512- 657-6255.
To schedule a ride on the TPWD Nobody's Waterproof boat from Pace Bend Park, call Brandi Bradford at 512-657-6597.
To schedule ride-alongs with Dallas-Fort Worth-area game wardens (TPWD game wardens will have four boats on Lake Lewisville, and boats on other lakes throughout the region), call Lt. Jennifer Kemp at 817-343-8802.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 30, 2008
Annual Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo Set for Oct. 4-5
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo continues to add new activities while sticking to a hands-on, expert-assisted formula that has made it the largest free event of its kind in the nation. Last year approximately 42,000 people visited Expo at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters in Austin.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo is like the world's fair for the great outdoors," said Ernie Gammage, Expo Director. "If you've never tried these activities, it's a great chance to see and do it all in a safe setting with expert guidance. In everything, you'll find a message of stewardship, the idea that we all have role to play in the conservation of the natural world."
Expo premiered in 1992 as an annual tribute to the great outdoors, featuring activities related to hunting, fishing and outdoors sports. The event is also a way to teach visitors about wildlife conservation while introducing them to activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, shooting, bird watching and learning about plants and animals native to Texas.
New for Expo XVII is an activity called "Be a Diver." Sponsored by the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, the "Be a Diver" program gives children and adults the opportunity to don real SCUBA equipment and dive in a 4-foot-deep 18,000-gallon pool with a local professional dive instructor.
"Be a Diver" requires participants to bring their own swim suits, but wet suits and private changing rooms will be provided as well as towels and a hairdryer.
Participants must be at least 10 years old and 54 inches tall. Children under 12 must have a parent in the pool with them; children under 17 must have a parent nearby. Anyone over the age of 17 can leave their parents at home, but why not bring them?
If mom and dad don't want to try diving, they may want to hear featured guests Hector and Diane DeLaGarza, a husband-and-wife pro-angler team from Garland who will be on-hand to teach fishing basics and talk about their lives as professional anglers. The DeLaGarzas recently both placed in the top 10 at an FLW Outdoors fishing tournament in Michigan, the first time in FLW history that a husband-and-wife team finished in the top 10 of any tournament pairing.
The couple will head the Fishing FUN-damentals activity in which they will answer basic questions about fishing: how, where, what and when.
Diane DeLaGarza said that fishing is a family activity, and emphasized the importance of families making memories outdoors.
"It doesn't matter if you catch any fish or not," DeLaGarza said. "What you're doing is creating memories. In the lives we have today, we get so busy. For me, looking back, some of my best memories I have of my family are when they took me out fishing."
DeLaGarza said the Fishing FUN-damentals activity is for anyone who has ever seen fishing and thought, 'That looks like fun.' She said because families don't have to have a boat and TPWD offers free fishing in more than 70 state parks, fishing is a perfect pastime to learn as a family.
Fishing "is like a gift you give them because if you teach children how to fish, they'll never be bored," she said. "We compete so much with video games and things that keep these children inside, and they're missing out on so much."
"Xtreme" shooting star Patrick Flanigan also will make his first Expo appearance. The 30-year-old world record holder began hunting with his father and great uncle as a child in Wisconsin.
"My love of shooting was sparked at a young age, and I just got hooked," Flanigan said. "I never had any plans or desire to shoot professionally. It just worked itself out that way."
Flanigan said his shooting show is like an updated Buffalo Bill or Annie Oakley trick-shooting event set to awesome visuals and music. He said the show is especially youth-friendly.
Another new activity this year is "Wildlife: CSI (Critter Scene Investigation)." Much like crime-scene investigators piece together clues in their line of work, children will get to touch skins, skulls and look at animal tracks as a way to identify and learn about animals in the wild.
Irene Hamel, a TPWD wildlife interpretive specialist, said "Wildlife: CSI" is a great way to introduce children to the outdoors.
"Kids aren't spending as much time out-of-doors as they once did," she said. "At 'Wildlife: CSI' they can learn why a beaver's hide is adapted for living in water; how different birds build their nests. They will hopefully learn that just because they may not see an animal in the wild doesn't mean there isn't any evidence of wildlife.
"We plan to have on display a CSI 'scene' where kids will be asked what evidence of wildlife they see. It goes back to encouraging kids to see what is around them."
Popular activities like the climbing walls, Wet Zone kayaking area, mountain biking, archery and shooting sports will return this year, as will touch tanks and ice tables displaying marine animals from the Texas coast.
Austin Energy is sponsoring an expanded area at this year's Expo in which they will teach visitors how to practice conservation at home. The Green Zone will show homeowners simple steps to conserve energy inside their homes and attract wildlife in their yards.
Visitors who want to see live animals and learn about protecting wildlife will have two events they can attend. Chris Bellows from Sea World will bring his Amazing Animals show to the Expo at which visitors can see animals from all seven continents, and John Karger, a master falconer and raptor rehabilitator, will present a show with live eagles, hawks and other birds of prey during his Last Chance Forever Birds of Prey show.
While the activities at the Expo are intended to be fun, Gammage said there's a message of stewardship behind each one. Part of TPWD's mission is to get Texans interested in outdoors activities so that they will then have an investment in conservation.
"Some people say, 'That stuff is wild. Why don't you just leave it alone?'" Gammage said. "Mankind has too heavily impacted wildlife and its habitat. It's incumbent on us to actively take care of our wildlife. Their health is our health."
Expo remains free to the public through the generous support of major sponsors such as Toyota, Anheuser-Busch, HOLT CAT, KASE 101, Recuerdo, The Dow Chemical Company, Time Warner Cable, Univision TV, Lake Fork Club, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Austin Energy, Cabela's, Careco Multimedia, Inc., FPL Energy, Mossy Oak, ACM Tractor Sales, Arby's of Central Texas, Austin Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Blue Bell Creameries, Briley Manufacturing, CEMEX, Crossman Air Guns, Hixon Land & Cattle Company, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Shikar Safari Club International Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Weatherby Foundation International.
In addition to free admission and activities all day Saturday and Sunday, water, air-conditioned shuttle bus service and parking all are complimentary. Although food may be brought in, coolers are discouraged because of the long walk to the grounds. Special shuttles on site will serve persons with disabilities. Sorry, no pets allowed. Visitors are advised to bring cameras and sunscreen, and a little cash can be handy to buy food or outdoor gear and Expo merchandise.
Out-of-towners looking for a place to stay can call the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau at (512) 478-0098 for hotel and motel information. To make reservations at a Central Texas state park, call (512) 389-8900 or book online.
There is limited free parking near the grounds, but the best way to get to the Expo is to catch a free shuttle bus at Highland Mall (Macy's side) near I-35 and Highway 290. If rain shuts down on-site parking, all visitors must catch shuttle buses, which run from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
For more information about Expo, including maps and directions, visit the TPWD Web site or call (800) 792-1112.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
Aug. 30, 2008
New East Texas Fish Hatchery Construction Underway
JASPER, Texas -- Construction of the new $27 million East Texas Fish Hatchery, expected to be completed in early 2010, is now underway.
The state-of-the-art facility on 200 acres just below Sam Rayburn Reservoir will replace the 70-year-old Jasper Fish Hatchery and provide at least 45 acres of fish production ponds capable of delivering up to 4.5 million fish annually for stocking in Texas public waters.
A groundbreaking ceremony near the site of the fish hatchery water intake structure was held on Wed., Aug. 27.
"Once operational, this new hatchery will have the capacity to more than double what's currently produced at the outdated Jasper Fish Hatchery. This will help meet the growing needs of our recreational angling community," said Phil Durocher, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department inland fisheries director. "We applaud the generous support of Texas anglers, who stepped up to the plate to help fund this critical project through the purchase of the Freshwater Fishing Stamp, and our partners."
In addition to stamp revenues, Jasper County in 2004 donated 200 acres of land for the hatchery and the Lower Neches Valley Authority has agreed to provide 10,000-acre feet of water from Sam Rayburn Reservoir for hatchery operation.
Also, Temple Inland provided easements to accommodate the county road as well as all site utilities and water conveyance lines. The U.S. Corps of Engineers will provide easements to accommodate the facility water intake station.
"Texas freshwater anglers are the largest single constituency Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has," noted TPW Commission Chairman Peter M. Holt. "More fish in more places equals better fishing, and that benefits the quality of life in this state."
HDR FishPro handled the design and programming contract for the East Texas Fish Hatchery and ALLCO, Inc. of Beaumont has been awarded the construction contract.
In addition to the production ponds, the hatchery complex will feature a 34,000-square-foot production building and an 8,200-square-foot administrative building, which will office 24 TPWD employees, including hatchery, aquatic habitat enhancement and fisheries management staffs, and game wardens.
Hatcheries comprise an important component of freshwater fisheries management at TPWD. Hatchery-reared fish are used to establish new populations, enhance existing populations, support research efforts, and maintain fisheries in small urban reservoirs where natural production will not meet anglers' needs.
"This hatchery will add a greater degree of operational flexibility and increased production by about two million fingerlings a year," said Todd Engeling, TPWD hatcheries director. "This hatchery will be used primarily for production of largemouth bass, channel and blue catfish and bluegill sunfish. It will also have the capability of producing striped bass should we need it."
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 30, 2008
TPWD Biologists Seek Info on Turtle Collections as Commission Amends Prohibited Nongame Regs
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission acted Aug. 21 on staff recommendations to amend regulations on prohibited nongame species.
Among the changes approved by commissioners:
--Extend "grandfather" period for possession of prohibited nongame species for noncommercial use to Nov. 1, 2010.
--Allow for possession, captive breeding and sale of prohibited nongame species from out-of-state sources;
"These are relatively minor changes to rules that were established in October 2007," said Matt Wagner, Ph.D., TPWD's Wildlife Diversity Program director. "Among other things, the rules created a 'white list' of nongame wildlife legal for commercial collection and sale under the proper permit. Conversely, all nongame species not on the 'white list' are prohibited from commercial collection in the wild."
According to Wagner, TPWD biologists are most interested in hearing from collectors who keep box turtles and other prohibited nongame.
"It appears box turtles are the most common of the prohibited species, and some of the collections are pretty significant," he said. "We want to know who those folks are and what they have in possession."
Wagner pointed-out that contacting the department during the "grandfather" period can actually help turtle owners.
"We understand that collections change over time, especially for people who are breeding these animals," Wagner said. "But sometime down the road, if a collector gets checked by a game warden and the game warden contacts us, we can say, 'We have a record of that. This person has made a good-faith effort to comply with our regulations.'"
Wagner said TPWD biologists also are conducting several studies on turtles; one with Texas A&M University, reconciling TPWD export records of nongame species with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service records; one with the Fort Worth Zoo, assessing at turtle populations in the Rio Grande and the Brazos River; and a 5-year project with Texas State University designed to assess the effect of commercial turtle harvests on private waters in several areas of the state.
Additionally, the TPWD Wildlife Diversity Program has recently published a turtle identification tool called "Texas Turtle Regulations," available on the department's Web site.
For additional information about prohibited nongame and the so-called 'white listed' species, contact Jennifer Brennan at jennifer.brennan@tpwd.texas.gov.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 30, 2008
Whiston Retires, Leaves Legacy of New Parks, Facilities across Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Steve Whiston is retiring from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Aug. 31, after a 30-year career with TPWD in which he was involved in or supported the development of more than 24 new state parks and natural areas.
Since 2003, Whiston has led TPWD's Infrastructure Division, a team of architects, planners and others who design, build, and repair state parks, fish hatcheries, wildlife management areas and other conservation facilities. During Whiston's tenure as director, the division has successfully managed more than 658 projects worth more than $157 million.
"Steve Whiston's leadership and experience will be missed by the agency," said Scott Boruff, TPWD deputy executive director for operations. "He has made tangible contributions to the character of our facilities over the course of his career that will serve all Texans for many years to come."
In recent years, Whiston's greatest challenge and biggest accomplishment has been seeking and obtaining additional legislative appropriations of $124 million in general obligation bonds to support the department's statewide construction and repair program. Most recently, this has included bonds approved by legislators and statewide voters to fund state park major repairs. But the TPWD bond program has in the past also funded important repairs to hatcheries, WMAs and other facilities.
"Our biggest challenge has been managing the sheer volume of work, prioritizing and planning multiple large projects to unfold over many years," Whiston said. "Our future funding, in terms of additional installments from the legislature, has depended on our ability to spend the money that had already been appropriated in a timely and efficient way."
Whiston originally joined the department in January 1978 as an architect in the former Historic Sites and Restoration Branch. For 14 years, he led project teams responsible for the restoration or development of 23 state historic sites across Texas.
Whiston rose through the ranks and held several other positions before becoming interim division director of the newly created Infrastructure Division in August 1996. In this role, he served on a special department task force that first assessed the backlog of statewide major repair needs facing state parks and other facilities. He co-authored an Infrastructure Task Force Report in 1997 that was instrumental in gaining legislative approval for $60 million in new revenue bonds for capital construction and repairs.
He was appointed deputy director of the Infrastructure Division in February 1996 and for the next seven years was responsible for day to day operations of the division and the successful expenditure of the new revenue bonds. He became Infrastructure Division director in January 2003.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 30, 2008
Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Wrong tag, wrong year, wrong state: In late August, a Terrell County game warden was contacted by a local landowner who had discovered a whitetail buck that had been dumped on the side of the road. Upon investigation, the game warden found the deer with last year's mule deer tag connected to the antlers. The game warden contacted the hunter, who was located in Arkansas, and had him explain why his deer was dumped in the bar ditch. After the phone interview, the game warden mailed a citation for improperly tagged whitetail deer and littering. The subject has since contacted the court and paid his fine.
Everyone pitches in: Aug. 19, residents and business owners of Burkburnett, Iowa Park and City View got an early wake-up call around 12:30 a.m. with flash flood warnings. Game wardens from Clay County, Montague County, Archer County and Wichita County, along with volunteer firefighters, the area fire department, the sheriff's offices, police department and even local businesses that had buses for transportation were involved in rescuing people from their homes. Many areas that had never flooded before were affected. An estimated 100 people and numerous pets were rescued.More flooding: Aug. 18, Starr County received in excess of 16 inches of rain in an 18-hour period. It is estimated that 1,400 houses received flood damage and some 400 people were at least temporarily displaced by the flooding. Game wardens were called out early and assigned a deputy to ride along and assist in rescue by walking-in and via four-wheel-drive truck. As the water rose, game wardens were requested to bring the river boats from the state park and from Zapata. Rescues were continued by boat until the water receded and vehicles could again be utilized. It was a combined effort with Starr County Sheriff's Department, all county fire departments, state game wardens, DPS troopers, Roma PD, and Border Patrol agents to make the necessary rescues and see that everyone went home safely. The low point of the day was when a house caught fire and fire units were unable to reach it due to high water and had to watch it burn from a mile away. The next day was spent with local game wardens assisting local law enforcement in patrolling the affected areas to keep out looters.Warden talks suspect out of water: Also on Aug. 18, a Shelby County game warden entered a camp in the Sabine National Forest to check for reported hunting violations. When the game warden was spotted, one of the subjects at the camp who had been fishing jumped into Toledo Bend Lake. The game warden finally talked the subject out of the water and placed him under arrest for outstanding warrants. Another subject from the camp was also arrested for outstanding warrants.Man throws wife in lake, everyone goes to jail: Aug. 17, a Grayson County game warden received a call from dispatch in reference to a domestic disturbance at Juniper Point on Lake Texoma. The dispatcher advised that a male subject had thrown his wife out of the boat during an argument. The game warden arrived at the scene just after sheriff's deputies had arrived. There were three subjects, one female and two males. All were highly intoxicated. A witness was present and had observed all that took place. One subject was arrested for boating while intoxicated and the other two for public intoxication.
A three-hour tour: The same day, San Augustine County and Nacogdoches County game wardens searched for overdue kayakers on the Attoyac River between San Augustine and Nacogdoches County. The trip took longer than anticipated due to the numerous bends in the river and the large number of logs to be crossed. The novice kayakers were forced to spend the night, and they were found near their destination the following morning. The hapless kayakers were tired, hungry, and covered with mosquito bites.
Thanks, but about those pigs ... At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, a Waller County game warden received a road hunting call. The game warden responded to the area north of Hempstead to investigate. Contact followed, and after a short visit the case was solved. The violator was driving down a county road near his house and observed two nice fat hogs feeding in a pasture. The hunter, not wanting the hogs to damage the property, shot a hog. There were a couple of issues he did not take into account: the first was that he had shot from the roadway (claiming to have walked to the fence). The second was that the property owner did not want these pigs shot. They were his pets and were feeding with the horses. Case pending.
Snapper poachers apprehended: Aug. 15, two game wardens boarded an inbound gulf shrimp boat in the Brownsville Ship Channel and discovered numerous gallon-size bags filled with red snapper fillets. Four cases of possession of headed and tailed fish before final destination were filed in JP court. Monday morning the defendant was found guilty of all four counts and fined $125 each count.
Hit-and-run, and run, and run: On Aug. 11, a Harris County game warden patrolled the Seabrook area for fishing compliance. While patrolling to the next pier, she observed a Ford F-150 truck driving towards her with major front-end damage and a smoking left front tire. Concerned about safety, the game warden initiated her red and blue lights, but the driver ignored the lights and siren blasts and increased his speed. Unknown to the game warden, Seabrook Police Department had just received a call about a hit-and-run accident involving the fleeing truck, so two Seabrook units joined the pursuit within the first mile. The pursuit ended when the suspect missed a sharp turn and crashed into a power-line pole, three traffic signs, and a wooden fence. The suspect survived the crash but would not comply with orders from the game warden or the Seabrook officers to put his hands up. He appeared to be confused and not aware of his situation. After breaking the windows and prying the jammed doors open, the suspect was pulled from his truck, searched, and handed over to EMS. Cases are pending.
Shoulda called that guy from Waller County: A Wharton County game warden with the assistance of the Wharton County Sheriff's Office, Texas Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, just completed an investigation that began back in April of this year. The case involved the killing of countless numbers of feral hogs, raccoons, other small mammals and ultimately turkey vultures that had consumed these carcasses. The USFWS special agent filed charges under the migratory bird treaty act on the land owner, who had baited the fence lines of his crop fields with several dozen large piles of corn that had been laced with the agricultural insecticide "Counter CR." Fines from the USFWS totaled over $600, not including restitution, while actions are still expected to be taken from the Texas Dept. of Agriculture which issues all pesticide licenses to farmers so they can dispense this type of dangerous chemical. The landowner is now seeking other means and methods of controlling his hog population.
If you'll get the check, I'll get the cuffs: On Aug. 8, Harris County game wardens were having lunch at a restaurant near the South Houston District Office. While at the register paying for their meals, these wardens interrupted a domestic disturbance between a married couple before a physical assault occurred. The couple had two small children with them. The husband was transported to the Harris County Jail where he could serve time for his warrants and cool off from his altercation with his wife.
Not very sportsmanlike: An Aransas County game warden recently completed an investigation regarding a tournament fisherman who caught a blue marlin and dumped the fish whole after weighing it in. The game warden tracked-down the fisherman and the fisherman stated that the fish was dumped back whole. Charges of waste of game were filed and the case was recently closed with a fine paid to the justice of the peace.
If you're a game warden, wouldn't I recognize you? Tues., Aug. 5, the Abilene TPWD law enforcement office received two reports of an individual impersonating a game warden around the local lakes. One of the reports was from a police officer who actually spoke with the individual and was told that he was with TPWD. The officer was in the middle of a contact and didn't realize that there was something wrong with the identity of the guy that claimed to be a warden. The subject was checking licenses and IDs on young people relating to alcohol violations. The local wardens were notified to watch for the subject's vehicle. On Wednesday night, the same police officer checked the lake area and didn't find the individual but he talked to some young people at the lake and told them to call 911 if this suspicious person contacted them. A short time later (about 10:30 p.m.), the young people called 911 and reported the same situation. Officers responded and made a felony stop on the suspect vehicle. The suspect was wearing a gun belt with a Glock .40 caliber handgun and had two shotguns in the truck. The suspect had body armor and was in possession of binoculars and a thermal imaging unit. The vehicle was equipped with two sets of red and blue lights, take down lights, siren, electrical cutoff switches, a model 5000 Motorola radio, long blade knives, and other police or military equipment. The suspect was arrested for impersonating a public servant and unlawfully carrying a handgun. The suspect vehicle was impounded for evidence. A Taylor County game warden assisted with the investigation. It was determined that the suspect was an active member of the U.S. military, and it is suspected that some of the equipment he had belonged to the military and was being used without permission.
Falcon Lake poacher apprehended: On Aug. 4 at approximately 8:30 p.m., Zapata County game wardens were patrolling Falcon Lake when one game warden observed a Mexican boat enter Texas waters from his spotting position. The game wardens attempted to make contact with the vessel, but the occupant refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. After a short chase through the brush, the captain of the vessel finally halted. The game wardens were able to apprehend the subject, who was then filed on for fishing without a valid commercial fishing license and possession of illegal equipment in prohibited waters. The Zapata County Sheriff's Office transported the subject to the Zapata County Jail. Both the boat and motor were seized along with approximately 2,000 feet of monofilament gillnet.
Talk about a cooperative subject: On Aug. 3, a Menard County game warden was flagged-down in Menard and was told there was a group of people smoking marijuana at the 8-mile river crossing on the San Saba River. The game warden approached the group and asked if they had been drinking. A couple of them stated they had a beer or two. The game warden pulled one of the subjects aside and asked if they had been smoking marijuana. The subject said: "The guy in the brown hat was smoking marijuana." The game warden asked "the guy in the brown hat" to come over to his patrol vehicle. The game warden asked him if he had been drinking and smoking marijuana. He stated he had drunk one beer and smoked a joint earlier. The game warden asked him if he had any more marijuana. He stated he had a bag on his front seat under his towel. The game warden asked for consent to search his vehicle. Consent was given and the marijuana was found on the front seat. The subject was transported to the Menard County Jail and booked in for possession of marijuana less than two ounces. Case pending.
Relaxing day on the water: Aug. 3, while patrolling Lake Waco, a McLennan County game warden performed a water safety check on a boat and discovered the couple were in possession of Xanax and marijuana. Cases pending.
So, did you hear about that consumption advisory? On Aug. 2, a Galveston County game warden filed on two recreational fishermen for being in possession of undersize spotted seatrout. The first violator was in possession of 39 undersize fish; the second individual was in possession of 29. Cases pending.
Polluter ordered to pay-up: A Panola County game warden recently received a disposition on a case he filed January 2007. The violator, a vacuum truck driver (the kind that cleans out septic tanks), was charged with unauthorized discharge of pollutant. He was sentenced to 160 hours community service, 5 years of felony probation, and $5,000.00 restitution to the affected landowner. Case closed.