The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
The Naked Truth
Hunters rely on camouflage clothing to mask their appearance and avoid detection in the field, but an Upshur County man recently took “going commando” to the next level. He was arrested by a Gregg County game warden while hunting in the nude along a state highway. Obviously, he did not have a hunting license on him. The well-known nudist/activist later contested the charges. During the trial, his case fell apart when the warden’s bodycam footage was played to the county judge. After hearing testimony and viewing a few seconds of the undressed violator in action, the judge abruptly stopped the video and walked out ruling in the state’s favor. The activist promptly cancelled all appeals and settled the citations, which included: hunting without a license, shooting across a property line, and disorderly conduct.
Chicken Hawk Down
On Halloween, a Bowie County game warden received a call in reference to an individual shooting a hawk. The warden responded to the individual’s residence and observed what appeared to be a Cooper’s hawk lying on the back of a vehicle near the suspect’s house. He made contact with the homeowner, who admitted he knew hawks were protected but he didn’t want it to get his chickens. The warden educated the subject on legal and non-lethal options to protect his chickens from birds of prey and other predators. The hawk was seized and the subject received a citation for taking a protected bird species. The case is pending.
Reason #27 to Leave Wildlife Alone
A Titus County game warden responded to a mobile home community where a young white-tailed buck deer reportedly attacked an individual. The deer was well-known in the community after one of its residents had illegally taken possession of it as an abandoned fawn. The well-intentioned person who originally caught the deer could no longer take care of it as a pet so he attached white tags to its ears and released it on a nearby ranch. Absent natural instincts to avoid humans, the deer returned to its “home” except now with a full set of antlers and raging hormones. The game warden captured the deer, removed the tags from its ears, and relocated it to a high fenced game ranch where, hopefully, it will learn to avoid people.
Raging on the River
Game wardens received a call alleging an intoxicated person was waving a gun at passing boats. While responding, they received a second call that the suspect’s behavior seemed to be escalating. He was very agitated and either aiming a gun, or acting like it, as boats passed. The wardens launched their patrol boat and located a very intoxicated fisherman anchored in the middle of the channel. He stated he was upset that bass boats had passed him and caused his boat to shift. The suspect was not observed operating the boat so he was arrested and charged with public intoxication. No gun was found.
Leaving a Trail
Trinity County game wardens were patrolling Alabama Creek WMA opening weekend of deer season when they noticed a truck parked on the side of the road with three hunters standing next to it. As the wardens approached, the three hunters jumped in the truck and started driving away. The wardens made contact with the hunters and noticed a deer carcass in a game carrier on the back of the truck. While one warden checked the deer and licenses, the other warden walked back to where the truck was originally parked, walked down a trail about 30 yards, and found a dead white-tailed buck hidden in the brush. The three hunters were interviewed and denied shooting the buck, which did not meet the minimum antler restrictions, and further claimed they did not see the deer. The wardens instructed the hunters take them to the area where they were hunting. A K9 game warden was called to assist and, with the dog’s help, wardens were able to track where both deer were shot. Evidence of the shootings was found at two of the hunters’ stands, along with the path used to drag out the dead deer. The wardens also found photos of the harvested animals on the hunters’ cellphones. After three hours of investigating, numerous citations were issued including restitution. Cases are pending.
Recreational Poaching Vehicle
Comal County game wardens investigating a complaint about the possible illegal killing of a white-tailed deer on the west end of Canyon Lake discovered the animal’s abandoned carcass. An area resident walking his dog had spooked an individual who was in the process of cleaning the deer, and the suspect fled the scene with just the deer’s head and tenderloins. The resident recognized the man cleaning the deer and was able to provide a name and the location of the suspect’s RV. The wardens made contact with the man and after a few questions, the individual admitted to killing the deer from his RV using a .22 caliber rifle; it is unlawful to hunt deer with a rimfire cartridge. The man denied keeping the deer’s head and antlers, but during subsequent interrogation confessed to having stashed the head in a nearby tree. The 63-year-old man stated he had never seen a deer that big, and felt compelled to shoot it before someone else did. The man was cited for hunting deer with illegal means and for waste of game. The man also faces civil restitution on the 14-point white-tailed buck deer. The cases are pending.
Texas Parks & Wildlife