Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN, September 16, 2015 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
No Rest for the Weary
As two Bowie County game wardens were leaving the county jail after an arrest, they got a call from the County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in a vehicle pursuit. The wardens responded, covering side roads and attempting to pull the car over. The wardens spiked the car’s wheels, though the driver continued to flee. After more than 30 miles, the driver wrecked the vehicle and then attempted to flee on foot. The county’s K-9 warden apprehended the suspect within 100 feet of the vehicle. The driver, who said he was recently released from prison, admitted the vehicle was stolen. After doctors treated the driver at the local hospital for injuries sustained during the pursuit, the wardens transported him to the county jail.
A Stolen Boat on Craigslist, Really?
After receiving a call from someone trying to purchase a boat on Craigslist, a county clerk checked the registration and discovered the boat was stolen. The clerk contacted a Tarrant County game warden, who then found the boat on Craigslist. After several days and a few well-crafted text messages, the warden set up a deal with the seller and learned where he was keeping the boat. With the help of a Denton County warden and two Dallas County wardens, the Tarrant County warden not only seized the boat in question, he also learned enough information from the seller to make a possible insurance fraud case against the original owner.
Smoke on the Water
While helping an overturned kayaker back onto his vessel at a concert on Lake Ray Hubbard, a Dallas County game warden heard a loud pop from behind. The warden turned to find a boat engulfed in fire, its passengers in the water. After the warden helped the passengers out of the water, he noticed the boat drifting toward the main harbor, where several boats were parked for the concert. The warden used his patrol boat to maneuver the burning boat away from the harbor until the Rockwall Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.
Working on His Way Home
As a Tyler County game warden returned to his house after patrol, he noticed a vehicle parked along the road. Approaching the vehicle, the warden noticed the driver was passed out, though the vehicle was still running. The driver woke up after the warden knocked on his window for several minutes. After questioning the driver, the warden determined he was intoxicated and administered standardized field sobriety tests. The subject provided a consensual breath sample of 0.236, and the warden arrested him for driving while intoxicated.
A Brazoria County game warden responded to a call about an unoccupied boat going in circles in the Brazos River, bringing the boat under control and inspecting it with US Coast Guard officials. After determining at least two people had been on the boat earlier that morning, they launched a rescue and recovery operation with the Coast Guard, Brazoria County Gulf Coast Rescue Squad, US Fish and Wildlife and several game wardens. Everyone searched the area until dark, with no success. The following morning, after resuming recovery efforts, they found the bodies of a father and son who they believed to be the operators of the abandoned boat.
I Thought I Shut You Down…
A Fort Bend County game warden noticed activity at a fish farm that had been shut down for some time. Several years ago, the warden discovered the fish farm violated permit requirements by raising tilapia in large tanks without a permit. This time, the warden found the owner was raising tilapia again, though now he had a permit to do so. However, while inspecting the farm, the warden found a drainage pipe that led from the tanks to outside the building had none of the required screens in place. The warden issued the owner a citation for violation of exotic species permit requirements and is helping install the proper screens.
And You Thought No One Would See it out the Window
As an Atascosa County game warden patrolled some back roads, he noticed the driver of a parked car was holding a marijuana bong out of the car’s window. The warden contacted the individual and seized several items of drug paraphernalia, along with marijuana that was concealed in a “urine drug test receptacle.” The warden arrested the individual for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana.
It’s Only a Minor Problem
As game wardens patrolled Lake Meredith for water safety violations, they contacted a boat with several minors drinking alcohol onboard. The wardens spoke with the boat’s driver, whose speech was slurred and eyes glassy. After conducting seated standardized field sobriety tests, the wardens arrested the driver for boating while intoxicated and minor in consumption of alcohol. The wardens also issued a citation for minor in consumption of alcohol to one other minor aboard the boat.
Two Travis County game wardens responded to a call about squatters in a housing development. With their K-9 partner, they made contact with several individuals and told them to clean up and vacate the property. While one warden spoke with a female squatter, his K-9 alerted to and indicated on her luggage cart and its contents. The wardens searched the luggage and discovered a needle, a pipe with marijuana residue, a marijuana cigarette and more than a gram of methamphetamine. The wardens also found four dogs the squatters had tied to trees with no food or water. An Austin police officer called animal control to relocate the dogs, and the woman was charged with possession of a criminal substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ten Trout Too Many
As two Willacy County game wardens patrolled the Port Mansfield area to enforce fishing regulations, they noticed several individuals fishing off a private pier. After making contact, the wardens discovered the individuals had an ice chest with 17 speckled trout, 10 of which were undersized. The wardens issued one citation for possession of undersized spotted sea trout and one for fishing over the daily bag limit. The wardens seized the fish, and restitution is pending.