The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
A Rockwall County game warden responded to a call from a local law enforcement officer about a traffic stop involving three subjects that had been driving the neighborhoods shooting rabbits from a public roadway. When the warden arrived on scene, he found three young men standing around a truck with a bed full of dead rabbits. One young man was only wearing a trucker hat, boots, and some brightly colored underwear. The subjects said they had shot a skunk earlier in the evening and when the individual approached it, the skunk sprayed him. The others wouldn’t let him back in the truck with his clothes on. Citations pending.
Don’t Pull the Plug
Game wardens were patrolling for bank fishermen on Lake Ray Hubbard when they observed a vessel drifting away from the boat ramp that appeared to be sinking. Witnesses say they heard the boat’s operator yelling to call 911 after he forgot to install the drain plug. The wardens used their vehicle loud speaker to instruct the individual, who was seated in the bow of the boat, to put on a life jacket. He complied and the wardens asked another boat coming into the ramp to tow him to shore. Once the boat was back on a trailer and draining water, the owner confessed to the wardens that this was only his second time on the water. During his maiden voyage he had damaged his truck’s tailgate while attempting to load the boat on the trailer. The wardens provided some advice and a water safety digest to the new boat owner.
Bagged and Tagged
Grayson County game wardens were tipped off about a white-tailed deer that was shot with a firearm in an archery-only county in November 2016. The wardens confronted the individual at his home and questioned him about the big buck. The subject eventually admitted he killed the deer with a pistol, after several shots, and then tagged the deer as being harvested in Fannin County. The deer was seized and several citations were issued. The cases are pending. The deer scored over 177 inches under the Boone & Crockett scoring system, netting a civil restitution value of over $10,000.
Not for Sale
A Titus County game warden responded to a complaint of a subject selling catfish without a commercial license. The subject was arrested for warrants out of Upshur County and also cited for not having a commercial fishing license. Warnings were issued for waste of fish and selling flathead catfish.
Smith County game wardens were patrolling during opening weekend when they came across several hunters finishing up cleaning dove. During the check, it was determined the nine hunters were hunting over an area baited with milo. Citations were issued for hunting dove over a baited area. Wardens seized 97 dove and donated them to a local needy family. Cases and civil restitution are pending.
The Buck Stops Here
A Goliad County game warden received a call from a landowner claiming to have found a dead white-tailed buck on his property that appeared to have been shot. After talking to the landowner and inspecting the deer, the warden concluded it had indeed been shot. The farmer told the warden he had stopped a vehicle near his property late the night before and got the driver’s name. An investigation into the shooting resulted in multiple cases filed against four individuals. Civil restitution charges were filed for a white-tailed buck deer scoring 125 1/8 Boone & Crockett.
In mid-August, game wardens participated in a joint patrol operation in the Gulf of Mexico targeting fishing violations for reef fish and highly migratory species. While on patrol, wardens observed a recreational fishing vessel fishing near gulf shrimp boats and made contact with the 10 people on board. During the inspection, it was found that there were 40 red snapper on board. Each person was over their federal limit of two red snapper per person. Cases were filed and referred for federal violations and federal restitution on 20 red snapper over the limit on board the vessel.
Caught and Released
A Williamson County game warden was patrolling the Overlook Park on Lake Georgetown following several complaints that people were taking undersized striped bass. The warden found one individual who didn’t have a valid fishing license and was in possession of three striped bass measuring 17, 18, and 19 inches. The warden confiscated the fish and was able to release two of them back into the water alive. The other striped bass was donated to a needy family. The fisherman was issued citations for not having a fishing license and possession of undersized striped bass. Civil restitution is pending.
After the Storm
Willacy County game wardens wasted no time patrolling the county upon returning from Hurricane Harvey disaster relief operations in Woodsboro and Rockport. During opening weekend of dove season, the wardens seized at least 80 mourning dove from various groups for violations ranging from no hunting license, to over daily bag limit and unplugged shotgun. They also even made time to surprise a couple of gill netters as they were retrieving their nets and catch out of the water. Over 30 citations were issued. The cases and restitution are pending.