Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Hold My Beer and Take the Wheel
A landowner near Abilene alerted a game warden about a vehicle spotlighting and shooting from a county road. The warden quickly responded and located the suspected vehicle. After following them for a distance, the warden observed gunshots coming from the passenger compartment. Upon making a traffic stop, the warden asked the three occupants what they were doing. A female subject stated that she and her boyfriend were teaching her son how to drive while they were drinking and shooting feral hogs off the road. Upon further search of the vehicle, drug paraphernalia and a small bag of methamphetamine were located next to where one subject was sitting. One was taken to jail for possession of controlled substance, and another received a citation for open container and hunting from a public roadway.
You Are Here
A Freestone County game warden received a tip from a local DPS trooper about a white-tailed buck that may have been stolen illegally. The state trooper had stopped an individual riding an ATV on a public roadway, and the operator said he had been hunting and was on his way to transport a deer he had just taken. When the warden arrived at the hunter’s camp, he observed the head from a freshly killed buck that apparently did not meet the county’s minimum antler requirements and was untagged. The carcass had been quartered and stored in a nearby ice chest. When questioned, the hunter said the deer was killed in the morning and wasn’t tagged because he didn’t know the county he was hunting. Citations issued for taking a buck that was undersized, tagging violation, and hunting log violation.
Roosting Duck Busters
A Liberty County game warden was checking a local duck roost that he had received multiple tips regarding illegal hunting activity when he spotted a pickup parked just beyond an entrance gate leading down to the pond. After setting up surveillance nearby, the warden heard shots from the direction of the pool well past legal hunting hours. The warden waited in the dark for the group to walk back to their truck. Contact was made, and citations were issued for hunting ducks after hours, with an unplugged shotgun. Civil restitution was charged for the taking of wood ducks illegally. Cases pending.
Can’t Keep a Secret
In late December Bexar County game wardens received information about a subject who had posted on social media about his trespassing adventures on San Antonio Power Plant property and fishing in a prohibited area of Calaveras Lake. After reviewing several social media posts, the game wardens were able to identify the subject. Further investigation into the person determined that he was on felony probation. On Jan. 10, during the subject’s scheduled court appearance with his probation officer and judge Bexar County game wardens presented evidence of his illegal fishing activities. Case and restitution are pending.
A Net Gain Avoids a Big Loss
Zapata County game wardens responding to a tip about an illegal gill net in the Rio Grande River wound up with an impressive haul of monofilament. After discovering the set tied to a tree in a cove on the Texas side of the river, wardens ended up hauling out nearly 4,000 feet of gill net containing various species of fish and turtles. Many of the entangled critters were released back into the water alive.
A Costly Disqualification
A Webb County game warden was wrapping up hunting license checks on participants that had entered their trophy bucks into the Muy Grande deer contest. During his inspection, he noticed one lucky hunter had two entries in the Macho Grande Division (for most points) and had been awarded both first and second place in that category. A hunting license check revealed that the hunter only possessed a valid “Resident Year-From-Purchase All Water Package” fishing license, not a hunting license. The next day the warden contacted a Hunt County game warden, who assisted with checking the harvest log at the ranch where the two winning white-tailed deer trophies had been harvested, along with one other buck. All three deer racks scored over 200 on the Boone & Crocket scoring system. Turns out the hunter had recorded in the harvest log his hunting license number from the previous year. Wardens seized the deer from a taxidermist, and the hunter was cited for hunting without a valid license. Cases pending.
A Poaching Slam
A tip about a headless, untagged white-tailed deer hanging in a barn on a neighboring ranch sparked an investigation by a Kent County game warden. The warden located the deer carcass and was able to track down the primary suspect. The suspect freely admitted to killing the deer on the ranch and leaving it to rot, and further to killing an aoudad sheep there too. He had no valid hunting license and no permission to hunt on the property. The warden issued appropriate citations seized the man’s rifle and the heads of the poached animals. During additional questioning, the suspect also admitted to having killed a mule deer buck out of season in another county. The warden tacked on more citations and seized the muley. Cases pending.
Designated Drunk Driver
Game wardens were patrolling Van Zandt County when they observed a vehicle parked in the middle of the public roadway. The wardens contacted the vehicle and detected the odor of alcohol coming from both occupants. The operator stated that she was trying to take her intoxicated friend to his residence, but he was too drunk to give her directions. When the wardens had the operator exit the vehicle, they noticed several “Jello shots” on the driver side floorboard. The driver admitted to drinking alcohol and taking multiple medications that would impair her ability to operate a motor vehicle. She was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated, and wardens allowed her passenger to call a friend to pick him up at the scene. When the passenger’s friend arrived, wardens made contacted and determined that the operator of this vehicle had also been consuming alcohol. After failing standard field sobriety tests, the driver of the second vehicle was also arrested for DWI. Both individuals were transported to the Van Zandt County Jail and cases are pending.