Game Warden Field Notes 10/21/2014

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

  • “I am in Trouble”
    A Dallas County game warden, assisting a game warden from Collin County with dove hunters on public lands, noticed a hunter and young boy standing in the middle of a field looking down at what had just been shot. As the wardens approached the hunter, the man said, “I am in trouble—this is not a dove.” The bird was later identified as a Wilson snipe. Two citations were issued to the hunter, one for using an unplugged shotgun, and the other for taking a Wilson snipe out of season.
  • Swerving Driver, Hidden Warden
    While on patrol in southern Ward County, a game warden witnessed a vehicle swerve across the centerline, nearly causing a collision with an oncoming vehicle. The warden activated his lights and siren and followed the swerving vehicle for about a mile before the driver abruptly hit his breaks and pulled over. Talking to the driver, the warden could detect the strong odor of alcohol and see that the individual had glossy, bloodshot eyes. Standard field sobriety tests were conducted, which the driver failed. The individual was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated, and transported to the Ward County Jail.
  • Just Keep Swimming
    When a warden received a call from Smith County dispatch, he was informed that a woman had just called 911 to report a man attempting to swim across Lake Palestine. She said the man appeared to be struggling and was also high on narcotics. A local volunteer fire department launched its boat and attempted to rescue the man, but he was protesting and would not board the boat. A deputy, a Department of Public Safety trooper and the Smith County game warden boarded another VFD boat and went to assist. Once the man saw the second boat approaching, he gave in and boarded. When asked what exactly he was doing, he stated he was just swimming. The man was arrested for public intoxication.
  • Six Shots Too Many
    A Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist called a Smith County game warden to report illegal hunting on a Wildlife Management Area. When the bow-hunter was approached, he claimed self-defense against a 5-foot timber rattlesnake. However, when the individual further explained the situation and the six shots he took to kill the snake, it became evident that it was not self-defense. Case and restitution are pending.
  • Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
    An Anderson County game warden encountered a man in the middle of the road, standing in the rain. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office advised that the subject had jumped in front of several vehicles in an attempt to stop motorists. When the warden stopped his patrol vehicle nearby, the man attempted to get inside. The warden quickly locked the doors, backed up his vehicle and used his speaker to instruct the subject to get off the road and lay down on the ground. While being handcuffed, the subject said, “Thank God! Do what you got to do, and get me out of here! They are watching me right now!” The subject claimed that a terrorist group was not only watching him, but had also kicked him out of his trailer and beat him up. The subject showed signs of intoxication and impairment from drug use. He was placed in the Anderson County Jail for public intoxication and obstructing a highway.
  • Busted Baiters
    While on patrol in Gregg County, a game warden located a group of dove hunters on a baited field. When the warden asked about the milo seed scattered on the ground, the landowner said he had only placed it along outer fence lines for vegetation. The warden toured the baited ponds and gravel roads, where hunters were sitting, and contacted a Smith County game warden for assistance. Together, the wardens seized more than 50 illegal dove and filed nine charges: hunt dove over bait, place bait to attract, no hunting licenses, unplugged shotguns, rallying or disturbing, hunt from vehicle, no hunters education, hunting protected bird, and no state migratory game bird stamp. Investigation is ongoing, and cases are pending.
  • Without a Paddle
    A Robertson County game warden was contacted by the local sheriff’s department regarding a 911 call from two kayakers stranded on the Brazos River. They had gone two nights without food or water. Their cell phone went dead during the call, so not much information could be received. Until a helicopter search could take place, the warden would be monitoring a bridge crossing. On the way to the bridge, he checked a small section of river that ran along the backside of a ranch. The warden was joined by a deputy who arrived at the river and shut off the patrol truck, hitting the horn three times. To their surprise, they heard a call back and discovered the kayakers were positioned directly across the river. The kayakers were rescued after a challenging climb up the riverbank and through the woods.
  • Birds of a Feather Get Caught Together 
    Two Zapata County game wardens entered a large ranch to check for signs of dove hunters while patrolling during the special white-wing season. A bucket was located near camp with the carcasses of freshly cleaned birds, including 31 mourning doves, one Inca dove and one scaled quail. After a few shots were heard in the distance, a truck pulled up at camp and contact was made. The wardens discovered a freshly killed whitetail fawn in the bed of the pickup truck, along with 11 additional mourning doves. The five subjects were interviewed, and the wardens received confessions on all the illegal hunting that took place. Multiple citations were issued for exceeding daily bag limit on mourning dove, no hunting license, hunting a protected bird, hunting quail out of season, possession of untagged deer, and hunting deer out of season. Cases are pending.
  • The Three Not-So-Wise Men
    A Henderson County game warden teamed up with an officer from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department after receiving numerous reports of personal watercrafts being stolen from boat docks on Cedar Creek Lake. One caller witnessed three male subjects attempting to steal a PWC out of a boatlift. A group of three males were spotted on PWCs fitting the description of jet skis that had been reported stolen. The three subjects, all juveniles, were turned over to the sheriff’s department once it was verified that the PWCs were stolen. Five PWCs were recovered and returned to their owners. Charges are still pending.
  • Life Lessons from Local Game Wardens
    Two game wardens from Starr County and Zapata County were patrolling Starr County during the special white-wing season, when they made contact with two hunters who were dove hunting for the first time. When asked if they had shot any birds, the two hunters said that they had only shot one white-wing dove. One of the wardens inspected the birds and observed that the hunters had shot approximately a dozen white-wing doves, two mourning doves each, and a Eurasian collared dove. After the wardens asked about the discrepancy, the hunters explained they thought the collared dove was the white wing. The wardens then provided a lesson on dove identification, for which the hunters seemed grateful.
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