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The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Not So Fast
A Starr County game warden received an Operation Game Thief call regarding a local hunter who shot a roadrunner, fed it to his cats and posted a video about it on Facebook. With the help of Austin Communications, the warden was able to locate the subject’s residence and make contact. The individual confessed to killing the protected bird, and appropriate charges were filed.
- See You Later, Alligator
A Chambers County game warden responded to a call on High Island, where an alligator had been shot in one of the Houston Audubon Society bird sanctuaries. One of the workers came across a few young men pulling a flat-bottom boat out of one of the ponds. They had a rifle and an alligator more than 8 feet long. The worker detained the shooter until the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and Chambers County game warden could arrive. The subject was arrested for hunting without landowner consent and cited for hunting in closed season. Cases and restitution pending.
- A Bad Eyedea
A game warden was patrolling a rural area of Kent County where hunting camps had recently been burglarized when he noticed a white pickup truck leaving private property. Knowing the road headed to a main highway, he decided to take a different route to meet them. The warden gained probable cause to make a traffic stop and noticed nervousness and signs of deception from both the driver and passenger. After receiving consent to search the vehicle and interviewing both subjects, the warden noticed the driver’s pupils were constricted to the size of a ballpoint pen, triggering him to search the vehicle once more. This time he found the butt-end of a glass pipe inside a foam cup holding an iced-down soft drink, along with a meth pipe and a plastic bag containing 0.7 grams of meth. Also found in the truck were items matching the description of stolen property from the burglarized hunting camps. The driver was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and littering.
- Feeling Crabby
An Orange County game warden responded to a call in Mauriceville from the sheriff’s office concerning illegally taken fish and crabs. When the warden arrived, he made contact with two subjects who possessed a boat full of fish and blue crabs. The pair admitted to illegally running someone else’s commercial traps at night and stealing the crabs along with the 59 fish that the warden located. Only one of the suspects had a valid fishing license. Cases were filed for possession of over the daily bag limit of red and black drum, possession of undersized red drum and flounder, running commercial crab trap at night, commercial crabbing without a commercial crab license and several warnings for water safety equipment.
- Daddy-ing While Intoxicated
A game warden who covers Terry, Yoakum and Cochran counties heard via the Terry County radio dispatcher that there had been several calls about a man walking on a major highway. The warden headed to the scene and found a vehicle parked diagonally on the shoulder, slightly into the lane of traffic. The warden made contact with the vehicle’s occupant, who was sitting behind the wheel with the door wide open. He was attempting to start the vehicle and in the process was burning up the engine starter, causing smoke to rise from under the hood. The warden discovered the car was out of gas and suspected the driver was intoxicated. The suspect had his 5-year-old son in the front passenger seat and not in a safety seat. The man refused a standard field sobriety test and appeared to be unsteady. Also, his pants were unzipped. The man, trying to resist arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, struggled with the warden and a Terry County deputy. The individual, who turned out to be on probation for the same DWI offense, was booked into the Terry County Jail for DWI with a child under 15 years old. The case is pending.
- Caught Red-handed
A Starr County game warden heard a call on the radio that a state trooper had made contact with someone who had been shot in the hand with a small-caliber pistol. The warden, along with Starr County deputies and Department of Public Safety troopers, located a hunting camp with two parked trucks that matched the description given in the report of the shooting. When the officers asked the vehicle owners if they were armed, the men – both landowners — told the warden they each had a small caliber handgun. The warden secured the weapons and asked one of the men to accompany him to the gate. While the warden was in the camp, the deputies observed blood splatter around the gate across the road. One of the men said he shot at an individual who had been trespassing on his ranch. The injured man was suspected of criminal activity in the area. The investigation continues.
- Pigging Out
When a Jim Hogg County game warden heard gunshots in the distance, he checked a group of dove hunters nearby. The warden then found hunters riding in a utility vehicle who admitted to shooting a javelina with semi-automatic rifles. When the hunters were asked for their hunting licenses, one of them asked about bag limits of javelina. The hunters then admitted to dumping the javelina in the brush, and the hunters who harvested the javelina received citations and were educated on waste of game laws. The javelina was retrieved from the brush and donated to a family in Hebbronville. Civil restitution and cases are pending.
- The Boys Who Cried Coyote
A Hunt County game warden received an Operation Game Thief call about shots being fired from the roadway near a landowner’s home. The warden contacted the landowner and was told the suspects had left the area. Only a few minutes later, the warden received a report that the suspects had returned. This time, they were in the landowner’s pasture with flashlights. When the warden located the five suspects, they claimed to be looking for a coyote they had shot from the roadway. An interrogation by the warden led to several trucks that were parked at an agriculture barn of a nearby high school. In one of the trucks, the warden found fresh deer hair and blood. The warden then called the Rains County game warden for assistance in the investigation, and the two eventually recovered a whitetail deer. Three of the five suspects received numerous citations.
When a call came in that a yearling deer had been skinned by workers at a logging site, two Trinity County game wardens went to the location and put TPWD K-9 Blitz on the case. The dog worked a dirt pile about 50 yards from the deer remains, but didn’t find anything. The two game wardens returned the next morning and made contact with the loggers who told the wardens that their foreman hit a small yearling buck with his vehicle the day before and brought the deer back to the site. This time Blitz found the buried deer carcass. Cases pending.
- Third Time’s a Charm?
A man called a Comal County game warden to report suspected trespassing and illegal deer hunting on his property. The caller discovered the image of two unknown persons on his game camera, in addition a photo of a deer eating corn. In the next image, the deer lay dead on the ground. Finally, someone moved the camera. When the warden came to check the location, he found blood and noticeable drag marks on the ground. Following the tracks, he ended up at a nearby residence, where he located the severed head of an eight-point buck hanging in a tree from an electrical cord. He also found the hide from a deer hanging from a separate tree. The warden then began interviewing the resident and, while doing so, observed blood on a pair of shoes on the porch. When confronted with the facts, the man first claimed that the deer had been given to him by a friend at work, but he couldn’t remember the friend’s name. On his second try, he said that he hit the deer with his truck and cut the deer’s throat to put him down before loading it in his truck to take it home. In an effort to verify that statement, the warden looked in the bed of the truck but found no signs of blood. On his third attempt, the resident stated he found the deer dead on his neighbors’ land and dragged it to his home for processing. The resident said he had not killed the deer and only took it home because he didn’t want it to go to waste. The warden cited the man for possession of an untagged deer and warned him about trespassing. Case pending.