Liberty County’s new game warden, Chad McKinney, hit the ground running on Tuesday, July 20 – his first official day on the job – by helping to recover a stolen vehicle that had been ditched in a heavily-wooded area in Moss Hill.
McKinney, a native of Hughes Springs in northeast Texas, fills a position left open by the departure of Game Warden Lauren Iles, who transferred in January to a post in Mason County, Texas.
McKinney is one of two game wardens now serving Liberty County, the other being Jake Noxon, who has served in Liberty County since 2016.
McKinney says Liberty County was one of his top three choices for assignment for two reasons – his wife’s family lives in nearby Silsbee and the diversity of wildlife that can be found in southeast Texas.
Prior to becoming a game warden, McKinney was a deputy for the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office. After high school, he attended Panola Junior College for two years on a baseball scholarship before moving on to Lamar University where he continued to play on the baseball team.
When asked why he chose a career as a game warden, McKinney said, “I just enjoy being outdoors.”
After answering calls for service alone over the last six months, Noxon is relieved to have McKinney on board.
Between the two game wardens, the county should have a game warden available seven days a week.
“We get a lot of calls. It’s such a big county, so it’s hard to do it all by yourself,” Noxon said.
At roughly 1,200-square miles or 752,600 acres, Liberty County ranks 42nd largest among the 254 Texas counties.