Game Wardens Stories: Drunken Harasser, Gator Post, Illegal Fishing

There's no doubt the Texas Game Wardens, as well as any wildlife officers in any state, face a myriad of incidents when in the field — from the serious to the ridiculous.

One thing is for certain. Many times it involves stupid people doping stupid things.

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 (reprinted with permission).

Texas game wardens (Texas Parks & Wildlife image)

From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Game Warden Field Notes, June 1

Don't Mess with Texas

While on patrol at Falcon Lake, game wardens spotted two plastic bottles floating about 100 yards inside U.S. waters of the lake. While littering is a crime, so is fishing by illegal means and methods. The bottles were attached to a line that connected five illegal hoop nets. Over 100 pounds of carp were released back into Falcon Lake, as well as 50 pounds of catfish. The nets were seized.

Un-tagged, You're It

Game wardens patrolling the Rio Grande River in Maverick County conducted a water safety check on a vessel with three men in it that were out to set limb lines. Later that afternoon wardens discovered several limb lines while patrolling the river and none had the required gear tags attached. In total, 16 limb lines were recovered as well as one trotline. The wardens later identified the lines as the ones that were in the vessel they conducted a water safety check on earlier that day. Wardens launched early the next morning and found the individuals that had set the lines. During the investigation the men admitted the lines belonged to them. It was also found that the boat the men were in had unauthorized numbers displayed on the vessel. Citations and warnings were issued to the three men for no fishing license, unauthorized numbers on bow, and untagged fishing gear/throwline.

Follow the Clues

A Wharton County game warden was patrolling the Colorado River for recreational boating and fishing enforcement when he came across a small flat bottom boat tied to the river bank with no motor attached and a single paddle inside. He surveyed the immediate area for throw lines and located what he thought was a single line, but when he attempted to pull the line he discovered a larger piece of rope tied to a heavy piece of metal. The warden recognized this as a possible hoop net anchor and after searching the bank he found two of the illegal nets hidden in the brush further up the river bank. The warden left the nets in place and with assistance from other wardens set up surveillance cameras in hopes of gathering evidence of illegal fishing. The cameras captured the suspects running the nets on two occasions. One individual ran the hoop net from the boat, while the other suspect stayed up above as a look out on the bank where he would also take the fish from the boat. The two subjects were identified as a father and son from El Campo who the warden had previously dealt with for felony hunting charges as well as hoop net charges. The wardens seized the net and various other equipment and the two suspects were issued citations for taking fish by illegal means or methods. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

Warden Harassment?

A Williamson County game warden was patrolling the San Gabriel River and had made contact with two fishermen on the lower water crossing bridge when a white Ford Explorer pulled up behind the warden's patrol truck. The warden believed he was waiting to pass safely to the left, so he signaled to the driver to go ahead and proceed. Instead, the driver signaled some gesture with his hand and yelled back. As the warden accompanied one of the fishermen to his car to retrieve a fishing license, the Explorer's driver barked at him, "Why can't you just leave them alone?" Noting the driver exhibited slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol, the warden suspected he may have been impaired. Further evidence on the center console, the warden observed an open container and two six packs of beer. On the passenger seat was a revolver within his reach. The warden immediately gave him instructions to keep his hands on the steering wheel and not make any sudden movements.  The driver stated he didn't have a permit and didn't need one to carry his pistol. The warden retrieved the loaded .38 caliber pistol for officer safety and attempted to administer a field sobriety test, which the driver refused. The driver was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and unlawful carrying of a firearm. The two anglers were in compliance and went back to fishing. No further information at this time.

Posted and Busted

In response to a social media post, game wardens investigated the killing of an eight foot alligator on Lake Corpus Christi. The wardens were able to obtain a photograph of the suspect holding the alligator.  They located the suspect and, after a full confession was obtained, he was charged with hunting alligator without a hunting license and illegal means and methods.  Cases and civil restitution pending.

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