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Stranded Texas Kayakers Feel the Love: Game Warden Stories

by Scott Bernarde   |  August 20th, 2017 0

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.

Three stories about kayakers in need of help were included in this most recent roundup (republished with permission).

From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Game Warden Field Notes Aug. 17

Falling Tide and Failing Kayakers

As they entered the jetties at Matagorda, game wardens on their way back in from patrolling the Gulf of Mexico noticed an overturned kayak floating in the middle of the river channel being pulled out by the tide.

Once closer, the wardens could see a woman struggling to hang on to the kayak, desperately trying to swim back to shore.

Luckily, the kayaker was wearing a life jacket and the wardens assisted her back to the bank and later went back to recover the swamped kayak.

About 20 minutes later the same circumstance took place, but this time with a tandem kayak with a man and woman who were also struggling to hang on to their overturned kayak, but were wearing their life jackets. Wardens assisted the two kayakers back to the river bank and brought their kayak back to them afterwards.

game warden stories

(Graphic from Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Saved by Cell Phone

Live Oak County game wardens responded to a call about two stranded kayakers on Choke Canyon Lake. The call stated they had launched from the Calliham boat ramp just before dusk.

Wardens put in at the boat ramp and began their search, but while they were searching, the stranded kayakers called in stating they had actually launched from the South Shore boat ramp but had drifted a long way. They also stated their kayaks had sunk and they were currently in life jackets drifting in the lake.

Wardens navigated to the South Shore boat ramp and, using night vision, continued their search in the direction the high winds would have likely blown the kayakers. About 800 yards from the boat ramp, one of the wardens noticed a faint glow in his night vision.

Remembering the kayakers had an active cell phone with them, wardens maneuvered toward the glow and discovered the two kayakers. One of the kayakers was cramping, in extreme pain, and having a difficult time keeping himself upright and over the waves.

The wardens pulled the kayakers onto the boat and safely delivered them to the ramp where EMS treated them for mild hypothermia and dehydration.

Stranded Inshore “Paddlists” Call for Help

Aransas County game wardens responded to a call from the Aransas County Sheriff’s Office concerning a stranded person in a kayak on Copano Bay.

The individual was located drifting toward an unoccupied side of the bay, having lost one of his paddles and broken the other. The ill-equipped paddler also did not have an adequate anchor for his inflatable kayak, but at least he had his cell phone, which enabled him to call for help.

A couple days later, game wardens responded to a similar kayaker in distress call on St. Charles Bay. One individual returned to the launch location, but a second paddler could not make it back.

The exhausted kayaker was located and returned to his truck approximately four miles away. Although he didn’t have the strength to paddle into the winds, at least his cell phone worked.

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