Game Wardens Stories: Fish Shockers, Illegal Nets, Drunk Boaters
June 18, 2017
There's no doubt the Texas Game Wardens, as well as any wildlife officers in any state, face a myriad of incidents when in the field — from the serious to the ridiculous.
One thing is for certain. Many times it involves stupid people doping stupid things.
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.
Here are some of those stories (reprinted with permission).
From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Game Warden Field Notes, June 15
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Gone Hog Wild
A game warden was on his way home from work near Bay City when he noticed a pair of four wheelers driving around a private ranch working spotlights. He called another warden for backup and together they gathered up what turned out to be eight individuals and their hog dogs. Allegedly, a neighbor who knew the hunters told them that the ranch owner was out of town and wouldn't be around. The warden contacted the rancher, who indicated that he would be getting with him to file charges on the group once he returned home.
Holy Mackerel, Not Again
A Matagorda County game warden was checking an offshore sport fisherman and found several frozen undersized Spanish mackerel. The fisherman stated that he had purchased the fish for offshore bait from a seafood dealer in Matagorda, who turned out to be the same business owner that received numerous citations for the same violation when wardens inspected his place of business a few weeks ago. The warden contacted the business owner and questioned him about the possible possession of any more undersized mackerel. The dealer admitted to having more and led the warden to a freezer where he had 256 illegal undersized mackerel stored. Citation and approximately $1,700 in civil restitution are pending.
Something Smells Fishy
A Trinity County game warden received a call from a bass fisherman who found a gill net in a creek off the Trinity River. Wardens located three illegal nets the next day and also discovered a fishing camp not far from the net locations. At the camp, several holding baskets and stringers were found with fish inside. Some of the fish were dead and rotten. The wardens located a boat in the water at the camp but were unable to make contact with anyone. Two days later, wardens made contact with three individuals at the camp. A fish shocker was found in the boat. The three fishermen were identified and 17 citations and warnings were issued including no Texas fishing license, fishing by illegal means and methods, running illegal trotlines/jug lines, and failure to keep fish in edible condition.
Out of Control
Tyler County game wardens observed a personal watercraft motoring without any occupants near Rattlesnake Island on Sam Rayburn Lake. The wardens then saw an individual swimming from the watercraft. Wardens were able to stop the watercraft before it crashed into rocks along the island. Wardens identified the operator and, after a short interview, became concerned the man was potentially intoxicated. The man admitted to drinking two beers and later added he also smoked marijuana. The subject was booked into Jasper County Jail on boating while intoxicated charges.
Speeding While Intoxicated
Game wardens were patrolling the Sabine River when a call came in from a Gladewater fishermen regarding a boat repeatedly driving back and forth at high rates of speed near the city bridge. Wardens notified the Gladewater Police Department and officers were able to locate and shut down the boat until the wardens could arrive to investigate. The operator was identified and later acknowledged consuming "three or four beers" — then stated he was "too drunk to drive a boat." The subject failed field sobriety tests and was arrested by the wardens for boating while intoxicated. The blood test lab results and case are pending.
Loaded to the Gills
Brazoria County game wardens seized a 300-foot gill net found set in Christmas Bay. Approximately 150 fish were caught in the net, as well as a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle. The turtle was released alive.