From the recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Big Buck, Big Fine
A nearly four-year-old Lynn County mule deer poaching case recently came to a resolution with an arrest of an individual from Post. Officials initially charged the suspect with a state jail felony, three Class A misdemeanors, and two Class C misdemeanors. It was for killing a mule deer at night from a public road that scored more than 200 points under the Boone & Crockett Club system. Although officials initially gave the subject a deferred sentence of probation in the felony case, in which they dismissed the Class A citations, they revoked his probation following a drug arrest, and he was subsequently found guilty of the felony deer charge. He was sentenced to nine months in a state jail and paid over $10,000 in civil restitution assessment for the value of the mule deer. However, because the man had never answered to the Class C misdemeanor charges, game wardens petitioned the court for two original charge warrants and two failure to appear warrants. Once they served those, the man pleaded guilty to all four charges and paid an additional $2,374 in fines and court costs.
Not Using Your Noodle
A Smith County Game Warden was patrolling from his truck around Lake Palestine when he noticed a group of men fishing pull up to a known catfish noodling spot. After watching the men for some time, the warden saw an illegal fishing device was being used to snag fish. The officer confronted the group, seized the illegal device and issued multiple citations for violation of hand fishing laws, no fishing licenses and other water safety violations.
We All See
A Williamson County Game Warden received an Operation Game Thief (OGT) call about three men at a local creek with homemade spears, masks, and numerous fish in their possession, including bass and catfish that were undersized. When the OGT caller told them they should not keep the smaller fish, their response was “nobody sees,” to which the complainant replied, “I see.” The warden responded and met up with the complainant, who took him to the last known location. The three guys were already gone, so the officer went to a nearby subdivision still under construction. In the very back, near the creek, he located four trucks hidden in the woods. After calling for backup from a county sheriff’s deputy, the warden apprehended the first subject when he came up the heavily wooded trail. Shortly after that, a second individual emerged to see where the first one had gone and was also apprehended. The deputy took custody of the two guys while the warden went down to the water’s edge and arrested four other adults and a minor. Three of the adults and the child were fishing legally and were allowed to leave. The other three matched the description of the guys the complainant saw, including a description of the fish they had in their possession. In all, they had two dozen fish that included bass as small as six inches in length. The minimum statewide length limit on largemouth bass is 14 inches. The officer issued the three multiple citations for taking game fish by illegal means and taking game fish undersized. Two of them also did not have a fishing license. Cases are pending.
A Williamson County warden investigated three juveniles who captured and abused an injured bird by tossing it in the air several times, striking it a couple of occasions with a football, then pouring gasoline on it and setting it on fire. One of the boys had posted the delinquent acts on social media, and Cedar Park Police Department intercepted the videos before they the owner deleted them. The warden determined the bird was a federally-protected migratory white-winged dove. He made contact with each of the three boys and their parents, obtained their stories and filed cases for taking white-winged dove by illegal means in closed season. All three boys had just received probation for burglary of a habitation. Cases are pending.
Presidio County Game Wardens were on patrol when a call came out from a U.S. Border Patrol agent that a vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction on U.S. Highway 67 and had nearly caused a head-on collision with another vehicle. The officer stopped the vehicle and observed the driver was possibly driving while intoxicated. Wardens responded to the call, questioned the driver and administered field sobriety tests. The driver performed unsatisfactorily on the trials, consented to a blood draw and they booked him into the Presidio County Jail.
Lost and Found
Game wardens received a call regarding a missing senior man with Alzheimer’s disease from the Daingerfield area. The caller informed Game Wardens that his father had called to let him know he was near an unknown lake and saw some game wardens, but wouldn’t approach them. One of the wardens correctly deduced the man might have seen lake patrol officers at Lake Bob Sandlin. They passed the information along, and officers located the gentleman in less than 15 minutes.
A Close Call
A Montgomery County Game Warden patrolling around Lake Conroe came into contact with a couple and found the man to be in possession of marijuana and methamphetamine. The subject proceeded to take off on foot with the warden in pursuit. The officer caught up with the man and, after a long struggle, placed him under arrest. At some point during the struggle, the subject had taken out a pocket knife and opened the blade but was unable to use it against the warden. He was booked on aggravated assault on a public servant, evading arrest with a prior conviction, and possession of a controlled substance. The woman was found to have a warrant for her arrest on a parole violation for a previous charge of possession of a controlled substance. While booking her, the officer found she had a razor blade taped to the inside of her belt.
Boating Safety Pays Off
Bexar County Game Wardens were patrolling Calaveras Lake for water safety violations. The officers checked a small boat that was in full water safety compliance, with the three children onboard all wearing life jackets. The wardens complimented the operator and left them to continue their day of fishing. Later that evening the wardens received a report of a boat accident. The boat the Game Wardens had checked earlier had mechanical problems on the way back to shore due to high waves. A boat passing by offered assistance and inadvertently caused a wake that capsized their boat. All passengers were able to make it to the other boat and were taken to shore safely.
Game Wardens recently wrapped up a lengthy Crosby County investigation into a hunting without landowner consent claim that someone reported to the OGT hotline. Wardens located and interviewed the three men involved in the incident, and obtained confessions. The officer charged two of the subjects with criminal trespassing and the third with a criminal trespassing-criminal responsibility of another. One of the three men also admitted to having killed a white-tailed buck while trespassing. It was his second white-tailed buck of the season in Crosby County. Crosby County is only a one buck county. Therefore, wardens also filed an exceeding the bag limit charge, as well as a harvest log violation, on the man. Cases and civil restitution are pending.
You Can Run, but You Cannot Hide
A Tarrant County Game Warden was patrolling Eagle Mountain Lake by boat when he approached two bank fisherman in a small cove to check fishing licenses. After announcing his presence, the warden observed one suspect turned and walked back to his truck disregarding all verbal commands to stop. There was no place to bank the boat due to the steep bank, so the warden continued verbal commands for the suspect to come back. The suspect put his fishing pole and something else out of his pocket into his truck, then bent the front license plate upward so the officer couldn’t read it. As the warden searched the bank for a place to tie up his boat, the suspect opened up his driver side door and reached all the way across the truck for something. The warden jumped off his boat and drew his weapon, but instead of the suspect coming out of the truck, he jumped in and drove off. The warden was able to get a positive ID of the back license plate and several days later successfully executed an arrest warrant, but not before fighting off the suspect’s dog with pepper spray followed by a short standoff at the front door. Charges include felony evading arrest, fishing without a fishing license, failure to allow inspection, inability to produce ID and driving while license is invalid.
Game Wardens had just finished patrolling the Brazos River and were headed to the boat barn to call it a night when they noticed a man standing alongside the roadway peering into the bar ditch. The wardens made a U-turn to check on his welfare. The man was standing beside a motorcycle that was laid over on its side in the ditch. The man adamantly denied he was involved in a wreck and had merely parked his bike and it fell over after the kickstand failed. He claimed he crossed a median and two lanes of traffic to park it there and would like for the wardens to help him right his motorcycle. The man’s story didn’t buffalo the officer’s keen investigative skills by the man’s explanation of events and clear signs of intoxication. They gave a field sobriety test to the suspect, and then subsequently arrested himfor driving while intoxicated. Cases are pending.