|Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN, October 16, 2017 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
With That License? A Jackalope, Maybe
A Presidio County game warden was checking a hunting camp for game law compliance during the second day of pronghorn antelope season when he came upon an out-of-state hunter who had harvested a pronghorn. The hunter did possess a valid pronghorn permit. But, upon inspection of his hunting license, it was discovered that the hunter only purchased a Non-Resident Five Day Special Hunting License ($48). This license is valid for hunting small game, such as rabbits and squirrels, but not a pronghorn. A Non-Resident General Hunting License ($315) is required to hunt all big game animals in Texas. The hunter was cited for hunting without a valid license, received a warning for no hunter education certification, and the pronghorn was seized. The citation and civil restitution for the pronghorn are pending.
Next in Line, Please
On Oct. 1 at about 9 p.m., a Hunt County game warden received a call from a landowner about shots being fired from a county road near her home. The warden responded and soon located a truck with a spotlight being shined from the window. He stopped the vehicle and a brief investigation revealed the subjects inside were the ones shooting from the roadway. The warden seized three spotlights, two semi-automatic rifles and cartridge casings as evidence. As the warden was issuing citations to the group for hunting from a roadway, another vehicle pulled alongside. When the warden attempted to make contact with the occupants of the second vehicle, the driver shifted into reverse and began to flee. The warden was able to stop the fleeing vehicle a short distance away and an investigation turned up methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A computer check revealed the male and female subjects inside the vehicle had both recently been released from prison. The couple were arrested on drug-related charges. The cases are pending.
No Tag, You’re It
A game warden responded to an Operation Game Thief call from Houston dispatch about a possible deer tagging violation. An anonymous caller reported a hunter had harvested a spike white-tailed deer on a Managed Lands Deer Permit lease, and left without properly tagging the animal. The warden was able to locate the hunter at a friend’s house where he was skinning the deer. After further investigation, the hunter admitted to not tagging the deer because he wanted to save the tag for a later time. Citations were issued and the case pending.
A game warden in Grimes County received a call from an individual who wanted to sit down and talk about multiple deer that he had taken illegally in recent years across multiple counties. During the interview, the individual admitted to three deer he had killed in Brazos County and multiple burglaries in several different counties. He also admitted to being a felon and was in possession of three different firearms during the time that the deer were taken. All cases linked to the burglary incidents have been turned over to the respective county investigators and charges of felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm are being pursued in Brazos and Grimes counties respectively. All cases are currently pending.
A Montgomery County game warden responding to a possible intoxicated driver call found the subject passed out behind the wheel with his truck in park, motor running, and his foot fully pressing the accelerator in the middle of the road. It was apparent that the driver had been that situation for some time as the vehicle’s engine was overheating. The warden turned off the truck engine and began speaking with the driver. The driver kept falling back asleep after answering questions, leading the warden to conclude this was a potential medical emergency. The warden radioed for EMS, who determined the man was having a diabetic episode. The driver recovered quickly after being treated by the medics.
No Tailgating Allowed
Game wardens were patrolling the Sam Houston National Forest when they noticed a restricted area had the lock cut and gate swung open. Upon further investigation, they found several people camping in the restricted area preparing for opening day of bow season. Several citations were issued. While exiting the area the wardens noticed another vehicle in a restricted area. Upon contact with that driver, the wardens discovered the subject had outstanding warrants for his arrest and was in possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested and transported to Montgomery County jail. The case is pending.
No Fishing Means No Fishing
A Robertson County game warden responded to a trespassing call from a landowner reporting a subject on his property riding an ATV loaded with fishing gear. The landowner, who has ponds stocked with fish on the property, confronted the trespasser and told him to leave, but the individual refused. Upon arrival, the warden found the landowner but no trespasser. After learning the game warden had been called, the man reportedly gathered his fishing gear and fled the scene. The landowner stated that he wanted to pursue any charges. While the warden was talking with the landowner, local police radioed they had stopped a man riding an ATV illegally on a public roadway a short distance away. The warden responded to that scene and made contact with the subject. After a short interview, the man admitted to riding down a public road and entering into the landowner’s property through an open gate that was clearly marked with a no trespassing sign. He claimed he was innocent because he had not yet fished on the property that day. After obtaining a non-consent affidavit and a written statement from the landowner, the subject was placed under arrest for criminal trespass and also charged with operating an ATV on a public roadway. The cases are pending.
High Water Rescues
During a late September flood event in South Texas that saw more than 12 inches of rainfall overnight, game wardens in Dimmit and LaSalle counties assisted with high water rescues and evacuations from ranches involving nearly 250 individuals. A majority of the individuals were oil field workers that had been surrounded by the high water and, in one instance, a crew of 46 workers were having to get on top of their vehicles. With the cooperation of the U.S. Border Patrol, Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office, Dimmit County Commissioner’s heavy equipment and surrounding fire departments, nearly 100 individuals were rescued/evacuated from the ranch. On the LaSalle County side of the ranch, another 60-plus individuals were also evacuated. Wardens also responded to another call on a ranch that bordered Dimmit and LaSalle counties and used three airboats to evacuate nearly 80 oil field workers.
Not One of Ours
Game wardens in Bell and Travis counties received calls from an individual inquiring if wardens were investigating a boating accident. Since there were no other officers in the area on duty that day, and no reported accidents, they assumed someone might be impersonating a game warden. The wardens tried unsuccessfully to make contact with the individual who made the inquiry, and after tracking him down discovered an acquaintance of his had made the call as a prank. The wardens were provided with the names of two people involved. They tracked one of the persons involved, and advised that his phone was used to impersonate a game warden and make the call. He claimed he was unaware of the incident until the following day. The wardens then tracked down the suspect who admitted making the frightening phone call, who admitted to impersonating a Texas game warden. The suspect also used the actual name of a state police officer. An arrest warrant was obtained for the suspect for a single felony count of impersonating a public servant. The case is pending.