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Game Warden Field Notes

The Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement reports compile the following items.

Right Place, Right Time

A Hardin County game warden was patrolling Village Creek by boat when he came across a woman in distress at just the right time. Two ladies had been paddling in two separate canoes when one of the women flipped over in deep water with a strong current and couldn’t get loose from the trees or get her belongings out of the canoe. The warden gave her his life jacket. He instructed her to swim away from the canoe and move downstream to a sandbar. He then grabbed the canoe and pulled it in his patrol boat, and met both ladies downstream at the sandbar to make sure they were OK. He retrieved the lifejacket that she lost and gave it back to her, and they were on their way again. 

Pinocchio and Pinocchietta

A Hardin County game warden wrapped an investigation that began when the warden was looking for information on social media about a possible stolen boat. One of the individuals he was investigating had posted a photo last November of his fiancé posing with a white-tailed doe she had harvested. The warden checked his records and saw that the woman had purchased her hunting license at a store near her home the same day as the post, but at 7:00 pm, which was later than the social media post. Further investigation revealed that someone killed the deer on a ranch in Real County, and the warden enlisted the help of a Real County game warden to check the logbooks at the farm. When the Hardin County game warden interviewed the couple, they were adamant that they had purchased the hunting license before going on their week-long trip to the Hill Country and denied buying when they returned. The warden explained to the couple that he had time and date stamped information about when they purchased the license, and they had posted the picture of a harvested deer in Real County the same day she bought a permit in Hardin County. The couple still wasn’t convinced, so the warden went to the store where the license was purchased, and the loss prevention manager looked up the transaction. As expected, the video showed the couple at the store at 7:00 pm purchasing the hunting license. After showing them the pictures of themselves from the video, they admitted to buying the license when they returned from their trip. The warden filed citations for taking a white-tailed deer without a hunting license, and the case is pending. 

Losing all my Cool

A Polk County game warden was checking fisherman on a nearby shoreline for freshwater fishing compliance when he spotted a man emerging from under a bridge with a pole and tackle box. When the warden asked if he had a fishing license, the man said he didn’t need one because he wasn’t fishing. The warden showed the man the fresh bait and water dripping off the hook and asked if he would like to start over. The man then confessed to fishing, not having a license, and being on probation. When asked if he had any weapons or illegal narcotics, the man said he didn’t want to go to jail and admitted to having marijuana in his car. The warden started to do a pat-down search when the man turned and tried to distract the warden, then confessed to possibly having cocaine in his possession. The warden found multiple folded dollar bills containing a white powdery substance. A Polk County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Probation Officer was contacted and took over the case. Charges are pending. 

Guided by Gobbledygook

Around 11:00 pm, Schleicher County dispatch contacted a local game warden about a 911 call from two lost turkey hunters who stayed out too late and couldn’t find their vehicle. The warden called the hunter’s cell phone trying to find their location, but they were in a ranch they didn’t know the name or location of, and an out of town guide had shown them where to park. They had paid him in cash and only knew his first name. Due to poor cell service, the call was dropped so the warden texted them asking them to drop a pin of their location and call him back. The warden and two Schleicher County Deputies responded to the area where they made the 911 call, but the hunters had left. They turned on their emergency lights and sirens hoping to reach the hunters through the PA speakers. At 12:45 am, the hunters found cell service and called back. Their guide sent the pair a pin of his location and told them to walk to him. This pin was in the opposite direction of law enforcement and four miles away through three additional ranches. The warden confirmed that the hunters could hear the sirens and told them to walk to his location. Around 2:00 am, two very tired and dehydrated turkey hunters emerged from the woods and given water. The hunters described the road they drove to the ranch they were hunting on and found out the farm they were currently on was not where the hunt started. The hunters went through the unlocked, shared neighboring gate thinking it was a pasture gate. The hunters finally contacted their guide who was driving every county road and highway in the area and not at the location of his dropped pin.

Meanwhile, the warden coordinated with the guide to picking an intersection for them to meet. The hunters were dropped off with the guide around 3:00 am. The game warden issued one citation for no hunting license and strong encouragement to learn the full names of guides and precise locations of any future hunt. 

FIN-ito

Two Harris County game wardens were searching the web when they saw a restaurant advertising shark’s fin and shredded chicken soup on their menu. The wardens visited the location and inspected the restaurant’s aquatic resources and invoices. During the inspection, the wardens found what appeared to be frozen shark fins inside one of the freezers. One of the wardens asked the owner about the item in the fridge, and they confirmed it was shark fin and showed the warden to a nearby stove where someone cooled sharks fin soup for personal consumption. Shortly after, the second warden found another piece of shark’s fin wrapped in cellophane in a nearby freezer. The owner again insisted that it was for personal consumption. The warden then picked up a menu off a nearby table and pointed to the soup section, which listed sharks fin soup for sale. They seized all sharks fin and filed charges with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. 

Oy(ster) Vey

Three Harris County game wardens were inspecting commercial oyster on Galveston Bay when they came across a boat that had a sack of oysters with 15.29% undersized- three times the allowed limit. When asked about what they were using to measure the oysters, the captain said, “Nothing.” It was the captain’s second time cited for possessing undersized oysters. The warden returned approximately 1,100 pounds of oysters to the reef. 

Road Hunting is Not OK

A Red River County game warden received a report about possible road hunting that had just occurred. According to a witness, the vehicle had an Oklahoma license plate. After receiving information about where the road hunting had happened, the warden set up and waited at the intersection with the only routes back to Oklahoma. A short time later, a vehicle matching the witness’ description approached the intersection, and the warden conducted a traffic stop. The passenger admitted to shooting feral hogs from the road on private property and was taken to the Red River County Jail, where the warden filed the appropriate road hunting charges. The rifle, equipped with night vision and an attached spotlight, was seized. The cases are pending. 

Blinded by the Lights

Two Limestone County game wardens responded to a vehicle accident east of Mexia involving a vehicle overturned in a creek bed with a man trapped inside. Local authorities were able to remove the driver from the car, and wardens safely were assisting with traffic control on the road. That was when the wardens saw an SUV trying to go around their patrol vehicle, ignoring the emergency lights and roadblock. The wardens signaled the man to stop, and when they approached the car, he saw that the driver had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech. There were also several alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. The driver was detained and admitted to drinking several alcoholic drinks. After failing a field sobriety test, they placed him under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated and transported to the Limestone County Jail for booking. 

Acting Squirrelly

An Angelina County game warden was approaching a boat ramp on the Angelina River just before dark when he saw someone driving in his direction. A man quickly laid a gun on the bow of the boat and walked away. When the warden approached the two people aboard the vessel, one decided to change out of wet socks while the other kept talking on their cell phone. The warden unloaded the .22 rifle left on the bow and inspected a cooler in the boat. It contained a squirrel that was dressed and put on ice. Since the man started squirrel season six days early, he was issued a citation for hunting squirrels during a closed season. The case is pending. 

That’s a Twist; That’s Very Twisty

A Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy contacted a Williamson County game warden about a boat the deputy had stopped on Lake Travis that had the boat hull identification number visibly removed. The operator said he bought the vessel a short time ago and showed the officers a title and bill of sale. The deputy and warden investigated the paperwork of the boat and found out the title was legitimately signed, but the bill of sale falsified. Upon further inspection, the officers determined that the vessel didn’t match the paperwork the operator of the boat had presented. The registration number on the paperwork belonged to a Wellcraft. The validation number belonged to the operator but for a Kayot boat.

Additionally, the engine horsepower, serial number, and sterndrive number returned to a Baja vessel. The Baja was listed as stolen out of Travis County in January, along with the trailer. They contacted the owner of the Baja and verified the boat as the stolen vessel. They returned the boat and trailer to the original owner, and they charged the operator of the items with possession of the stolen property.