Game Warden Field Notes

AUSTIN, March 2, 2018 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

Addition Not His Best Subject

Game wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Marine Theft Investigation Unit handle a wide range of issues related to boat theft and boat registration fraud. Recently, an individual attempting to register a bass boat and motor he claimed to have purchased for just $700 raised red flags. The customer claimed he purchased the boat for $300 and the motor for $400. A game warden contacted the seller, who informed the investigator he had sold the boat for $7,500. The warden then made contact with the boat’s new lien holder, who verified the new owner had borrowed $7,500 for the purchase. The warden then went to the buyer’s house and as he pulled up he observed a nice bass boat in the garage and the subject sitting in the driver’s seat. The warden greeted the man, admired the boat and asked out of curiosity how much he had paid for the vessel. Unaware as to the reason for the visit, the proud new boat owner told the warden he bought it for $7,500. He then changed his story to $700. The warden then asked him how much the Credit Union had given him for the boat and he replied $7,500. Faced with the prospect of being charged with falsifying a government document, the boat owner admitted he had presented false information on the registration and boat titling forms and agreed to pay the rest of his taxes and penalties.

Checked Your Fridge Lately?

On Jan. 29, a Titus County game warden received information from a local landowner of a trespasser pictured on his game camera. The warden went to the suspect’s home and spoke with his roommate, who stated the suspect had not killed any animals this year. Consent was given to search the refrigerator, where two bags of white-tailed deer meat and a deer hide were discovered. The suspect arrived home and produced the deer horns. This deer was shot on a different landowner’s property while trespassing. Citations were issued for criminal trespassing and for taking an illegal buck under the county’s 13-inch minimum antler spread. Civil restitution was also issued. Warning citations were issued for hunting without landowner’s consent and untagged deer.

Hoop, There It Is!

On Feb. 14, game wardens were patrolling the Neches River near the Cherokee/Anderson County line when they observed a jon boat headed in their direction. The driver of the boat noticed the wardens and tossed a wire basket overboard. Upon further investigation, it was found the two guys had been fishing the Neches River for quite some time with an illegal wire hoop net fish basket and had trapped several catfish. The wardens were unsuccessful in locating the wire basket, but several days later returned to the site with a drag hook and were able to recover the device. The case is pending and citations were issued.

True Confessions

Last September, a Grimes County game warden received an unusual call from an individual wanting to come talk with him about some illegal activities he had been a part of with the intention of getting his life back in order. During the interview, the subject admitted to shooting a deer with a rifle even though he was a convicted felon. After a long investigation and many interviews later, it was determined that he did in fact use a friend’s rifle to shoot a deer on a property that he was working on at the time. Felon in possession of a firearm has been filed with the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office.

A Game Warden Never Forgets a Face

An off duty Montgomery County game warden observed an individual who had provided him with false information in the spring of 2017 following a fishing license violation. The warden had been granted an arrest warrant for that individual. The subject was placed in custody without incident and booked on four outstanding misdemeanor warrants.

Caught at a Pit Stop

In mid-February, a Texas game warden received a call from a local farmer who had witnessed individuals in a black pickup truck shoot several geese from the road. The caller stated the vehicle was headed north on Highway 59 in Wharton County. While searching for the vehicle, the warden passed by a local barbecue joint where he noticed a vehicle matching the description. He made contact with two suspects who had been goose hunting earlier that day and after a brief interview, he received a full confession. The suspects stated they drove down the county road while one suspect in the bed of the truck shot at the geese. Four snow geese were seized and citations for hunting from a public road, discharging a firearm from a public road, and warnings for hunting waterfowl from a vehicle were issued. The cases and civil restitution are pending.

Oh, Deer, That’s Just Wrong

In early February, well after the close of deer hunting season, Comal County game wardens responded to a report regarding illegal hunting. The caller stated he had heard several small caliber rounds being fired on the neighboring property and believed the individual to be hunting deer out of season. The wardens responded, discovered two deer carcasses and questioned the property owner. The man stated he had shot the deer with a .22 to keep them from eating his shrubbery and various ornamental plants inside of his high fence. When asked why he left the deer to rot on the back side of his property, he stated that he had heard if he shot the deer, but didn’t harvest the meat he wouldn’t be in violation. The wardens explained this was not the case, and informed him he had committed various violations by killing the deer out of season, hunting without a license, with illegal means, and failure to keep in edible condition. The cases are pending.

Know Your Limits

On Feb. 17, a Williamson County game warden was checking anglers at the Taylor Park boat ramp on Lake Granger when he made contact with a fisherman who was about to leave. He pulled up next to him and asked how his fishing went. The elderly man stated he had a pretty good outing and was headed home with about 30 crappie. The warden decided to inspect the angler’s water safety equipment onboard his boat, and then checked his fishing license. The warden counted 26 crappie, one over the daily bag limit, and one was short of the minimum length limit of 10 inches. The man stated he had been doing this for 30 years and no one ever told him it was wrong. The warden educated the man about the reasons for daily bag limits and cited him for the violations.

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