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Game Warden Field Notes

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

No Fishing License, But a Lot of Other Stuff

On May 11, a Navarro County game warden was patrolling around Richland Chambers Reservoir when he noticed individual fishing near one of the boat ramps. As the warden approached, the person fishing confessed, “I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t have a fishing license.” That proved to be the extent of his truthfulness. Actually, he didn’t have any identification and couldn’t recall the name of the person who owned the vehicle he was driving. The individual also claimed he no longer had anything illegal left on his person or in the car. Afterward, during a probable cause search of his person and the vehicle, multiple illicit narcotics and paraphernalia items were discovered. The subject was arrested and transported to the Navarro County Jail on several drug-related offenses. He was also cited for not having a fishing license.

A Boatload of Fish

On May 6, Jasper County game wardens received information alleging three local crappie fishing guides were permitting out-of-state fishermen to violate bag limits. The daily limit for crappie is 25 fish greater than 10 inches in length. An investigation found 808 crappies had been retained by a dozen anglers, resulting in 245 game law violations. Several cases are pending, along with civil restitution.

Casting a Wide Illegal Net

A Matagorda County game warden received an anonymous tip on May 3 about a group fishing with a large cast net off the jetties. Once at the scene, the warden made contact with a vehicle and two occupants in possession of an ice chest full of undersized fish and an oversized cast net. During questioning of the subjects, the warden learned they had three accomplices aboard a canoe on the other side of the Colorado River. A second warden arrived and rounded up the other subjects. Once the dust settled on the investigation, game wardens had tallied 125 separate game law violations between the five individuals. It included no valid fishing license, possession of undersized sheepshead, possession of small speckled trout, the property of small black drum, over the daily bag limit of sheepshead, insufficient number of PFDs, improper lights on the vessel, illegal means and methods, and illegal cast net. The appropriate citations were issued, and fish were donated. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

Improperly in Disposed

Back in mid-February, a Rockwall County game warden was notified of a vessel half sunk near a boat ramp. After being pulled from the water, it was quickly determined it had been dumped intentionally. The last registered owner told wardens he didn’t want it and had posted it to an online auction site where it was purchased. The new owner had not registered the boat, but a subpoena served to the online auction site led wardens to the user data of the purchaser. The suspect was discovered to be incarcerated in Dallas County Jail for other charges. The suspect was interviewed at Dallas County Jail and provided a written confession. An arrest warrant was secured for Illegal Dumping over 1,000 pounds, a state jail felony offense.

No Snapchatting Gator Selfies

A Louisiana game warden reached out to his counterparts in Sabine County about several individuals who had posted to Snapchat their alligator catching adventure on the Texas side of Toledo Bend Reservoir. A Texas game warden traveled to Sabine Parrish to assist with the investigation. The cooperation between the neighboring states was essential and beneficial to the research. While being interviewed, the suspect stated he and the other men were fishing around the Indian Mounds area and caught the alligator on the bank, took pictures of the alligator, and then released it. The individuals each received one citation and a couple of warnings.

Live Feed Leads to Poaching Arrests

A Liberty County landowner alerted game wardens of evidence someone had been poaching on his property near Dayton. The wardens set up a live feed, motion detection security camera at the location so they could receive real-time cell phone notifications should they return. Within a week, wardens got an alert and via the live video feed observed two individuals on the property carrying rifles. The wardens drove to the scene and arrested both subjects, who admitted to hunting hogs and rabbits on the property without landowner consent. Both were arrested and transported to the Liberty County Jail for booking.

And Space for 15

Webb County game wardens were on patrol when they spotted a late model Ford Expedition that failed to maintain a single lane of travel and appeared to be loaded down in the rear of the vehicle. The wardens followed and conducted a traffic stop at which time approximately 15 people bailed out and started running. The wardens were able to apprehend the driver and six subjects. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived on scene and were able to track down three more individuals. The driver admitted to being paid $200 to drive the individuals to San Antonio. All subjects were turned over to Border Patrol, and the driver was arrested on third-degree felony human smuggling charges.

No Cell Signal

On the evening of May 4, a Williamson County game warden was patrolling near the Lake Granger spillway when from a distance he observed a couple taking turns using a cast net in the San Gabriel River. The male pulled out three catfish and put them in a white ice chest. When the warden saw the female walk toward the parking lot, he drove down to the spillway and made contact. Upon seeing the warden approaching, the female immediately tried calling someone on her cell phone but was unsuccessful due to poor reception. Asked if she was fishing, she said no, just walking her dog. After letting her know he had seen her and her male companion in the middle of the river using a cast net, she confessed. The warden also asked if she was attempting to tip off her friend, and she confirmed that as well. They were both cited for no fishing license and for illegal fishing means and methods. Civil restitution is pending.

TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, under state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.