Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
It Was Supposed to Sink
A Red River County game warden and the Clarksville Chief of Police responded to a call about a car submerged in the Clarksville City Lake. The officers took a boat out to the car and saw the doors of the vehicle were shut and the windows were down. A Bowie County game warden arrived on scene with a side scan sonar unit to check the area around the car for bodies, but they didn’t find any. After a dive team hooked up the car to tow it out of the lake, the officers discovered a metal brace holding down the gas pedal. The Clarksville Police Department is investigating possible motives for dumping the car.
A Denton County game warden responded to a call to Lake Lewisville about the discovery of possible human remains. When he arrived on scene, along with the Denton County Sheriff’s Investigations and Medical Examiner, the warden found several remains that had been revealed as the area eroded from flooding. An anthropologist, who the officers consulted to determine the identity of the remains, said the remains were most likely Native American remains from long ago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anthropology team will investigate the find.
Don’t Deny It
A Tarrant County game warden was checking fishermen around Lake Worth when he noticed two men standing outside a red truck. As the warden approached the truck and identified himself, both men looked at each other. The warden, who could smell marijuana, asked the men if they had any illegal substances. Both men denied having anything illegal in their possession. After a consensual search, however, the warden found a meth pipe, marijuana, a scale commonly used for weighing drugs, a rolled up blunt and 7.4 grams of methamphetamine. One of the men was arrested, and the case is pending.
That Was Maybe a Little Too Bold
An Upshur County game warden was out scouting on an ATV when he received an Operation Game Thief call. The anonymous caller said a suspect was selling crappie across the street from the Game Warden office. The warden headed to the office, and as he pulled into the parking lot, he saw the suspect moving a cooler in the trunk of his vehicle. When the warden questioned him, the suspect admitted to selling crappie. After seizing 24 quart bags with 174 crappie fillets, the warden filed citations and civil restitution.
“We Didn’t Know”
Two Henderson County game wardens responded to an Operation Game Thief call about hunters baiting migratory waterfowl. The wardens arrived at the suspected blind, in a slough attached to Lake Palestine, where they found two hunters. The wardens noticed a pile of corn behind the blind, as well as some corn floating in the water nearby. When the wardens asked them about the bait, the hunters said, “We didn’t know it was baited, and if we did, we would not have hunted it.” The wardens filed charges for hunting migratory waterfowl over a baited area.
A Montgomery County game warden arrested two individuals for felony theft of metal. The pair had been stealing copper from buildings on private property. The pair is also suspected of stealing four air conditioning units, three window units, copper piping from the attics of some of the buildings and numerous other items in the area over the course of two weeks. After arresting the two suspects for stealing the copper, the wardens are investigating their connection to the prior thefts.
Know Your Outdoor Annual
A Zapata County game warden responded to a call about a group of hunters possibly hunting dove before the start of the special white wing dove season. The warden arrived at the suspected location and saw the hunters shoot their last birds before they started to pack up and leave the field. The warden, who made contact with the group about ten minutes before the noon start time of the season, counted a total of 47 white wing and mourning dove in the hunters’ possession. One of the hunters showed the warden his copy of the Outdoor Annual and said nowhere in the annual does it mention the times to shoot during the special white wing dove season. The warden turned the Outdoor Annual to the appropriate page and advised the hunter to read a section of the page out loud. “Shooting hours: noon to sunset,” the hunter said. The hunter apologized for hunting before the start of the season, saying he didn’t see the times earlier. The warden issued multiple citations and seized the 47 dove.
While patrolling Falcon Lake for water safety violations during a bass tournament, two game wardens were heading down to the south end of the lake when they saw a floating blue jug on the U.S. side of the lake. The wardens pulled the jug from the water and saw that it had no markings, though an illegal hoop net was attached to it. A short distance from the first jug, the wardens found a second jug with another hoop net. The wardens pulled this device from the water as well. Because both nets were empty, no fish were lost to the illegal devices.
Wardens Always Win at Hide and Seek
After several disappointing visits to a sunflower field where he thought illegal hunting might be taking place, a La Salle County game warden finally heard shots coming from the field on a Sunday evening, well after legal shooting hours. The warden made his way into the field, following the sound of gunshots. The warden found the hunters who were firing the guns, but to his surprise, he only found two hunters with very few birds. However, the warden saw evidence of another hunter who was nowhere to be found. After several minutes of questioning, one hunter confessed a third hunter was hiding because he did not have a hunting license. The hunter also confessed he and his friends had made several trips back to their lodge to drop off birds so they could continue to hunt. Eventually, the warden found the third hunter and seized 43 doves. The warden filed charges for being over the daily bag limit, hunting after legal hours and hunting without a hunting license.
Chasing the Deer
A game warden was dispatched to the scene of an injured deer in a remote part of the county. Upon arriving at the scene, the warden couldn’t find the deer, though he did see a car parked on the side of the road nearby. When the warden contacted the car’s occupants, they told the warden that a dump truck pulling a large track loader on a flatbed trailer had stopped and loaded up the deer minutes earlier. Heading in the direction the car’s occupants had indicated, the warden was able to catch up to the dump truck at a local gas station. The warden contacted the driver of the truck and ultimately located the deer, which was tied to the trailer behind the tracks of the loader. The warden took the deer as evidence and cited the driver for the unlawful possession of deer during a closed season.
Looking for a Dime but Found a Quarter
While checking dove hunters for violations, two Cameron County game wardens heard shots from behind a rural residence. As they tried to locate the hunters behind the residence, the wardens noticed the suspects in a garage with a large amount of marijuana. The wardens detained the suspects and called in another warden and his K9 partner. The K9 assisted in locating a large amount of cocaine and marijuana in the garage, as well as two rifles with the serial numbers filed off. After more searching, the wardens discovered the house was actually a stash house. The residents of the house received drugs from Mexico and repacked them for shipment across the United States.