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Columns August 22, 2017  RSS feed

Game Warden Field Notes

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

Pocketing the Evidence

A Sabine County game warden was staking out an area known for illegal night hunting activity late one night when he got a call from a county sheriff’s deputy about a possible road hunter he was detaining following a traffic stop. The deputy advised he observed a rifle and a spotlight inside the vehicle, but the driver denied being involved in any night hunting activity. The warden proceeded to the deputy’s location a short distance away and upon questioning the driver, obtained a full confession of spotlighting for hogs from a public road. Once the warden found evidence of the illegal activities – an empty rifle cartridge casing in the subject’s pocket -- he was able to make cases for hunting from a public road, hunting in closed season and discharging a firearm from a public road. The cases are pending.

The Jail is This Way

In the early morning hours of July 16, a game warden was waiting at a red light in Fort Stockton when a vehicle in the cross traffic came to a stop in front of his patrol unit. As the subject got out of his vehicle and began to approach, the warden ordered him to return to his car and get out of the roadway. The subject ignored the instructions and indicated he “just wanted directions.” The warden noticed multiple signs of possible intoxication, administered field sobriety tests, which the individual failed, and subsequently made an arrest. Additional tests at the Pecos County Jail indicated the subject had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit and was charged with DWI.

Caught and Released

A game warden on patrol in Bexar County at Calaveras Lake was driving by the fish cleaning station on the lake and stopped to talk to a man cleaning a large red drum. The warden introduced himself and asked the angler what he had caught the large fish on, and he replied shrimp. After talking for a few minutes the warden asked for the man’s fishing license. He said he didn’t have it on him, so the warden then asked for his driver’s license so he could look it up that way. After using the app on his phone and calling dispatch, the warden confirmed that the man’s fishing license had expired and, therefore, he had caught the fish without a legal fishing license. The man received a citation for fishing without a valid fishing license and his fish was seized since it was caught illegally. The warden donated the 34- inch drum to a licensed fisherman at Calaveras. Citations and civil restitution are pending.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

A Van Zandt County game warden and a Smith County game warden wrapped up an investigation dating back to last hunting season regarding a group of trespassers and illegally taken deer. Acting on a tip, the game wardens made cases against five individuals who were caught trespassing and running hog dogs on a piece of property outside of Fruitvale in Van Zandt County. The primary suspect in the case gave a false name to the rancher and had put his own lock on the gate in order to gain illegal access to the property. After an extensive investigation, the wardens revealed that the primary suspect also had a feeder and hunting equipment on the adjacent property. The suspect had also illegally harvested multiple deer and was caught multiple times on camera trespassing with firearms. Multiple cases were filed for trespassing, untagged white-tailed deer, illegal means and methods, and other charges. The cases are pending.

Don’t Mess With Texas

A Hunt County game warden was patrolling Cedar Creek by kayak when he discovered four large trash bags of household garbage floating in the creek. He took on the unpleasant task of tearing into the bags in an attempt to collect any evidence as to who threw the garbage over a nearby bridge. With evidence in hand, the warden paid a visit to a home less than a mile away and was able to get a full confession from an 18 year old living there.

Wheeling and Dealing on the Lake

As game wardens patrolling Lake Tawakoni and conducting water safety inspections approached a boat, they observed a female onboard hide something in her swim suit top. Upon questioning, she revealed a small pipe from her swim suit. Further questioning from the wardens produced a small container that was wedged between the seat and the side of the boat. The container contained three marijuana buds. At this point, the wardens boarded the suspect boat and conducted a search. They located three bundles of cash in a compartment near the steering wheel totaling $5,453, and a soft sided cooler containing a large amount of marijuana. The owner and operator of the boat was arrested. The female passenger was issued a citation and released. Cases are pending.

Oh, Deer

A Freestone County game warden received an Operation Game Thief crime-stopper tip in July regarding a deer that was shot at night. He responded to the location and found one dead doe in the bed of a pick-up truck. Additionally, another quartered deer was found in a cooler under the suspect's porch. After interviewing the suspect, along with others, and consulting with the district attorney, three Class A misdemeanor warrants and a third degree felony warrant were obtained and executed. Charges include hunting deer at night, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and waste of game. Civil restitution is pending.

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