Game Warden field notes

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

That Dog Does Hunt

While patrolling the Sam Houston National Forest, a Montgomery County Game Warden contacted four individuals who had firearms, rope and GPS tracking equipment. The hunter’s claimed that their dogs had gotten off the private property they were hunting, and they were trying to get them back. The warden asked if they knew it was illegal to run dogs in the national forest and they said that they did but were only trying to retrieve their dogs. The warden told them to gather their dogs and leave the forest as soon as possible. Once out of sight, the warden parked his vehicle and doubled back on the group just in time to witness them dragging a pig out of the woods. All four individuals received citations and a few warnings, and one was taken to Montgomery County Jail on local warrants.

Smile! You’re on Camera

Hardin County Game Wardens wrapped up a week-long investigation that resulted in apprehending two local subjects in the act of taking 35 catfish by way of hoop nets that were placed in Village Creek near the Polk/Hardin County line. The warden had begun the investigation the week prior and walked several miles along the creek until he discovered a boat that was tied up and unattended in a very remote part of the creek. After a quick inspection of the boat, he believed it was possibly being used to run hoop nets. The wardens devised a plan to enter the property before daylight, ahead of a forecasted heavy rain event, to catch the subjects in the act. After lying in wait for over 6 hours, the wardens heard the subjects arrive by vehicle and get in their boat that was still tied up on the creek. After they emptied one hoop net upstream, they returned to check a net downstream that just happened to be right in front of the wardens hiding spot. The subjects were captured on video removing fish from their nets and the look on their face when they were caught was “priceless.” Two hoop nets and 35 catfish were seized and several charges for taking fish by illegal means and possessing hoop nets in prohibited waters were filed.

Dug Himself into A Hole

Houston County Game Wardens were watching bank fishermen on the Trinity River near the Lock and Dam when they observed a fisherman pull in his stringer and remove a white bass. The fisherman then cut off a large portion of the tail, baited his hook with it and reset his line in the water. He then turned around and began digging a hole into the side of the riverbank. The wardens watched as the fisherman then placed the cut up white bass in the hole and covered it up to hide the evidence of what he had been doing. The wardens made contact with the fisherman and after denying even catching a fish he finally admitted to what he had been up to and uncovered the buried white bass. He was charged for using game fish as bait and given a warning for waste of game. Case pending.

Not Even Once

A Henderson County Game Warden received a call from Malakoff Police Department regarding hunting from a public road. Malakoff Police Department had received a call about a suspicious vehicle and while searching the area, observed a vehicle shining a spotlight from a public road. The driver was found to have a cocked crossbow, with a bolt in place, multiple flashlights and methamphetamine. Numerous reports have recently been received on this vehicle regarding suspicious activity, along with numerous deer carcasses being found in the same area. The driver was placed in jail for both the drug and hunting charges. This investigation is continuing.

Can’t Hide on the Water

Beaumont District Game Wardens were on patrol transiting through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Jefferson County when they observed a bass boat traveling at high speed and attempted to stop it for a water safety inspection. Suspiciously, the bass boat occupants never turned around to observe the wardens and the activated blue lights on the patrol vessel. They were able to catch up to the bass boat after approximately 3 miles at a public boat ramp, and it appeared that the subjects were in a hurry to load their vessel. Contact was made and upon inspection, the wardens found several water safety and fishing violations. Over the limit of red drum (X4), undersized red drum (X5), and one undersized black drum were some of the violations noted. Multiple citations were issued, and civil restitution is pending.

If the Bolt Fits

A Texas Game Warden was contacted by another Texas Game Warden with information about a white-tail deer that was dead alongside the road in Matagorda County, called in by a concerned Wharton county citizen. The warden arrived on scene to find a white-tail doe shot with a crossbow bolt. While the warden was attempting to retrieve the crossbow bolt, a truck stopped, and a male occupant stated that he may know who shot the deer. On information from the man, the warden drove approximately 50 yards down the road to a residence. In the drive way was a pickup with a male occupant sleeping in the driver’s seat with the window down and seatbelt still on. In the passenger seat was a loaded crossbow, with the safety still positioned on fire. In the backseat a loaded crossbow was noted to be on safe. The crossbow bolts were of the same make and model as the one pulled out of the doe. The warden woke the subject and began an interview. The subject denied shooting the doe at first before the warden told the subject that the crossbow bolt pulled out of the doe matched the crossbow bolts in the subject’s truck. The subject confessed shortly after that. Cases are pending for Class A Misdemeanors including: Hunting deer at night, Hunting deer from and public roadway, and waste of game.

Reunited and It Feels So Good

A Marine Theft Investigator was contacted about a suspicious vessel on the banks of Little Cypress.  Upon arrival, he discovered the hull identification number plate was removed, so the vessel was seized.  After further investigation, the warden was able to locate it, finding no record listed for the vessel. Realizing that a local outdoor retailer sells this brand of vessel, the warden contacted them about finding a possible owner through their system. After a brief search, he was able to find the owner of the vessel and verified that he had reported a theft 3 years prior. The warden contacted the owner and returned his vessel. The owner, who is a veteran and has a passion for fishing in his private lake, was beyond excited the have his vessel back.

Safe and Sound

Game Wardens were headed to a night set to watch for illegal oyster activities. As the wardens were getting set up, they received an assistance call from the U.S. Coast Guard for three wade fisherman who needed to be rescued. The fisherman were lost in Saltwater lake outside of Port O’Connor near the banks of the Powder Horn Wildlife Management Area. The subjects were wade fishing in a lake off Matagorda Bay and didn’t make it back before dark. As the game wardens left their night set to rescue the fisherman, conditions got worse due to rain, fog, and cold weather. The game wardens were able to launch an airboat in Port O’Connor and set out in the general area where the subjects were believed to last be located. The wardens drove the airboat for a while in the rain and fog until they located the lost fisherman. The fisherman were brought back to Port O’Connor, where they were able to warm up and dry off.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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