Big Gator Tale Was Mostly False: Game Warden Stories

game warden stories
(Graphic from Texas Parks & Wildlife)

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.

The following items are compiled and re-published with permission.

A Big Gator Tale

Game wardens received a call from dispatch about a large alligator in Clear Lake Park. The caller stated that he and his son were fishing when a 14-foot alligator jumped on the dock and tried to attack them.

The caller claimed he and his son hit the alligator with fishing poles and barely got away. He also said that he would be coming back to the park every night until something was done about the alligator.

Wardens went to the park later that night and noticed a group of people looking at something in the water. It was a large alligator floating upside down, bloated, and decomposing.

The wardens pulled it out of the water and saw that it had a small hole in its head, possibly the result of a bullet wound.

The gator measured 12-feet 7-inches in length. The wardens launched an investigation into the death of the gator and focused their attention on the original call to dispatch.

The timing of the gator's demise seemed to coincide with the timeline of the alleged confrontation with the angler, who had indicated during his call that the incident may have occurred 1 or 2 nights before he called it in.

The next several days were spent trying to track down the caller for an interview. He initially agreed to meet with the wardens, but then backed out and began dodging them.

After several days, the caller was tracked down at his mother's house where game wardens interviewed the suspect.

The individual confessed that he had gone back to his truck after seeing the alligator, got his .22 rifle, and then went back to the water and shot the alligator twice in the head.

He then got worried and called in with the false story two days later. Charges and civil restitution are pending

I'm Headed to Jail

A Smith County game warden was on patrol when he drove up on a van parked in the middle of a county road with its emergency flashers on.

When he approached the van, he realized the driver was standing in the door urinating in the middle of the road.

When asked what he was doing, the driver stated he was headed to jail because he was intoxicated. He also admitted to being arrested just five days prior by state park police for DWI.

The driver was subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated.  The charges are pending.

Right Suspects, Wrong Vehicle

Game wardens are trained observers and possess an uncanny ability to recollect detail. Those skills helped a Houston County game warden solve a recent road hunting case.

While investigating a complaint about some late night illegal deer hunting near Ratcliff, the warden overheard radio traffic about occupants in a Jeep discharging firearms from the road near Austonio.

The warden responded and encountered a truck in the area with a couple of guys "just riding" around. They had no weapons in the truck and were sent on their way.

The warden and a deputy sheriff were searching the area for evidence of illegal road hunting activity when the warden remembered that one of the guys in the truck, who he had recognized from previous contacts, owned a Jeep.

He made a phone call to the guy's wife who confirmed that he still owned the Jeep and also told him where his buddy in the truck lived. The warden and the deputy arrived at the buddy's house and located the two guys as well as the Jeep in question.

The guys admitted to hunting hogs and shooting at beer cans in the road. Cases are pending.

Another Timely Rescue

During a flash flood event on Sept. 27, Webb County game wardens responded to a water rescue call for an elderly couple off Las Tiendas Road near Laredo. The wardens were able to launch an airboat in the ditch and run seven miles up the creek and across pastures in order to reach the stranded people. By the time the wardens reached the home, the water was waist deep inside and moving swiftly around the home. Three people were evacuated, and four U.S. Border Patrol agents who had attempted to walk to the house were also picked up.

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