Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN, March 23, 2017 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Game wardens in Limestone and Freestone counties filed cases on multiple individuals for fishing from a bridge in clear violation of signs indicating the act was illegal. They were using a cast net to catch crappie, an illegal means and method for taking game fish in Texas. The netters were also in possession of undersized crappie and had no fishing licenses. In addition to citations, the individuals were educated on species identification and the definition of fishing.
One Too Many Trips to the Well
A Montgomery County game warden apprehended an individual trespassing on a deer lease, but the subject wasn’t there to poach, at least not wildlife. Seems he trespassed with the intent to illegally dump a boat. The subject was arrested for criminal trespassing and for driving with an invalid license. After booking the subject into jail, the warden drove to the address on the subject’s vehicle registration and found three deer feeders in the backyard that matched the description of ones reported stolen from the deer lease several weeks earlier. After receiving consent to search the residence from the subject’s mother, the warden discovered two stolen game cameras and a stolen ATV, both of which were also recovered. Additional criminal charges pending.
Can’t Outrun the Law
A Grimes County game warden found himself in a rundown after responding to a crash site on Highway 6 where a driver fled the scene on foot to a nearby ranch. The suspect was discovered hiding behind a barn and following a short foot pursuit, the warden, along with Grimes County sheriff’s deputies, made an arrest. Driver impairment is believed to be the cause of the accident. Charges are pending.
Stopping a Dump Truck
Live Oak County game wardens completed a two month investigation stemming from complaints by concerned hunters about the illegal dumping of deer and hog carcasses off a bridge near their hunting lease. The wardens set up remote surveillance on the site by mounting a game camera on a nearby tree, but several weeks passed with no activity. In early January when the wardens checked the bridge they observed two recently harvested white-tailed doe carcasses, one recently harvested hog carcass, a bucket full of guts, and several feed bags that had been dumped. Upon checking the camera, the time stamp indicated that the dumper had been there just a few hours before the wardens arrived. The images clearly showed the individual stopping on the bridge and exiting his truck. His truck bed was full of feed bags and deer/hog carcasses. As the vehicle left the bridge, the last game camera photo showed an empty truck bed. The wardens collected evidence and noticed that each doe carcass had one small caliber entry wound in the head they believed to be from .22 caliber bullets. Based on the images captured, wardens were able to locate a residential address for the vehicle and interviewed the individual at his residence where it was determined that he had dumped deer/hog carcasses at the same place for over 15 years. When asked who shot the deer that were dumped, he informed the wardens that it was his son and nephew. His nephew, who lived out of state and did not have a valid non-resident hunting license, had harvested a 6 point buck. Inspection of the father and son’s hunting license indicated only one buck tag missing. In total, two bucks and two doe were harvested by the son. The father admitted that he allowed his son to shoot the does in the head with a .22 caliber rifle and that they rarely tag deer. A total of 11 cases were filed along with civil restitution.
Caught in a Cast Net
Game wardens have been actively pursuing cast net violations at the Lake Somerville spillway. An OGT (Operation Game Thief) hotline tip lead local wardens to catch several groups of violators over the first few days of March. The violators were intentionally cast netting and possessing game fish. Numerous cases have been filed.
Next Time Buy a Hunting License
Game wardens routinely check tags and other documentation at local deer processors and taxidermists in their district. Toward the end of the deer season, Willacy County wardens discovered nine white-tailed bucks and one white-tailed doe harvested by two different hunters who failed to purchase Texas hunting licenses. Contact was made with the local landowners and the two hunters. Several white-tailed deer were seized and multiple citations issued. Cases and restitution totaling over $10,000 are pending.