Prison Property Poachers, Deer DNA Breaks Case, Intoxicated Hider: Game Warden Stories
December 13, 2017
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 are re-published here with permission.
Prison Property Poachers Pinched
It seems no property is off-limits to poachers, including prison grounds belonging to the Luther Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections. Game wardens acting on reports of night hunting by trespassers received earlier in the week initiated a stakeout and soon observed a vehicle shining a spotlight out of the passenger's window.
The wardens watched the vehicle for about 15 minutes and then initiated a stop. Five individuals were in the vehicle, along with two loaded rifles and two spotlights.
The guns and the spotlights were seized and the driver and passenger were placed under arrest for hunting without landowner consent. The other three passengers were released without incident. The cases are pending.
Whether from a guilty conscience or simply feeling he may have pushed his luck, an East Texas man recently tried to avoid getting busted for hunting deer without a license by purchasing a permit after the fact.
When game wardens got wind of a big buck with an impressive 19-inch antler spread possibly being harvested illegally near Gilmer, they started looking into it. It didn't take long to find the hunter responsible, and wardens learned he harvested the trophy at 7:40 a.m. on Nov. 12.
Problem was, according to dispatch, the guy didn't purchase his license until three hours later.
When wardens confronted the man later that evening, he confessed to hunting without a license. He was also found in possession of another deer he admitted to taking the previous week. Numerous charges and civil restitution are pending.
You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide
In addition to enforcing game and fish laws, wardens are certified state police and routinely assist other law enforcement. At about 2 a.m. on Nov. 25, a Frio County game warden was patrolling the county in search of illegal road hunting activity when a call came through about a high speed chase involving a DPS state trooper.
The trooper advised dispatch that the suspect was headed south on I-35 from Medina County into Frio County, and the trooper was unable to catch up to the evading vehicle. Coincidentally, the game warden was working on the northern end of the county about four miles east of I-35, responded and headed in that direction.
The warden soon came upon an abandoned BMW sports car, and called it in. As other law enforcement arrived on the scene, the warden began searching the area and soon discovered an extremely intoxicated individual hiding near the fence line in a brushy area. The subject was placed under arrest for felony evading arrest.
Don't Make Me Chase You
On Nov. 22, a game warden received a tip that a man, or men, had just shot a mule deer buck from a Crosby County property and the caller knew no one had permission to hunt there.
Armed with the license plate of the suspect vehicle and the names of two possible culprits, the warden located a cell phone number for one of the men and called him. The warden had heard enough information to tell the man not to make him search for him in Crosby County, but suggested that he and his friend drive to Lubbock to meet with him and to bring the rifle used and the mule deer buck with them.
The men later arrived in Lubbock and gave confessions as to having hunted the deer without landowner consent. The deer and rifle were both seized. The charges are pending.
DNA Tests Say CSI Doesn't Lie
A Red River County game warden received DNA results stemming from a road hunting case during the 2016 deer season. The warden was on a stakeout of a popular road hunting location when he heard a shot fired less than 100 yards from his position.
The warden made contact with two subjects, who informed him they had shot a coyote. The warden discovered blood, but no animal was retrieved. He collected blood and tissue samples from the scene and submitted them to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's forensic lab for testing.
The test results came back positive for white-tailed deer. The cases are pending for hunting deer at night, hunting from a vehicle, and hunting deer with artificial light.
Just Doin' My Job
A Webb County game warden was investigating a deer carcass that had been dumped on the side of an easement road. During his investigation, he came in contact with a landowner who said he had allowed some unidentified friends to come out onto his property some months prior.
The landowner suspected these individuals could have returned to his ranch without his permission and might be responsible for the dumping of the deer carcass, as they had a history of poaching.
The landowner refused to provide contact information on these so-called friends of his, and instead told the warden to "go do his job and figure it out."
Because of the landowner's suspicious behavior and refusal to cooperate in the investigation, the warden now considered him to be a person of interest. While looking deeper into the landowner's hunting activities, the warden discovered that the landowner had illegally harvested a 10-point buck in 2016, as had his mother, as neither possessed a valid hunting license.
The warden subsequently seized both deer and issued both the landowner and his mother separate citations for hunting white-tailed deer without a license. Civil restitution on the deer is pending.
As the landowner was being issued the citation he exclaimed, "When I told you to do your job, I didn't mean for you to investigate us."
The warden then took the time to educate and explain to the landowner that no one is exempt from any game law. The dumped deer carcass is still under investigation.