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 2, 2010

Game Warden Field Notes

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 8:04 am
Tags: , ,

Game Warden Field Notes

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

Sometimes modesty’s the best policy

Val Verde County Game Warden Chrissy Plant made contact with hunters at a camp in West Val Verde County Nov. 7, the second day of general deer season.  Although the hunters had no deer, one hunter started bragging about the four javelinas he had killed. They’d scared off his deer at the feeder, he said. Not impressed, Warden Plant cited him for exceeding his bag limit.  At another nearby camp, Plant checked some hunters who had been luckier, having taken a nice buck.  An hour and a couple flashlight batteries later, Plant found the carcass of a javelina that had been dumped the day before, and a case for waste of game is pending.

Unwise poaching in Wise County

Nov. 5, Wise County Game Warden Chris Dowdy and Tarrant County Game Warden David Vannoy were patrolling Wise County on the eve of the rifle season opener.  While investigating a call about a possible poacher, warden Dowdy received another call from a landowner about a deer that had just been shot from the road.  After the first call was cleared, the wardens responded to the second call. When they arrived, the wardens found two very upset landowners and one dead white-tailed doe.  Darkness had not yet fallen, and the wardens figured that the poachers would soon be back for their take.  They didn’t have to wait long before the poachers returned. As a pickup truck crept to a stop on the county road, the driver got out and gleefully ran through the field laughing and shouting back to his buddies, “I got it, I got it!”  As the driver attempted to return to the truck with the deer, wardens Dowdy and Vannoy surprised the two men and one juvenile.  In the truck, the wardens found a rifle, spotlight, headlamps, and beer.  Another doe poached from a neighboring county also was found in the bed of the truck.  Multiple cases are pending.

Case made by just a hair

Houston County wardens Eddie Lehr and Zak Benge were checking camps in the national forest on opening day of general deer season when a truck pulled up.  When asked, the men said they had not killed anything.  But Lehr noticed what appeared to be a red stain in the bed of the freshly washed truck and dropped the tailgate.  After the wardens found a single deer hair, the suspects finally confessed to killing an illegal buck.  After a short interview, the suspect also admitted shooting the deer with a shotgun from Highway 7 near Ratcliff.  Cases and restitution pending.

Case of the Misplaced Anger

Sabine County Game Warden Sam Smith and Capt. Tom Jenkins checked a hunter coming out of a wildlife management area on opening day. The man did not have an annual public hunting permit, and as warden Smith wrote the citation, the subject said he was angry at the store that sold him the license for not informing him that he needed a permit to hunt on a wildlife management area, and that he would be having the store pay his fine.  Capt. Jenkins, who had walked into the woods while Smith talked with the annoyed license holder, found a permanent stand, corn, and a freshly killed white-tailed doe. The man admitted to all the violations and said he was no longer mad at the store that sold him his license.  Cases pending.

Nice deer…too bad it’s illegal

Tyler County Game Warden Roy Eddins received a call Nov. 7 that a hunting club member had exceeded the bag limit by killing two bucks with antlers greater than 13 inches.  A 10-point buck was seized, and a citation was issued for exceeding the bag limit for a single county.  The buck scored 128 5/8.  Case pending.

Sometimes waiting’s a good thing

Houston County Wardens Eddie Lehr and Zak Benge checked a camp Nov. 7 and found two untagged deer.  After interviewing a father and son, it was determined that they had each killed a deer. Unfortunately, the son hadn’t wanted to wait in line the previous Friday to buy his license so the father offered to tag each deer.  Case pending.

Didn’t take CIS to figure this one out

On Nov. 7, Houston County Wardens Zak Benge and Eddie Lehr received an Operation Game Thief tip concerning an illegal buck.  They located a deer head in an open field on a private road.  It appeared that an animal had dragged the head there.  With the tag still attached, locating the suspect was fairly easy.  Case pending.

Undersized oysters R a violation

Nov. 6, Chambers County Game Wardens Hector Gonzalez and John Feist filed on three oyster boat captains for possessing a cargo of undersize oysters.   Ninety-five sacks of oysters were returned to the reefs.  Two days later, Galveston County Game Wardens Mack Chambers, Brain Scott, Vu Nguyen and Lt. Fred Ruiz filed on three oyster boat captains for possessing a cargo of undersize oysters.  Seventy-eight sacks of oysters were returned to the reefs.  Cases pending.

I Spy

On Nov. 6, Hutchinson County Game Warden Lance Lindley was contacted by a citizen watching a group of hunters through a spotting scope across Lake Meredith.  He said one of the hunters had shot a mule deer doe.  Warden Lindley went to the location and contacted the hunters. One of them was found to have shot two doe mule deer.  Cases and civil restitution filed accordingly.

All in the family

On Nov. 5, Lamar County Game Warden Bryan Callihan and Hopkins County Game Warden Jarrod Bryant caught three groups of spotlighters in Delta County inside two hours.  One man said his wife had warned him about road hunting before he left the house.  This same man went home and told his son to watch out for game wardens, but the boy didn’t listen. An hour later the wardens caught the son on the same road where he dad had been caught.

Jumping the gun with a .22

On Nov. 7, Red River Wardens Daniel Roraback and Benny Richards got a tip on a subject who allegedly killed a buck with a .22 rifle on the Friday before deer season. After a short investigation, the subject confessed to shooting a buck with the rifle the day before deer season and failure to tag the illegal buck deer or fill out his harvest log.  Cases and restitution pending.

Well, there was that little deal last year

Morris County Warden Michael Serbanic interviewed a suspect on Nov. 11 after a Morris County deputy stopped him and found a gun and spotlight in the vehicle.  The suspect would not admit to road hunting but decided to tell warden Serbanic about the 8-pointer he killed last year and didn’t tag.  After looking at the man’s old license and finding no tags missing and getting the deer head from his residence, citations were issued.

Nothing accidental about it

On Nov. 12, Refugio County Game Wardens Pinky Gonzales and Danny Kelso received a call from a Refugio County deputy concerning a vehicle he had stopped with a white-tailed buck deer in the back of the vehicle.  The two subjects in the vehicle told the wardens that they had accidentally hit the deer with their vehicle.  But the wardens found a receipt showing they had purchased a box of bullets about an hour earlier.  Checking the deer, the wardens found one shot to the head and one in the neck. Confession, confiscation, impoundment, citations, and a trip to jail followed.  Cases pending.

September 12, 2010

Texas Game Warden Field Notes

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 7:05 pm

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

  • Numbers add up to legal trouble: Tarrant County Game Wardens Clint Borchardt and Chelle Mount were checking fishermen along the West Fork of the Trinity River on February 21. The first of two boats they checked had four fishermen. The section behind the last seat was filled to the top of the transom with 122 white bass. The second boat had two fishermen and 64 white bass in their ice chest. All six fishermen received citations for over the limit of white bass.

  • Crappie fishermen come up short: Polk County Game Warden David Johnson was patrolling Kickapoo Creek for water safety violations on February 22 when he noticed several boats taking advantage of the crappie bite up the creek. While making contact with three subjects, a water safety inspection was conducted. When a personal flotation device was pulled from below the front deck, the warden noticed a holding basket full of crappie. Several citations were issued for possession of undersized crappie and no fishing license.

  • Wardens find novel use of stolen truck: Game Wardens Michael Hummert and Colt Gaulden were patrolling on February 21 when they heard a call that a Department of Public Safety helicopter had detected a LoJack transmission coming from a 90,000-acre ranch in Webb County. Responding to the call, the wardens entered the ranch and spoke with the landowner. The DPS helicopter was hovering over an area where the landowner said a hunter’s camp was located. The wardens entered the camp and found a stolen Ford F-250 four-door truck. The originally white truck had been painted in camouflage, an elevated deer blind had been installed, and fictitious plates had been put on the vehicle.

  • Motorcycle goes for a boat ride: Game Wardens Ronnie Langford, Brent Whitus, and Jim Lindeman were patrolling the upper end of Lake Travis in Burnet County on February 20 when a flat-bottom boat containing an upright motorcycle caught their attention. The wardens stopped the unregistered craft to talk to its two occupants. When they ran a check the wardens discovered the motorcycle was reported stolen in Burnet County. The motorcycle and subjects were turned over to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.

  • Remember, Don’t Mess With Texas: Gillespie County Warden Scott Krueger received a call from a local rancher on February 22 regarding a dumped blackbuck antelope carcass and large bag of trash in the ditch near the rancher’s residence. Scott located the trash the next morning. At the bottom of the trash bag Scott found a receipt from a store in Fredericksburg. Next he met with the store’s loss prevention director who began a records search. In a few minutes video was found of the suspect checking out, as well as parking lot video of the subject getting into his vehicle. Since he paid with a credit card, Scott was able to get his name. A quick check in the phone book gave Scott an address. After a brief introduction, Scott told the suspect the reason for the visit. A citation was issued, and the trash was cleaned up.

  • “Hog” turns out to be illegal doe: Van Zandt County Game Warden Steve Stapleton received a call from a landowner who had found the outline of a deer in the snow with a blood trail leading back to a county road. The landowner said that a short time after he made the discovery, a truck drove up and the driver asked if he could put a hog trap on the rancher’s property. The landowner asked the man if he knew anything about a deer being illegally shot on his property, and the man said he had found a hog and in the spirit of helpfulness had removed it for the rancher. The warden was able to track down the subject and drove to the subject’s house pulling the regional Operation Game Thief trailer for an upcoming event. The warden realized he was likely on the right investigative track when the man saw the OGT trailer and remarked that it looked like he was going to lose his truck “over all of this.” It seems he thought the trailer was used to confiscate vehicles and illegal equipment. A freshly killed doe was found hidden in a hay barn. The warden also recovered a .22 short pistol used to kill the deer. Multiple cases pending.

  • On-line detective work pays off. Travis County Warden Cody Jones got word on February 19 of a Craigslist posting from someone wanting to purchase whitetail deer meat. The warden made email contact with two persons and working with the Special Operations Unit set up a buy-bust. Both suspects were filed on for setting up an illegal purchase of meat from a game animal.

  • Young woman gets another chance at life: Around 11 p.m. on February 21, Travis County Game Warden Braxton Harris was patrolling Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Lake checking a few bank fishermen and late-night kayakers. Beneath the I-35 bridge the warden drove by the one car parked in the area and noticed a hose going from the exhaust pipe into the rear window. After turning the car off and finding its female occupant still breathing, he opened all the car doors and then called for an ambulance. The 25-year-old woman was expected to make a full recovery.

  • Nice bucks! Too bad they were taken illegally. Travis County Game Warden Braxton Harris received a call at 4 a.m. February 24 from dispatch to contact an Austin Police Department officer who was detaining two men who had just shot two deer. When the warden arrived, he found the two deer had been shot with a 12-gauge from the roadway. One buck scored 126 2/8 Boon and Crockett points and the other 109 1/8. The deer meat was donated for use by the homeless and the men taken to jail. Cases pending.

  • One toke over the line: On February 24, Travis County Warden Cody Jones was searching for a vehicle involved in poaching activity when two subjects approached his state truck while toking on a marijuana pipe. Not until they had walked to within only a few feet of the warden did they realize their mistake and try to hide the illegal substance. Both subjects were issued field release citations for the marijuana possession and released.

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