Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Deer in the Headlights
Two Tom Green County game wardens saw a vehicle attempt to run down deer in an open field. The game wardens stopped the vehicle and could smell a strong odor of alcohol on the lone subject. Sobriety tests were administered and the subject was arrested for DWI, driving with a suspended license, two local warrants and hunting with illegal means and methods.
Hunters Ed Would Have Helped
A Presidio County game warden responded to a nonfatal hunting accident at Penitas Ranch. When he arrived, the game warden learned that the hunter was trying to cross over a fence when his loaded shotgun fell from its rest and discharged, resulting in the injury. Upon further investigation, the Game Warden discovered that the 21-year-old victim had not taken a hunter’s education course, and would have benefited from the course because this very scenario is covered.
Vodka, You Are My Only Friend
During routine Sandhill Crane patrol on Christmas Eve morning, a Hockley/Terry/Yoakum County game warden happened across a pickup parked in the paved shoulder of a main highway just inside the Lynn County line. After passing the vehicle, the warden noticed a man slumped over asleep in the driver’s seat. Turning around to make a welfare check, the warden approached the driver side door and attempted to knock on the window to get the man’s attention. After several attempts of hard knocking on the window and saying, “Game Warden” even louder, the man remained passed out. Fearing for the individual’s safety, the game warden began rocking the truck side to side. After several more efforts, the man finally came to. He admitted to driving all night from New Mexico with a cup of vodka and soda to keep him company. With the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, a sobriety test was given, and the subject, who had one previous DWI conviction, was booked into the Lynn County Jail.
Did I Do That?
A Garza/Lynn County game warden seized two mule deer does that had been harvested the previous day in Scurry County by a Lubbock area man. Mule deer season had ended in Scurry County, and even then, mule deer does could have only been harvested under permit. The warden met with the hunter who admitted not knowing that mule deer inhabited Scurry County.
A Taylor County game warden received a call from a landowner who said a neighbor contacted him and said he saw someone with a flashlight on his property. When the warden arrived, two other landowners had the suspect blocked on a county road. The 25-year-old suspect had shot a deer on property that bordered the landowner’s property, and the deer ran onto the landowner’s land. The suspect then proceeded to track the deer approximately 400 yards into the landowner’s property, where he found the wounded deer and again shot it.
A Garza/Lynn County game warden was called by a Garza County ranch foreman regarding a headless white-tailed buck that had been dumped alongside a two-track road inside the ranch. As the warden was responding to the area, the foreman called again and said that he believed it to have been shot by one of the hunting lease holders and that the carcass was no longer at the initial site. The warden arrived on the ranch, and after a short search, found the initial dump site and carcass at a second location. After loading the deer, the warden drove the ranch in search of the hunter, and later found him. The warden spoke with the man, a previous wildlife violator, at the back of the man’s truck. A severed deer head was in the bed of the truck with an incompletely-filled out tag on its antlers. The man was then led to the back of the truck, lowered his tailgate, and revealed a wasted carcass. Without provocation, “Unless you’re making hamburger, do you realize how hard it is to cut up all that meat,” the man asked.
A Garza/Lynn County game warden was refueling at a Post gas station when he saw a pickup with a large white-tailed deer rack sticking out of the bed, bathed in blood across the hood and down the fenders and bed rails, pass by and immediately turn into a residential area. The warden quickly stopped the pump and followed. The truck eventually circled the block, giving the warden the impression that they wanted to parade the deer back by him. The warden saw the men act disappointed when they returned to not find the game warden, but surprised when they saw him in their rear view mirror. After checking the two men’s licenses, deer, and tag, multiple citations were issued. Afterwards, the warden asked the men why they had splattered and poured blood all over their truck. The men said that they thought it would look cool. The men also got a lesson in hunting ethics.
The Roscoe chief of police contacted a Nolan County game warden after a dead deer had been propped up against the doors at the Roscoe High School. The warden located the deer and observed a clean, pass-through bullet wound on the 9-point buck. The Roscoe elementary school principal had found the deer earlier that morning and provided the warden with pictures of the deer when he found it. The deer had numerous beer bottles outlining it, a can of Copenhagen on its shoulder, and a cigarette in its mouth. The next day, the warden received information about three subjects involved. During the interview, the suspects said another man on a ranch had killed the deer and given it to the uncle of the one of the subjects. The uncle then gave it to his nephew to process. The nephew had then tried to give the deer to his peers at work. No one had wanted the deer, so the subjects decided to play a prank, and put it at the high school. The subject who originally ended up with the deer still had the tag with him. After advising the subject who had killed the deer of what happened, he was extremely upset that the subjects had wasted the meat.
Duck, Duck … Cormorant
A Titus County game warden responded to a trespass call on a large ranch in northern Titus County. When the two hunters from the neighboring ranch were located, they admitted to trespassing and said that they were jumping ducks on the area ponds. One hunter said that they had only shot one duck while trespassing. When the warden asked for the duck, he was told that they did not get the duck because it fell over the high fence inside the deer breeder pens. The bird was recovered from the pens and discovered to be a cormorant. Citations were issued for hunting a protected waterfowl–cormorant, criminal trespass, shooting across property lines, and no hunter safety course.
Can We Pretend That It Never Happened?
A Rockwall County game warden checked two duck hunters on their way out of their blind. When asked to provide three shells to check the plug, one of the hunters produced two shells and a marijuana pipe from his pocket. The hunter quickly tried to take the pipe back, but the warden took possession of it. The hunter was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, and the other hunter was cited for an unplugged shotgun.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Two Houston County game wardens received a call about a subject who had shot at a deer from a county road. The wardens drove to the subject’s residence where they were greeted by a young man walking down the road who said to them, “I’m the person you are looking for.”
Two Polk County game wardens were patrolling for night hunting violations when they heard a vehicle roll to a stop up the road. The wardens could hear the subjects kill the truck and then one subject walked by their location. Earlier in the evening, the wardens had received a call of spotlighting in a field near their set. Due to rattling and different noises coming from the subjects’ location, wardens were concerned that the subjects had loaded a deer. After a while, the vehicle started up and the wardens stopped the vehicle up the road only to find the subject was not road hunting but stealing ground wires on utility poles. In addition, the subject had a bag of what appeared to be synthetic marijuana. One subject was apprehended, and wardens turned the subject over to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
A Zapata County Game Warden pulled up on a night set when he observed a vehicle traveling in his direction on FM 2687. The warden hadn’t been on the set long before he saw a vehicle shining a spotlight from the road. When the vehicle approached his location, the warden saw the vehicle towing another vehicle. The two trucks kept spotlighting when they drove past the warden’s position and stopped approximately 75 to 100 yards from his position. Two individuals exited the rear truck and ran over and grabbed a buck they had just shot earlier and threw it in the back of the truck. The two vehicles were stopped shortly after, and all four admitted to road hunting. When asked what the deal was with towing the other vehicle, they said after they shot the deer, they sped off and blew the transmission.