Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

November 17, 2012

Texas Game Warden Field Notes

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:12 am

  • Rains County Game Warden Dewayne Noble and Wood County Game Warden Derek Spitzer on Sept. 21 were traveling north on Hwy 69 near Mineola when Warden Noble noticed a driverless tractor with a mower attached going in circles in a field.

As Warden Spitzer stopped the truck, both wardens noticed a man rolling on the ground trying to get away from the tractor.

But before the wardens could reach him, the mower portion of the tractor struck the man.

The wardens were unable to safely board the tractor so they dragged the injured man out of harm’s way.

As they again attempted to stop the runaway tractor, the wardens discovered another victim. That second victim had also been run over, but had been able to crawl back to his truck, which was about 30 yards away, where he was unsuccessfully attempting to get to his mobile phone.

Both injured men were transported by helicopter to Tyler.

Warden Spitzer later discovered that the two men were in critical condition

  • Several hours after dark on Sept. 12, Gonzales County Game Warden Dan Waddell received and responded to a call regarding a missing boater on Lake Wood.

Waddell recalled having seen the boater, who was aboard a personal watercraft, on the Guadalupe River that afternoon.

About an hour after Waddell and a deputy sheriff had launched the warden’s boat and started their search, the two officers found the stranded boater, mosquito bitten but otherwise unhurt, about 10 miles upriver from the Lake Wood dam.

The boater had plowed over a shallow gravel bar, and the PWC sucked rocks into the intake. The inoperable PWC then started taking on water and the engine compartment became awash.

The man ruined his mobile phone during the ordeal, so calling for help was impossible.

Luckily, he was close to a dock and was able to secure his vessel and climb onto the dock to wait for help.

As Waddell approached the dock, the man said, “I knew you’d come get me sooner or later.”

  • Wardens were called on Oct. 8 to assist the Brown County Sheriff’s Office in a search for a missing 70-year-old woman in the Brookesmith area.

The woman had walked away from her residence the day before to check her property and could not find her way home.

Wardens Dave Bosecker, Lee Morrison and Captain Wilkes responded to request for help, and were able to use the GPS coordinates from the woman’s cell phone and their hand-held GPS units to direct responders to her general location.

The woman was found in fairly good shape and was returned to her home and family after receiving medical treatment.

  • While checking dove hunters Oct. 6, Dimmit County Game Warden Gene Fernandez arrested a subject who was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The subject’s rap sheet was considerable, including: a previous arrest for unlawful possession of firearm; aggravated assault causing bodily injury to family member; aggravated sexual assault; burglary of a habitation; burglary of a building; resisting arrest; terroristic threat to family member; deadly conduct; and unlawful restraint.

The subject was taken into custody without incident and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

Case pending.

  • Ellis County Game Warden Jeff Powell closed on an investigation that included complaints going back to 2009 on a suspect who was selling fraudulent deer leases on Craigslist.

In 2009, three persons were scammed for $1,800 after meeting the suspect at the front gate of a ranch the suspect claimed he owned. The suspect had put his own chain and lock on the gate to help make it look legitimate.

The victims were able to write down his driver’s license number (which turned out to be fake), remembered a distinct tattoo on the suspects wrist and the color of his truck; but the case went cold for three years.

In early September, an informant told Powell about a subject who had used Craigslist to scam people in the past and was able to describe the tattoo.

The suspect was identified, and while Powell was investigating the subject, he started getting complaints about fake deer leases on Craigslist again.

The latest victims were able to take a picture of a subject and his DL after they signed a lease agreement and handed over a $1,500 check to him.

Powell confirmed this was the same suspect and was able to get an arrest warrant based on the information.

Fourteen other victims came forward who advised they were scammed by this suspect after answering an ad for a deer lease.

On September 26, Warden Powell along with two Ellis County Investigators arrested the suspect as he returned to his residence.

Powell was able to secure evidence of other fake lease agreements from other victims, a laptop computer, the suspect’s cell phone, and bank statements.

Over 14 pages of texts were located on the cell phone from the victims, along with pictures of the property and gates.

A sawed-off shotgun was also found behind the suspect’s front door.

The suspect is in jail on a $100,000 bond and multiple felony warrants.

The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office was also able to charge him with a fraudulent theft case from earlier this year, also involving a Craigslist complainant.

  • Anderson County Game Wardens Rob Sadowski and Danny Kessel received a call from a hunter regarding a large marijuana growing operation he’d discovered on his deer lease along the Neches River.

Wardens assisted the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office by providing four-wheelers to transport personnel and their GPS units to help coordinate the location for the DPS helicopter called in to survey the site from the air.

It appeared to have been a large operation encompassing some 70-plus acres.

The property had not been leased for several years and the growers appeared to have left the area in a hurry, leaving lots of uncleaned product behind.

Evidence recovered included firearms, methamphetamine, and the head of an illegally-taken buck deer.

The wardens are continuing to assist the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office with their investigation.

  • Nueces County Game Wardens Saul Aguilar and Nicole Spatz on Sept. 23 received an Operation Game Thief call concerning hunters who had taken a pair of mottled ducks within a marsh area in the Upper Laguna Madre.

Taking mottled ducks is prohibited during the September teal-only hunting season.

Wardens responded, spotted the pair of hunters still in the field and decided to observe them from allocation on a nearby spoil island.

When the pair left the marsh area, Wardens Aguilar and Spatz made contact by boat and interviewed the subjects. The suspects had illegally breasted the ducks in the field, and hidden them, along with a mourning dove, in the pockets of one of the suspects.

In addition to hunting in closed season and unplugged shotgun violations, drug paraphernalia was found on the person of one of the individuals.

Citations Issued.

  • While attempting to serve a Texas Parks and Wildlife arrest warrant in Lubbock County on Oct. 6, Garza/Lynn County Game Warden Drew Spencer and Terry/Hockley/Yoakum County Game Warden Aaron Sims heard a distant shotgun report and decided to investigate.

The wardens quickly found a maize field with several guided hunters and the hunting guide, all actively dove hunting.

As the wardens contacted the group, the guide tried diverting attention away from a large pile of doves and a certain shotgun.

After some questioning and with a little perseverance by the wardens, the guide admitted to having shot more than his daily bag limit of dove with an unplugged shotgun.

Citations issued.

  • Game Warden Chris Sanchez received a request shortly after midnight from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office asking that he respond to a Lakeway residence where the tenants possessed live white-winged doves in an oversized cage.

The warden learned the birds had been brought to the home 3–4 months ago as nestlings, and the residents intended to nourish them for release.

When asked why the fully-grown doves had not been released, one of the residents stated that she had gotten attached to them.

Citation issued after release of the game birds.

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