Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement reports.
Lost and Found
Two Angelina County game wardens responded to a call about a lost hunter in Angelina National Forest. Upon arrival at the scene, the wardens found out the man had been missing for several hours and was a diabetic. Temperatures were dropping because of an approaching cold front so the wardens called UAV operators from TPWD’s Wildlife Division and a Tyler County game warden, and a TPWD K-9 handler for assistance as part of a joint operation with U.S. Forest Service rangers, Jasper County EMS, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter and fire department volunteers. After searching for several hours, the wardens received a GPS coordinate of the missing man and they were able to locate him in the woods. He was in a pre-hypothermic state when he was found and was treated by EMS.
When Will You Learn?
Two Polk County game wardens were on night patrol with their deer decoy “Corby” when Corby caught someone’s eye. A truck passed the decoy, slowed to a stop, then quickly reversed and the headlights were positioned onto the decoy. After a brief pause, the sound of a small caliber rifle shot was heard from the vehicle. The wardens approached the subject and they were apprehended without incident. A .22 caliber rifle was found in the back seat of the truck with a spent casing still in the ejection port of the rifle. The subject also admitted to being charged for spotlighting on a public roadway near the same area a few weeks prior to this incident by a different Polk County game warden. The subject was charged with hunting white-tailed deer at night, hunting white-tailed deer using artificial light and multiple Class C citations and warnings. Cases pending.
Liar Liar Deer on Fire
An Upshur County game warden received a call about two deer carcasses dumped along a shared fence line with a neighbor. The caller said the two carcasses had not been quartered and only some of the meat had been taken off of the two deer. The warden called for additional back up from another warden and when they arrived at the property, the two deer were no longer on the fence line. The wardens interviewed the property owner, but he denied knowledge of the two deer. After a quick investigation, it was determined that a nine-point buck was harvested that morning by his juvenile son. When asked about the carcass, the landowner said they had taken the carcass to a creek a mile away to dispose of it. When questioned about the second deer, the landowner continued to deny claims of there being another deer. After further questioning, the landowner confessed to not harvesting all of the meat from the nine-point buck that morning and showed the wardens to a burn pile on the property where they found the wasted buck with its two front shoulders intact and on fire. The landowner continued to deny there had been another deer until one of the wardens found a partially quartered doe hidden in the high brush. The landowner then confessed. Multiple cases pending.
If I Could Turn Back Time
Henderson County game wardens were conducting an inspection on a local processor when they came across a license that did not have an archery endorsement. During the inspection, wardens found out the deer was harvested the same day the license was purchased, but the license was bought by the hunter later in the evening. The wardens visited the hunter and learned that the deer was harvested under the license of another individual. After further questioning, it was discovered that the hunter asked his wife to go buy a hunting license the same day he harvested the deer so that he could use her tag to harvest another buck. After denying the incident, the wardens were able to use cell phone photos with consent from the couple to put together a timeline proving the deer was harvested by the hunter before the license was purchased by his wife. To further the false claims that his wife had harvested the deer, he had her pose for photos with the deer, which wardens found on the phone. Cases pending.
A Lavaca County game warden was on patrol when they heard a rifle shot come from an area where they had previously seen deer hunting violations. When they went to investigate, the warden saw a man drive out of the brush, head home, pick up his wife and then return to the woods. An hour later, the wife returned to the house with the head and meat of a white-tailed buck. The warden approached the wife, who then lead the warden to where she was meeting her husband in the woods. The man was surprised when his wife showed up with the game warden to their hidden cleaning rack. A citation was issued for taking a white-tailed deer in closed season and civil restitution was filed. Case pending.
Two Trinity County game wardens received a call from the local sheriff’s office about a hunter who had just shot a buck in a yard from a vehicle. The landowner thought a rifle was used and was able to write down the license plate number and get a good description of the vehicle. The wardens and sheriff’s office called a local constable who lives in the same neighborhood for some back up. The constable was able to find the vehicle quickly while the wardens traveled to the scene. After a brief interview upon their arrival, the hunter admitted to shooting the buck out of his vehicle with a crossbow from the public roadway. Wardens filed multiple charges for hunting from the public roadway and hunting during closed season. Cases pending.
Drunk and on the Hunt
A Cass County game warden was on patrol when they saw a vehicle stop twice near a large pasture and stick what they thought was a rifle out of the window. While following the vehicle to confirm what they had seen, the subject was driving erratically on the county road. When the vehicle stopped again, the warden conducted a traffic stop. The warden then approached the vehicle and saw an AR-15 rifle in the passenger’s seat. The weapon was secured, and the driver was checked for warrants. The warden noticed the thermal scope was still on, so they asked the driver about hunting and told him that they had seen him stick the rifle out of the window. The driver then admitted to hunting the field for hog and admitted to being intoxicated. The driver was arrested and charged with hunting without landowner consent and hunting non-game from a motor vehicle.