Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Here, Hold My Pistol
Under the category “you can’t make this stuff up,” on June 11, a Concho County game warden received a report of two vehicles colliding and going off the bridge into the Colorado River. At about the same time, the McCulloch County Sheriff’s Office received a report of gunshots at the same bridge. The warden arrived on the scene first and found a car parked on the bridge deck, but did not see any damage to the vehicle or the bridge. He did observe a woman in the top of a nearby tree yelling for help and pointing toward the water. The warden directed her to climb down out of the tree, to which she said, “Here, hold my pistol.” She claimed her boyfriend’s car had gone off the bridge and that he was in it. She then provided the warden with her boyfriend’s cell phone number. The warden secured the handgun and called the boyfriend, who assured him that he was okay, his car had not gone off the bridge, and he was just out fishing. When the warden asked why she was up a tree with a pistol, the woman claimed to have shot at some pigs and feared for her safety. She was taken into custody by McCulloch County sheriff’s deputies. Multiple charges are pending.
It Looked Like a Good Fishing Hole
A Harris County game warden was checking for saltwater fishing violations from the shoreline when he observed two men fishing underneath the Texas Highway 146 Bridge in an area clearly marked with “No Trespassing” signs. Upon contact, the warden could smell the odor of marijuana. The subjects were asked for fishing licenses; neither possessed one. When asked if they had any weapons or illegal narcotics on them, one of the subjects hesitated and glanced down at his front waistline. Suspecting a weapon, the warden placed the individual in handcuffs for safety, and conducted a pat down search, which revealed a semi-automatic pistol with the serial numbers scratched out. The warden also discovered a small amount of marijuana. Upon further investigation, the warden discovered that one of the men possessed a fake resident card as well as a fake social security card. U.S. Customs and Border Protection was contacted to confirm the status of the individuals. One subject was arrested for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Felony charges are pending with Customs as well as deportation, pending trial.
Passing the Buck
In May, Harris County game wardens stopped by a Spring taxidermy shop for a compliance check. In the course of inspecting several trophy white-tailed racks, one of the wardens discovered two sets of antlers allegedly killed by the same 8-year-old hunter. The heads had been turned in by the father, but reported under the juvenile’s license. Further investigation revealed the father had advised the taxidermist he had killed one of the bucks, but the wardens found no record of the individual possessing a valid hunting license for the year in question. Subsequent contact and interviews with the father and son confirmed the father had, in fact, killed the trophy buck in Val Verde County without a valid hunting license. The father was cited for hunting without a license, and civil restitution for the whitetail buck is pending.
A Combustible Situation
On June 9, a Gonzales County game warden received a tip that a white-tailed doe may have been shot during or before a grass fire started in the southern part of the county. Armed with details about a vehicle that had burned in the fire, the warden pieced together information that led to a group of hog hunters who had entered the field, where one of them shot a white-tailed doe. At some point after the doe was shot, the hunters’ vehicle caught the field on fire, along with their vehicle. Cases filed include hunting without a valid license, taking white-tailed deer in closed season and civil restitution. Assistance from the Nixon-Smiley Police Department was paramount in the investigation.
Naked and Impaired
On June 16, a Johnson County game warden was about to launch his patrol boat onto Lake Pat Cleburne when he observed a car parked near the boat ramp, facing the water. Being a popular area for bank fishermen, the warden approached to check for fishing compliance. Instead, he found two unclothed individuals inside the car and, in plain view, a glass pipe with an off white substance commonly used to smoke methamphetamine sitting on the center console. Both subjects were ordered to put their clothing on and were removed from the vehicle. The warden discovered various drug paraphernalia and narcotics, and arrested both individuals. The cases are pending.
Y’all Aren’t from Around Here, Are Ya?
A Val Verde County game warden was patrolling near Langtry when he made contact with two groups of out of state reptile hunters. The non-game collectors were found to lack the required reptile/amphibian collector’s permits. They were also educated on Texas laws pertaining to hunting from a public roadway. Appropriate charges were filed and are pending.
Dumping the Dump Truck
Navarro County game wardens responded to a call of a possible vehicle submerged in a flooded gravel pit. First responders found evidence that a dump truck had gone over an embankment and into an old flooded gravel pit, which was 35-40 feet deep. Wardens noted a small oil slick forming on the surface of the water, called for a dive team and launched their patrol boat. The Waxahachie Fire Department Dive Team arrived on scene and located= the missing dump truck. Divers entered the water and found the dump truck resting upside down with the driver still in the cab. The driver did not survive.
Ignorance Is Not an Acceptable Excuse
Game wardens patrolling Choke Canyon Reservoir on Father’s Day weekend for water safety and fishing violations came across information someone might be alligator hunting on the lake. The wardens went to the reported location and found two men sleeping in their truck. Upon questioning, both men confessed to having set out eight baited lines to catch alligators. Both men stated they were not clear on the regulations and didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. Several other violations were discovered during the investigation, including undersized catfish and no fishing and hunting licenses. All lines were picked up and no alligators were caught. Several cases are pending.