Game Warden Blotter

BUCK IN THE TRUNK

A 911 call to the Pecos County Sheriff’s Office the night of Nov. 3 claimed someone had discharged a firearm from a car stopped in the road. Deputies on patrol located the suspect vehicle with two occupants inside. The deputies discovered a 12-gauge shotgun in the backseat and a dead mule deer buck stuffed into the trunk. State game wardens were called to the scene. The driver did have a valid hunting license and hunter safety certification, while his buddy had no identification at all. Both men were cited for hunting at night and hunting from the road, along with possession of a mule deer in a closed season and booked into the Pecos County jail.

CITATION FOR SIZE VIOLATION

A hunter contacted game wardens in Houston County claiming to have witnessed a hunter on the neighboring property shoot two bucks. Wardens responded along the Trinity/Houston County line and attempted to locate the hunter. After searching neighboring properties for about two hours, the wardens noticed a light and some movement in a barn. Wardens walked onto the property and found two deer that had been tagged by two different hunters. After a short interview, one hunter confessed to killing both deer and tagging the second with another hunter’s hunting license. Citations were issued and the second deer was seized. Violations included exceeding the bag limit for whitetail, harvesting an illegal buck having less than a 13-inch spread, hunting under the license of another and allowing another to hunt under license. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

NOT EASILY DISTRACTED

While on patrol opening weekend of deer season, a Shelby County game warden approached a house after dark and saw movement from behind the house. After backing up his patrol vehicle and pulling in the driveway, the warden was met by a hunter who claimed someone was trespassing on his property and had fired a shot. The man provided directions to a location where the warden should go patrol, but before leaving, the warden proceeded to check behind the house where he immediately discovered a buck strapped to the back of an ATV. The buck’s antlers measured 12 inches wide, which did not meet the minimum restrictions for the county and also was untagged. The hunter claimed he’d left his hunting license inside and while he excused himself to go retrieve it, the warden did a quick search on his mobile app and found the man did not have a hunting license. The man returned and handed the warden proof of a hunting license purchased online three minutes earlier. The illegal buck and firearm used were both seized. The warden also noticed a nearby ice chest and inquired about the venison inside, to which the man replied that his son had shot a nice buck and given the meat to his mother. Because a wildlife resource document is required to transfer harvested game, the warden contacted the son, who verified he had killed a deer on opening day, Saturday, Nov. 5. On a hunch, the warden followed up on Monday and discovered the son did have a hunting license, but it had been purchased at a local store on Sunday, Nov. 6, the day after he admitted harvesting a deer. Multiple citations and civil restitution filed on both hunters and the investigation is ongoing.

RAILROADED DEER

A Harrison County game warden received a call from a landowner that someone had been hunting deer without consent on property owned by a railroad company and had witnessed the suspect dragging a dead deer down the middle of the railroad tracks bordering the property. The warden was able to pick up the blood trail on the tracks and followed it to a house where he found the deer and the suspect. The suspect admitted to hunting on railroad property. Multiple charges are pending.

IT’S ALL DOWNSTREAM

A Travis County game warden received an Operation Game Thief call about an individual keeping undersized largemouth bass and exceeding the daily bag limit on the upper end of Lake Austin at a popular fishing spot. Upon the warden’s arrival, a fisherman matching the description of the suspected violator indicated he was leaving and it was not necessary to check him for compliance. The suspect did possess a fishing license. The warden discovered a stringer of fish downstream and was able to revive and release them alive. Cases pending.

UNPLUGGED PROBLEM

While on patrol for duck hunting violations in Aransas County, wardens came across a group of three hunters, including one they recognized from a check the week prior who had been given several warnings for violations. One of the hunters had his shotgun taken apart, the second one said he was not hunting but handed over his license and the third one produced his license and shotgun for inspection. As the first hunter was reassembling his shotgun, the warden noticed he was in possession of lead shot, which is prohibited for waterfowl hunting. The warden then noticed an object in the water under the bench of the second hunter. After repeated requests to hand over the item, the hunter finally picked up his shotgun from under the water. The shotgun was in violation of waterfowl rules limiting to three the number of shotshells it can hold (unplugged).  By this time, the first hunter had finished putting his shotgun together and handed it to the warden. It was also unplugged. Four citations were issued.

SECOND SHOT OVER THE LINE

A Wharton County Game Warden was patrolling for deer hunting activity north of Louise when he noticed two hunters in trucks parked just inside of a gate. As he waited for the hunters to return, he heard a single rifle shot that did not hit its target. A short time later he then heard a second shot with a pronounced thump, indicating a hit. The warden looked through his binoculars and saw a man with a rifle walking past a deer feeder and crossing the fence line. He next saw the man come back across the fence and go into his stand. Another hunter came up to the man, and they both rode back to their trucks on an ATV. The warden made contact and when he asked if they had seen anything that morning, the hunter that shot stated he shot once at a buck but missed. The warden then told the hunter he had been listening as well as watching him for some time and that he knew he had shot twice. The man then confessed to shooting at the deer twice, taking a second shot after the deer crossed the fence line. The man stated he looked for blood and hair, but could not find any. The warden searched and found where the deer had crossed a county road leaving a small blood trail and hoof prints with a drag mark where it was dragging a leg. Warden Bird located the shot white-tailed buck. It was determined that the deer had been shot in the right hindquarter as it was traveling away from the hunter. The hunter was accused of hunting without landowner consent. Cases and restitution are pending.

BAGS IN THE BRUSH

While on patrol the night of Nov. 5, a Tyler County game warden observed a vehicle behind him driving with a bright LED light system. The warden pulled over to allow the vehicle to pass and as the vehicle pulled alongside, the driver stopped and rolled down his window. The warden explained to the driver that the light was not permitted on the county road due to traffic code statutes. Since the two men were wearing camouflage, the warden asked if they had harvested a deer and where they had been hunting. During the conversation, the warden observed the two were acting extremely nervous and overly courteous, plus, the drive began to sweat profusely. After checking their hunting licenses and noting neither had the required hunter education certification, the warden asked to inspect their vehicle. Although he found no evidence of a harvest, the search of the subject’s vehicle revealed multiple drug paraphernalia items, two bags of marijuana and a small baggy of crystal meth. Multiple drug-related charges were filed, along with an additional charge for tampering with physical evidence after it was discovered that one of the men hid two bags of marijuana in the brush when he had to relieve himself from an upset stomach.

A REAL DISSERVICE

On Veterans Day, three men from San Antonio in possession of limits of black drum and several red fish were checked by a game warden. The biggest redfish was 43-inches long. After inspecting the licenses, the warden discovered that the man with the 43-inch redfish held a Texas active duty super combo hunting and fishing license which is free to active duty military personnel. After questioning, the man admitted he had never been in the military. A history check showed the man had obtained the same free license 5 different years prior to this year. A citation for fishing with an invalid license was issued and the 43-inch redfish along with five blackdrum were confiscated. Case and restitution are pending.

GIVE THEM A SIGN

A Willacy County game warden working near Raymondville noticed a vehicle spotlighting in a field. The warden stopped the vehicle and the three hunters said they were hunting hogs at night. Since they had seen no signs that the property was posted, they felt it was ok to hunt the property. Citations for no hunting license, no hunter education and trespassing were filed.

Updated 1/13/17

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