Texas game warden Eddie Hood has been recognized as the Texas Officer of the Year by the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Executive Director, Carter Smith, recognized Hood at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting Thursday in Houston.
Stationed in Clay County since graduating from the Texas Game Warden Academy 22 years ago, Hood is active with public outreach. He collaborates with the Henrietta School District to host annual youth fishing events at a local state park to introduce students to the sport. Hood also helped initiate and organize “Turkey Fest” in Clay County, an event which drew more than 5000 people last year.
The warden is known for his teamwork and initiative in offering training to younger wardens in his district. A prime example of his teamwork was a three-year investigation that he began that eventually included nine other wardens in six counties, as well as 14 state and federal agencies. In this case, charges were filed on two suspects for illegal darting and selling of white-tailed deer, illegal take of mule deer, illegal take of exotic wildlife, and shooting at and striking an aircraft.
Hood also worked a case with game warden Gary Hobbs that involved deer poaching on the Clay/Jack County line. Ranch hands had blocked the poacher’s vehicle from leaving the area and the wardens arrived a short time later to interview the four suspects. They soon found that one suspect was still in the brush and was armed. Hood rode in the suspects van with the four men and Hobbs drove off to give the missing subject the impression that the wardens had left. After about an hour of the suspects trying to call their missing friend, the search was called off and the men were taken to jail with the four deer and raccoon they had already taken to be processed. While at the jail, a call came in about a person walking down the highway near the ranch where the other four poachers had been caught. About 10 minutes later, the wardens had their fifth man in custody. All cases and paperwork were completed by 7:30 a.m.-eight-and-a-half hours after responding to the initial call.
In addition to this award, Hood has received two Director’s Citations from the Law Enforcement Division. One citation was presented for his efforts in the blizzard of Decemeber 2010 while working with other wardens to assist thousands of stranded motorists in North Texas. The second citation was for his efforts during a flood in Wichita County in 2008 when Hood and Hobbs navigated through high water to rescue numerous individuals from a house.
Begun 70 years ago, the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers is the oldest conservation law enforcement organization in the country. Twenty-nine member agencies from the United States and Canada make up the Midwest area and TPWD has been a member since 1995.