I’ve been meaning to share these, but I’ve been behind these days, what with all this Pecos Journal stuff going on. So how’s about we catch up a little with another collection of Game Warden Field Notes? In case haven’t seen these before, TPWD regularly publishes the field notes which are compiled from recent law enforcement reports. They’re good reading and serve as excellent reminders that we are surrounded by idiots, even here in Texas. From poachers to potheads, from hikers that need help to shrimpers that need to be cited, they have it all. I like the slapstick titles that come with the releases; I’m fond of public servants who have a sense of humor. Oddly enough, I also feel better about myself after reading them. Funny how that works. Anyway, I’m several reports behind and will try to catch up quickly so check back often. Now, without further ado, here are the Game Warden Field Notes (September 2, 2014):
- Mission Impossumble
Two Val Verde County game wardens responded to a call about a critter inside a Del Rio Super Wal-Mart. When they arrived on the scene, they found a juvenile opossum lodged in the ceiling braces. Using a Wal-Mart scissor lift, they were able to safely remove the opossum and successfully relocate it.
- Cool as Cotton
A Runnels County game warden received a call from a man who said he saw someone in a vehicle shoot from the road and suspected a deer may have been struck. When the warden arrived, he found the vehicle in a cotton field and a nearby man was spraying cotton. When he was questioned, the man denied shooting from the road. The warden seized a .243 rifle from the pickup but could not locate a deer. With the rain, blood would have been washed away. The next morning, however, the complainant gave a written statement and confessed in an interview to shooting at a deer from the road in his cotton field. Charges were filed.
- Catch and Release
Game wardens in Maverick County picked up nearly 1,000 feet of trotlines stretched across the Rio Grande. These lines were secured with metal spikes to the rocks. Multiple catfish were released, and the illegal lines were removed by the wardens.
- Just Turkeying Around
A Hemphill County game warden was called, when a rancher and his son saw two men in a pickup trespassing on their property, shooting at turkeys with a bow. The rancher said he watched the pair for several minutes and noticed that the men appeared to be circling a flock of turkeys while attempting to get within shooting range. This continued until the suspects noticed the rancher’s truck. They quickly threw something into the brush and made a hasty retreat to the country road. At this time, the warden was en-route nearly 20 miles away and instructed the rancher to call him if the suspects returned. When the landowner and his son returned to the area where the suspects had thrown the object, they discovered a compound bow and a dozen arrows. Driving back to the county road, the rancher was surprised to find the two suspects parked in their truck near the ranch entrance. He greeted the pair and asked if they were having car trouble, to which they replied “No” and explained they had just seen a snake and were considering capturing it. “Okay, good luck,” said the rancher, as he crossed the county road and drove out of sight into another portion of his ranch where he could still see them. He watched them as they returned to the location, now barren, where they had dropped their gear. The rancher then called the warden, who was 1.5 miles away now, to report that the suspect’s truck was in view behind him traveling at a high speed and about to close in on him. The warden instructed the rancher to continue driving the same direction until the warden could meet up with him and the suspects. Just as the two oncoming vehicles came to a stop, the warden was able to pull past the rancher and get behind the suspect’s truck before they knew what was going on. The two suspects were from Oklahoma and worked at a nearby oil rig. When asked why they were chasing the rancher, they responded that the rancher had something they needed back. After the warden explained the many laws they had broken, they attempted to convince him they were only after jack rabbits. They finally admitted to turkey hunting when the warden retrieved their bow and arrows from the rancher. Multiple charges and warnings were issued.
- Where the Heck Are We?
Two hikers called 911 when they realized they were lost. The game warden who responded to the call requested for dispatch to issue instructions to the hikers to walk toward the water. After searching along the shoreline, the warden located the lost hikers. Neither was hurt, except for the female hiker who sustained a severe sunburn.
- Chivalry’s Not Dead, Just Drunk
When a Kimble County game warden noticed a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road, he attempted to make a traffic stop. After following the vehicle with lights and sirens for two miles, the driver slowly pulled into a driveway and was detained by the warden. When asked why he didn’t pull over sooner, the driver said he figured since he was drunk and presumably going to jail, he wanted to get his girlfriend home and avoid having his vehicle towed. A Standard Field Sobriety Test revealed he was intoxicated, and he was arrested for DWI.
- Weight Issues
A game warden in Galveston County filed a citation on a captain of a commercial bait shrimp boat for exceeding his limit of bait shrimp. The shrimper was a hefty 320 pounds over the legal limit.
Two Val Verde County game wardens assisted a national park ranger with a call on Lake Amistad near Del Rio. After acquiring consent to search a vehicle, the wardens seized a small amount of suspected cocaine and marijuana from the two suspects in the vehicle. The wardens arrested the two suspects and, when searching them, retrieved several more small bags of suspected cocaine in one of their wallets. One subject was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance, and the other for misdemeanor possession of marijuana under two ounces. Cases are pending.
- Young, Wild and Fined
While patrolling Lake Conroe, a Montgomery County game warden saw three people drinking alcohol- a violation of Wildlife Management Area rules. All three individuals were under the legal drinking age. Additionally, the warden found a glass jar of marijuana in their ice chest. One of the suspects also had a bag of marijuana is his pocket. Just three weeks prior, one of the three individuals had been issued a citation from this same warden for possession of a marijuana pipe. Cases are pending.
- Busting Bundles
A local game warden was contacted when a car and truck parked near Military Point concerned a local citizen. The caller said a boat was near the vehicles along the shoreline of Falcon Lake, and the vehicles were being loaded with large bundles. Immediately, the warden began driving toward the reported location and called the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office to advise them of the situation. When the two vehicles were spotted near an intersection, the warden stopped the truck, and the ZCSO unit stopped the other car approximately a half-mile away. The truck contained eight bundles of marijuana, totaling 179.2 pounds, and the car contained seven bundles, totaling 150.5 pounds. Both drivers were arrested for second degree felony possession of marijuana.
- Tequila Sunrise
Around 8 a.m. when a Starr County game warden and a Zapata County game warden were on their way to patrol Lake Falcon they noticed park police officers on a traffic stop. They then saw a female almost fall into the road. When asked what happened, the park police requested the wardens perform a sobriety test on the suspected intoxicated driver. The tests were administered, and the woman was arrested for DWI.
- Striking Green
A Polk County game warden received a call from someone near Livingston who was doing preseason maintenance at a deer lease with some fellow hunters when they stumbled upon some marijuana plants growing in the woods. The warden called the Polk County Sheriff’s Department special response team (SRT) for assistance in case the plants were being guarded. The warden lead the SRT to what turned out to be a very large and sophisticated cartel-organized marijuana growing operation consisting of tens of thousands of plants. The operation included a very large camp, bunkers with generators and enough food and supplies to last nearly a month. The occupants of the camp may have been spooked by the hunters and left the area in a hurry, leaving behind most of their belongings. The case was turned over to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department for further investigation and plant eradication.
Lone Star Chronicles – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Fish