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TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
No Trolls Under This Bridge — A Hardeman County Game Warden responded to a tip recently about something “strange” under the river bridge there. The warden found six signs that had been stolen from nearby Copper Breaks State Park and about 30 pumpkins. The investigation continues.
Same Song, Second Verse — A Shelby County Game Warden apprehended three Orange residents hunting deer at night in the Sabine National Forest recently. Two of the violators had been dealt with by the warden in 2001 when they had killed a doe in closed season less then a mile from where they were caught this time. One of the violators repeatedly tried to convince the warden that they were not night hunting, until another suspect told him, “Shut up; he has dealt with people like us before.” Cases are pending.
Never Steal From a Federal Agent — San Augustine County Game Wardens responded to a call from a local hunting club about trespassing and the theft of a firearm. The suspects entered the property by boat from the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. As the caller was checking a deer feeder, one of the suspects ran up, took the rifle from the caller’s 4-wheeler and fled. The caller gave chase and was able to get the ID number from the suspect’s boat. After several phone calls, the suspects were arrested as they left work in Beaumont some time later. They gave written statements and the location of the rifle and were charged with criminal trespass and theft. Thanks to the members of the hunting club, who happen to be DEA and FBI agents, for their help. Cases are pending.
Sounds Like Nature — A Briscoe County Game Warden was patrolling recently and located a Sandhill Crane hunter. As the warden approached the area the person was hunting, a group of cranes were coming into the person’s decoys. The warden did not want to disturb the hunt, so he drove down the road to observe. The person then called the warden on his cell phone and asked if he needed something. The warden responded that he was going to check him once the cranes passed. As they were talking, the warden noticed that the cranes had passed, but he could still hear a large group of cranes via the phone. The warden asked the person if some of the cranes were on the ground near him, and the subject said no. The warden then asked the subject if he was using an electronic call, and the subject said yes. Case is pending for the use of an illegal electronic call.
VFW Honors Game Warden — Sutton County Game Warden Will Allison was presented a Life Saving Award from the District Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, on behalf of the National Commander of the VFW. The award honored Allison for his heroic action in saving the life of a Brady resident whose truck had been washed off the road during a flash flood situation in September 2004.
Herb‘Ivore Hunter — Freestone County Game Wardens checked a suspect recently who was leaving a deer camp. The person did not have his hunting license with him so they returned to the camp. After being confronted about his extreme nervousness, the person handed over a bag or marijuana. A search of the camp revealed more marijuana and a bag of cocaine. The suspect was already on probation for distribution of marijuana. His probation officer’s business card was found in the same container as the cocaine. Cases are pending.
Need Your Help Catching a Poacher — Limestone County Game Warden Kurt Slaughter needs help in locating a set of horns. A 12 or more point whitetail buck was killed during Nov. 9-10 in Leon County. The buck was a mature deer and supported heavy horns. The buck can be easily identified by the five points on the G-1’s. The right bow tine has three points and the left bow tine is split into two points. The G-1’s are approximately six inches long. Someone killed the buck in a High Fence Ranch, scaled the fence, and recovered the head. The rest of the carcass of the deer was left behind. If you have any information about this crime, please call Game Warden Dwight Myers at (903) 922-2774.
Don’t Mess With Troopers — Motley and Lamb County Game Wardens apprehended three individuals who were hunting without the landowner’s consent. The three decided to hunt property leased to the local Department of Public Safety trooper who called the wardens. Charges are pending.
I Confess — Van Zandt County Game Wardens were visiting the Justice of the Peace in Ben Wheeler when the wardens noted a large metal bowl covered in blood in the front yard at a house next door. The wardens visited with the occupant of the home who stated he had helped a friend clean a deer. When asked if he had killed a deer, the man replied, “I can’t hunt anymore because I’m a felon!” When asked the name of his friend, the man became confused and stated, “I knew this was going to happen.” The man went on to confess to killing three deer on opening day. A 4-point and two 8-point antlers were seized along with one rifle. Cases are pending.
Setting the Wrong Example — Again! — A Rusk County Game Warden was flagged down by a deer hunter while checking camps recently. The hunter advised that he and his hunting companions had been heavily peppered by some duck hunters during their morning hunt. The hunter believed the duck hunters were trespassing. Later that evening, the warden patrolled the area where the duck hunters had been and discovered the hunters had returned for an evening hunt, continuing until 20 minutes after sunset to kill three wood ducks. Three adult males and three juvenile males (ages 14, 13 and 6) were apprehended. Two of the three adults were filed on last year for hunting migratory birds after legal shooting hours on Lake Striker in the same county, by the same game warden, and under the same judge. The landowner signed criminal trespass affidavits against the adults. Five shotguns were seized and six cases are pending. The judge offered the defendants a choice: $250 per offense and the forfeiture of their shotguns to the state or $500 per offense with the return of their weapons. Cases are pending.
Here Comes the Judge — A Dewitt County Game Warden responded to a call concerning shots fired from a public road in a subdivision. He tracked down two suspects who confessed to shooting a hog. Three cases were filed against the suspects. It turns out the two men shot the hog in front of the house of the judge who will handle their cases.
Bulldozer Hate Crime — Grayson and Denton County Game Wardens, along with a federal agent, investigated a criminal mischief incident that occurred at the Hagerman Refuge, where equipment had been damaged. After a series of interviews, two young men living next to the refuge gave statements admitting to the crime. More than $2,000 in damage was done to a bulldozer with an axe.
Once Expensive Brew — A Howard County Game Warden was patrolling a ranch that bordered a rural road in Andrews County when a group of motorcyclists stopped on the shoulder of the road and began drinking beer. One of the riders tossed his empty can in the ditch. The warden approached the men and issued a citation for littering to the one who tossed the can. A records check revealed an outstanding warrant for the person for criminal mischief in Ector County. During the trip to jail in Andrews, the suspect stated that it was just not right that game wardens drove green pickups. He said he thought they should drive black and white vehicles with light bars like the Department of Public safety troopers.
Breaking All the Rules — Hardeman and Mason County Game Wardens met in Potter County to patrol opening weekend of deer season on the Canadian River by horseback. The horse patrol apprehended one suspect who had killed a white-tailed buck and had tagged it with a mule deer tag. The suspect also failed to cut the dates out and didn’t log the kill on his license. While one warden was issuing a citation, the other two wardens backtracked where the deer had been dragged. It turned out to have been taken from private property. The suspect claimed to have shot it on public property and advised that it had run and jumped the fence. All of the evidence found indicated otherwise, and the suspect finally gave a statement indicating it was on private property. Wardens said being on horseback helps them patrol more dense areas.
Above and Beyond the Call — A Williamson County Warden responded to a call for assistance from the area Sheriff’s Office to rescue residents in a trailer park along the San Gabriel River in the recent floods that affected east and central Texas. The waters had risen out of the banks and immediately flooded the access to the park. One resident was very appreciative of the warden retrieving the victim’s wife’s heart medication and another was grateful for the assistance of moving some family heirlooms out of the flooded trailer by boat.
“Catch Me If You Can” — Walker and Brazos County Game Wardens teamed up to work in an area where the wardens had received information about baiting and hunting late for ducks. The wardens walked into the area and heard a volley of shotgun shots, then the sound of a four-wheeler. As contact was made, it was clear that the area had been baited for ducks and the suspects had unplugged guns and were hunting late. Two of the hunters had been known to say, “We can’t get caught. The wardens aren’t that good.” A total of seven citations were issued, and three wood duck drakes, three shotguns and a 50-pound bag of corn were seized. One of the hunters begged the wardens not to tell anyone that they had been caught. Cases are pending.
Experience Is Not Always the Best Teacher — A Montgomery County Game Warden and a U.S. Forest Service official were patrolling in the Sam Houston National Forest recently and came across two hunters and one had received five citations last year from the same officers. Apparently he did not learn his lesson. The hunting group had entered the forest by boat and taken an 8-point buck. Once the investigators rounded up all the hunters and completed their investigation, the violations included: one for no public hunting lands permit, four for hunting on A Wildlife Management Area without wearing hunter orange, one for hunting on a WMA with buckshot, one for no hunting license, three for no hunter education, two for hunting from a permanent stand on a WMA, one for expired boat registration, one for failure to transfer the title of a boat, one for giving false information, and one for possession of marijuana. Cases are pending.
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