Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN November 11, 2019 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement reports.
Pepé Le Chew
The Mount Pleasant law enforcement office received a call from a man in the Winfield area who needed advice. He and his 5-year old grandson were outside and there was a small, young skunk eating food with their cats. His grandson started hand feeding the skunk, and after a minute, the skunk bit him on the finger and toe. The caller wasn’t sure how to handle the situation and asked if a game warden should come pick up the skunk. The office clerk advised the caller to take the grandchild to the hospital immediately and told him what to do to have the skunk checked for rabies. Later that week, a local vet office called the Mount Pleasant law enforcement office to let them know the skunk tested positive for rabies. The incident was reported to the department of health services and the local sheriff’s office.
Flew Too Close to The Sun
Cherokee, Anderson and Houston County game wardens executed a search warrant after receiving information about an individual who admitted to a friend he had been shooting deer from the road and confessed to shooting a deer in the Davy Crocket National Forest from the roadway. The individual was also heard saying his “deer season never ends.” The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department was asked to assist in the entry of the house because the suspected individual had previously been involved with shooting at police and fleeing. Upon entry of the suspects home, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found along with poor living conditions. Inside the residence were two adult females, one adult male, and two juvenile females ages 9 and 16. Charges filed by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department included: possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia and endangering of a child – state jail felony. The male individual was also currently on parole at the time of the execution of the search warrant. Game wardens are investigating the poaching of deer.
Not His Biggest Fan
Following up on months of investigation and numerous tips, Lubbock district game wardens wrapped up an investigation dating back to 2015 when a landowner in Scurry County noticed several of his fences were being cut once every few months, with no other known fences in the area being tampered with. Within the last three months, it began to happen in more spots and with increased frequency. The wardens decided to place an undercover camera on one of the county roads where the fence was most commonly cut, and on Sept. 28 the land owner called the wardens and told them that his fences had been cut in five different locations. After reviewing the video there was only one vehicle spotted during the suspected timeframe, and foot prints were found at each location where the fence was cut. After further investigation the wardens located the driver and he admitted to cutting the fences on separate occasions dating back to 2015. He stated he was mad at the landowner because he chose not to put wind turbines on his land and it made it harder on him in planning and building roads for the turbines on the neighboring properties. He also told the wardens that his company offered the landowner a good price to put them on his land and he should have participated like everyone else. During the interview, the individual also admitted to hunting without landowner consent on two different occasions, along with burglary of a building. Overall, the individual was arrested and charged with the following: 10 counts of criminal mischief – state jail felony, burglary of a building – state jail felony, two counts of hunting feral hogs without landowner consent – class A misdemeanor, two counts of criminal trespass with a deadly weapon – class A misdemeanor, and one count of possession of a protected species (owl talons) – class C misdemeanor.
On The Lam
On Oct. 14, a Schleicher County game warden received a call from a concerned citizen about a “big turtle” in the middle of the highway on Toe Nail Trail. Upon arriving at the scene out in the middle of a very rural part of the county the game warden found a large sulcata tortoise just hanging out on the farm to market highway. After a newspaper article, Facebook postings and multiple phone calls the game warden was able to locate the sulcata tortoise’s owner. Apparently, the large tortoise had escaped his enclosure by pushing on a weak spot of a fence and had been on the lam in the West Texas countryside for 10 days. Another happy ending in Eldorado, Texas.
The Camera Doesn’t Lie
A Williamson County game warden received information about a woman who posted a picture on social media taking her first teal the previous weekend on Granger public land. The game warden found her contact information and discovered that she was from Hays County. The game warden conducted a record check and although she did have a valid hunting license, she had no hunter education. When wardens contacted her at her residence and conducted a field interview, she denied shooting it the previous weekend and said it was shot the last weekend of teal season. The husband came out and told the game warden they shot it two weekends ago. The game warden kept interviewing both parties and the husband finally admitted taking out his waterfowl decoys to see if any teal would come in. The warden got a confession from both parties that they both took a teal each during closed season. Citations and civil restitution were filed.
Cracked Under Pressure
A Llano County game warden responded to a call from San Saba dispatch regarding an active poaching situation. Once on scene, a landowner claimed to have witnessed someone shoot one of his red stag deer from the neighboring property. The scene was photographed, and evidence was gathered, but the warden was unable to contact the other property owner. The following morning, game wardens went back to San Saba to meet with the hunters from the alleged violators property. One subject was identified as having been hunting in the blind near the incident at the time it occurred. The subject swore he did not shoot across property lines and even provided a written statement claiming he didn’t shoot. The subject appeared nervous and the game warden advised the subject of the charges he was facing. The subject finally cracked and stated, “I messed up.” The subject went on to confess to shooting the red stag, even though he had already lawfully shot a doe on his property 45 minutes prior. The subject will be charged with hunting without landowner’s consent and the case is still pending.
Prong Side of the Law
Amarillo district game wardens made contact with three individuals on a side by side ATV. At first contact they admitted they had shot a doe pronghorn. After interviewing all three individuals the doe was shot approximately an hour before and they were on the way to a different property to dump the carcass, in hopes that no one would find it. Citations for hunting in a closed season and invalid permit were issued.
Blinded by The Light
A Montgomery County game warden was notified of road hunting activity from a caller who said that he was awoken by headlights being shined in his window. He got up to see a vehicle turning around in his driveway. The caller claimed that he was able to document the license plate and then went to sleep. The next day, he noticed the shaft of an arrow and blood in his front yard. The game warden located the owner of the vehicle and received a full confession. The suspect admitted to shooting a buck in the caller’s yard. He also admitted to shooting at two other deer on the same night. Charges of hunting deer at night and hunting deer with an artificial light were filed.
Follow Your Arrow, Unless You’re This Guy
A Liberty County game warden received a call from an employee of a private subdivision near Dayton, Texas reporting that he had just observed a man dragging and trying to load a whitetail deer into his vehicle from private subdivision property. When he confronted the man, the subject said he had just found the dead deer and didn’t want it to go to waste. The employee noted the deer had what appeared to be an entry and exit wound from an arrow that had apparently been used to kill it. After a brief investigation, the subject confessed to shooting the deer while hunting without landowner consent. Cases and restitution are pending.
Hiding in Plain Sight
A Jefferson County game warden was patrolling along Hwy 73 in Port Arthur when he recognized a truck parked alongside the highway near a popular fishing spot as one that belonged to a local subject that he had an arrest warrant for. Less than six months prior, the game warden had issued the subject a citation for no fishing license and then later discovered his license was suspended. An arrest warrant was obtained for the offense of fishing while license suspended at that time, but it hadn’t yet been served. The game warden watched with binoculars from a distance and observed the subject with the outstanding warrant fishing yet again. He contacted the subject and placed him under arrest for the outstanding warrant and a new charge of fishing while license suspended and placed him in the Jefferson County Jail. Cases pending.