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Game Warden Field Notes

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports compiled the following recent items.

Skunked

A Rockwall County Game Warden responded to a call from a local law enforcement officer about a traffic stop involving three subjects that had been driving the neighborhoods shooting rabbits from a public roadway. When the warden arrived on the scene, he found three young men standing around a truck with a bed full of dead rabbits. One young man was only wearing a trucker hat, boots, and some brightly colored underwear. The subjects said they had shot a skunk earlier in the evening and when the individual approached it, the skunk sprayed him. The others wouldn’t let him back in the truck with his clothes. Citations are pending.

Don’t Pull the Plug

Game Wardens were patrolling for bank fishing on Lake Ray Hubbard when they observed a vessel drifting away from the boat ramp that appeared to be sinking. Witnesses say they heard the operator yelling to call 911 after he forgot to install the drain plug. The wardens used their vehicle’s loud speaker to instruct the individual, who was seated in the bow of the boat, to put on a life jacket. He complied, and the wardens asked another boat coming into the ramp to tow him to shore. Once the boat was back on a trailer and draining water, the owner confessed to the wardens that this was only his second time on the water. During his maiden voyage, he had damaged his truck’s tailgate while attempting to load the boat on the trailer. The wardens provided some advice and a water safety digest to the new boat owner.

Bagged and Tagged

Grayson County Game Wardens were tipped off about a white-tailed deer that was shot with a firearm in an archery-only county in November 2016. The wardens confronted the individual at his home and questioned him about the big buck. The subject eventually admitted he killed the deer with a pistol, after several shots, and then tagged the deer as being harvested in Fannin County. They seized the deer and issued several citations. The cases are pending. The deer scored over 177 inches under the Boone & Crockett scoring system, netting a civil restitution value of over $10,000.

Not for Sale

A Titus County Game Warden responded to a complaint of a subject selling catfish without a commercial license. The subject was arrested for warrants out of Upshur County and also cited for not having a commercial fishing license. Warnings were issued for the waste of fish and selling flathead catfish.

Baited Birds

Smith County Game Wardens were patrolling during opening weekend when they came across several hunters finishing up cleaning dove. During the check, they determined the nine hunters were hunting over an area baited with milo. They issued citations for hunting dove over a baited area. Wardens seized 97 birds and donated them to a local needy family. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

The Buck Stops Here

A Goliad County Game Warden received a call from a landowner claiming to have found a dead white-tailed buck on his property that appeared shot. After talking to the owner and inspecting the deer, the warden concluded it someone had shot and killed the deer. The farmer told the officer he had stopped a vehicle near his property late the night before and got the driver’s name. An investigation into the shooting resulted in multiple cases filed against four individuals. They filed civil restitution charges for a white-tailed buck deer scoring 125 1/8 Boone & Crockett.

Holy Snap!

In mid-August, game wardens participated in a joint patrol operation in the Gulf of Mexico targeting fishing violations for reef fish and highly migratory species. While on patrol, wardens observed a recreational fishing vessel fishing near gulf shrimp boats and made contact with the ten people on board. During the inspection, they found that there were 40 red snappers on board. Each was over their federal limit of two red snappers per person. Cases were filed and referred for federal violations and federal restitution on 20 red snappers over the limit on board the vessel.

Caught and Released

A Williamson County Game Warden was patrolling the Overlook Park on Lake Georgetown following several complaints that people were taking undersized striped bass. The warden found one individual who didn’t have a valid fishing license and was in possession of three striped bass measuring 17, 18, and 19 inches. The warden confiscated the fish and was able to release two of them back into the water alive. He donated the other striped bass to a needy family. He issued the fisherman citations for not having a fishing license and possession of undersized striped bass. Civil restitution is pending.

After the Storm

Willacy County Game Wardens wasted no time patrolling the county upon returning from Hurricane Harvey disaster relief operations in Woodsboro and Rockport. During the opening weekend of dove season, the wardens seized at least 80 mourning dove from various groups for violations ranging from no hunting license, to over daily bag limit and unplugged shotgun. They also even made time to surprise a couple of gill netters as they were retrieving their nets and catch out of the water. They issued over 30 citations. The cases and restitution are pending.