Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN October 28, 2019 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Turtle-y Awesome Tip
While patrolling Willacy County, game wardens received a tip about a fisherman in Port Mansfield possibly in possession of a live sea turtle. After a brief search of the area, wardens found the vehicle in question and began to inspect the vehicle where they found a live sea turtle in an ice chest filled with water. The sea turtle was immediately seized, and information was gathered for a federal NOAA case referral. Afterwards, the wardens decided to meet the tipster and discovered the concerned caller was a 13-year-old girl. After hearing that the violator was caught, the young girl was immediately ecstatic. The wardens expressed extreme appreciation to the girl for her quick action and congratulated her for a job well done! Federal case pending.
This Buck’s For You
Three game wardens from Sabine County, San Augustine County and Shelby County set up a deer decoy in an area of Sabine County prone to illegal night hunting. At about 1 a.m., a truck passed the decoy and a voice shouted, “That’s the buck!” The truck turned around and slowly rolled towards the decoy and the driver from the vehicle with their rifle, hitting the decoy in the neck. Once they realized it was a decoy, the truck took off and began throwing beer cans out of the window. The wardens stopped the vehicle and detained three people. When they searched the vehicle, the wardens found a rifle and a spent shell casing on the floorboard. The driver was arrested and charged with Hunting from a Vehicle, Hunting at Night and Hunting with an Artificial Light. The passengers received multiple citations. Cases pending.
BYOB- Bring Your Own Boat
A Trinity County game warden and a game warden K9 handler were patrolling near a boat ramp when they noticed several groups of hunters across the Trinity River shooting every few minutes. As each group returned to the boat ramp, they told the wardens they had not seen very many teal flying. The wardens decided to check the remaining group on the other side of the river but needed a boat. They asked the owner of the marina if they had a boat the wardens could use, and a local resident volunteered his bass boat. The wardens made their way across the river and walked within 50 yards of the hunters. When the hunters decided to pick up their decoys, the wardens made contact with the group. They said they haven’t seen teal all morning. When asked about all the shooting, the hunters admitted to shooting various shorebirds. One hunter did not have a hunting license and lead shot was also discovered. Eleven citations and warnings were issued. When the wardens returned to the marina, they were met by the boat owner who was excited to be a part of catching scofflaws.
Two Freestone County game wardens were contacted by a man leasing property for exclusive hunting and grazing rights when he found out the landowner had leased it out to two other people as well. Upon further investigation, three additional people contacted the warden saying they had been given exclusive access to the same property. Overall, the landowner had “exclusively” leased the property to five individuals making about $18,000 in profits. An arrest warrant was issued and executed charging the landowner with deceptive business practices.
Caught Red Handed
Two game wardens were inspecting commercial shrimping boats in Galveston County when, during one of their inspections, they located a shrimp sack containing fresh caught red snapper onboard the vessel. Upon inspection of the bag, wardens found 12 undersized red snappers with the largest snapper measuring at about 11 inches in length. The daily bag limit for red snapper during the season is four fish with a 15-inch minimum length. The wardens issued the captain of the commercial shrimping boat two citations for exceeding the daily bag limit for red snapper and undersized red snapper. The illegally possessed red snapper were seized and donated to a local family in need. Civil restitution is pending.
The Limit Does Not Exist
Two game wardens were patrolling for dove hunters in La Salle County when they heard multiple shots from a nearby ranch. They began working their way through the ranch when they were greeted by a hunter about to head out for an afternoon hunt. When the wardens asked him how his morning hunt went, he replied that he had done well and reached his limit of 15 doves. Upon hearing his response, the wardens advised the hunter that it would probably be best if he just called it a day. The man was initially confused, but after a little education on the law he agreed to call it a day. The wardens also checked other hunters on the ranch at a nearby tank when they noticed a large deer feeder in the field directly behind the tank where they were hunting. After inspecting the feeder, the wardens noticed a large amount of corn on the ground as well as dove feathers and shotgun wads that were scattered around. All five hunters were cited for hunting over bait and about 30 doves were seized. Civil restitution is pending.
Don’t You Be My Neighbor
A Coleman County game warden and a McCulloch County game warden were on patrol when they received a call about three poachers in a dove field belonging to a local outfitter. When they arrived, the outfitter said two of the poachers hopped the fence and took off running back home, and a third man stayed behind. After talking to the man, one of the wardens went over the fence where he found the house and the two poachers who admitted to hunting on the neighboring property without landowner consent. Three shotguns and eight mourning doves were seized out of the field and all three people were arrested and transported to the Coleman County Jail. Cases pending.
To The Hunter, The Spoils
Two Liberty County game wardens received information about three local men who had allegedly harvested three whitetail deer in closed season. Since the three subjects were in different locations, a Hardin County game warden assisted with one of the interviews. The wardens split up and contacted all three men simultaneously so they couldn’t compare stories. They all admitted to taking the three deer and forgetting to put fresh ice in two of the deer, causing them to quickly spoil in the heat. Charges and restitution were filed for taking whitetail deer in closed season and by illegal means, as well as waste of game for failing to keep them all in edible condition.
Dazed and Confused
Two Montgomery County game wardens approached a man parked by a local boat ramp when they noticed the odor of marijuana coming from his vehicle. He admitted to possessing the marijuana and was arrested while protesting, “I thought this was Harris County!” After being told he was in Montgomery County, he was transported to the Montgomery County Jail. Case pending.