Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Earlier this month, game wardens were patrolling for illegal fishing nets on Kickapoo Creek when they received a call about a man whose kayak had capsized in the Trinity River. The situation was life-threatening due to the hazardous conditions on the river and cold temperature of the water. The wardens quickly responded and launched their boat on the Trinity River. They traveled about a mile upriver, spotting the subject clinging to a submerged drift stump in the middle of the river. The wardens quickly recovered the man and secured him in a PFD. They also rescued the man’s daughter, who was stranded on the river bank. Both victims were transported to safety and released after a medical examination.
Phoning for Backup
Game wardens set up a whitetail buck decoy in Trinity County after receiving reports of road hunting activity in the area. After about an hour, a truck stopped in the road and quickly backed up. Wardens watched the operator hide the vehicle and make a phone call. A few minutes later a second vehicle approached from the opposite direction. The second driver exited the truck with a rifle and loaded it. The hunter fired two shots at the decoy before he was stopped by game wardens. Multiple cases for hunting white-tailed deer from a public roadway were filed. Wardens collected one shell casing for evidence and were unable to find the second casing. K9 game warden Blitz was brought in and saw the second casing within minutes.
Poaching in Progress
On Dec. 9, a Brazos County game warden responded to poaching in progress call. A Brazos County sheriff’s deputy detained the individuals trying to leave the property. Upon arrival, the warden questioned each of the suspects concerning their activity on the property. The two suspects found on the property admitted to hog hunting and not knowing whose property they were on. It was also revealed there was a third suspect involved who was hiding on the property. GPS trackers were discovered upon investigation, providing the exact route they traveled to hunt the hog and track their dogs. A hog carcass was located on the property. The landowners were contacted, and cases for hunting without landowner consent are pending.
The Rest of the Story
Late night on Dec. 5 a Uvalde County game warden received a call about possible shots being fired from the public road. The warden responded to the area and observed a vehicle stopped on the way with one subject standing in the road. The warden activated her red and blue lights and made contact. There were two male subjects in the truck and a freshly shot buck in the back. After a brief discussion, one of them admitted to shooting the deer from the highway after he supposedly hit the buck with his truck. He also confessed to killing a porcupine from the road. With assistance from another warden, they were able to find the porcupine but couldn’t find any evidence that the buck was hit by the truck. The shooter was arrested for hunting deer from the public road. The next morning, one of the wardens was traveling the same way and saw a dead buck in the trees next to a wheat field approximately a half mile from where the porcupine was shot. He called the other warden, and they determined that the buck was shot with buckshot. The two subjects from the night before had a shotgun in the truck. The wardens made contact with the second subject, and he admitted to shooting the buck three times with buckshot. Cases pending.
Left at the Scene of the Crime
A Gonzales County game warden investigating a complaint about illegal dumping of deer carcasses discovered an agriculture tax exemption identification card next to a set of tire tracks at the scene. The warden knew of a deer camp near the dump site and traveled to that location. Upon entering the site and introducing himself, the warden shook hands with the owner of the tax ID card. The hunter told the warden that he had shot a nice buck and after a brief inspection for tagging compliance, the warden asked where he had discarded the carcass. The hunter admitted to dumping it on the county road. The warden then advised the hunter that he had left something with the body that he would like to return to the hunter. The Texas AG Exempt Tax ID card was rightfully returned, and a citation issued for illegal dumping of the carcasses.
That’s Not Sea Bass
A college student from Lufkin studying in Mississippi forwarded a photo to an Angelina County game warden of some live “Sea Bass” on sale in a tank at a Vietnamese market in eastern Mississippi. The student thought that was fishy because they looked like regular largemouth bass and knew that was a law violation in Texas. The warden reached out to the local game warden in Mississippi. Mississippi wardens dressed in plain clothes were able to purchase live spotted bass from the market, and then served a search warrant on the business. In addition to the spotted largemouth bass, the wardens discovered striped bass for sale, too. They acknowledged how game wardens are always enjoying helping each out, no matter the state or province, and thanked the citizens of the community for still being their eyes and ears out on the street.
Eagle Down, but Not Out
In early November, a Mason County game warden received a call about an injured bald eagle. Upon locating the eagle, the warden contacted Last Chance Forever, an avian rehabilitation center, to pick up the injured bird and assist with the investigation into its injuries. Upon examination, it was determined that the eagle’s injuries were suffered when it hit a power line. Apparently, predators had also attempted to harm the eagle while it was on the ground. The eagle is expected to make a full recovery and will be released back into the wild soon.