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Game Warden Field Notes

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports compiled the following items.

Keep the Boat in the Water

On April 28, a Val Verde County game warden responded to a boat distress call on Lake Amistad. A somewhat novice boat operator with his new boat and family on board ran aground after dark on the lake. According to the story, the boat operator, while on a full plane, noticed he was running in very shallow water. Thinking that he was going over a small island, he gunned the throttle more to make it over the supposed island. The boat eventually ran out of water well onto the bank. Thankfully no injuries occurred.

That’s Not a Serpentine Belt

Game wardens got an unusual request for assistance recently when an employee at a business next to their office stopped in to ask for help removing a giant snake from the engine compartment of his vehicle. The individual was unsure of the species and reluctant to attempt removal. The wardens assisted in untangling a six-foot rat snake, which had wrapped itself around the engine parts. The vehicle’s owner believes the snake may have hitched a ride earlier in the week while he parked at a farm. The snake was exhausted but unhurt. Lake Bob Sandlin State Park employees asked to keep the snake for a few days to use for educational purposes before they released it back into the wild.

Stretching the Limits

Game wardens investigating possible bass fishing tournament fraud in Travis and Bastrop counties discovered a unique sleight of hand while checking the potential violator after he had submitted questionable photos to a tournament on Decker Lake. The catch and release kayak fishing event used photos taken by contestants out on the water of their catches placed on a measuring board, with the angler having the most inches of bass in the aggregate declared the winner. Upon inspection of the violator’s vessel, officers found a cut tail of bass in the paddle well of the kayak. The violator initially stated he saw the cut tail in the reeds and was taking it to shore to turn it in. Later the violator confirmed to have used the rear to place over another bass, using his hand to cover the questionable area, to make the fish look longer on multiple occasions. Officers arrested the violator for fraud in a fishing tournament. The charges are pending.

Bad Sense of Smell

A Tyler County game warden got a tip about two deer that someone potentially poached out of season. The warden patrolled the area of the violation and, with the assistance of Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, contacted a known drug violator at his residence. Immediately upon contact, they caught a strong odor of rotting meat coming from an ice chest in the backyard. After numerous knocks at the door, the officers got the subject to go outside and asked about the contents of the ice chest. The subject admitted he and his roommate shot two deer and had forgotten about part of the meat in the ice chest. The guys later showed the warden where they had shot the deer. Wardens filed charges, and the case is still under investigation for possible hunting without landowner consent.

Lost and Found

On May 18, someone contacted the game wardens about a missing person in Copper Breaks State Park near Quanah. The game wardens, park superintendent, another park employee, Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office and Foard County Sheriff’s Office were on scene. The subject was a diabetic that had possibly walked off the state park property. The game wardens were able to track the subject’s footprints down a dirt road for approximately a mile and then followed him to where he possibly walked down a steep embankment to get to the river. The park superintendent was sent around to search the river bottom below on a four-wheeler. The subject was located under a deer hunting stand and glad to see help. He was dehydrated but did not need medical attention. He had been missing for approximately four hours in 95-degree heat. The search party found the subject less than half an hour before a storm that dumped three inches of rain blew in that would have made the search almost impossible.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Game wardens were patrolling Lake Kirby in Abilene recently when they contacted a vehicle parked close to the water. After a brief conversation with the occupants, a couple, the subjects provided their identifications. After running their information, the sheriff’s office advised that both people had outstanding warrants. They were placed under arrest and transported to jail by a Taylor County Deputy. While waiting for the deputy, the male subject had made arrangements for his vehicle to be picked up. Shortly after the deputy left, two females arrived to take possession of the car. After obtaining their identification, the sheriff’s office advised that one of them also had outstanding warrants. The woman was transported to the Taylor County Jail, as well, and the vehicle released to the other female.