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Game Warden Field Notes

The Texas Parks Wildlife Department compiles the following items from recent law enforcement reports.

Penny Pinching

A Shelby County game warden followed up on an ongoing investigation of a local individual who had hunted without a valid hunting license when he shot a buck in 2019. The subject confessed to not buying the license to save money for college. Case pending.

Mama’s Got Your Back 

Two Harris County game wardens followed up on a local poaching complaint and discovered a suspect who had harvested a white-tailed doe had done so without landowner consent. The suspect confessed to poaching, and when asked to collect the deer meat, he was surprised to find his mom had hidden the illegal deer meat under the couch while the wardens visited with him outside the home. Multiple charges and restitution are pending. 

Holy Crappie

An Upshur County game warden received an anonymous tip about a substantial amount of fish cleaned and dumped at Lake O’ the Pines near Ore City. The warden and his partner responded and inspected the property where the fish were left and discovered that two out of state men fishing were responsible. The two fishermen had been fishing every day for a week and staying at a local marina motel. Further investigation revealed 273 crappie, 173 fish over the legal state possession limit, were taken, filleted, and stored in ice chests and freezers on the property. Wardens seized more than 350 crappie fillets and donated them to multiple families around the area. Numerous charges and restitution are pending.

Turtle-y Illegal

A person notified a warden about a local pet store complaint in San Antonio that had a tortoise for sale. Upon inspection of the pet store, the warden seized a Texas Tortoise (a threatened species) that was “given” to the store. Further investigation revealed the store was also selling Mississippi Map Turtles and River Cooter Turtles without a non-game dealer’s license, and charges were pending.

What’s in the Bag?

A Val Verde County game warden was patrolling the northern end of the county for white-tailed deer hunting compliance when he contacted several subjects who were acting evasive when asked simple hunting related questions. Further questioning revealed the group had been trespassing and duck hunting without licenses or duck stamps between their deer hunt. The warden found the breasted-out ducks neatly stored in a potato chip bag. Multiple cases and restitution are pending.

See You Later, Alligator

Three game wardens from Johnson, Ellis, and Harris Counties and a State Park Police Officer concluded a three-month investigation into an alligator poaching case. In mid-September, game wardens received a tip about an individual living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who had poached an alligator somewhere on the Trinity River at night while bow fishing. After an extensive search, the subject was identified and found to live in Waxahachie. Two of the wardens questioned the individual at his home and, after some time, he admitted to shooting the alligator. The man told wardens that it happened on a stretch of the Trinity River near Centerville, and his friend had been driving the boat and working the spotlight. The friend shot the alligator with a pistol after hitting it with the bow twice. The warden recovered the head of the alligator buried on his parent’s property. With information about the additional suspect, a warden and park police officer questioned the friend who also confessed to poaching the alligator. Multiple charges and civil restitution are pending.

Fowl Play

A Knox County game warden received a call about someone hunting without landowner consent, so they partnered with a Haskell County game warden and responded. After a quick investigation, the landowner requested that the deer hunter remove his belongings and leave the property. Soon after, the wardens stopped on a road that travels through a ranch and saw an unknown vehicle with two men driving towards them. When they made contact, the men told the wardens they had not hunted that morning. One of the wardens found three turkey feathers and blood stuck to the hitch rack at the vehicle’s rear. When asked about the feathers, they denied killing anything. The men were separated, and wardens got a confession from one of them about killing two turkeys an hour earlier. The hunter that killed the turkeys failed to tag the birds and had hidden the breast under the vehicle’s back seat. The wardens seized the turkey meat and donated it to a family in need. Multiple charges and restitution are pending.

Repeat Offender

A Uvalde County game warden was on patrol when she saw a subject shoot from a vehicle on a farm to market road. After a short pursuit, the truck pulled over, and she contacted the subject. At first, he said he didn’t shoot but finally admitted to shooting at a coyote. When the warden retrieved the gun, she noticed a deer backstrap in a plastic bag in the back seat. The man said he got the meat from his uncle. The warden and the man went to the uncle’s house to confirm the story, and after a short visit, the man finally admitted to shooting the deer at night from another public road in the area. Multiple charges and restitution are pending. 

Nutty Timing 

Two Newton County game wardens received a call about two suspects hunting white-tailed deer on private property without landowner consent. The wardens responded to the area and located the suspects in possession of an untagged white-tail deer and several squirrels. After further investigation, the wardens determined they had been hunting on multiple private tracts of land that morning without landowner consent and had illegally harvested the squirrels and a white-tailed doe. Numerous charges and restitution are pending. 

Mississippi or Bust 

A Lubbock District game warden was patrolling for mule deer compliance in Lamb County when he came across a group of hunters loading up a mule deer buck. After checking their hunting licenses, the warden noticed a mule deer tag missing from one of the hunters’ licenses. The hunter said he hadn’t taken a deer this season. When asked about the missing tag, the man told the warden that he had put it on a mule deer another hunter killed. The warden asked the location of the antlers, and the hunter wasn’t sure. The investigation revealed the antlers were probably in Mississippi with a local taxidermist. The warden called the taxidermist, and the antlers were, in fact, there. Texas contacted a Mississippi warden, and he seized the antlers. The warden cited the hunter for allowing another to hunt under their license. The warden later got the hunter who shot the mule deer, and he named her for hunting without a hunting license, hunting under someone else’s license, and no hunter education. Charges and restitution are pending.

Facebooked 

A Limestone County game warden obtained a social media picture involving a female hunter posing with a freshly harvested white-tailed doe in Kosse. The warden began their investigation and determined that the suspect did not have a valid Texas hunting license. Since the woman resided in College Station at Texas A&M University, the warden reached out to a Brazos County game warden for assistance. After a brief interview, the woman admitted to harvesting the white-tailed doe during opening weekend and using her father’s hunting license tag to tag her deer correctly. The meat was processed and taken to her father’s residence in Montgomery County. A Montgomery County game warden contacted the father and inspected the deer meat. Multiple charges and warnings were issued, and civil restitution is pending.