Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement reports. Images of individual field notes are available upon request.
Two Strikes and They’re Out
During archery-only deer season, a Coke County game warden received a call from a local rancher concerned that his neighbor was hunting deer with firearms. The warden, who was enjoying the World Series at home on his day off, headed to the ranch. Once there, he set up a concealed area where he could observe any illegal hunting. Just after sundown, the warden heard a high-powered shot about 500 yards from his position. A minute later, he heard another shot. The warden waited, then made his way into the ranch to investigate. As he pulled up to the camp, two men and one woman were quartering two whitetail does. The men admitted to shooting the deer and showed the warden the rifles they used. They produced hunting licenses with no tags removed and no harvest logs completed. The quartered deer were also missing proof of sex, which was later discovered in a ravine behind the cabin. The warden recovered both deer. Cases were filed, along with civil restitution.
Trinity County and Angelina County Game Wardens, along with a regional chaplain, patrolled the Neches River, checking for hoop nets. They located one containing about 22 catfish. With bad weather impending, the wardens surmised that the fisherman might check the net later that evening. The chaplain and a warden built a blind to watch for the fisherman’s return. The other wardens strategically parked their patrol vehicles and waited. Approximately 40 minutes later, the team in the blind heard a truck pull up and park on the opposite side of the river. The fishermen exited the vehicle, grabbed a pre-baited net and threw the net into the river. The net resembled the one found 50 yards away. Wardens initiated contact with the surprised fishermen from both sides of the river. Multiple citations for illegal means and methods were filed. Cases pending.
No Ducks on the Pond
An employee with a mobile home park contacted Harrison County Game Wardens to report 18 duck carcasses in the park dumpster. Following a lead from the property manager, wardens identified and located the suspect. The suspect confessed that he attended a guided duck hunt and accepted ducks from two other hunters without a wildlife resource document. Following the hunt, the suspect threw the ducks in the bed of his truck and traveled elsewhere for another hunt the next day. Back at home, the suspect said he no longer felt like cleaning the ducks and threw them in the park dumpster. Multiple citations and warnings were issued for failing to keep ducks in edible condition, possession of ducks without a wildlife resource document, violation of daily bag limit of lesser scaup and over the limit possession. Civil restitution pending.
One late afternoon, a Texas Game Warden received a call from the lease master of a hunting property regarding poaching on a neighboring property. The lease master stated that his son and daughter-in-law were walking to their deer blind when they crossed paths with a male subject carrying a rifle. The hunters asked the man where he was going, and the man stated that he was headed to his deer blind. The hunters explained that he was hunting on private property. The man replied that he had been hunting on the property since 1986 and would continue to do so, no matter what. The warden arrived at the ranch property and located the man hunting illegally inside a deer blind hidden in the brush. The male subject was identified and charged with hunting without landowner consent and criminal trespass.
Fly, Eagles, Fly
Caldwell County Game Warden Joann Garza-Mayberry responded to an injured bald eagle call. She arrived to find the mature bald eagle unable to fly. Warden Mayberry captured the eagle for transport to Austin Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Elgin. Along the way, she visited a local school for an impromptu wildlife program on eagles. Veterinarians determined that the eagle suffered a broken right wing. It was not clear what caused the injury. The attending vet chose to explore medical opinions on the best course of treatment for the eagle.
Underage and Overheard
Patrolling a popular lake for nighttime hunting violations, McLennan County Game Wardens found an illegal bonfire on a dead-end roadway with a large group of under-aged subjects consuming alcoholic beverages. Before making contact, a warden snuck up to the group and overheard two subjects discuss a previous illegal hunting incident. Upon contact, the subjects were pulled aside for further questioning. Wardens and sheriff’s deputies issued citations for minor consumption of alcohol and released other group members to responsible parties. Following up on the lead, the wardens obtained pictures and verbal admission that a white-tailed buck was killed with a .22 rifle at night off the public road/right of way. The wardens identified three suspects and found the white-tailed buck carcass dumped in a large culvert pipe with its antlers removed. Multiple charges were filed. Cases pending.