Officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field — these game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.
The following items were compiled from the roundup and re-published here with permission.
Texas Tech Drove Him to Drink
A Lubbock/Hockley County game warden was on patrol for dove hunters the afternoon of Oct. 14 when she observed a pickup truck slow-rolling on a county road in front of her.
The truck then turned toward the warden, swerved, and then drove into the ditch. She activated her lights and sirens and had a low-speed pursuit for approximately three miles to the suspect’s home, where he finally stopped.
During the chase, the subject tossed his 32-ounce cup of whiskey and water out the window. The warden found the suspect to be highly intoxicated and she questioned him about his condition.
The suspect stated that he was mad at his Texas Tech Red Raiders, who gave up 22 fourth quarter points in a 46-35 loss to West Virginia earlier that day.
An empty half gallon bottle of Canadian whiskey and two loaded pistols were found in his back seat. The suspect was booked in to the Lubbock County Detention Center for DWI and unlawful carry of weapon by license holder after a blood draw. The case is pending.
A “Dead” Giveaway
Circling buzzards are usually a “dead” giveaway, so when a Smith County game warden responded to a call about a suspicious personal watercraft beached on an island at Lake Palestine with vultures in the trees around it, he came prepared for the worst.
The caller had stated that the watercraft looked abandoned and due to the presence of vultures he was concerned someone may be deceased nearby.
Once on scene, the warden determined there was nothing for the vultures to scavenge other than the watercraft, which had recently been stolen from a Wood County lake and parked near a vulture roost.
The craft was recovered and information forwarded to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation into how it ended up on Lake Palestine is ongoing.
Bad Intentions, Worse Results
Houston County game wardens were investigating a large, fresh blood spot in the middle of a county road indicative of a roadkill when a truck came around the corner and stopped short of their location.
Inside the truck were two teenagers from New Caney, and in the bed of the vehicle was an ice chest containing a freshly quartered white-tailed deer they claimed to have killed in the Davy Crockett National Forest.
The teen claiming to have arrowed the deer had improperly tagged it with a mule deer tag, and failed to complete the required hunter harvest log on his license.
After a brief interview about evidence the wardens had gathered from the scene, the teenagers admitted to running over the deer then stabbing it with an arrow. They then carried it to their camp, cleaned it, and tagged it with the mule deer tag. The cases are pending.
Salty About the Pepper
On Oct. 12, a Johnson County game warden received a call from a landowner complaining of dove hunters peppering his barn with birdshot. Upon arriving in the area, he was able to track the shots to a group of dove hunters in a backyard who were positioned around a small tank.
During the contact, the warden noticed some of the hunters had near limits of dove, which was suspicious given there were nearly no birds flying in the area.
A closer inspection revealed milo spread along the water’s edge in clear violation of a law prohibiting the baiting of migratory game birds for hunting. Multiple citations were issued for hunting migratory birds over bait and unplugged shotguns. Thirty-six mourning doves were seized and donated.
$400K in Damages
Texas game wardens aren’t just responsible for enforcing wildlife laws; they also protect the state’s cultural resources.
Recently, Kerr County game wardens completed an investigation involving desecration of a well-known Indian midden on private property. A grand jury returned indictments on two individuals for 1st degree felony criminal mischief based on cases made by the wardens, who caught the duo in the act of digging up artifacts at the midden back in January.
The damage to the site, based on assessments by archeologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission, exceeded $400,000.
Smells a Little Fishy
Shortly after midnight on Oct. 19, a Cameron County game warden received a call from the Operation Game Thief crime stopper hotline about two fishermen believed to be over their daily bag limit and in possession of undersized spotted seatrout at a popular fishing pier.
The warden arrived just as the individuals were walking up to the parking lot, and placing the fish in the back of their vehicle.
The two individuals stated they did not know that trout had a number or size limit. One admitted to not having a license while the other claimed to have purchased one within the year. After a check, both did not have a current fishing license and were in possession of 25 undersized spotted seatrout.
Both received multiple citations as well as restitution for the fish. A further inspection of the fishing pier resulted in discovery of a bucket full of fish that no one would claim.
An in-depth conversation with one group led to admission they had placed the bucket of fish near a trash can when they saw the warden coming. They received multiple citations and restitution. The fish in edible condition were donated.
— Game Warden Stories was compiled by Scott Bernarde