June 25, 2018
By Scott Bernarde
Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field. These game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.
Fresh Caught in the Act
Sometimes, poachers can be remarkably easy to catch. Texas game wardens caught a Houston-area father-son duo who were hawking their illegally caught redfish online earlier this month.
Texas Parks & Wildlife said a game warden noticed a for-sale post for fresh-caught fish on the trading app OfferUp, with a picture of a man holding up two bull red drum.
The warden contacted the poster, who said he wanted $10 per pound for the 80 pounds of fish he had in three red drums, and the two arranged a meeting. The poster and his father met the warden at a pharmacy, where they admitted to the illegal fish. Neither had a fishing license, nor a commerciial fishing license.
Three redfish, measuring 36, 42 and 45 inches, were found in the suspect's car.
>> Read more Game Warden Field Notes from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Bill Comes Due for Ranch Mis-Manager
Game wardens in south Texas broke up an illegal commercial hunting operation in which the manager of a ranch allegedly booked hunting trips to the property without the owner's consent. Texas Parks & Wildlife the said ranch manager's arrest ended a six-month multistate investigation.
"During an extensive investigation, wardens determined the ranch manager had been selling trophy hunts to out of state clients, pocketing their money, and falsifying the ranch harvest records," the agency said in a news release. "The ranch manager was responsible for brokering illegal hunts for 14 white-tailed deer (with scores ranging from 245 B&C to under 100 B&C) and numerous exotic game animals."
The landowner became aware of the under-the-table dealings when a taxidermist contacted him about unpaid bills by the ranch manager.
The ranch manager, with the assistance of his daughter, "unlawfully appropriated" nearly $18,000 from the landowner, the state said.
There's a Strange Rattle in the Engine
New York conservation officers responded to a call they may never face again — removing a timber rattlesnake from the engine of a vehicle. The owner told the officers he popped the hood open to jump-start the vehicle when he was shocked to see the rattler resting on top of the engine.
When officers arrived, the snake was curled up over the battery.
"[Conservation officer Mark] Vencak carefully extracted the snake from the engine compartment as Lt. [Nate] Van Hague untangled the tail wrapped around part of the engine," New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a news release.
The snake was released unharmed.
>> Read more NY Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights
Undersized Black Sea Bass at Market
Also in New York, conservation officers and agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration inspected a Bronx County fish market, where one commercial seller was found with dozens of illegal black sea bass.
One shipment container had 74 black sea bass under the commercial size limit of 11 inches. The case is being handled by the DEC law enforcement division. Federal charges are possible.