Game Warden Blotter

SOCIAL JUSTICE

A Comanche County game warden received a call in December from a man who said he found signs that someone was poaching on his property. The warden suggested he put up a game camera and shortly thereafter, the game warden received an email from the landowner showing a clear image captured by the game camera of a man holding a rifle. The landowner posted the image on Facebook asking for information and within an hour had the suspect’s name and address. That night the suspect called the warden and said that it was him in the picture. Case is pending for trespassing with a gun.

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

A Jim Wells County game warden received a call from a landowner who had seen an image on a Facebook post of his neighbor posing with a white-tailed buck. The photo showed a blood trail from the deer to a fence and two rifles leaning against that fence. The landowner expressed concern that the neighboring hunters had killed the deer on his property. He also stated that this was an ongoing problem. While interviewing the hunters, they admitted to shooting the deer and stated that the deer had jumped the fence onto their property and taken a few steps before one of them shot it in the neck. They then stated that the buck turned around, jumped back over the fence and died immediately upon landing on the other side. Further investigation and trail camera footage showed that this was not the first time that the hunters had trespassed or harvested a deer on their neighbor’s property. Cases and restitution are pending.

HARD OF HEARING

A Val Verde County game warden responded to a call from a landowner concerning trespassers that were fishing on his private pond. The individuals had been warned several times previously that the pond was private and that fishing there was prohibited. The warden cited the individuals for fishing without consent of landowner. All fish were released back into the water.

ONE IN THE OVEN

Game wardens were checking a group of hunters leaving a winter wheat field in Crosby County during the opening weekend of mule deer season and noticed evidence of blood and turkey feathers in the bed of their pickup. The wardens learned that a dad and his two teenagers had killed six turkeys and failed to tag any of them. The wardens accompanied the group to a nearby residence where the hunters were staying for the weekend and inspected the untagged turkeys, one of which was cooking in the oven. The father was cited for possession of two untagged turkeys and the wardens showed the young hunters how to properly tag the birds. Cases are pending.

DEPOSIT SLIP UP

A landowner’s agent in Bailey County discovered a bank deposit slip on a dirt road on their property that appeared to contain blood and deer hair on it. The agent was not familiar with the person nor the company listed on the deposit slip. A game warden was notified and using the information on the deposit slip, made a trip to the company address in neighboring Parmer County. Upon his arrival, the warden noticed a truck with blood on the tailgate parked in front of the business. A closer look revealed a bag of guts and an untagged eight point mule deer buck head in the bed of the truck. The warden spoke to the vehicle’s owner and, during the interview, he admitted to shooting the deer. He said he didn’t know who the landowner was and that the deposit slip belonged to him. In addition to citations for possession of an untagged deer and not having completed hunter education, charges were filed for hunting without landowner consent. Cases and restitution are pending.

TALKING TURKEY

A Sutton County game warden was checking a deer camp during the special white-tailed deer late season when he discovered a Rio Grande turkey beard in the same cooler as an axis deer that had been killed. When asked the whereabouts of the rest of the turkey, one hunter said that it had been hit by a car on the county road and all they took was the beard. After asking if they could show the warden where the turkey was hit, the other hunter in camp said it was in the back pasture. The story quickly fell apart from there and one hunter finally admitted to shooting the turkey the previous day and taking only the beard when he realized the season had closed two weeks prior. The hunter showed the warden where he had shot and dumped the turkey carcass. Cases and civil restitution are pending.

DUMPED GATOR

A Harris County game warden received an Operation Game Thief tip regarding a man catching and keeping a 5-foot alligator off the Surfside Jetty in Freeport. After tracking down the suspected gator snatcher and conducting several interviews, the warden recovered the carcass of a 5-foot alligator from a dumpster as well as a full confession from the fisherman. Charges have been filed and are pending in Brazoria County.

HAWKING A HAWK

An Operation Game Thief call in Harris County alerted game wardens of an individual selling a falcon on Craigslist. After several phone conversations, a warden arranged a meeting and purchased the Cooper’s hawk for $200 as another game warden swooped in for the bust. Charges have been filed for the illegal possession and sale of the hawk and a separate investigation of the suspect’s quail raising operation is still underway.

KILLING IT IN THE KITCHEN

Comal County game wardens got an Operation Game Thief call about an individual shooting white-tailed deer near Canyon Lake from a kitchen window at night. During questioning, game wardens started to find discrepancies with the individual’s story. When asked how an artificial light affixed to a deer feeder near their home had gotten broken, the subject’s wife said that a deer “bowed up” and broke the light; indicating an instinctive defensive reaction by the animal to having been shot. In addition, before their visit the wardens conducted a quick scan of the subject’s Facebook page and found an image posted of a 9-point buck. However, during a check of the subject’s hunting license, the wardens noted the date of the Facebook post did not match up with what was noted on his harvest log. The suspects eventually confessed to killing the deer with a .22 caliber rifle, through a cut in the kitchen window screen, underneath a feeder with an artificial light. They had also killed a doe under the feeder. The antlers from the 9-point buck were seized, as well as the meat from the buck and doe. Cases and restitution are pending.

ANGLER SNAGGED UP

A Williamson County game warden patrolling the Granger Spillway was informed by a fisherman in the parking lot that a subject was snagging catfish. The warden eased up on the fisherman and while observing from a distance watched him snag a channel catfish and put it on a stringer. The warden made contact with the individual, who confessed to snagging three channel catfish, but stated he didn’t know it was illegal. The warden educated the man on legal fishing means and methods after an inspection revealed hook marks in the bodies of the fish. Snagging charges and civil restitution were filed for each fish. The fish were donated to a needy family.

DOUBLE DIGIT DEER CITATIONS

Wardens in Travis and Bastrop counties concluded an investigation pertaining to numerous alleged white-tailed deer violations. During the course of the investigation the wardens discovered that four individuals had harvested more than 10 deer from both counties in violation of antler restrictions. Three of the four individuals had previous hunting violations and all cooperated with the investigation. With more than 30 violations uncovered, wardens issued 12 citations and five warnings for hunting antlerless white-tailed deer without a permit, not tagging/improperly tagging white-tailed deer, harvest log violations, taking buck white-tailed deer having an antler spread less than the required 13 inches, exceeding the bag limit for buck white-tailed deer greater than 13 inches, and possession of white-tailed deer without proof of sex. In addition, eight deer were seized and civil restitution assessed. The already processed meat was donated. Cases are pending.

DON’T TAKE THE ROAD KILL

A Cameron County game warden was called to the scene of an accident where a vehicle had struck a white-tailed deer and the deer needed to be dispatched. By the time the warden arrived on the scene, the deer was gone and the person who struck the deer advised that someone in a white truck who lived down the street had taken the animal. The warden made contact with the person who had taken the deer from the scene and was informed that the meat and the antlers were at a house in a neighboring town. The warden found two deer legs and a set of 8-point antlers at that location and another leg was seized from the man who had taken the deer. That individual was issued a citation for illegal take and possession of white-tailed deer.

DOVE BAITING BACKFIRES

Game wardens were made aware of a ranch in Jim Wells County that had been baited heavily for dove. After entering the ranch and inspecting the hunters for violations, it was obvious that they were hunting in areas that had been baited with a milo/corn mixture. In total, 101 dove were seized and 16 citations were issued. Cases and restitution are pending.

SNAPCHAT ATTENTION GETTER

A Tyler County game warden received some information that an individual had posted images of a white-tailed buck on Snapchat. The warden knew where the subject lived and upon arrival did not observe anyone at the house and received no answer at the door. However, he noticed a long water hose stretched across the yard that was still running. The warden followed the running water hose to the back of several tool sheds where he caught glimpses of two individuals attempting to run and hide. He instructed both to stop and after a brief conversation with the subjects — including questions about the blood on their clothing — they led the warden to the buck hidden in a nearby brush pile. One of the subjects admitted to taking the deer with a .22 rifle in a closed season in his yard. Charges were filed and the case is pending.

Updated 2/20/17

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