Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN, April 10, 2017 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
The One that Got Away
A tactical flight officer aboard a Department of Public Safety helicopter on patrol notified a Val Verde County game warden about a gill net being set out in the Rio Grande River. The individual setting out the gill net was observed crossing back and forth between the Mexico and Texas shorelines. The warden quickly responded to the location and observed the gill net stretched across the river and the individual who set it still in the area. It took the warden several minutes to make his way through dense river cane and, upon breaking through, he saw the illegal netter cross back into Mexico with a large fish in hand. The warden seized approximately 50 feet of gill net.
While patrolling late nights along Gladewater Lake’s public fishing piers during the first week of March, a Gregg County game warden encountered two separate groups of fishermen attempting to flee the scene as he made contact. Gladewater Police Department officers were also patrolling nearby and quickly apprehended one of the subjects after he unwittingly ran directly toward their patrol vehicle. The other group’s runner was also located a short distance from the lake and apprehended with help from Gladewater Police Department officers. Undersized crappie were located in the subject’s backpack. Collectively, charges filed included: no fishing license, possession of undersized crappie, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to ID fugitive, and arrest on other agency warrants. Charges are pending.
Stolen and Found
A Gregg County game warden was responding to suspicious gunshots in the Little Cypress Creek bottoms near Gilmer when he discovered a stolen cargo trailer concealed in a remote wooded area along the creek. It was learned that the trailer was recently taken from a nearby dealership and used to commit burglaries throughout Gregg, Upshur and Harrison counties. The investigation is ongoing.
Those Wascal Wabbits
A Bailey County game warden responded to a call regarding shots being fired toward a highway intersection near the Texas-New Mexico state line. Bailey County sheriff’s deputies assisting encountered one of the suspects on a county road and detained them until the warden arrived. During interviews, all three subjects admitted to road hunting rabbits and claimed that they didn’t think a license was required. They also indicated their father, who sells hunting licenses as a local vendor, told them that a license was not needed to hunt rabbits. The warden advised them to educate their father on licensing requirements. Numerous citations were issued including no hunting license, hunting from a public roadway, and no hunter education.
A Turkey Shoot
Game wardens responded to a call concerning a turkey shot from the road. A landowner reported he had heard two shots close by, investigated and found a turkey flopping in the bar ditch. He also reported seeing a truck drive by slowly, not long after the shots, and identified the driver as a local man who lived just down the road. An empty shotgun shell was recovered from the roadway. Upon arriving at the suspect’s residence, the wardens located a truck that matched the vehicle description and saw two rifles and a shotgun inside the vehicle. While talking to the suspect, the wardens obtained consent to search the truck and located a box of shells that matched the spent shell obtained from the roadway. After a lengthy discussion, the man admitted to shooting the turkey from the road. Citations are pending for hunting from a public roadway and hunting turkey in closed season.
A Palo Pinto County game warden patrolled the Morris Sheppard Dam on Possum Kingdom Lake to check the restricted area for fishermen after receiving word from Brazos River Authority Lake Rangers that they had caught on surveillance video six individuals recently enter the restricted area and fish for three hours. The warden arrived at the dam just after midnight and watched two subjects with headlamps fishing from the base of the dam. Both were apprehended before they could get rid of their fish or equipment and after questioning admitted to knowing that they were in the restricted area. They were arrested and taken to the Palo Pinto County Jail. Five striped bass ranging from 22 to 33 inches in length were seized and civil restitution is pending.
The Old Switcharoo
Game wardens were patrolling the Brazos River when they observed a vessel operator and passenger switch positions. The wardens made contact and, after field sobriety tests, the driver was arrested for boating white intoxicated.
Four-Wheeling in High Gear
While patrolling Lake McQueeney, wardens spotted several ATVs being operated in the Guadalupe River bed. The wardens beached their boat and were able to approach the ATV operators on foot and stop them. Subsequent investigation revealed three of the men to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Cases are pending.
A Net Loss
While patrolling the Gulf of Mexico out of Rockport, game wardens made contact with a shrimp boat approximately 7.5 miles offshore in Texas waters. Upon inspection of their shrimp nets and required TEDs (turtle excluder devices built into nets that allow sea turtles to escape), it was found that all four TEDs were in violation. The vessel with its cargo of over 5,000 pounds of illegally taken shrimp was escorted to Port Aransas where the shrimp and nets were seized. Numerous citations were issued.
Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up
A game warden patrolling Lake Corpus Christi for fishing and water safety violations inspected a small aluminum boat and then checked the fishermen’s licenses and catches. When he asked the fishermen what they were using as bait they said woodpecker. Sure enough, there were three dead woodpeckers in their cooler. Further investigation led to the fishermen admitting to killing an eight point buck the previous year, without a license, and using it as fish bait as well. Water safety, fishing and hunting citations were issued. Charges and restitution for the deer and birds are pending.