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Game Warden Field Notes

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement compiled the following reports.

He’s a Rescue

Texas Game Wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents inspected some antique resale stores with alligator skulls, black bear mounts, waterfowl mounts, raptor mounts, and migratory bird mounts sale. During the inspection of one store, an individual entered with a pet possum. To possess, sell, or purchase a fur-bearer, a person must have a valid Fur-bearing Propagation Permit. The possum was confiscated and relocated to a licensed rehabber. Citations were issued, and cases are pending.

Dude, Where’s My Car?

A Bexar County game warden was patrolling Calaveras Creek by boat because the banks were closed to the public when they saw a person trespassing and then hiding in the mesquite brush. The warden called for backup, and two additional wardens and a K-9 officer arrived to assist. After an exhaustive search, they were still trying to locate the subject. One of the wardens continued navigating their vessel farther north into the creek when they spotted someone walking on the other side. The person was stopped and told he was trespassing. He said he didn’t have any fish or fishing gear and going back to the roadway where he had parked his van. His friend reportedly brought him to the property but had already left and was waiting at the truck. The warden exited the vessel and walked along the subject’s path, where they found an ice chest with six tilapia, one black bass, and a cast net. The man said he left the ice chest on the trail because he got scared. The K-9 handler radioed the warden to let them know the other suspect and van were gone. The man said, “How am I supposed to get home?” He told the warden his phone, wallet, and money were in the van, and his friend was supposed to wait for him. The warden arrested the man for criminal trespass, had him board the vessel, and transported him to the Bexar County Jail. Case pending with the District Attorney’s office.

Gig ‘Em

A Uvalde County game warden found an unaccompanied vehicle at a Nueces River crossing. Believing the occupants got into another car and drove down the river, the warden went to a hill overlooking the river a couple of miles away. There they saw four individuals walking down the river, three with gigs and spears and one with a fishing pole. The warden saw two of the individuals with snorkeling gear dive into the river with the gigs. Another person waved to the divers, who dived and emerged with a catfish at the end of a gig. The warden drove down to the group and discovered a fishing pole but no other fishing, gigging, or snorkeling equipment. After searching, the warden found the gigs and spears, which had been thrown in the water and concealed. The gigged catfish were nowhere around. The warden interviewed the four individually and found none of them had a fishing license. After talking with each subject, one finally admitted to gigging a catfish and leaving it at their last fishing spot some distance away. The catfish was retrieved and seized along with three gigs and spears. The warden issued multiple citations with civil restitution.

Not so Happy Hour

A Coryell County game warden and Falls County game warden were patrolling the Lake Waco area of McLennan County when they noticed a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. When the wardens attempted to pass, a truck cut them off, driving down the wrong side of the road. The vehicle pulled back over to the side of the road and waved the wardens to go by them. During the traffic stop, the wardens noticed the driver could not turn down the music on his radio. When asked what he was doing, the driver said, “I was just trying to…” The driver then picked up his beer and handed it to the wardens. They noticed the slurred speech from the driver, and he was unable to keep his balance as he exited the vehicle. After the Standard Field Sobriety Test, the driver was transported to the McLennan County Jail and booked into jail for a DWI. They obtained a blood specimen. The case is pending.

And That’s the Boat-tom Line

Three Bell County game wardens were patrolling Lake Belton checking crappie, white bass, and tournament men fishing when they came across a vessel hull identification number that did not conform to the U.S. Coast Guard standards. The wardens ran the TX number and received a flag on the vessel for a mandatory boat inspection. The man operating the boat had purchased it several days ago from another person who didn’t put the vessel in their name and failed to provide a title. The wardens contacted the current registered owner, who said that someone stole the boat from Belton in 2009, and they never made a police report. The wardens seized the vessel and issued citations to the subject who sold the boat.

His Name is Mudd (Bugs)

A Jefferson County game warden followed up on information from a social media post where a subject was selling live crawfish. When the warden contacted the seller, he claimed to own a catering company that sold live crawfish to local restaurants and individuals. The sale of live crawfish for commercial and personal use would require a Texas Wholesale Fish Dealer License. The man claimed over the phone that he had the proper license in Texas and Louisiana. After requesting an in-person meeting with the subject, the warden discovered that the person did not possess any commercial permits. His vehicle was not correctly marked to transport aquatic products.

Don’t be Shellfish

Two Jefferson County game wardens were patrolling the ship channel near Port Arthur when they saw a commercial truck about to be loaded with a pallet of shrimp at one of the local wholesale shrimp processing facilities. They stopped to inspect the vehicle and discovered it already had a cargo of 15 crates of fresh blue crab on board. The driver acted very suspiciously and claimed to have bought the crabs legally in Louisiana and transported them into Texas, which requires a Texas Wholesale Fish Dealer License. The driver could not produce a wholesale license or an aquatic product transportation invoice, or other documentation for where the crabs had originated. They contacted the wardens for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to assist with the investigation. They interviewed the dealer in Louisiana where the driver claimed the crabs had originated and discovered that the driver was deceptive. Texas game wardens seized all 15 crates of crabs and sold them to the highest bidder as required by law. The driver was issued citations and given warnings.

Oh-Fish-ially in Trouble

Galveston County game wardens received a call about two individuals catching sheepshead fish with a net and keeping over their bag limit. The wardens saw two over-flowing coolers with fish. When the wardens asked how they caught all the fish, they said, “with the net.” When inspecting the coolers, the wardens found two hidden bags also containing fish. The two individuals had possession of 47 sheepsheads (27 undersized), three speckled sea trout, and one 28” red drum. The wardens issued multiple citations to each individual. Cases are pending.