Game Warden Field Notes

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

Good Samaritans

A Marion County Game Wardens responded to Lake O the Pines regarding a capsized vessel. Several fishermen close to the incident rescued an 80-year-old male and his son and transported them to a boat ramp. EMS arrived on scene and then transported the older male to the hospital for observation.

A Little Mud on the Tires

A Polk County Game Warden received a call from dispatch regarding individuals loading up a deer. A Polk County deputy was in the area and assisted the warden in patrolling the area based on the original call. An ATV drove by on a public roadway and the deputy initiated a traffic stop. The driver of the ATV fled, and a pursuit ensued. The ATV turned and went off-road on muddy terrain, so the warden followed the pursuit in four-wheel drive until the path ended and then gave pursuit on foot. The warden guided the deputy to where he expected the ATV to return. The deputy apprehended the subject and the ATV which was discovered to be stolen.

In a Slough of Trouble

A Trinity County Game Warden and a K9 Warden were investigating a slough in the national forest that was suspected to be baited with corn. The Wardens found fresh corn in the water and other evidence of baiting down a trail, including the tear-off top to a corn bag and spilled corn. The next day before daylight, wardens sat nearby listening for shots in the slough and not long after sunrise, hunters began shooting in the slough. The Wardens located two hunters who were approximately 20 yards from the corn in the water. After a short interview, the hunters admitted to hunting over bait and putting the corn out a few days before. Citations included place bait to attract, hunt over bait, possession of lead shot and some tagging violations for deer from earlier in the season. Five wood ducks were also seized and civil restitution for each duck is pending.

Nothing to Stand On

An Orange County Game Warden was traveling along the Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a vehicle driving along the right-of-way in the construction zone that appeared to have a shotgun on the dashboard. The warden was able to exit the interstate at the state line and make his way back along the right-of-way to investigate. As he approached the vehicle, he observed a male subject carrying a shotgun coming from the woods, which is a closed area of the Tony Housman WMA. During the contact, the subject claimed that he was hunting hogs and was looking for a stand that his friend had erected next to the interstate. The warden found the stand erected on the WMA property within just a few feet of the interstate. The subject was issued citations for no annual public hunting permit and no hunting license. Two wardens followed up with the friend who had illegally placed the stand in the WMA originally. That subject confessed to placing the stand in the closed area of the WMA and was issued a citation as well. Cases are pending.

Check Please!

A Gregg County Game Warden received a call from the White Oak PD regarding an illegal dumping complaint at a local restaurant. The restaurant owner reported numerous rancid bags of trash, accompanied by a decaying white-tailed doe carcass missing only its backstraps, piled around their business and dumpster. Information regarding the individual’s identity was gathered and it matched an individual that the game warden was already investigating on unrelated hunting violations. The warden and local officers responded to the subject’s residence where he and fellow tenants advised they had deemed the spoiled doe inedible via damages from a vehicle vs. deer incident. An impromptu necropsy suggested otherwise, prompting a full confession of how the doe was shot out of season and allowed to waste. During that interview, an additional confession was also collected regarding the warden’s original hunting investigation. That individual confirmed the illegal harvest of two other bucks found with antlers entangled from sparring along a late-night roadway. Exhausted and struggling to flee danger, both deer were fatally stabbed by the individual. Civil restitution and multiple subjects were charged. Charges included: Hunt/Possess Deer from Public Roadway, Untagged Deer, Illegal Means and Methods, Waste of Game, Hunt During Closed Season, Exceed Bag Limit, No Archery Stamp, and No Harvest Log. Additional charges are pending investigation.

Mystery Machine

A Harris county Game Warden received a call about an abandoned boat on the San Jacinto River. When the warden reached the stripped vessel, he ran the HIN to find the owner’s information. The owner, an individual in Alvin, TX, had no idea that his boat was missing. He had given the boat to his son, who kept it in a local storage unit. When the son was notified, he was surprised to find the boat was not located in its stall. The son then began to search social media platforms to look for the stolen boat’s motors, electronics and miscellaneous items. The warden worked with a local deputy to have the stolen boat entered into the Boat Registration Information and Titling System. The warden then received a call from the son, exclaiming that he had found the two 225 horsepower Yamaha motors for sale on Facebook Marketplace. The warden then called a Game Warden Sergeant and a Harris County Warden to assist in the identification and location of the two motors advertised for sale. The Wardens arrived at the location and identified the stolen motors and a center console from the “abandoned” boat. Thanks to the warden’s quick thinking and investigation, he was able to return the recovered stolen items to the original owner in one afternoon. Cases are pending.

Called Out

A Travis County Warden received a call from a processor reporting a man with a deer intact (not gutted) and most likely spoiled. The individual stated to the processor, “I guess I’ll go dump this then”. The warden was unable to find a local address for the suspect but was able to call him while he was returning to Houston. The individual said his friend shot an eight-point buck the previous afternoon. The warden contacted the landowner, who shot the deer, and informed him he faced a waste of game charge for leaving the “ungutted” buck for over 24 hours in temperatures exceeding 70 degrees. The warden also made the landowner aware that the general season ended two weeks prior and the buck was taken illegally. The violator then responded with an expletive-laden statement indicating his guilt. The warden seized the antlers from a taxidermist. Charges and civil restitution pending.

Sticky Situation

A McLennan County Game Warden was responding to a trespassing call from a landowner when the warden came upon the suspect stuck in the mud. The warden interviewed the suspect and discovered that they had also burglarized a vehicle while trespassing. The landowner identified the stolen property and it was returned. The suspect was arrested for burglary of a vehicle and criminal trespass.

Helping Hand

A Washington County Warden received a call of a suspicious boat discovered by a realtor and landowner. A TX number was provided to Austin Dispatch where it was flagged as stolen. The warden made it to the scene and verified the HIN of the boat and VIN of the trailer. Both were confirmed stolen out of Harris County. Investigators from the Marine Theft Investigation Unit were contacted, the original owners were contacted, and the property is being returned. The investigation is ongoing.

Mistaken Identity

A DeWitt County Game Warden received a complaint about a hunter suspected of taking a deer out of season. When the suspect was contacted, her husband’s tag was on the deer. The husband initially claimed to have shot the deer. After interviewing both individuals, it was determined that the initial subject had in fact shot the deer. It was not taken out of season, but it was taken without a license. When all was said and done, violations included hunting without a license, hunting under the license of another, allowing another to hunt under one’s license, no proof of sex, and no hunters education. The deer was seized and donated. Restitution is pending.

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