Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement compiled the following reports.
Texas Means Friendship
In late February, a Uvalde County game warden contacted the Uvalde County Emergency Management Chief about getting pallets of bottled water for the Rocksprings school. Uvalde County had just received several shipments of bottled water that they wanted to share with neighboring counties. An Edwards County game warden said the Rocksprings school needed bottled water since the county was still without water in many places. With the help of two other game wardens, the wardens loaded and delivered four pallets of water to the school. The Edwards County warden, his wife, and several students worked together to unload the water at several locations around campus.
Lending a Helping Hand
In mid-February, two Zapata County game wardens collected more than 500 invasive tilapia and 50 plecostomus catfish from Falcon Lake that the winter storm stunned the winter storm. They donated all of the tilapia to Zapata County residents, the majority of whom had been without power for more than 85 hours at the time.
Who Ya Gonna Call
A Jasper County game warden received a call about a deer killed out of season. Upon arriving at the residence, the warden and their partner noticed a bloody cooler with loppers lying next to it. The residence owner told the wardens that he picked up the deer from the side of the road. When asked if he notified anyone, the man said, “Yes. I called 911, but no one answered.” It was later determined the individual shot the deer on his property. Citations were issued.
From the Mouths of Babes
Three Williamson County game wardens were checking night fisherman at Lake Granger and the San Gabriel River when one of the wardens spotted a man and child using a cast net along the Wilson Fox Fishing Pier bank. The wardens contacted the individuals, and the child said they had several fish in a bucket, and one was a massive fish. The warden inspected the fish, pulled out a largemouth bass measuring 14 inches, and asked the child if he caught the big fish. The child replied, “No, my brother caught it with the cast net.” When confronted, the adult admitted to catching one largemouth bass and crappie. The warden filed citations and civil restitution.
A Bexar County game warden was patrolling the southside of San Antonio when they saw vehicle tire tracks entering a water treatment facility. The warden entered the property to search for trespassers when he saw a man on a kayak along the banks of the private lake. The suspect caught a five-pound bass, weighed it, took a picture with his cell phone, and then put the bass into his kayak. When the man saw the game warden truck, he said, “Hi.” The man told the warden he drove his vehicle around the gate and fence to enter the property. Water treatment security arrived at the scene to sign a non-consent form, and the suspect was arrested and booked. The case is pending.
Adopt Don’t Shop
A Mitchell/Howard County game warden received a call about a Howard County resident who admitted to having a juvenile American Alligator without a proper permit. The warden met with the resident and was able to take custody of the young alligator. When interviewing the resident, the warden discovered that the resident was given the alligator by another individual who could not take care of it. Later that week, the warden met with the original owner, who admitted having possession of the alligator. The warden relocated the juvenile alligator to a rehabilitation center, and charges are pending.
Game Wardens’ Best Friend
An Orange County game warden responded to a call from a petroleum company to report someone hunting without landowner consent. Upon arrival on the property, the warden identified and made contact with an individual within the property and admitted to hunting hogs with dogs. Another subject was hiding in the woods, but the warden could get his name and phone number from one of the dogs’ collars. After more than an hour and a half, the subject came out of the woods. The warden identified and released both to obtain non-consent affidavits from the landowner’s agent. Cases are pending on both.
Three Williamson County game wardens were checking night fishermen at Lake Granger and the San Gabriel River when they saw a man and woman loading up their fishing gear and getting ready to leave. The warden identified himself and asked if they had any luck, and the woman replied and said they had caught two fish. Both individuals showed the wardens their valid fishing licenses and let the warden see the two fish they had on the stringer. The warden saw a Styrofoam ice chest and asked them if they had any fish in there. The man said, “Yes, we do, but one might be small.” The warden opened the ice chest and found two undersized crappies measuring nine inches. He filed citations and civil restitution.
Caught Red Handed
A Matagorda County game warden received a call about a group of individuals keeping undersized redfish on Sargent Beach. The warden and their partner drove to the location and spotted the vehicle. While waiting for the initial car to exit the beach, another call came in about another vehicle suspected of keeping too many redfish. The wardens had both in their sight. When they contacted the first vehicle, the second turned around and started heading away from the wardens. One of the wardens made contact with the fleeing vehicle before it got away. They found a total of 26 separate violations. Appropriate citations were issued, and they donated the seized fish. Cases and restitution are pending.
Fishin’ for Trouble
An Orange County game warden and a Newton County game warden teamed up to conduct a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) patrol out of Sabine Pass into the Gulf of Mexico. They spotted a boat doing some commercial fishing and conducted a patrol stop on their way back to the port. During their inspection, they found the boat did not display commercial fishing plates. The captain did not have written authorization to use the license, and a helper on board didn’t have a license as a general commercial fisherman. The cases are pending on both commercial fishermen.
Honesty Goes a Long Way
A Newton County game warden was patrolling southern Newton County when he saw an ATV being illegally operated on a public roadway while the occupants were holding rifles. When the warden contacted the suspects and noticed they had a spotlight with them. The warden asked them what they were doing, and the group said they were riding around looking for animals to shoot from the roadway, but they hadn’t killed anything yet. Cases are pending.