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Game Warden Field Notes

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

Not Buying That Story

A game warden got a call regarding possible trespassing and deer poaching case in Leon County, and along with several Leon County sheriff’s deputies made contact with the complainant. The landowner informed the officers that he heard several shots near his property line and observed a kid with a .22 rifle on his side of the fence. The landowner stated that he fired three shots into the air with his 9mm handgun to scare the trespasser off his property, and then observed the juvenile subject quickly drive away on an ATV from a freshly killed white-tailed deer. The warden searched the area and could not locate fresh footprints, ATV tire tracks or spent .22 rifle cartridges. The warden then asked the landowner the location of where he discharged his 9mm handgun and after searching that area could not locate any spent pistol cartridges. The white-tailed deer was found, and the warden determined that the direction the deer was laying did not match up with the stories from the landowner. Upon further investigation, the landowner admitted that he had made it all up and confessed to killing the white-tailed deer. The landowner stated he was operating his riding lawn mower and fired three shots at the white-tailed deer with his .22 rifle. Charges and civil restitution against the landowner for taking deer out of season are pending.

Sting Operation

On March 14, Bexar County game wardens received a call from a complainant that a store was advertising the sale of a freshwater stingray on Facebook. Freshwater stingrays are illegal in Texas. Game wardens went to visit the seller to verify the exotic species. The seller was unaware of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Prohibited and Exotic Species list. The seller stated the freshwater stingray was bought from another store in another state. Many thanks to the concerned caller who alerted game wardens.

That’s a Match

Henderson County game wardens responded to a trespassing call concerning a group of hog hunters. The hunters reportedly entered a property without permission and released their dogs. The dogs chased a hog and bayed it on an adjoining property. It just so happened that the landowner’s agent was watching this all unfold and sent the wardens a photo of the trespasser’s pickup. While patrolling in the area, the wardens passed a truck with a dog box in the bed that matched one from the photo the landowner sent earlier in the day. The wardens made contact, questioned what was in the dog box, and after a brief conversation, the truck’s occupants admitted to trespassing and hunting without landowner consent. Numerous cases were filed.

Netted in the Act

Game wardens received a tip through the wildlife Crimestoppers Operation Game Thief hotline about an individual using a cast net to catch game fish at the San Gabriel River in Williamson County. The complainant also provided photographic evidence of the illegal act. Upon arrival at the scene, a warden observed a fisherman in the middle of the river catching white bass with a cast net. The subject had a stringer full of white bass, and other species of fish, but no fishing pole. Criminal citations and civil restitution were issued for illegal fishing and possession of 18 white bass, two crappies, and two largemouth bass.

Random Acts

Game wardens in East Texas recently caught up to individuals responsible for several random illegal acts involving wildlife. A Jasper County warden and a Houston County warden are investigating a case concerning the alleged unlawful killing of at least three whitetail deer at night, with one of the animals being bludgeoned to death with a piece of wood in a convenience store parking lot. The wardens were able to locate the suspects in Jasper and interview them. It was determined that two deer and three rabbits were killed from a public road in mid-December. The three suspects had also shot another deer at night from a highway that was not recovered, shot and missed two bucks at night from a public road, and road hunted multiple times at night while attempting to take whitetail deer. The meat from two of the killed deer was left to rot in an ice chest for three months. It was also confirmed the subjects beat a wounded deer to death after trying to break its neck and cut its throat. The wardens seized and processed three cellular phones related to the investigation and are going through the digital evidence to confirm the original information received and to sort out additional charges with regards to possession of an alligator snapping turtle and catching alligators with a rod and reel. The investigation continues, and charges are pending.

Joy Riding in the Riverbed

On March 23, a Montgomery County game warden was patrolling along the San Jacinto River and stopped a man for operating an ATV in the riverbed. After running the ATV identification numbers through dispatch, the ATV was found to have been stolen from the Beaumont area in 2013. The ATV was seized and transported to storage for safekeeping.