Deer Poacher, Pot Bust, Directions to Jail: Game Warden Stories

Officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field — these game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.

Regularly, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department posts "Game Warden Notes," an online roundup of recent law enforcement stories compiled directly from reports in the field.

Here are some of those stories (republished with permission).

From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Game Warden Field Notes,Aug. 17

The Jail is This Way

In the early morning hours of July 16, a game warden was waiting at a red light in Fort Stockton when a vehicle in the cross traffic came to a stop in front of his patrol unit. As the subject got out of his vehicle and began to approach, the warden ordered him to return to his car and get out of the roadway.

The subject ignored the instructions and indicated he "just wanted directions."

The warden noticed multiple signs of possible intoxication, administered field sobriety tests, which the individual failed, and subsequently made an arrest. Additional tests at the Pecos County Jail indicated the subject had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit and was charged with DWI.

(Graphic from Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Don't Mess With Texas

A Hunt County game warden was patrolling Cedar Creek by kayak when he discovered four large trash bags of household garbage floating in the creek.

He took on the unpleasant task of tearing into the bags in an attempt to collect any evidence as to who threw the garbage over a nearby bridge. With evidence in hand, the warden paid a visit to a home less than a mile away and was able to get a full confession from an 18 year old living there.

Wheeling and Dealing on the Lake

As game wardens patrolling Lake Tawakoni and conducting water safety inspections approached a boat, they observed a female onboard hide something in her swim suit top.

Upon questioning, she revealed a small pipe from her swim suit. Further questioning from the wardens produced a small container that was wedged between the seat and the side of the boat. The container contained three marijuana buds.

At this point, the wardens boarded the suspect boat and conducted a search. They located three bundles of cash in a compartment near the steering wheel totaling $5,453, and a soft-sided cooler containing a large amount of marijuana.

The owner and operator of the boat was arrested. The female passenger was issued a citation and released. Cases are pending.

No Blue Light Special

In the early hours of the morning, a San Patricio County game warden worked his way quietly into Corpus Christi Bay and was able to catch three early night bait shrimpers.

One of the captains said it wasn't fair because "there was no blue light to show you were there."

Not All Snapper are the Same

Game wardens boarded a sportfishing boat near Matagorda where they found three fisherman in possession of 17 undersized juvenile red snapper.

The subjects commented that they had a great day and caught tons of "mingo" snapper (mangrove) offshore. Game wardens educated the three men that the snapper in their cooler were in fact juvenile red snapper and not "mingo" snapper.

Wardens clarified the differences of the several snapper species found in the Gulf of Mexico to the three men, showing them photos of lane, vermillion, and mangrove snapper. Cases for possession of undersized and over the daily bag limit of red snapper are pending.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

A Van Zandt County game warden and a Smith County game warden wrapped up an investigation dating back to last hunting season regarding a group of trespassers and illegally taken deer.

Acting on a tip, the game wardens made cases against five individuals who were caught trespassing and running hog dogs on a piece of property outside of Fruitvale in Van Zandt County.  The primary suspect in the case gave a false name to the rancher and had put his own lock on the gate in order to gain illegal access to the property.

After an extensive investigation, the wardens revealed that the primary suspect also had a feeder and hunting equipment on the adjacent property. The suspect had also illegally harvested multiple deer and was caught multiple times on camera trespassing with firearms.

Multiple cases were filed for trespassing, untagged white-tailed deer, illegal means and methods, and other charges. The cases are pending.

Caught and Released

A game warden on patrol in Bexar County at Calaveras Lake was driving by the fish cleaning station on the lake and stopped to talk to a man cleaning a large red drum.

The warden introduced himself and asked the angler what he had caught the large fish on, and he replied shrimp. After talking for a few minutes the warden asked for the man's fishing license. He said he didn't have it on him, so the warden then asked for his driver's license so he could look it up that way.

After using the app on his phone and calling dispatch, the warden confirmed that the man's fishing license had expired and, therefore, he had caught the fish without a legal fishing license. The man received a citation for fishing without a valid fishing license and his fish was seized since it was caught illegally.

The warden donated the 34-inch drum to a licensed fisherman at Calaveras. Citations and civil restitution are pending.

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