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Game Warden Field Notes

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

A Soaring Full Recovery

In October 2018 a Titus County game warden responded to a call of an injured hawk laying in a county road bar ditch. On arrival, the warden discovered that the bird was actually a scarce juvenile southern bald eagle that was very sick and could not stand. The bird was transported to Last Chance Forever Bird of Prey Conservancy in San Antonio for extensive rehabilitation. The bird was suffering from a severe case of botulism. After making a complete recovery, the eagle was returned to Monticello County Park in Titus County where it was released back into the wild by Conservancy staff in late March.

Oh, Snap!

In the early morning hours of March 30, a Morris County game warden received a text informing him there was a video on SnapChat of an airboat with underage people on it possibly bow fishing and consuming alcohol. The warden remembered a trailer parked at a boat ramp on the north end of Lake O’ The Pines that could potentially be a trailer for an airboat. He was able to locate the airboat from the shore and waited until the boat arrived back at the boat ramp. The vessel was found to be occupied by six males all under the age of 21 and alcohol was found in a cooler onboard. All occupants confessed to bow fishing as well. Multiple citations and warnings were issued for Minor in Possession of Alcohol, no fishing license, and improper lights on the vessel. All cases are pending.

Busted by the ‘Gram

On March 29 a Real County game warden received an Operation Game Thief wildlife Crimestoppers hotline call about a video of someone shooting a turkey off the roadside. The warden contacted the caller, and they stated there was a video on Instagram of a male subject shooting a turkey out of a truck window. Upon viewing the video, the warden recognized the area near Barksdale, and referencing images of the individual’s truck and license plate that also were posted to that Instagram account was able to gain the suspect’s ID and address in Laredo. The warden enlisted assistance from a Webb County game warden, who interviewed the subject and his accomplice and obtained confessions to shooting the turkey from a public road. Several citations were issued to both, and the cases are pending.

Left the Life Jacket at Camp

A kayaker learned recently the hard way that a life jacket doesn’t work unless you wear it. On March 30 Bexar County game wardens responded by boat to assist a San Antonio man who was in distress after his kayak had flipped over at Calaveras Lake. A fisherman met the wardens at the boat ramp and pointed to the victim about 100 yards from shore struggling in rough water. Wind gusts were at about 20 mph as both wardens approached the struggling kayaker, who was drifting further into the lake. The wardens observed the man go underwater at one point as they got close, but were able to grab hold of him. After assessing his condition, the wardens secured the kayak and returned to shore. An examination of the kayak revealed a crack in the hull, which may have contributed to the accident. When asked why he wasn’t wearing a life jacket the victim explained that his life jacket was back at the camping site and he forgot to bring it. They issued the man a citation for not having a life jacket while operating the kayak.

Facebook Advertising Works

On April 3, a Titus County game warden completed a joint investigation on a local wholesale fish dealer for illegally importing and selling whole, unprocessed alligator from Louisiana. This investigation was initiated when an unprocessed alligator was advertised for sell on Facebook in Henderson County by an unlicensed retail fish dealer. The wholesale dealer in Titus County was found to have illegally imported the undocumented alligators into Texas for resale. One citation issued for No Alligator Wholesale Dealer Permit. Two warning citations were also issued for No Alligator Import Permit and two warning citations for Illegal sale of an alligator.

No Overnight Parking

On April 5, a Titus County game warden completed an investigation on three men who were illegally entering Lake Bob Sandlin State Park late at night to fish. The subjects were videotaped for months driving the wrong way down a one-way street, attempting to bypass the security cameras, and enter the park without paying. Two of these subjects had been warned numerous times by state park police and park staff, with six citations issued for Fail to Pay Entrance Fee for State Park, two tickets for Parking where Prohibited – Handicapped Zone, and one for No Fishing License. One subject was also arrested for Fishing after License Suspended or Revoked. Warning Citations were issued to one individual for Assault by Threat and Disorderly Conduct by Language. All three subjects were also issued a Criminal Trespass Warning from the state park, which will restrict them from entering the premises for one year.

Hot to Trot

On April 8, while patrolling Cow Bayou for water safety violations, Orange County wardens encountered an untagged saltwater trotline that had been freshly set. After they picked up the trotline, one of the wardens attached his card to one of the end posts to see if the fisherman would call him. Later that afternoon in another part of the bayou, the wardens came across a vessel with two fishermen clearly tending another saltwater trotline. When asked what they were doing, one fisherman replied, “About to get a ticket, I guess.” He admitted to having placed the untagged trotline, and two others, including the one the wardens picked up earlier. Also, he said that he got the card off his other marker and was going to call after he got off the water. After receiving the citations, he removed the remaining trotlines and returned the illegally caught resources to the bayou. Case pending.