Game Warden Field Notes

AUSTIN, May 6, 2015 – The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

No Fish Tank License
While patrolling Toledo Bend, a Newton County game warden observed a fish tank in a truck with displaying commercial markings required for selling aquatic products. Upon further investigation, the warden could find no matching valid license for selling bait. The warden issued the man a citation and the case is pending.

Gone Net Fishing
Two Freestone County game wardens patrolling Richland-Chambers Reservoir encountered three individuals collecting firewood a little distance from their car on a county road near the lake. The wardens made contact with the individuals and saw several open containers of alcohol in their car. The individuals took the wardens back to their fish camp, where one warden found several game fish with no hook marks in their mouths. After further questioning, the individuals said they caught the fish in their nets. One warden found two cast nets. Cases are pending.

Don’t Take More than Your Fill
A Cherokee County game warden seized 18 hybrid striped bass from two individuals fishing below the spillway at Lake Palestine. The warden, who had dealt with both individuals before concerning fishing violations, had already checked both individuals that morning and found that they had each already reached their hybrid bass bag limit for the day. Cases are pending.

That’s a Lot of Hunting Gear
A Limestone County game warden apprehended an individual for hunting from a public roadway. The warden first saw the vehicle on the public road without its headlights on. When the warden stopped the vehicle, he found night vision goggles, a legally possessed high-powered rifle with a suppressor attached, a spotlight and loaded handgun. The individual said he had permission to hunt on both sides of the roadway, though the warden could not confirm his story. Cases are pending.

Because He Didn’t Want to Break the Law
A Polk County game warden was patrolling a private neighborhood when he observed a truck with fishing poles in the back leaving a private pond where no fishing was allowed. When the warden stopped the vehicle to determine if the individuals had been fishing in the private pond without consent, he discovered the driver had not possessed a valid Texas driver’s license since 1992, had no vehicle insurance, had two felony arrest warrants from the neighboring county and had stolen license plates displayed on the vehicle. The driver said he had intended to go fishing in the pond but, after getting out and walking around, he decided to go home because he did not want to break the law. The warden arrested the driver for the outstanding warrants and possession of stolen property before turning him over to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. Cases are pending.
No More Catfish for You

A Polk County game warden patrolling the Trinity River below the Lake Livingston Dam found two individuals who had exceeded the daily bag limit for blue catfish by 26 fish. Several cases and civil restitution are pending.

Stranded on the Water
A Leon County game warden received a call from stranded bow fishermen on the Trinity River. The fishermen had launched their boat at the Highway 79 bridge and made it about 30 miles south when the boat motor quit. The fishermen were prepared with cell phones and a SPOT GPS Rescue Beacon, so they were able to give their GPS coordinates to the warden. The warden found the fisherman from land, gave them a ride back to their truck at the bridge on Highway 79, and then led them back to their boat to load it.

Surviving an ATV Accident
A Zapata County and a Duval County game warden responded to an ATV accident near the Falcon Lake shoreline. The wardens found a 13-year-old girl who had crashed her ATV lying on a steep embankment, a few feet from deep water. The ATV was partially submerged. The girl sustained a broken femur and head trauma. The wardens gave medical aid until Zapata Emergency Medical Services arrived. The girl was then transported to Laredo.
Boating While Intoxicated

Two game wardens patrolling Falcon Lake for water safety violations saw a personal watercraft (PWC) violate the 50-feet rule, which prohibits operation within that distance of another craft. After the wardens turned on their emergency lights, the PWC continued toward the bank. After contacting the operator, who didn’t have any identification, the wardens administered seated Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in their state boat since the operator said he’d had a "few" drinks that day. Following the seated test, the wardens conducted the standing SFST; both tests indicated the operator was intoxicated. He was placed under arrest for BWI and booked into Zapata regional jail.

Body Found in the River
Two Zapata County game wardens received a call from the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office about a body floating in the Rio Grande River. When the wardens arrived on scene, they walked in the shallow water to recover the body. The wardens found a Mexican identification card on the body and believed he crossed into the United States illegally. The wardens turned the body over to the Zapata County Sheriff’s office for an investigation.

Don’t Post Illegal Harvests on Social Media
Bexar County game wardens received an Operation Game Thief call regarding a group of individuals who shot a deer on Easter weekend and posted about it on their social media accounts. With the information from the OGT call, the wardens contacted the subjects and obtained confessions. Multiple cases and restitution are pending.

Four Men Caught Catfishing
A Starr County and a Zapata County game warden patrolling Falcon Lake conducted a water safety inspection on a boat on which four men were fishing. During the inspection, the wardens noticed freshly cut catfish chunks on top of an ice chest. The men told the wardens the fishing slowed down so they decided to catch an alligator gar, but since they hadn’t brought any bait to catch a gar, they decided to use a catfish they caught earlier in the day as bait. The wardens asked all four men to reel in their lines and saw more catfish chunks on their hooks. The wardens educated all four men about not using game fish as bait. Citations were issued to all subjects. Cases and civil restitution pending.

Triple Threat of Violations
A Comal County game warden concluded an investigation that started with a couple dumped animal carcasses in New Braunfels last week. In his investigation, the warden found that one individual killed a hen turkey, failed to keep any of the bird in edible condition and did not tag the bird. The warden cited this hunter for hunting hen turkey in closed season and for failing to keep the bird in edible condition. The warden issued a warning for the tagging violation. The warden also cited a second hunter for illegal dumping: the hunter disposed the remains of an exotic animal in a city drainage channel. Cases are pending.

Looking for a fishing license, found arrest warrants
A Lubbock/Lynn County game warden was checking fisherman on the Lubbock Canyon lakes when she found an individual without a fishing license. The warden then discovered the individual had several arrest warrants. The warden placed the man under arrest and transported him to the Lubbock County Detention Center.

Party Foul
A Motley/Cottle County game warden received a call from an individual who said he was physically assaulted after a long night of partying on a property in Motley County. The individual said the suspect, who was intoxicated and high on a controlled substance, dragged him out of his vehicle as he was sleeping, threw him to the ground and beat him over the head for several minutes. After the warden interviewed several eye witnesses and obtained a cell phone video of the incident, he filed for an arrest warrant. The warden, along with a Briscoe/Swisher game warden, found and arrested the suspect for assault with bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. The case is pending.

Traffic Stop Produces Arrest Warrants
A Scurry/Garza County game warden on routine patrol saw a suspicious vehicle on a rural road. As the warden drove past the vehicle, he noticed the inspection sticker on the windshield was expired and initiated a traffic stop. After the warden discovered the individual had three outstanding local warrants and was driving without a license, he placed the individual under arrest and transported him to the county detention center.

The Case of the Goose Egg Thief
A Lubbock/Lynn County game warden solved a goose egg theft case after receiving a call about an individual who was digging through the bushes at a Lubbock city park and collecting goose eggs. The man, who only spoke Mandarin Chinese and spoke through a translator from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, admitted to taking them for personal consumption. The warden issued the man a citation for disturbing the nest and destroying the eggs. The case is pending.

The Fish Don’t Belong to Us. No Wait, Yes They Do
While patrolling Lake Granger for water safety compliance and recreational freshwater fishing enforcement, a Williamson County and a Milam County game warden found five fishermen on the water without a valid fishing license. The wardens asked if they had caught any fish, and the men said they had caught two little ones but released them. One warden went to their campground and found seven white bass in an ice chest. One of the fish was 9 inches long. They men said the fish did not belong to them. After a short interview, one warden got a confession and several citations and civil restitution were filed.

A Tale of Two Wardens…and Undersize Crappie
A Williamson County game warden received an OGT call about an man using a cast net to catch undersized crappie at the Granger Spillway. The warden got a description of the man and went to the spillway to meet with the complainant, who pointed out the suspect. The warden caught the suspect red-handed catching undersized crappie with a cast net and hiding the fish in a green plastic bag. As the warden took him up to his patrol truck to interview him, another warden was checking another fisherman in the parking lot with 10 undersized crappie and no fishing license. The warden cited the suspect for illegal cast net over seven feet, illegal means and methods, no fishing license, catching undersized crappie and civil restitution. Both wardens recovered a total of 30 undersized crappie.
The Caged Birds Aren’t Singing

Acting on a tip, a Williamson County game warden found a backyard bird cage containing 10 doves, both mourning and white winged, and two blue jays. Next to the cage was a small trap with a mourning dove tied to it. The warden also found a small shed nearby with several cages inside and cracked corn on the floor. The door to the shed was tied to a nearby tree with string. The warden confirmed the homeowner was not a TPWD approved wildlife rehabilitator and then took evidence photos before liberating all the doves and blue jays, including the mourning dove that was tied to the trap. The warden came back to the house four hours later to make contact with the owner, who admitted doves would fly into the shed to eat the intentionally placed corn on the floor. When several dove had flown into the shed, the homeowner would pull the string attached to the doorknob, trapping the birds inside. He would then enter the shed with his young son to catch the doves by hand and put them in the cage in the yard. He admitted the dove tied to the cage was a live decoy to lure more doves. The man received numerous citations for illegal baiting and possession of migratory game birds and songbirds and no hunting license. The cases are pending.

The Oysters Returned to the Water
Two Aransas County game wardens apprehended a commercial oyster boat in Mesquite Bay with a 23 percent undersized cargo of oysters. The wardens issued the captain of the boat a citation and returned 12 sacks of oysters to the water.

Team Takedown
Three game wardens were patrolling for oyster violations by helicopter when one of them spotted a vehicle working a spotlight on the public roadway. Another game warden used the helicopter’s onboard infrared camera system to observe and record the suspect spotlighting and releasing dogs from the public roadway. Three different game wardens contacted the four individuals on the ground and filed multiple cases against them.

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