Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

February 24, 2016

Game Warden Field Notes

 

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

Too Many to Count
Two Val Verde County game wardens were checking hunting camps when they discovered a hunting party had taken too many deer. To keep up with the growing list of violations, the game wardens resorted to drawing up a chart on paper. In total, the wardens filed three charges for untagged deer, four charges for hunting with another individual’s license, one charge for hunting without a license, one charge for incorrect deer processing, one charge for being over the limit on antlered deer and one charge for no proof of hunter’s education. The wardens also filed 18 warnings for harvest log violations. The wardens seized and donated five deer, and restitution is pending.

Man Overboard
A Grayson County game warden got a call about a boat circling Lake Texoma with no operator. Witnesses reported seeing the boat come out of a cove at a high rate of speed earlier that day. A search of the area and a subsequent investigation revealed the operator, who was not wearing a kill switch or a life vest, had been thrown out of the boat. The TPWD Dive Team and other wardens continued searching for the victim until they found him days later. The dive team recovered the body from 40 feet of water, just north of the original target search area.

No Luck Pulling Stuck Trucks
A Van Zandt County game warden got a call from a landowner who said his ranch truck was stolen from his hunting camp. The warden was en route to the landowner’s location when the landowner called him back to say he had found his truck stuck on an easement by the Sabine River, close to another deer camp. When the warden arrived on scene, he found three individuals with two trucks stuck on the easement. After interviewing each person, the warden determined not only had the individuals stolen the landowner’s truck to pull out their own stuck truck, they had also shot a small whitetail buck the night before on the neighboring ranch, on which they did not have consent to hunt. The individuals confessed they shot the deer at night.

Two-Timing Suspect
When two Bowie County game wardens got a call about a shoplifter, one warden recognized the name of the suspect from an aggravated assault case the day before. The suspect left the shoplifting scene on foot, leaving his friends and vehicle behind. When the wardens arrived on scene, they found the suspect walking down a nearby road. He appeared highly intoxicated and had marijuana in his possession. The wardens turned the suspect over to Bowie County.

Even Off Duty Game Wardens Never Quit
While a Titus County game warden was vacationing with his family at a ranch in Morris County, a vehicle drove onto the ranch. The two men in the vehicle asked for permission to retrieve their hog dogs from the property, as well as the hog the dogs had cornered. The warden recognized the driver as a local poacher, but the driver didn’t recognize the warden without his uniform. The warden identified himself and asked to see their hunting licenses, which the hunters provided. The warden informed the men trespassing or hunting were not allowed on the ranch and requested they leave immediately. About 15 minutes later, as the warden and his family were leaving the ranch, he drove up on the hunters’ vehicle, which was blocking the ranch’s private roadway. No one was in the vehicle, but the two hunters came out of the nearby woods about 10 minutes later. Before instructing them to leave the property or face arrest, the warden informed both men he was going to file charges on them for criminal trespass, advising them he would contact them later. The hunters left the ranch, parking about a quarter mile away. The warden found three hog dogs, one of which was bleeding from a puncture wound possibly caused by a wild hog. The warden led the dogs off the ranch to the hunters. When the warden asked the driver if he had all his dogs, the driver turned his back to the warden without answering, got in his truck and drove off. After conducting a computer check, the warden found the driver had been convicted three times for driving with an invalid license. Charges for criminal trespass and driving while license invalid are pending.

Eighth Time’s the Charm
A Smith County man accepted a plea deal of 45 years in confinement as a result of a traffic stop conducted by a Smith County game warden in June 2015. During the stop, the man showed signs of impairment. The warden called a DPS Trooper to assist with the investigation, which revealed the man had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. This conviction is the man’s eighth for driving while intoxicated.

Case Closed
Recently, a rice farmer pled guilty before a U.S. Magistrate Judge to illegally killing 65 brown-headed cowbirds and four red-tailed hawks. After finding large numbers of dead and dying birds on or near his property, two Brazoria County game wardens and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent opened an investigation into the farmer’s activities, which led to charges against him. They discovered the farmer had spread a restricted use pesticide and rice mixture in his fields with the intent to kill birds. Upon entering a guilty plea, the judge ordered the man to pay a fine and serve two years’ probation.

Game, Set, Match
After receiving a call from a landowner about night hunting activity and witnessing it themselves, three game wardens set out to catch the hunters in the act one night. The wardens set up a decoy white-tailed deer in the area and watched as the hunters drove around in a UTV, spotlighting the landowner’s ranch and neighboring properties, on which none of the hunters had consent to hunt. After a couple hours, the wardens saw an excited commotion break out among the hunters as they spotted the decoy. One of the hunters hastily steadied himself atop the UTV and fired two shots at the decoy. The wardens quickly made themselves known to the hunters, who complied with their commands. The wardens detained six individuals while one hunter exclaimed they were only hunting hogs. The wardens then arrested two of the six individuals, including the hunter who shot the decoy. The cases are pending.

Y’all Should Know Better
A game warden got a call from a Floyd County landowner, who said a group of waterfowl hunters were hunting on his property without his consent. The warden responded and apprehended four subjects, all of whom were guides for a local waterfowl hunting outfitter. Charges were filed at the request of the landowner, and the cases are pending.

January 12, 2016

Texas Game Warden Field Notes – January 6, 2016

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

Into the Night
As two Val Verde County game wardens conducted their nightly patrol, they came upon a vehicle that failed to stay in its lane. While the game wardens tried to read the vehicle’s license plate, the vehicle quickly accelerated and almost lost control of the car on a curve. The wardens activated their emergency lights to stop the vehicle, but it only went faster. After following the vehicle for a short time, the wardens saw the vehicle stop and the driver disappear into the darkness. The wardens pulled up beside the vehicle and secured the scene. However, when back up arrived, they were unable to find the driver. The wardens impounded the vehicle and the case is pending further investigation.

It’s Your Own Fault
As a Hudspeth County game warden patrolled an area of the Rio Grande River, he encountered some waterfowl hunters. After talking with the hunters for a few minutes, the warden discovered that one of the individuals did not have a valid hunting license. The hunter admitted to taking several birds. When the warden asked him why he didn’t have a license, the hunter tried to blame an El Paso sporting goods store for not issuing him a proper license. When the warden questioned the other hunters, he found they all had the correct licenses, state stamps and federal duck stamps, all of which were issued by the same El Paso sporting goods store. The warden found an illegally taken coot and three cormorants in the unlicensed hunter’s possession. The warden issued citations for the violations and civil restitution is pending.

A Little Too Late
A Henderson County game warden received a call from a pump technician who was checking well sites about a man dragging a deer off private property to a nearby wooded area. When the hunter noticed the pump technician, he ran to a nearby house and jumped into a truck and sped off. The warden arrived at the house and talked to a woman who lived there. She said her husband just left for town to buy tractor parts. When the man returned to his house a few minutes later, he denied hunting or being on the private property. However, he then said he shot a buck on his property, but the buck jumped the fence to the private property, so he simply went to retrieve it. After the warden questioned him some more, the man confessed to shooting the deer on the private property. He said he got scared when he saw the pump technician, so he left the scene quickly to buy a hunting license in case a game warden showed up. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

That’s a Lot of Illegally Taken Deer
When two Matagorda County game wardens entered a deer hunting camp to check for deer hunting compliance, they noticed a deer hanging from the bucket of a tractor. The three individuals in the camp, all from out of state, admitted to taking several deer, even though none of them had hunting licenses. Further inspection of the camp revealed eight more quartered whitetail deer in three coolers and six buck heads that all measured less than the required 13-inch minimum inside spread. The hunters said they had already thrown three doe heads in the nearby woods, though the wardens only recovered one. The wardens charged the hunters with hunting without a valid non-resident hunting license, taking illegal whitetail buck (six counts) and possession of whitetail deer with proof of sex removed (two counts). The wardens transported all three hunters to meet with the local Justice of the Peace, who received a guilty plea from each hunter. The hunters were fined about $6,000 and owe an additional $8,000 in civil restitution. The wardens donated the seized deer to local charities.

Crossbow Hunters
A Fort Bend County game warden was patrolling a neighborhood still under development when he saw two trucks using their headlights to spotlight deer off the road. The warden let the trucks get close to his location, where a few deer were feeding next to him, and saw one occupant shoot at a deer with a crossbow. The warden then pulled both vehicles over and found two occupants in one truck, both with crossbows, and one occupant in the other truck, with his own crossbow. During the warden’s investigation, he found the suspects had tree stands and deer feeders in place along the road, all without the landowner’s consent. The warden filed six charged on the three suspects. No deer were harmed.

The Case of the Poisoned Birds
A Brazoria County game warden assisted a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services special agent with a bird poisoning investigation. They found that a local farmer had placed poisoned rice in a field. Several cowbirds and a few hawks were found dead in the area. Federal charges of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are pending.

Running Toward the Law
After patrolling opening day of mule deer season for several hours, a Dawson County game warden was heading home through Lubbock County when he saw a vehicle driving in the wrong traffic lane. The vehicle was traveling head on in the direction of the warden, who swerved to avoid a head on collision with the vehicle. The warden stopped the vehicle and conducted field sobriety tests, which the driver failed. The warden learned the driver had 31 previous arrests and arrested him for driving while intoxicated.

Wouldn’t Pass Muster
While patrolling Llano County during the general season opening day, a game warden entered a camp with six out-of-state hunters who had 13 whitetail deer, three Rio Grande turkeys and four feral hogs in their possession. After inspecting the animals, tags and hunting licenses, the warden found that one of the hunters was hunting with a free Texas Resident Active Duty Military license. The warden, who is a veteran himself, noticed the individual’s military grooming standards were not up to par with what is usually required of active duty service members. After asking the individual to produce his state and military identification cards, the warden found the individual was actually a citizen of another state and was not active duty military. The warden seized two whitetail bucks and one doe from the individual and filed multiple citations against him. Civil restitution is pending.

Follow the Vultures
When two Willacy County game wardens spotted several turkey vultures in a ranch off a county road, they went to the scene and found a dump site of freshly killed feral hogs and javelinas. The wardens followed the tracks to a hunters’ campsite and found a list of hunters who had hunted that morning. The warden contacted the lease master and found the individual responsible for the dump site. The warden filed waste of game charges against the hunter and civil restitution is pending.

December 26, 2014

Game Warden Field Notes

Dec. 17, 2014

Game Warden Field Notes

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

Missed a Spot
When a landowner in Red River County heard gunshots near his property, he called his local game warden for help. The warden searched several deer camps and found evidence of blood at an unoccupied camp. There, the warden observed that the hunter had made an effort to rake up the remaining debris and place it in a nearby burn barrel. When the warden located the hunter, he had power-washed his vehicle in an attempt to remove blood evidence. After questioning, the hunter admitted to shooting an 11-point buck with his .30-.30 rifle during archery season. Case pending.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
A Titus County game warden received a call from a hunter about a trespasser on a nearby ranch. The hunter approached the trespasser and attempted to escort him off of the property, but the trespasser refused and continued across the ranch. The hunter then took video and photos of the male suspect, who was later identified and arrested for Class B criminal trespass and an active felony warrant from the neighboring county.
Who Let the Drugs Out?
Two game wardens from Gregg and Upshur County were conducting surveillance near their county line when they observed an individual stop near their location and collect a whitetail buck from the roadway. The subject became increasingly irritable and uncooperative after contact was made. When consent to search was given, the wardens located multiple containers of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, suspected meth lab components and an illegal firearm. The subject was arrested for manufacture or deliver of controlled substance and unlawful carry of firearm. Additional charges and cases pending.
Dude, Where’s My Boat?
A Jefferson County game warden responded to a call about a possible stolen boat and motor recovered from the Neches River. When the boat was towed in and contact was made with the owner, he said he had gotten hung up on a pipe and left his boat. When he returned, he discovered it was missing. The value of the recovery was estimated at $15,000.
“I’m Sure Glad to See You”
As a Real County game warden pulled into a hunting camp to check for hunting violations, he was greeted by a hunter who said, “I’m sure glad to see you.” When the warden asked why, the hunter replied, “Seeing you reminds me that I have to put my tag on my deer.” The deer was already quartered in the ice chest and the cape in a trash bag. The hunter was cited for possession of untagged deer. Case is pending.
Oh Deer
Two Bandera County game wardens and one Uvalde County warden responded to information about a few deer that had been illegally taken. At the residence, the wardens located meat from a freshly killed whitetail deer. During the investigation, it was learned that two 17-year-old males had killed one whitetail deer with a bow from a public road that night and also killed another whitetail deer by running it over with a truck a few nights earlier. The Uvalde County game warden obtained written statements from both suspects, and multiple charges have been filed.
Darkness Falls
While a Hill County warden was patrolling Aquilla Lake for illegal hunting activity, he noticed a boat returning without running lights. As the warden performed a water safety inspection and license check, one of the hunters said he had left his license at his residence. When asked why he wasn’t displaying his running lights, the hunter said the lights had broken while traveling to the lake. The warden found that the vehicle and trailer registrations were expired, so citations were issued for failing to produce a resident hunting license and no running lights on a vessel while underway. A warning was also given for the expired registrations. Cases pending.
The Duping Deer Dumper
A McCulloch County game warden received a call that a deer carcass had been dumped in the middle of a street in downtown Brady. A police officer removed the deer from the street and relayed to dispatch the name on the permit attached to the deer. Before the warden arrived, a bystander reported that someone jumped out of a dark-colored sedan, removed the tag and drove off, leaving the deer at the curb. Using the name that was reported, the warden traced the deer to a local property owner who informed the warden that he had donated the deer. The following morning, the warden went to the suspects’ place of employment. The individual admitted to dumping the deer and then returning later to remove the tag.
Scared Fishless
Two Travis County game wardens were checking a known fishing area that has issues with trespassers. As the wardens approached the fishing tank, a male subject saw their truck, which he later said he thought was the landowner, and took off running into the wooded area. One of the wardens then requested assistance from a third Travis County game warden and K9 partner Ruger to track for the evading trespasser. Also deployed was a fourth Travis County warden who was positioned across the wooded area, which was the subject’s most probable path of escape. K9 Ruger tracked the male subject and assisted with flushing him out of the wooded area, where the game warden was in a position to observe the male cross the river and quickly take him into custody. The male subject told the wardens that he had placed his shirt along the river and hidden his fishing poles. Ruger was deployed for an article search and recovered the items. The subject was filed on for criminal trespass and fishing without a valid fishing license. Cases pending.
Baited and Booked
A Cameron County game warden received notification of an individual offering protected fish and shrimp for sale. He made contact with the seller and arranged to buy some fish. The Cameron County sergeant met with the seller at a public parking lot and negotiated the buy of several spotted seatrout and a few bags of gulf shrimp for $100. Shortly after the sale, the Cameron County game warden along with a warden from Hidalgo County were on scene and apprehended the subject. The following were seized: 29 spotted seatrout, of which 26 were undersized; 20 black drum; 28 gallon-size bags of gulf shrimp; and two gallon-size bags of squid. Multiple charges filed.

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