Game Warden Field Notes


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The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

A Sobering Situation

The duties of a Texas game warden don’t always involve illegal acts in the field. While on patrol in Del Rio, a Val Verde County game warden took quick action after observing a vehicle driving on the wrong side of a busy four-lane divided highway. He was able to pull the vehicle over without incident and upon making contact it became immediately apparent to the warden that the driver was extremely impaired. A state trooper arrived within minutes to assist and they were able to control traffic and safely move the vehicle off the highway. Due to the condition of the driver, they were unable to perform standard field sobriety tests. However, a breath sample using the trooper’s portable intoxilizer registered .209 BAC (blood alcohol content), more than twice the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. The driver was arrested and transported to county jail.

Two for One

A Pecos County game warden received a call from a local ranch that had started their MLD (Managed Lands Deer) permit whitetail hunting. The ranch foreman stated that one of their hunters mistakenly harvested a mule deer and the hunter would not be leaving for a couple days. The warden made plans to head to the ranch first thing in the morning prepared to educate the hunter on wildlife identification and issue a citation for hunting mule deer in closed season. Before he could get to the ranch, the warden received another call from the foreman letting him know a second hunter had come in late with another mule deer. Both hunters said they thought they killed whitetail deer, but were not sure when they took the shot. Both hunters were cited for hunting mule deer in closed season. (Restitution pending)

In the Spotlight

A Matagorda County game warden was on patrol in the College Port area when he observed a vehicle spotlighting and the driver shoot from a public road. As the warden started to approach the vehicle, another truck appeared and dropped off an individual in the field where the shooter had fired. Both vehicles drove away; the warden called another warden for backup, followed the vehicles and was able to stop both. With the aid of thermal imaging the wardens located and apprehended the individual in the field. The onsite investigation revealed that the suspect had wounded a whitetail buck, but was unable to find the deer. Drug paraphernalia was discovered in the suspect’s vehicle, along with a spotlight, a .22 caliber hornet rifle and a spent shell casing. Statements were taken and numerous citations are pending.

Deked

Acting on tips about individuals routinely shooting feral hogs and deer from the roadway at night, Red River County wardens deployed a full body mount deer decoy with radio controlled head movements that simulate a live buck. Shortly after setting up the deke, a truck stopped and the driver exited the vehicle and fired one shot at the decoy with a pistol. The subject was arrested for hunting from a public roadway and discharging a firearm from a public road. Other citations were issued related to alcohol. An investigation is ongoing regarding hunting deer in closed season and hunting deer at night.

No Deke Required

A Bowie County game warden observed a vehicle moving slowly along a county road. A short time later the vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway and the occupants began shooting at a herd of feral hogs that were crossing the road. The warden made contact with the vehicle and the four occupants were found to be in possession of a .22 caliber rifle and several alcoholic beverages. Multiple citations were issued for hunting from a public roadway, driving under the influence of alcohol-minor, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and minor in possession of alcohol. (Cases pending)

Legal Deer, Illegal Harvest

A Titus County game warden received a photo on his cell phone from an informant showing a juvenile holding the head of a white-tailed deer he believed did not meet the county’s antler restrictions. After enlarging the photo on a computer, the warden determined the deer to be a legal spike buck having at least one unbranched antler, but the informant had also indicated the juvenile was acting like he did something wrong. The warden identified the juvenile in the photo and made contact with him and his guardian. After interviewing the juvenile, it was discovered that three juvenile males and an 18-year-old male shot the deer off the road at night prior to the opening of deer season. The deer was shot with a bow and two .22 caliber rifles. The entire deer, except for the head, was then dumped deep in the woods on a private ranch. Citations were issued on a variety of violations including: hunting deer from a public road, hunting deer with the aid of artificial light, waste of game and no hunter education certification. (Cases and civil restitution pending)

Early Start, Bad Call

On Oct. 28, a Shelby County game warden was on patrol when he received a tip about a white-tailed buck being cleaned at a nearby hunting camp. The warden arrived at the camp and found an 8-point buck that had been harvested that afternoon. The hunters claimed they had to track the buck for some time, which was their reasoning for cleaning it so late. Upon further investigation, the warden discovered that at the direction of his father who was occupying the same hunting stand, a juvenile had shot the buck with a rifle. The father confessed to telling his kid to shoot the buck a day before the youth-only weekend season. (Charges and restitution pending)

Showing off His Trophy

A week prior to opening day of deer season, an Angelina County warden received information that a Huntington man shot an 8-point buck from his back porch while the deer fed at a feeder. The warden showed up at the suspect’s residence, found evidence a deer had been shot under a feeder and during a search of the property for evidence, located a fresh deer carcass with the antlers removed. An ice chest with the quartered venison was also found. The suspect drove up shortly and after making contact, the warden discovered a set of deer antlers in the bed of his vehicle. The subject was issued a citation for hunting deer during closed season. (Case and civil restitution pending)

Gone Fishing

A Lubbock County landowner called the game warden after witnessing several individuals trespassing on his property. The warden responded and located three men, two of which were convicted felons, fishing well within the fenced and posted property. The warden placed all three men under arrest for criminal trespass and booked them into the Lubbock County Detention Center. One of the three men was also booked under a pending arrest warrant.

We Were Just Feeding the Decoys

While on patrol in Jim Wells County and checking on dove hunters, a game warden noticed a group had placed a feeder in the center of their decoy spread. As the warden was preparing to issue citations for hunting migratory game birds over a baited area, he discovered one of the hunters did not have a hunting license and was a felon in possession of a firearm. That individual was arrested. Gear and 40 dove were seized. (Cases pending)


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Applications still available for displaced workers to take advantage of tuition-free courses


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The Kilgore College Workforce Development Department still has openings for area displaced workers to take advantage of a free tuition program thanks to a $500,000 grant awarded to KC by the Texas Workforce Commission Investment Council’s Wagner-Peyser 7(b) Grant Program.

Candidates who apply must meet certain qualifications to take tuition-free courses at KC in advanced welding, transportation (CDL) and industrial electrical technology.

To qualify for the tuition-free courses, individuals must be “displaced” in that they’ve been laid off because their employer closed a plant or division; moved or abolished their position; or simply had insufficient work for them; as well as some service members who leave the military.

“This grant will provide displaced workers a tuition-free opportunity to obtain cutting-edge technology skills potentially leading to exciting career opportunities that produce living-wage compensation,” said Dr. Brenda Kays, KC president.

Wagner-Peyser 7(b) grants, according to the Texas Workforce Commission website, are federal funds allocated to each state’s office of the governor each year to fund workforce training and job placement services.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 7 million American workers have been displaced from long-term jobs since 2008.

For more information on the grant, or to apply for one of the 100 student positions, call Brenda Brown at 903-983-8288 or visitwww.kilgore.edu/wdce.


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TxDOT LAUNCHES SAFE PHONE ZONES, SPONSORED BY GEICO, AT REST AREAS, TRAVEL INFORMATION CENTERS ACROSS THE STATE


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AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Transportation today announced the implementation of Safe Phone Zones at 55 Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers (TICs) across the state. The GEICO sponsored Safe Phone Zones are part of the Department’s Sponsor Acknowledgement Program, which seeks companies to fund various benefits for drivers – such as free Wi-Fi at Safety Rest Areas and TICs – in exchange for receiving public recognition through highway signage.

“We are pleased to partner with our first sponsor to create these Safe Phone Zones so people will pull off the road to use their phone rather than using them as they drive,” said Mark Marek, TxDOT’s director of Engineering and Safety Operations. “With more than 100,000 crashes in Texas each year involving distracted driving, we hope to curb this deadly habit by encouraging drivers to pull over at TxDOT Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers to use apps, check email and surf the Web in a safe location.”

Sponsorship funds pay for free Wi-Fi service for travelers at high-traffic Safety Rest Areas and TICs, while the highway signs encourage safer driving habits by reminding motorists to utilize their mobile devices only while stopped at the convenient facilities. Free Wi-Fi service is available at 22 Safety Rest Areas with more available in the coming months.

“The number of traffic fatalities nationwide continues to move in the wrong direction, and distracted driving is no doubt a contributing factor,” said Dan Beacom, regional vice president at GEICO’s Richardson office. “GEICO is pleased that we can partner with the Texas Department of Transportation to support dozens of Safe Phone Zones, and we’re confident these locations will help make highways in Texas safer for all drivers.”

About TxDOT Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers

TxDOT currently has 80 Safety Rest Areas and 12 Travel Information Centers (TICs) placed strategically throughout the state. These facilities are essential safety features on the highway system as they allow drivers to rest and get travel information. The TICs are staffed by professional travel counselors who welcome visitors to Texas, help with routings and provide information on points of interest, events and road conditions.


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