Game Warden Field Notes

AUSTIN, March 22, 2016 - The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

A Turkey Vulture Does Not a Totem Pole Make

While searching for an armed robbery suspect’s campsite, the Mount Pleasant Police SWAT team entered a ranch on which the suspect was believed to be hiding. The SWAT team discovered the hidden campsite and found drug paraphernalia and a dead turkey vulture staked to the ground with its wings spread apart like a totem pole figure. The SWAT team didn’t find the suspect at the campsite, but they later found him at his girlfriend’s apartment. The girlfriend was arrested for harboring a felon. The following day, a Titus County game warden went to the campsite to seize the vulture as evidence. The warden researched the suspect, who did not have a hunting license, and found he had posted three photos of dead white-tailed deer on his Facebook account. The warden interviewed the suspect at the jail and identified two more suspects. After taking statements from the other suspects, the warden issued citations for hunting under the license of another, allowing another to hunt under his license, no hunter education and untagged white-tailed deer.

Caught In the Act

Bowie County game wardens apprehended an individual for trespassing and deer poaching after the landowner captured evidence on game trail cameras he had placed on his property last November after multiple trespassing incidents. The landowner forwarded photos of the suspect, his vehicle and a harvested white-tailed deer to game wardens. The landowner also had pictures of the suspect with a gun and deer stand walking on his property and of the suspect loading a deer into a truck. Several cases are pending against the individual, who does not have a hunting license.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

A Red River County game warden got a call from a Clarksville police officer about a man with a deer in the bed of his truck. During the investigation, the warden discovered the young suspect had unintentionally hit the deer with his vehicle, circled back to pick it up and then taken it down the road and disposed of it illegally. The suspect then used the gearshift from his manual transmission to strike the deer over its head to kill it. After discussing what the young man should have done if he was worried about the deer suffering or the meat going to waste, the warden issued citations and warnings for possessing white-tailed deer parts taken from a public roadway, illegal means and methods for taking game, possessing deer in closed season and untagged deer. The meat from the deer was salvaged and donated.

Aggravated Carjacking

An Atascosa County game warden was returning from patrol when he heard a BOLO (be on the lookout) warning broadcast over the radio about an aggravated carjacking nearby. Dispatch told officers to be on the lookout for a suspect driving a beige vehicle allegedly headed toward Houston. About 20 minutes after the BOLO was broadcast, the vehicle was found in East Bexar County parked on the side of the road. The warden made contact with three individuals who had stopped to help untie a woman near the car. The warden took the female victim to safety and broadcast a description of the suspect, as told to him by the woman. The victim said she was told at gunpoint to drive the suspect to Houston. When the suspect realized she did not have enough gas to get all the way there, he made her pull over and was then picked up by someone else. The suspect tied the female up with nylon rope and bound a jacket around her head. Several local, state and federal agencies are assisting with this ongoing investigation.

This Game Warden Isn’t Going Anywhere

A game warden was contacted by a local business owner about a mule deer doe carcass that was dumped with the hindquarters and back straps removed near his property. The warden responded to the dumpsite but did not find any incriminating evidence. He patrolled through a trailer park a few blocks away and found a back leg and some hide from the hindquarters of a doe outside one of the trailers. After inspecting the bed of the pickup truck parked outside the trailer, in which he found blood and deer hair, the warden tried to make contact with the truck’s owner, but no one answered the door of the trailer. The warden parked his patrol truck beside the trailer and waiting about 10 minutes for the suspect, who, after realizing the warden wasn’t going anywhere, finally came outside. After a short interview, the warden determined the man was responsible for killing and dumping the mule deer. The case has been filed and restitution has been paid.

Wardens Lend a Helping Hand

Two Llano County game wardens put together a food drive for a family in need after a family member contacted one of the wardens. The family member said they needed meat to feed their family of 15. Within days, the wardens delivered processed deer hamburger and steaks, cooked pulled pork, sausage, fish and other items to stock the family’s freezer.

Caught In the Dark

A Lee County game warden and a Burleson County warden checked on a tip they had received about people catching fish with nets at the spillway of Lake Somerville after dark. At the spillway, they saw two different groups keeping game fish they had caught with cast nets. After making contact with both groups, the wardens seized 13 fish and wrote multiple citations.

Missing Boaters Found Safe

A Lee County game warden got a call about a missing boat that was last seen operating on Lake Somerville. The boat’s occupants were already two hours late getting home. The wind was blowing over 30 miles an hour that day, and the waves were over four feet. Working with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Burton Police Department, the warden found the missing boaters. The high waves had caused the boat to take on water and sink, forcing the occupants to swim to shore. One of the occupants was taken to the hospital for hypothermia, but they were otherwise okay.

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Clean Up

A San Patricio County game warden, with help from Judge Duncan Neblett Jr. of Port Aransas and a TPWD coastal fisheries biologist, picked up 74 crab traps from the Light House Lakes and Kayak Trails near Port Aransas in Redfish Bay. Cases on the illegal traps are currently being investigated.

Catch and Release

Four Aransas County game wardens apprehended two commercial oyster boats in Aransas Bay with 30 percent and 21 percent undersized loads of oysters, respectively. They found another commercial oyster boat in Copano Bay with a 26 percent undersized haul of oysters. The wardens issued the captains of each boat a citation and returned 43 sacks of oysters to the water.

Darting through Traffic

After nearly a year of investigation, Texas game wardens filed charges against a Comal County man for hunting an exotic animal from a public roadway without the landowner’s consent. The man allegedly shot a blackbuck antelope with a tranquilizer dart containing a controlled substance — Telazol — while purportedly attempting to steal the antelope from the Las Lomas gated community in Hays County. Several charges were filed against the individual, including three Class A misdemeanors (hunting an exotic animal from a public roadway, hunting an exotic animal without the expressed consent of the landowner, and possession of controlled substance penalty group 3) and one Class B misdemeanor (attempted theft of the blackbuck antelope). Charges are pending in Hays County District Attorney.

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