Game Warden Field Notes
AUSTIN, November 7, 2016 – The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Expired and Arrested
A Morris County game warden observed a small flat bottom boat with three male occupants on Big Cypress Creek along Sand Crossing at the Morris County/Camp County Line. Using binoculars he could see that the boat had an expired registration decal. Upon making contact, the warden found several violations in addition to the expired registration. None of the occupants had fishing licenses and there was only one life jacket in the boat; the law requires a life jacket for each person onboard. Two of the men were issued citations, while the third received a ticket and a trip to the Morris County Jail after an identification check revealed he had a warrant for a parole violation for burglary.
A Shocking Discovery
As Bowie County game wardens arrived on the scene in response to a complaint about a truck and trailer blocking a boat ramp, they noticed a boat had just pulled in and was in the process of being loaded onto the trailer. While making contact with the operator, the wardens observed an illegal fish shocking device onboard with wires still connected. During a subsequent search of the vessel and the truck, wardens recovered and released back into the lake two flathead catfish. They also found numerous devices used for illegal fishing, including a four bar telephone, wires, dip nets, a drill, voltage meter and spotlight; all were seized as evidence. A meth pipe, narcotics and a pistol were also taken as evidence from the vehicle. The two subjects were booked into the Bowie County jail for fishing violations and drug charges.
That’s why it’s Called Teal Season
On the last day of the September teal season Trinity County game wardens checked a group of hunters on the Trinity River and discovered a pair of wood ducks stashed behind their duck blind. After educating the group about proper waterfowl identification and hunting seasons, cases for hunting and possessing wood ducks in closed season were filed.
A Harrison County game warden got a call about a suspicious man walking down the road with a shotgun. Once in the area, the warden noticed a truck parked in the woods with two men nearby. When asked, the pair said they weren’t hunting, just enjoying the weather. A shotgun barrel sticking out of the pickup’s door window hinted otherwise. As he approached the truck the warden noticed several dead squirrels in the bed of the truck. The warden also recovered a couple of freshly-used meth pipes. Multiple charges filed.
Working on Night Moves
Van Zandt and Smith County wardens recently completed an investigation into an alleged road hunting incident stemming from an anonymous tip about a large buck that may have been poached at night. Wardens determined at least eight deer may have been killed over several nights of road hunting during the summer by several juveniles. None of the deer were retrieved except the one large buck, still in velvet. In all, 70 citations and warnings were issued and two rifles were seized. Cases pending.
An individual was apprehended recently in Montgomery County for hunting without landowner consent. The subject, whose hunting privileges were suspended due to a prior conviction for road hunting, was also charged with Class A hunting while license suspended. A compound bow and digital recorder were seized as evidence.
Back to the Scene of the Crime
While investigating the death of a deer found on a roadway in a residential neighborhood, a Comal County game warden discovered evidence of a small bullet hole wound in the deer’s chest and determined it had been killed illegally. The warden interviewed nearby witnesses who stated there was man walking around earlier in the day wearing camouflage clothing. As the warden was conducting interviews, a neighborhood resident wearing full camouflage appeared at the crime scene and began asking questions about the deer. The warden quickly surmised the man to be a potential suspect and began asking questions of his own. During questioning, the man confessed to killing the deer with a .177 caliber air rifle. He had no hunting license, killed the deer out of season, failed to retrieve his kill and did not have hunter education certification. Cases and restitution pending.
Taking the Bait
While inspecting dove hunters as they were coming into camp, a Cameron County warden noticed milo in the bed of their truck. After questioning all three hunters, the warden determined all were hunting migratory game over bait. The warden seized 47 birds and several citations were issued.
During a routine traffic stop on a vehicle with no tail lights, a Cameron County game warden observed several mourning dove and bobwhite quail in the bed of the truck. The occupants of the vehicle admitted to hunting quail out of season and taking dove without a hunting license. The birds were seized and several citations were issued.
First Time and Hopefully the Last
A Bexar County game warden responded to an OGT (Operation Game Thief) call on Calavares Lake that led to citations issued for possession of nine undersized red drum ranging in length from 12-16 inches. The minimum length limit on Calavarez is 20 inches with a three fish daily bag limit. While receiving his citations, all the fisherman would say was, "It was my first time!" Charges pending.
Pre-seasoned Dove Field
While on patrol in Duval County, game wardens observed high concentrations of dove in a particular field compared to surrounding areas. While one of the wardens questioned a couple of hunters in the target rich environment, his partner checked the field and discovered scattered milo throughout. It is illegal to use bait to attract migratory game birds. The hunters denied any knowledge of the bait and said they had hunted the same field earlier in the day with good success. They also were hunting with an unplugged shotgun in violation of migratory game bird hunting regulations and had harvested a woodpecker and an Inca dove illegally. The hunters were issued several citations and all birds were seized. The wardens then contacted the landowner of the baited field, who admitted to placing milo across 400 acres to attract dove and signed a voluntary statement to that effect.
Snake in the Road
Game wardens were patrolling Borden County on opening day of pronghorn season, watching hunters and listening for shots in the distance when they heard a shot come from behind them about 100 yards away. When they turned around they saw a truck on a nearby highway take off at a high rate of speed. The wardens pursued the vehicle and eventually made contact. As they passed the area where the truck was previously stopped, the wardens saw a dead rattlesnake in the road that appeared to have been shot. The suspects were cited for hunting nongame from a public roadway.
A Lubbock County game warden responded to a complaint about a man hunting dove without landowner consent, but by the time he got on the scene the suspect had already fled. Armed with a description of the suspect’s truck and the direction he was headed, the warden decided to follow. He’d traveled only about a mile when the warden spotted a vehicle that matched the description drive slowly along the highway and then turn onto private property where the driver fired two shots from his vehicle. The man was arrested for hunting dove from a vehicle and hunting dove without landowner consent.
What about the Other Pronghorn?
Game wardens were patrolling Dallam County during the opening weekend of the pronghorn season when they spotted a pickup traveling at a high rate of speed down a county road. They followed the vehicle to a farm where a father and two sons had shot a pronghorn. After the initial check revealed a possible pronghorn hunting permit violation, one of the wardens spotted a second pronghorn laying in the wheat field about 150 yards away. It was apparent no one in the group was going to acknowledge the second animal, but after a quick interview one of the youths admitted to shooting both animals. A citation was written for exceeding the annual bag limit and a warning for hunting without a valid permit. Charges and civil restitution for a 60 Inch Boone and Crockett pronghorn are pending. The meat was donated to a needy family in Dalhart.
No Fishing License Least of their Problems
A Johnson County game warden was patrolling Lake Pat Cleburne when he witnessed two men load fishing equipment into a small flat bottom boat. The men stated they were preparing to go fishing, but neither possessed a valid fishing license. The warden also observed the boat had none of the required water safety equipment. A check of the boat’s registration showed it to be stolen out of Fort Worth. The stolen boat was seized and the individual who claimed ownership of the boat was placed under arrest and transported to the Johnson County Jail. Charges pending.
Another Shocking Discovery
A Comanche County game warden was watching a park on Lake Proctor where he had reports of people keeping illegally-caught fish. A boat with three occupants soon approached the dock. A woman got off the boat and a man handed her a cooler. The cooler appeared heavy and the woman had a difficult time carrying it up to her vehicle. The woman left the parking lot while the men loaded the boat with another truck. The warden stopped the woman in the park and asked to check the cooler. She refused to allow the inspection so the warden waited for the men to arrive and asked them what was in the cooler. They both denied any knowledge of the cooler or contents. The warden removed the cooler and was surprised to find an ancient hand cranked fish shocking device inside. All three were charged with possession of a fish shocker within a half mile of public water and the woman for failure to allow inspection.
A Willacy County game warden set up observation of a public fishing pier from a distance after getting a tip regarding fishermen keeping undersized spotted seatrout. He watched as three fishermen caught trout and put them in a bucket. As the fishermen were about to leave, one of them dumped the bucket of fish on the pier’s fish cleaning station and another shouted “warden, warden” in a joking way to scare his buddy. The warden then approached the group and all of them were shocked to learn the warden was actually watching them. None of the fishermen had fishing licenses, all the fish were undersized and all fishermen were over their daily bag limit of trout. Multiple citations were issued and 20 trout were seized. Cases pending.