Facebook Reveals Poaching, Night Deer Hunting, Duck Herding: Game Warden Stories

game warden stories

Officers face a myriad of incidents in the field — these Texas Game Warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.

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

The following items from that roundup are re-published here with permission.

Working on Their Night Moves

Game wardens received information about two subjects that had allegedly killed several deer at night near Grapeland, in Houston County.

After obtaining IDs through TPWD's databases, the wardens were able to locate the residence of one of the subjects, and were fortunate enough to catch both subjects there.

The subjects initially denied killing any deer other than what was logged on their hunting licenses, but once the questioning revealed inaccuracies in their accounts, they admitted to poaching several additional deer.

Wardens discovered several deer heads in various locations on the property, and two more deer heads at another residence.

Through their investigation, the wardens learned one of the illegal deer was shot by a third subject, who admitted to the crime the following day.

So far, 21 citations and warnings have been issued for various violations involving the five bucks and two does seized. The investigation is ongoing.

Social Media Tip #39

When posting photos of yourself with the deer you falsely claim to have just harvested, be sure to pin the location; it helps game wardens when they come to investigate.

After spotting Facebook photos of a woman with a mule deer buck she claimed to have shot, game wardens ran a quick check, and learned she did not have a hunting license.

The pinned location of the posted images appeared to be a ranch in Brewster County enrolled in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Managed Lands Deer program, which carries certain tagging and harvest log requirements. After identifying the individual's boyfriend, who also appeared in the photos, the wardens went to the hunting camp to sort things out.

When questioned, the boyfriend told wardens he had killed the buck, legally, and showed them the deer head and MLD tag with his name on it. He then confessed his girlfriend made the initial shot on the deer, and he dispatched the buck due to her misplaced shot. She only claimed it to show off because she is a city girl, he said.

Upon further investigation, it was found only the backstraps were saved and the remaining carcass was dumped because "the deer was old." Multiple citations were issued and the deer was seized.

Baiting the Roost

On Jan. 7, an Ellis County game warden heard shooting on a soil conservation lake well after sunset. Legal duck hunting hours end at sunset. The warden was able to walk to and observe the group of hunters shooting at a duck roost on a small island in the lake. 

After making contact with the hunters, the warden also discovered corn scattered around the subjects' gear. He pulled one of the hunters aside and when asked how much corn was located on the island they were hunting, the hunter dropped his head and said, "Fifty pounds." Citations for hunting after sunset and placing bait to attract migratory waterfowl are pending.

No Herding Allowed

On Jan. 14, Sabine County game wardens were patrolling Toledo Bend Reservoir for duck hunting violations when they heard a group of duck hunters shooting nearby. As they motored close by to check for compliance, the wardens observed another hunter in a mud boat traveling towards a group of coots and canvasbacks.

The hunter rallied the ducks and proceeded to shoot the birds as they attempted to fly. While the boat was rallying the ducks, the other hunters began firing as well. Multiple citations were issued for hunting from a boat and rallying ducks.

When Duty Calls

A Freestone County game warden was enjoying his day off duck hunting at the Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area when he observed a game law violation. The warden watched as a vehicle stopped on a designated public hunting lands road, the driver exit and shoot at ducks.

The warden cut his hunt short, switched hats and was eventually able to make contact with the subject, charging him with hunting from a designated roadway.

His passenger was charged for not having the required Annual Public Hunting Lands permit. The driver was also part of a group recently apprehended by the warden on Richland Creek WMA for hunting when the area was closed.

Caught in the Act

January 4, a Red River County game warden was patrolling for night hunters down a country road when he witnessed a subject shine a light out of a truck window, and then fire a high-powered rifle.

The warden initiated contact and learned through dispatch that both male subjects in the vehicle were convicted felons. The pair admitted to shooting a deer.

The warden was able to locate a large 8-point buck that appeared to have been shot with a rifle. The subjects were transported to the Red River County Jail and booked for hunting deer at night, hunting deer with an artificial light, hunting deer from a public roadway, discharging a firearm from a public road, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.  An investigation is ongoing involving multiple deer and hogs having been shot from the road at night.

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