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July 12, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- A Harris County game warden received a call from the Baytown Police about the sale of an alligator. Upon further investigation, the warden learned the suspect purchased the alligator for $50 from two individuals on the Trinity River. He obtained more information and then seized the alligator. Charges are pending against the suspect.
- Recently, a Smith County game warden received a call for assistance from a deputy working Interstate 20. A vehicle had two small alligators in the trunk of the car and no documentation. The suspect stated he had bought them for pets for his children. The driver’s problems got worse when about $14,000 in cash was discovered along with conflicting stories as to where the money came from. Transportation was arranged for the suspects when the police dog alerted on the money and some concealed areas of the car.
A Wilbarger County game warden and a Hardeman County game warden appeared in district court recently on three felony hunting without consent cases they filed in hunting season. The investigation resulted in 17 deer being located that were killed and left to waste. A Throckmorton County game warden also worked on the case and it resulted in the felony cases being filed and several Class A misdemeanor cases against other suspects. The suspects admitted to the offenses in open court. The judge assessed the following penalty to each subject: $3,000 fine, 400 hours community service (relating to the care of animals), five years probation, five years license suspension, and as the violators, attorneys, and families breathed a slight sigh of relief, the judge added that they should spend some time in jail and sentenced them to 90 days.
Red River County game wardens testified in a case regarding hunting from a public roadway with the aid of motor vehicle. The offender pled guilty after opening testimony. He received two years probation, more than $1,000 in fines and court costs, and his hunting and fishing license were suspended for five years.
- A Burleson County game warden assisted with the rescue of two women from a house near Caldwell after heavy rainfall created flooding conditions.
- When Comal County Game Warden Kathleen Stuman left her house for work on one recent day, she did not realize that before she came back home, she would have rescued or saved the lives of three people in two separate incidents. The first call came in at about 2 p.m. and consisted of a 13-year-old girl from Alabama who was holding on for her life to a tree in the raging waters of the Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake. The extremely swift water made it too dangerous for tubing. Luckily, she was able to hold on to a tree instead of being swept away. Her mother and sister were able to float to shore. Upon arrival, and after several attempts to rescue the girl with other tubes, Stuman used her throw bag and pulled the scared and cold girl to safety.
- Houston County Game Warden Eddie Lehr was standing on the Marina at Houston County Lake when he noticed two kids swimming approximately 100 yards from shore. It was apparent to Lehr the kids were in trouble. Lehr jumped into his boat, which was moored at the Marina, and as he approached the pair, one of the kids went under. He was able to get both kids (ages 10 and 11) loaded in his boat and safely transported to shore.
- Game Wardens Shane Hohman, Rachel Kellner, Mark Mcqueary and Bill Hellums were kept busy recently assisting individuals during the recent flooding on the Frio and Nueces rivers. Hohman, accompanied by Warden Steve Backor, rescued 22 individuals on the Frio River in Real County. Using a kayak and an inflatable rescue rig, they retrieved two people out of the top of a cypress tree and 20 others off roof tops and balconies.
- On June 27, Madison County Game Warden Dornell Crist was patrolling rural roads checking on flooding conditions. He drove up on a car in flood waters. He could not see into the vehicle, so he called out asking if anyone was in the vehicle. A female voice called back, "Yes." He waded through the water that was between knee and waist deep, rescued the stranded female from the stalled vehicle, and carried her to safety.
- Williamson County game wardens assisted the Sheriff’s Department in the recovery of a 23-year-old male who had drowned in the swimming area of Lake Georgetown recently. He drowned in about 10 feet of water.
- Severe thunderstorms raced through Texas Panhandle one day recently with winds reaching 100 miles per hour and baseball-size hail, causing around $100,000,000 in damages to properties, homes and vehicles. Several homes were without electricity for over two hours. One person was killed while he was attempting to tie down his boat.
- Wardens continue investigating a boating accident that claimed the life of a 12-year-old girl while being towed behind a boat. The tube and a Personal Watercraft collided on a blind turn and the accident is being reconstructed according to the physical evidence and statements obtained from witnesses and all parties involved. Both parents of the girl were on the boat at the time of accident and witnessed the impact. The 12-year-old was a twin whose sister was also in the tube sitting on the opposite side. The sister sustained minor injuries, while a 10-year-old cousin sitting in the middle of the tube received severe trauma to the face.
While returning to Johnson County from a PWC accident, a game warden was requested by the local police department to assist in the removal of several snakes from inside a residence. The warden asked the homeowner what kind of snakes they were, and the owner informed him they were African mambas and a two step gaboon viper. The snakes were turned over to the Fort Worth Zoo.
Wichita and Clay County Game Wardens and a Park Peace Officer came across a large group of people swimming in Lake Arrowhead recently. Most of the group was drinking beer that was stored in a large ice chest floating in the water. All of the people were minors except for one 21-year-old male. While checking identification, a pack of rolling papers was found, which lead to the discovery of a bong and two pipes used to smoke marijuana. The 21-year-old was arrested and placed in Clay County Jail on a Class A misdemeanor charge of providing alcohol to minors. Four juveniles ages 14-16 were transported to the sheriff’s office to wait on parents to pick them up. One person was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and the rest were cited for minors in possession of alcohol.
You’re Not a Doe, So Don’t Be a Dope!!
A Brown County game warden talked to 52 kids about the habitat requirements of wild animals and how wild animals don’t make good pets. The Brownwood office has had a number of "abandoned" fawns picked up lately, so the children were educated about the importance of leaving wild animals alone, using a freshly picked-up fawn as an example.
Ignorance Doesn’t Help
A Bosque County game warden and a McLennan County game warden were working Lake Lewisville recently. While returning from dinner, the wardens observed a pontoon boat trying unsuccessfully to dock in one of the slips at a marina. Most of the nine people on board were observed drinking, and the driver of the boat appeared to be intoxicated. The driver of the boat failed the field sobriety test administered by the wardens. The subject submitted a breath test that registered at .180. The subject was arrested for Boating While Intoxicated. While on the way to the Denton County Jail, the suspect stated he did not know it was against the law to drink and drive a boat. Charges are pending.
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