Texas Parks and Wildlife has released their game warden field notes and in this edition, East Texas game wardens dealt with spotlighting crimes to criminals in possession of firearms. East Texas incidents are headlined in bold.
Third Time’s a Charm
Further evidence that some people just don’t learn from their mistakes, a Titus County game warden was having a conversation in a parking lot on the White Oak Creek Wildlife Management Area when he was interrupted by a man who asked the warden out of the blue if he wanted to inspect his hunting license. The warden recognized the man as a convicted felon he had filed charges on twice before for possession of a firearm and obliged the request. The warden then discovered the felon was once again in possession of a firearm, a 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition. The man also had two freshly killed cat squirrels in his vehicle. A criminal history check identified at least six felony convictions and the suspect was arrested for a third time for felon in possession of a firearm.
Acting on a trespassing complaint in Titus County, a game warden arrived on the scene to find an unoccupied vehicle parked along the property’s fence line. About 15 minutes later, two men came walking toward the truck carrying fishing poles. One of the men already had an active arrest warrant for criminal trespass and both were arrested for trespassing. An additional charge of fishing without landowner consent was also filed.
Be Right Back
A Bowie County game warden was patrolling near Spring Lake Park when he made contact with a fisherman who stated he left his fishing license at home. A records check revealed that the man did not have a valid fishing license and as warden returned to his patrol vehicle to complete the citation the subject fled the scene. A short time later, a car pulled up and the fisherman got out of the front passenger seat. The warden noticed in plain view a package that was later confirmed to contain synthetic marijuana in the floor of the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed 13 packages of synthetic marijuana. The fisherman and the driver of the vehicle were both arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana and transported to the Bowie County Jail. The fisherman was also cited for fishing without a license. Cases pending.
A Morris County game warden on patrol observed a truck in the middle of a pasture spotlighting the area, which he know was off limits to hunting. Upon making contact with the two men in the vehicle, the warden noticed two dogs fitted with GPS tracking collars in the bed of the pickup and a handheld GPS unit on the dashboard next to a spotlight. The men received citations for not having hunting licenses and were later arrested after the landowner filed criminal trespass charges.
There’s No Tag for an Illegal Buck
Acting on information he received about an untagged and illegal buck being taken, a game warden confronted the suspected violator who admitted to taking the illegal buck and not tagging it because he did not want to use his buck tag on the deer, which did not meet the minimum antler restrictions for the county. In addition to a citation for failing to tag the deer, the man was also cited for taking an illegal buck and failing to fill out the required license harvest log. The antlers were confiscated and the venison donated to a local needy family. Cases and restitution pending.
Double Dipping Dove
While patrolling Frio County for illegal dove hunting activity, a warden came upon several trucks parked near a fence line bordering a pasture and a group of hunters nearby. After making contact and checking the group for compliance, the warden noted all the hunters were close to their daily bag limits and asked if there were more doves flying in the morning or in the afternoon. The group proudly answered the morning was much better and that they had gotten easy limits of birds in the morning. Realizing they had just admitted to what’s commonly called “double dipping,” taking a daily bag limit during a morning hunt and then another during an afternoon hunt, one of the men asked innocently, “Wait, is that allowed?” Charges were filed and 60 birds were seized.
A Starr County game warden on patrol at Falcon State Park observed a suspicious vehicle enter the park and advised park police that it could be a scout vehicle or a load vehicle used in smuggling undocumented immigrants or narcotics. The warden and park police set up surveillance on the vehicle and also called in aerostat radar to monitor the area for suspicious activity. Shortly, the warden was made aware a vessel crossing from Mexico had dropped three individuals on the park shore and they had entered the suspected vehicle. Constant surveillance was maintained on the vehicle as it departed the park and after obtaining probable cause, the warden initiated a traffic stop with assistance from park police and U.S. Border Patrol agents. The driver and three undocumented immigrants were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol.
Caught with a Bad Catch
Williamson County game wardens were checking fishing activities at the Granger Spillway when they came across three individuals loading fishing gear into a truck. Asked how the fishing was, one of the men said he had caught just two and showed them to the wardens. The wardens noticed a cast net and fishing line and hooks attached to two plastic bottles. It is illegal in Texas to use floating “juglines,” fishing devices with line and hooks attached or cast nets to catch game fish. The wardens also found a white plastic bag containing undersized crappie and white bass. One of the men admitted to catching the crappie and bass and the other two said they used the homemade fishing devices to catch the rest. All three subjects were cited for not having fishing licenses, fishing by illegal means and methods and possession of undersized fish. Civil restitution cases were also filed.