Game Warden Field Notes
Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement compiles the following reports.
Pepé Le Chew
The Mount Pleasant law enforcement Office received a call from a man in the Winfield area who needed advice. He and his five-year-old grandson were outside, and there was a small, young skunk eating food with their cats. His grandson started hand-feeding the skunk, and after a minute, the skunk bit him on the finger and toe. The caller wasn’t sure how to handle the situation and asked if a game warden should capture the skunk. The officer advised the caller to take the grandchild to the hospital and have the skunk checked for rabies. Later that week, a local vet office called the Mount Pleasant law enforcement Office to let them know the skunk tested positive for rabies. The department of health services and the local sheriff’s office received the report.
Flew Too Close to The Sun
Cherokee, Anderson, and Houston County game wardens executed a search warrant after receiving information about an individual who admitted to a friend he had been firing at deer from the road and confessed to shooting a deer in the Davy Crocket National Forest from the roadway. The individual was also heard saying his “deer season never ends.” The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department was asked to assist in the entry of the house because the suspected individual had previously shot at police and fleeing. Upon entry of the suspect’s home, they found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia along with poor living conditions. Inside the residence were two adult females, one adult male and two juvenile females ages nine and 16. Charges filed by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department included: possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia and endangering of a child – state jail felony. The male individual was also currently on parole at the time of the execution of the search warrant. Game wardens are investigating the poaching of deer.
Not His Biggest Fan
Following up on months of investigation and numerous tips, Lubbock district game wardens wrapped up an investigation dating back to 2015. It started when a landowner in Scurry County noticed several of his fences were being cut once every few months, with no other known barriers in the area affected. Within the last three months, it began to happen in more spots and with increased frequency. The wardens decided to place a hidden camera on one of the county roads where the fence cutting occurred the most, and on Sept. 28, the landowner called the wardens and told them that someone cut his fences in five different locations. After reviewing the video, there was only one vehicle spotted during the suspected timeframe, and they found footprints at each site where they had cut the fence. After further investigation, the wardens located the driver, and he admitted to cutting the fences on separate occasions dating back to 2015. He stated he was mad at the landowner because he chose not to put wind turbines on his land, and it made it harder for him to plan and build roads for the turbines on the neighboring properties. He also told the wardens that his company offered the landowner an excellent price to put them on his land, and he should have participated like everyone else. During the interview, the individual also admitted to hunting without landowner consent on two different occasions, along with burglary of a building. Overall, the individual was arrested and charged with the following: ten counts of criminal mischief – state jail felony, theft of a building – state jail felony, two counts of hunting feral hogs without landowner consent – class A misdemeanor, two counts of criminal trespass with a deadly weapon – class A misdemeanor, and one count of possession of a protected species (owl talons) – class C misdemeanor.
On The Lam
On Oct. 14, a Schleicher County game warden received a call from a concerned citizen about a “big turtle” in the middle of the highway on Toe Nail Trail. Upon arriving at the scene out in the middle of a very rural part of the county, the game warden found a giant sulcata tortoise just hanging out on the farm-to-market highway. After a newspaper article, Facebook postings, and multiple phone calls, the game warden was able to locate the sulcata tortoise’s owner. The giant tortoise had escaped his enclosure by pushing on a weak spot of a fence and had been on the lam in the West Texas countryside for ten days. Another happy ending in Eldorado, Texas.
The Camera Doesn’t Lie
A Williamson County game warden received information about a woman who posted a picture on social media taking her first teal the previous weekend on Granger public land. The game warden found her contact information and discovered that she was from Hays County. The game warden conducted a record check, and although she did have a valid hunting license, she had no hunter education. When wardens contacted her at her residence and conducted a field interview, she denied shooting it the previous weekend and said she shot the last weekend of teal season. The husband came out and told the game warden they shot it two weekends ago. The game warden kept interviewing both parties, and the husband finally admitted taking out his waterfowl decoys to see if any teal would come. The warden got a confession from both parties that they both took a teal each during the closed season. The game warden filed citations and civil restitution.
Cracked Under Pressure
A Llano County game warden responded to a call from San Saba dispatch regarding an active poaching situation. Once on scene, a landowner claimed to have witnessed someone shoot one of his red stag deer from the neighboring property. They photographed the scene and gathered evidence, but the warden was unable to contact the other property owner. The following morning, game wardens went back to San Saba to meet with the hunters from the alleged violator’s property. They identified one subject as having been hunting in the blind near the incident at the time it occurred. The subject swore he did not shoot across property lines and even provided a written statement claiming he didn’t. The person appeared nervous, and the game warden advised the subject of the charges he was facing. The suspect finally cracked and stated, “I messed up.” He went on to confess to shooting the red stag, even though he had already lawfully shot a doe on his property 45 minutes prior. They will charge the subject with hunting without landowner’s consent, and the case is still pending.
Prong Side of the Law
Amarillo district game wardens made contact with three individuals on a side by side ATV. At first contact, they admitted they had shot a doe pronghorn. After interviewing all three individuals, they discovered that the shooting of the doe was approximately an hour before, and they were on the way to a different property to dump the carcass, in hopes that no one would find it. Citations for hunting in a closed season and invalid permits were issued.
Blinded by The Light
A caller notified the Montgomery County game warden of road hunting activity who said that headlights being shined in his window awoke him. He got up to see a vehicle turning around in his driveway. The caller claimed that he was able to document the license plate and then went to sleep. The next day, he noticed the shaft of an arrow and blood in his front yard. The game warden located the owner of the vehicle and received a full confession. The suspect admitted to shooting a buck in the caller’s yard. He also admitted to shooting at two other deer on the same night. The game warden filed charges of hunting deer at night and hunting deer with artificial light.
Follow Your Arrow, Unless You’re This Guy
A Liberty County game warden received a call from an employee of a private subdivision near Dayton, Texas, reporting that he had just observed a man dragging and trying to load a whitetail deer into his vehicle from private subdivision property. When he confronted the man, the subject said he had just found the dead deer and didn’t want it to go to waste. The employee noticed the deer had an entry and exit wound from an arrow that had been used to kill it. After a brief investigation, the subject confessed to shooting the deer while hunting without landowner consent. Cases and restitution are pending.
Hiding in Plain Sight
A Jefferson County game warden was patrolling along Hwy 73 in Port Arthur. That was when he recognized a truck parked alongside the highway near a popular fishing spot. It belonged to a local subject that had an arrest warrant. Less than six months prior, the game warden had issued the suspect a citation for no fishing license and then later discovered his suspended license. That arrest warrant for fishing, while license suspended, had not been served. The game warden watched with binoculars from a distance and observed the subject with the outstanding warrant fishing yet again. He contacted the subject and placed him under arrest for the outstanding warrant and a new charge of fishing while license suspended and put him in the Jefferson County Jail. The cases are pending.