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May 21, 2007
Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Basic intelligence departs with sobriety — On May 5, A Marion County game warden arrested a subject on Lake O’ the Pines for a BWI. The subject claimed to have a college degree, but when the warden requested he recite the alphabet, the intoxicated individual asked if there was something else he could try.
Acting guilty a good indication — Patrolling for fishing violations in the Horseshoe Bay area during early May, a warden decided to check some fisherman for compliance and bypassed several others to check some newcomers further down the bank. Shortly after he passed two young men, he noticed them leaving in a hurry. He had seen them arrive just a few minutes earlier. It was quickly discovered that neither had a license.
Padded game warden takes on hawk — In late April, a priest in Milam County received stitches in his head after being attacked by a red-shouldered hawk. The hawk was protecting her nest in a nearby tree and was a constant threat to the parishioners and the priests. A Milam County game warden was called to solve the problem. Faced with the dilemma of protecting wildlife while also protecting the people, he came up with a plan. The warden used the city’s lift-bucket truck to get him high enough to secure the fledging hawks and relocate them to a rehabilitator so the female would leave the area. Dressed in the city dog trainer’s padded suit and his ATV helmet and goggles, the warden fended off two attacks by the mother hawk before securing the fledglings. No harm came to the warden or the hawks during the encounter.
Always check the safety — A Gonzales County warden responded to a hunting accident in a rural portion of the county in early May. An individual who was walking through his property hunting varmints leaned his loaded rifle against a barbed wire fence before attempting to get beyond it. The gun’s safety was not on, the trigger caught on a barb, and the man took a shot in the lower abdomen. Luckily, the victim is expected to make a full recovery.
Buyers bid on baby raccoons — On April 29, a Travis County warden responded to a call about a subject trying to sell baby raccoons on the Internet. When the warden responded anonymously to the online advertisement, the seller said there were six other interested individuals. The game warden then changed tactics and identified himself as a warden. He convinced the seller to meet him and bring the last, unsold raccoon to the meeting. The raccoon was turned over to a rehabber and charges are pending.
Tornadoes not good for fishing — A Brady game warden was called to assist local police who were searching for a man reported missing on Brady Lake during a tornado threat. The boater, apparently in a kayak when the storm blew in, was found taking shelter in an abandoned boat house. All parties quickly got off the water, and the man promised never again to collect mussels during a tornado.
If the mirror fits — On April 30, an Edwards County game warden was patrolling the north part of his county when he observed several knocked-down, run-over road signs. Next to one of the signs, he located a side mirror and kept it as evidence. He then proceeded to the local high school where he found a vehicle with considerable damage and a missing driver-side mirror. The warden’s evidence matched perfectly. Statements were taken from the driver and passenger of the vehicle. Twenty-one signs and one deer were run over during the teenagers’ night of destruction.
Rowdy steer gets bulldogged — A Lubbock County game warden received a call for assistance from the Lubbock Police Department in late April after a 400-pound steer escaped from animal control officers and went on a rampage near downtown Lubbock. The warden arrived just after the steer had climbed over a Mercedes Benz at a local dealership. The warden and a police officer teamed up and managed to wrestle the steer to the ground. Animal control officers were then able to load and remove the steer to a more secure location.
Speeding citation only skimmed surface — April 19th, a Freestone County game warden stopped a reckless driver who had been issued a speeding ticket by a state trooper less than 20 minutes prior. The subject was arrested for driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine and reckless driving. When the warden asked why his truck was in such bad shape, the driver said he had intentionally run over four deer because his friends needed the meat. Later, the individual gave a videotaped statement about two of the four deer and implicated two other people. Apparently unaware of the consequences, the arrested subject also made a statement to the jailer about throwing a bag of marijuana out the window before he was stopped. Sure enough, when the warden returned to the scene, he found the ditched bag of marijuana. An additional felony charge of tampering with evidence was filed. The investigation regarding the dead deer continues.
Warden prompts lawyer’s backpedal — A Kimble County game warden, continuing an open investigation on two suspects involved in harvesting an axis deer and two black buck antelopes without landowner consent, interviewed the younger of the two suspects via telephone in mid April. Shortly thereafter, the older suspect (who happened to be an attorney and soon-to-be father-in-law of the younger suspect) called the warden. The attorney/suspect accused the warden of violations of attorney-client privilege and playing favorites, but the warden wasn’t having it. He explained to the lawyer that intimidation tactics would not be tolerated and would not have any influence on the investigation. Consequently, the attorney quickly changed his tune and said they would be willing to make restitution on the animals. The warden is following up with the landowner and the county attorney to present the case.
Warden gets play-by-play cell-phone S.O.S — On April 14, a Matagorda County game warden received a call from an individual who said a female friend of his and a teenage boy had called him because they were stuck in Matagorda Bay. While the warden was en route, the individual called back to let him know the stranded motorists were taking on water. A few minutes later he called again because they were sinking. He then called once more to say that they were capsized and hanging on to the keel. A rescue was made and no one was injured.
Pyros or Insurance Fraud? — At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 12, a Montgomery County game warden was patrolling near the San Jacinto River and the Spring Creek area where he observed two vehicles pull onto an isolated, dead-end lane. The warden followed, and after observing for a bit of time, one automobile suddenly burst into flames. The light from the fire made the warden visible, and the subjects quickly fled. The warden pursued and stopped the vehicle, got the driver out, and kept the other passengers at gunpoint until backup officers arrived. Investigation into the burning vehicle is ongoing.
Reckless recreation endangers neighbor — A Schleicher County game warden responded to a call from a shaken individual who stated that his vehicle and house had been shot. The warden visited the caller’s residence and then proceeded to the property in the general direction from where the shots had come. There, he encountered two men and a woman. They admitted to shooting in the general direction of the complainant’s house, which was clearly visible, but stated they did not think the bullets would travel that far. They had also shot numerous holes into a nearby vacant house. The warden picked up 179 empty 9mm shell casings and counted 79 holes in the wall of the vacant house.
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