AUSTIN, December 11, 2015 – The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Working on Our Way Home
As two Bowie County game wardens were on their way home just after midnight, they saw a man staggering down the street. The wardens watched the man walk up to a church door and try to open it, then sit down on the church’s front steps and begin to smoke what smelled like marijuana. When the man noticed the wardens walking toward him, he stood up and tried to throw away a bag of marijuana. He also tried to run, but was too intoxicated and didn’t get far before the wardens took him into custody without incident. They arrested him for public intoxication, possession of marijuana under two ounces and possession of drug paraphernalia.
As a Van Zandt County game warden and a Fannin County game warden checked bow hunters in Van Zandt County, they got a call for assistance from the Sheriff’s Office. Upon arriving at the scene, the wardens found sheriff’s deputies had detained a man on warrants out of Van Zandt County. They also saw something interesting hidden in the man’s vehicle: a sharp shinned hawk in a bucket covered with blankets. When the wardens questioned the man about the hawk, he admitted to shooting it that morning with a 12 gauge shotgun. The man said he was on his way to dump the bird when he was pulled over. The wardens booked the man into the county jail on his outstanding warrants, with an additional charge of possessing a raptor.
That’s a Lot of Illegal Stuff for One Backpack
As several game wardens worked the Brushy Creek area of Hunt County, they noticed a suspicious vehicle moving slowly through a field. They followed it before initiating a traffic stop. The driver exited and appeared to toss something back into the vehicle. After detaining the driver, the wardens searched the vehicle and found a backpack with a handgun, jewelry, narcotics distribution supplies, drug paraphernalia, counterfeit money and about 10 grams of what appeared to be crystal meth inside. The wardens arrested the driver, and the case is pending.
A Fannin County game warden received information from a landowner about the theft of several ATVs and other equipment from a nearby hunting lodge. The warden found the suspect and obtained a search warrant for his home, where he and other law enforcement officers found over $350,000 in stolen equipment, including trailers, tools, guns, a tractor and a semi-truck. The man living at the house gave investigators a full confession that cleared numerous theft cases from all over Northeast Texas. During this investigation, the warden gathered valuable information that will help him recover additional stolen property.
Friends Who Steal Together Get Arrested Together
A Grayson County game warden received a call from a Lake Texoma Corps of Engineers Ranger about three suspects catching striped bass with a cast net in the Red River below the Denison Dam. The warden responded to the scene while the ranger continued to monitor the fishermen. Upon arriving at the scene, the warden noticed one man with the cast net was catching the fish while the other two men, on the bank with fishing poles, were taking the fish from the net and putting them into a cooler or on a stringer. When the warden contacted the men, he found 39 striped bass in their possession. After inspecting the fish, the warden found that none of them had hook marks in their mouths. The warden arrested the men, who did not have any valid identification, for taking game fish by illegal means and for exceeding the daily bag limit.
Laid to Waste
After a man who found three deer and two raccoons dead on a county road posted a picture of the animals on Facebook, two Lamar County game wardens received several calls about it. The deer had their back straps and tenderloins removed. The wardens were able to locate three men who were involved in the poaching. As the wardens pulled up to their house, the men were cleaning the deer blood and hair out of the bed of their truck. After the wardens interviewed them, the three men confessed to killing the deer while “riding the back roads” the previous night. Class A waste of game cases are pending the District Attorney’s approval.
Drinking and Rolling
As a Bowie County game warden was conducting his daily patrols, he heard county dispatch advise of a one-vehicle rollover accident. The vehicle was on fire and a person was trapped inside. The warden responded to the scene, along with a police officer and a DPS trooper. The police officer used a fire extinguisher to put out flames coming from around the engine compartment while the warden and trooper broke a rear window and unlocked the rear passenger door. They were then able to open the door and get to the driver, who was lying on the roof of the vehicle with her feet up on the dashboard. The driver was confused and didn’t seem to realize her vehicle was on fire. The warden slid into the back of the vehicle and pulled the woman out of the car. The woman suffered minor injuries and refused treatment from EMS. After questioning, she was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
That’s My Gun!
Several archery hunters, who had experienced recent theft issues on their property, heard an ATV approaching their area. They stopped the ATV and requested the driver to dismount with raised hands. As he complied, one of the hunters, who is a retired FBI agent, observed a handgun in the suspect’s waistband. After disarming the suspect, the retired officer realized the weapon he had just retrieved from the suspect was his own, which had been stolen a month earlier. After the hunters called them to the scene, a Freestone County game warden and the Freestone County sheriff’s deputy recovered a stolen ATV, a generator, ATV ramps, a firearm and a number of hunting related items from the nearby woods.
Stole One Too Many Alligators
A landowner agent for the Honeywell plant in Orange contacted an Orange County game warden about a nuisance control permittee taking too many nuisance alligators from their facility. The warden’s investigation found 21 alligators, ranging from a hatchling to nearly nine feet long, taken illegally over two days. The nuisance control permittee pleaded guilty to four counts of taking illegal nuisance alligators. Nearly $5,000 in restitution is pending.
You’ll Want to Watch Out for Those Game Wardens
While a Montgomery County game warden was on his way to a possible deer poaching scene, a white SUV forced him to veer to the right, striking a mailbox with his passenger side mirror, to avoid a collision. After following the vehicle throughout the neighborhood, the warden saw the vehicle drive slowly past areas of the neighborhood where deer congregate. The vehicle pulled into the neighborhood’s swimming pool parking lot, where the warden contacted the driver for his suspicious actions. Immediately upon approaching the driver’s window, the warden smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle. After a consensual search, the warden found a small amount of marijuana inside the vehicle. The driver and his passenger admitted to smoking the marijuana and drinking beers while driving around the neighborhood. The warden arrested the driver for driving while intoxicated after he failed field sobriety tests. The warden arrested both men for possessing marijuana.
“Thump, thump, thump” from the Trunk
Two Comal County game wardens responded to a call for assistance from a Garden Ridge police officer who had stopped a vehicle for running a stop sign. During the traffic stop, the officer saw a .22 caliber rifle, a .40 caliber pistol and spent shell casings inside the vehicle. While interviewing the occupants in the backseat of the car, the officer heard several thumps coming from the trunk. When he opened the trunk, the officer found a white-tailed deer that had been shot but was still alive. The officer then called the warden. The vehicle occupants told the warden they shot the deer at about 11:30 p.m. while it stood in the street near a residential area. The warden arrested two of the suspects for hunting deer at night and charged the vehicle operator for unlawfully carrying a weapon. While booking the suspects at the jail, the warden overheard one of them comment to the other he couldn’t believe they got in so much trouble for killing a deer. The other suspect replied, “Yeah, but it sure woulda been good eatin’.”
His Dogs Would Not Allow It
After observing a vehicle swerve and run off the roadway, a game warden initiated a traffic stop. The warden walked to the driver’s side window, where he was greeted by three barking pit bulls. The warden asked the driver for his consent to search the vehicle, and the driver replied that his dogs would not allow it. The warden asked the driver to get out of the car and had him perform field sobriety tests, which the driver failed. After arresting the driver, the warden called animal control to remove the dogs from the vehicle. Once the vehicle was clear, the warden found marijuana, a marijuana pipe and both full and empty beer cans. The man was charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of marijuana and unlawful carry of a firearm.