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News Poaching Texas

Youths Witness Poaching, Dumpster Diving for Clues, Beer Busted: Game Warden Stories

by Scott Bernarde   |  February 21st, 2018 0
game warden stories

Poaching reports in the U.S.. (Shutterstock image)

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.

It’s a Setup

The two 10-year-old boys who were hosted by a Texas game warden on a recent youth deer hunt in Scurry County have a first-hand account of poaching.

While the game warden and the boys were hunkered down in a blind, one of the boys asked, “What would happen if a poacher came here right now?” The game warden replied, “Arrest him, of course.”

Less than a half-hour later, they witnessed a poaching incident after they spotted a spike buck 300 yards away.

A pickup truck on an adjacent county road rolled up, and a passenger got out and shot the deer.

The driver and passenger both exited their truck and ran into the field where the boys were hunting, grabbed the deer, and began dragging it back to their vehicle.

The warden watched in disbelief.

He called one of the boys fathers, who was nearby, to watch the kids so he could pursue the suspected poachers. The suspects were caught a short time later, arrested and taken to jail.

The boys got to experience first-hand life as a game warden.

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Beer Busted

A Red River County game warden used the lot numbers on cans of beer to crack a case regarding illegal dumping of deer carcasses.

Acting on a report of four yearling deer carcasses and a hog having been dumped along a county road, the warden collected evidence, including two beer cans and a feed tub with white feathers inside. A week later, another report was made about another dumped deer.

The warden went to the nearest house and spoke with the homeowners, who admitted their son legally killed a doe and it fell off the ATV on his way to dump it on another property.

During the interview, the warden observed several deer hides in the yard. The homeowners stated their dogs had dragged the hides into the yard. After collecting the hides, which were consistent in size with the dumped yearling carcasses, the warden made a visit to a neighbor who denied any knowledge of the incident.

The warden noticed feed tubs at their house, a pile of beer cans, and white chickens consistent with the evidence he found at the dump site.

He retrieved the beer cans from the dump site and compared them to ones located at the house. He was able to match a specific lot number on the bottom of the can and an expiration date, meaning the two beer cans from the dump site were connected to this house.

When confronted with this, the suspects admitted to illegally dumping the deer. The cases are pending.

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Lay Off the Horn

Under the Sportsman’s Rights Act, a person may not intentionally interfere with another person lawfully engaged in hunting, or intentionally harass, drive, or disturb any wildlife for the purpose of disrupting lawful hunting.

The violation is a Class B misdemeanor.

Game wardens recently responded to a possible hunter harassment call near the Harris and Waller County line. Contact was made with the hunters who showed video of a subject on an adjacent property setting off his vehicle alarm every time ducks would fly in, chasing the birds away.

When interviewing the suspect, the warden asked why he was honking his horn and the suspect stated, while getting agitated, because he wanted to ruin their hunt. The case is pending.

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A Costly Lesson Learned

Maverick County game wardens made contact with a ranch hand during a camp check and were informed there were five hunters still in the field. While waiting for the hunters to return to camp, the wardens discovered several plastic bags in a cooler containing 43 duck breasts and 10 dove breasts missing the required wing or head attached for bird identification purposes.

The wardens made contact with the hunters and found them in possession of five dove and two ducks, along with a mix of lead and steel shotshells in their hunting bags and shotguns.

The wardens examined the dove and found their crops to be full of corn. The hunters were asked by the wardens where they had harvested the dove and were told they had shot the birds under a deer feeder.

The wardens advised the hunters of the issues they had with the game they had harvested. The hunters told the wardens they had hunted their entire lives and had no idea they couldn’t hunt dove at a deer feeder, and also stated they didn’t know they had to keep a wing or a head on a duck for identification purposes.

Citations were issued to all five hunters. Forty three ducks and 15 dove were seized. The civil restitution and cases are pending.

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Dumpster Diving for Clues

A Lubbock area game warden received a tip from a message left on the Game Warden Facebook page concerning the dumping of geese in a Lubbock community dumpster.

Upon investigation, the warden found four geese that had not been breasted out and had been dumped along with lots of other bags of trash. In the trash was a “to-go” bag from a local restaurant with a phone number on the receipt.

It was a shot in the dark, but the warden called the phone number, which led to interviews with three different people before he was finally able to identify a possible suspect that lived on the street where the dumped birds were located.

The warden tracked down the suspect and, after a brief interview, he admitted to dumping the birds. Incidentally, the warden had checked the suspect with those same harvested geese while in the field three days prior.

Charges for waste of game and civil restitution were filed and pending.

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