Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN February 19, 2015 – The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Duck, Duck, Goose
A Titus County game warden responded to a trespassing complaint claiming someone was shooting Canada geese and leaving them to waste near Naples in Morris County. The only suspect was a juvenile seen at the private lake the night before. The warden located the suspect, who happened to be driving without a license and pulling a trailer with a large hog in it. He claimed he had been hunting all morning with four of his friends. After verifying the story, the warden issued four citations for hunting without licenses, two citations for no Hunter Education certification and a warning for driving without a driver’s license. Later that evening, the juvenile contacted the warden and gave the names of the two juveniles who shot the geese. When the warden contacted the juveniles’ parents, he learned they had later returned to Naples and trespassed to retrieve a goose, but they still had not cleaned the goose 15 hours after they shot it. The warden issued citations and civil restitution.
A Henderson County game warden received a call from the Chandler Police Department stating a caller witnessed a person run over a white-tailed doe in a neighborhood, and then threw the deer carcass in the bed of his truck and sped off. Another caller informed the warden he had seen a doe in the bed of a truck with only the hindquarters missing. The warden found the truck with the doe in the bed and noted that the doe had been shot in the head. After questioning the homeowners where the truck was found, the warden realized they had no clue how the doe got in the bed of their truck, though they did say a friend of theirs had stopped by late the previous night and then left in a hurry, which they thought was suspicious. Their description of their friend’s truck matched the description of the truck the first caller had given the warden. Later that month, a local constable called the warden to tell him about a truck that matched the one he was looking for. When the warden interviewed the truck owner, the owner admitted to running over the doe for “free meat.”
Looking for a Dime but Found a Quarter
A Zavala County game warden walked into a dark camp one night and found an 11-point buck hanging from a skinning rack and a doe strapped over an ATV, both untagged. One of the hunters at the camp admitted to not purchasing a valid Texas hunting license. The warden noticed the hunter acting overly nervous and after a brief search of the hunter’s ATV, the warden found a small container of marijuana and a pipe, as well as a meth pipe and a baggie of crystal meth. Both deer were seized and the hunter was taken to the Zavala County jail and booked for misdemeanor and felony charges.
A ranch manager in Dimmit County asked a local game warden to investigate a photo taken from a game camera of a pickup truck driving around a hunting area. The manager was concerned that the person in the truck was an oilfield worker on an adjacent ranch possibly poaching. After running the license plate and comparing the return to a list of the oilfield workers on the rig, the warden found a match. While interviewing the man in the photo, the man stated he had never hunted before and didn’t even own a gun. He maintained he was just driving around and looking at wildlife while drinking a few beers during his time off. The warden asked the worker for consent to search the vehicle for any possible evidence of poaching to further corroborate his story, to which the worker agreed. The warden also asked the worker if there was anything in the vehicle that he needed to know about prior to searching, to which the worker answered no. Almost immediately, the warden discovered drug paraphernalia and several empty beer bottles in the truck, as well as several full beers in an ice chest. Ultimately, no evidence of poaching was found but the worker was cited for the paraphernalia and trespassing on prohibited areas of the ranch.
A Warden Never Sleeps
A little after midnight, a Potter County game warden was at his residence when he heard a strange crushing sound outside and got up to investigate. Looking out his apartment window, he observed a man methodically break through the drive-thru window and entering the closed convenience store across the street. The warden quickly got dressed, armed himself and coordinated with Amarillo Police via 911 as he approached the store. The subject, a 55-year-old man, was taken into custody a short time later by the Amarillo Police Department. The man confessed to five similar burglaries in the Amarillo area over the last few months.
Lost and Found
A Scurry/Garza County game warden responded to a residential burglary alarm along with Scurry County sheriff’s deputies in a remote area of the county that has experienced a large amount of theft recently. Upon arriving on the scene, witnesses stated an individual had run out of the back of the house, jumped a fence and fled into the thick brush behind the property. The warden and a deputy trailed the subject through the brush until his trail doubled back to the county road. The subject was subsequently found and apprehended a short distance away, walking alongside the road.
Right after dealing with the residential burglary alarm, the Scurry/Garza County game warden noticed several white trash bags dumped alongside a remote county road. While inspecting the contents, a local landowner stopped and said he had seen several similar bags at another location not far away. Upon further inspection, receipts and old mail from the trash confirmed that all eight of the trash bags found had originated from one residence. After visiting with the individual whose name appeared in the bags, the warden determined the individual’s 17-year-old son had been illegally dumping the trash rather than driving it to his grandmother’s house to dispose of it. After a lengthy discussion with the young man, the warden ensured the trash had been cleaned up and the young man was educated through citations on Texas’s illegal dumping laws.
The Pink (Pajama) Panther
A game warden was patrolling around Belton when he heard a call about a suspicious person wearing pink pajamas, house slippers and a black hoodie walking around and looking into vehicles near downtown Belton. The warden responded to the area to assist the Belton Police Department in locating the suspect. One of the other officers located the suspect, who took off running on foot. Then the warden and a Belton officer observed the suspect, a slender male wearing pajamas, house shoes and a black hoodie, walking out from behind a home. The officers detained the suspect for questioning and discovered that he was intoxicated and had broken into several vehicles in the area. Belton police arrested the suspect for public intoxication and are investigating him for his connection to the burglary of the vehicles.
If Only He’d Fixed that Taillight
A Coleman County game warden was patrolling late one night when he came across a vehicle with no left tail light. After initiating a traffic stop, the warden found the driver did not possess a driver’s license. The warden asked the driver if he had any guns in his truck, to which the driver responded that he had two behind his seat. Upon further investigation, the warden found the driver was a felon. The warden arrested the subject for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Close to Home
A Travis County game warden received a call from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office that they had a subject in custody for felony possession of a stolen shotgun. The original call regarded shots fired on a road close to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters. The subject was hunting mourning dove out of season with an unplugged stolen shotgun, shooting directly over a fence into the neighbor’s agricultural field. Large amounts of feathers and crushed beer cans littered the immediate area from heavy usage over time. The closed season outlaw did not have Hunters Education certification, a hunting license or any endorsements or stamps.