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Columns February 6, 2018  RSS feed

Game Warden Field Notes

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

Water-fouling

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages hunters to pass along the state’s rich hunting heritage to the next generation. As an incentive to provide young hunters with opportunities, TPWD conducts special youth/adult-only hunts on some of its Wildlife Management Areas. Adults can accompany youth on these hunts to provide mentoring on various aspects of hunting, including hunter ethics and firearms safety, and may participate as long as youth are part of the hunting group. Unfortunately, some folks choose to leave the kids behind in violation of the spirit and letter of the law. A couple of incidents in December on the Richland Creek WMA illustrate the point. Notified by WMA staff that a group appeared to be hunting illegally, a Freestone County game warden came across a group of eight adult hunters hunting the special youth-adult weekend, but with no youth present. Citations were issued and civil restitution was charged on 36 ducks. Four days later, wardens received a complaint from a concerned hunter regarding a pair of hunters who continued to duck hunt after the noon-time closure on the Richland Creek WMA. The morning hunt was a youth/ adult only hunt and once contacted, it was realized both hunters were adults and had no youth hunters with them. Neither hunter had the required annual public hunting lands permits, migratory game bird stamps, nor other endorsements needed to hunt ducks, nor had they checked in at the WMA registration station. Additionally, one hunter did not possess proof of having completed hunter education. Numerous citations/ warnings were issued. The cases are pending.

Poser

Social Media Tip #39: When posting photos of yourself with the deer you falsely claim to have just harvested, be sure to pin the location; it helps game wardens when they come to investigate. After spotting Facebook photos of a woman with a mule deer buck she claimed to have shot, game wardens ran a quick check, and learned she did not have a hunting license. The pinned location of the posted images appeared to be a ranch in Brewster County enrolled in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Managed Lands Deer program, which carries certain tagging and harvest log requirements. After identifying the individual’s boyfriend, who also appeared in the photos, the wardens went to the hunting camp to sort things out. When questioned, the boyfriend told wardens he had killed the buck, legally, and showed them the deer head and MLD tag with his name on it. He then confessed his girlfriend made the initial shot on the deer, and he dispatched the buck due to her misplaced shot. She only claimed it to show off because she is a city girl, he said. Upon further investigation, it was found only the backstraps were saved and the remaining carcass was dumped because “the deer was old.” Multiple citations were issued and the deer was seized.

Baiting the Roost

On Jan. 7, an Ellis County game warden heard shooting on a soil conservation lake well after sunset. Legal duck hunting hours end at sunset. The warden was able to walk to and observe the group of hunters shooting at a duck roost on a small island in the lake. After making contact with the hunters, the warden also discovered corn scattered around the subjects’ gear. He pulled one of the hunters aside and when asked how much corn was located on the island they were hunting, the hunter dropped his head and said, “Fifty pounds.” Citations for hunting after sunset and placing bait to attract migratory waterfowl are pending.


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