Game Warden Field Notes: Sometimes you find a package on the porch, sometimes an alligator

File photo from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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

Hook, Line, and Sinker

While patrolling Lake Lewisville, two Denton County game wardens responded to a call of an assault to find that a bank fisherman had flung his lure towards a boat, hooking a female occupant in her right hand. As the woman pulled the hook loose, she lost her phone. Charges are pending.

Float On

As a Bell County game warden was wrapping up his day, he responded to a call on Belton Lake in regard to a capsized kayak with a female occupant who was unable to get back in and continued to cling to the boat as she drifted farther from the shoreline. The warden arrived to meet the local fire department as they were transporting one male and one female, still wearing the personal floatation devices (PFDs), and kayaks back to shore. The male subject made the comment to EMS that he had always been made fun of for wearing his PFD while kayaking but noted that wearing them undoubtedly saved two lives that evening.

You Must be This Tall to Drive

Denton County game wardens patrolling Lake Lewisville noticed a boat with an adult male driving and a child as his passenger.  Minutes later, they noticed the same boat entering a local marina but with the child operating the boat. Upon conducting a water safety inspection and discussing a malfunctioning navigational light with the adult, one of the wardens noticed the smell of alcohol and numerous cues that he was impaired. Since the adult had just been observed operating the boat only a few minutes earlier, he was arrested for Boating While Intoxicated.

A Sinking Feeling

While patrolling along the Trinity River, a Houston County game warden saw some unusual tire marks near the riverbank. A month later, he was notified that local authorities had spotted a partially submerged vehicle in the river where he had previously spotted the tire marks. Leon County game wardens then responded by boat in order to assist with the truck’s recovery. After further inspection, the truck was found to be stolen out of Brazos County a month prior. The investigation is still ongoing.

Watts up with that?

A Houston and a Trinity County game warden patrolled the Trinity River for fishing violations when they approached a man in a boat who appeared to have casually thrown something into the water upon seeing them. Wardens contacted the boat and asked the man what he threw. He denied having thrown anything into the water but one of the wardens recognized him from years ago when he had been caught shocking fish. The man eventually said that he threw a small fish back into the water, but it was later determined by wardens to be wires. Wardens located a shocker still running inside a battery box. While one of the wardens was attempting to open the battery box, the man said that if the box was that hard to get into, the shocker probably wasn’t in there. Several cases have been filed and evidence was seized.

Don’t Bother Knockin’

An Orange County game warden received a call from a Bridge City resident who had discovered a large alligator on their front porch. At this point, there was no time to refer the resident to an animal control technician, so the warden responded himself. When he arrived, he discovered that the home was located next to a drainage ditch that connected to a nearby marsh. The resident’s fence had been damaged during a recent thunderstorm, allowing the alligator access to the area. The warden was able to capture the gator, which measured close to eight feet, and relocated it to a marsh within a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife Management Area.

Ya Snooze Ya Lose

While patrolling around Lake Somerville, a Washington County game warden noticed a vehicle parked in the road with its flashers on. When the warden approached the vehicle, he noticed that the subject inside had fallen asleep. Upon waking the person, the warden asked him to step out of the vehicle, revealing a meth pipe in plain view. The subject was then detained, and a search was performed on the vehicle. The search turned up almost 6 grams of suspected meth, tablets of suspected Xanax and marijuana, along with multiple forms of paraphernalia. The subject was taken into custody and multiple citations were issued.

Ghosted

Lake Belton is known as a great spot for jugline fishing. However, this can sometimes cause problems with “ghost fishing”, killing fish and littering in the lake. A Bell County game warden cleaned up over 40 improperly marked or derelict juglines along the north end of the lake. Unfortunately, there were many juglines that the warden had to leave behind as his boat couldn’t store any more. As a result of his clean-up effort, one 20” and one 16” blue catfish were returned to the lake. Multiple citations were issued to all individuals identified with illegal juglines. More patrols will be scheduled to pick up remaining equipment and citations will be issued.

Wait Until Your Mother Hears About This!

A McLennan County game warden contacted a subject that had been identified through a Facebook post sent to him by a Colorado game warden. The post was made in December of 2019 but then quickly deleted. In the post the subject admitting to shooting ducks over the limit and wounding several more. The same individual had been cited earlier in 2020 for duck hunting a week early. The subject was eventually located after contacting his mother. When the game warden presented the subject with the Facebook post, he confessed to shooting four red heads and two mallards over the limit the day the post was made. He then confessed to there being a second individual with him that day that shot two mallards and three Wigeons over his limit. Contact was made with the second subject and he also complied, giving a full confession. Both claimed they read the Outdoor Annual incorrectly. Citations were issued and restitution was assigned.

Ditch and Pitch

A Burleson County game warden was dispatched to a call of a man walking down a road yelling for help. More information then came in regarding a single rollover accident near the same location. The game warden was the first on scene and discovered a vehicle in the roadway with its front smashed in. Witnesses still on scene with the vehicle said that the driver left on foot. Another vehicle was found in the ditch nearby with the driver still inside. The game warden dispatched medics to the area. Once backup arrived, the warden drove the immediate area searching for the man who fled the scene. A man fitting the description was located at a nearby gas station. The man’s story didn’t make sense, but he did admit to drinking that night. The man had seatbelt burns on his stomach and chest. The witnesses to the accident were brought over for a drive-by ID and confirmed he was the individual they had seen leaving the scene. The incident was handed over to DPS and charges are pending.

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