Game Warden Field Notes
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Fear That Rumbling Sound
At about 11:30 p.m. on June 21, a Government Canyon State Park police officer received a missing persons call from the San Antonio Police Department. It seems the missing person called 911 from somewhere in the park reporting that an animal had been following and growling at her, so she had taken refuge by climbing a tree. The park police officer searched her last reported location to no avail, but was able to make contact on her cell phone to reassure her help was on the way. She urged him to please hurry because an animal she believed to be a wild pig was nearby and growling. He informed her he would turn on his truck siren and asked her to listen. She was unable to hear his siren, so the officer told her to use her iPhone to send him her location by text message, which she did. The officer then hiked to that location and found her and a male subject in a tree. She warned the officer that the pig was still close by and she heard it just a few minutes before he arrived. Shortly after that, the officer heard a car drive over the rumble strips nearby on Galm Road and watched as the woman’s body language immediately changed. The officer asked if they believed the noise they just heard was a pig and both nodded. He explained it was only cars crossing rumble strips on the road nearby. Embarrassed by the misperceived threat, the lost hikers were reassured by the officer that the unknown can be scary and their reaction surprisingly common.
Jet Ski Roundup
On June 3, a marine theft unit game warden responding to information about a possibly stolen jet ski for sale on social media went to the location to investigate and ended up seizing a pair of stolen jet skis. There were approximately 20 more jet skis at the location, some of which had identifying numbers removed. The warden called for reinforcements and subsequently seized several more jet skis (3 stolen and 2 with no identifying numbers). The investigation ended with eight seized vessels, including one stolen out of Florida back in 1996. Property hearings to determine ownership are pending.
Stuck in the Middle
On June 9, several game wardens were patrolling the Rio Grande River near the Roma Port of Entry when they observed a group of 23 individuals stranded on an island on the U.S. side of the river. Wardens approached the group and learned they were not U.S. citizens, had been stranded on the island overnight and required immediate assistance. Wardens radioed Border Patrol vessels in the area and worked with them to transport the group to safety.
Crossing the Line
Nearly a year-and-a-half after game wardens received a complaint from a landowner in Falls County about a helicopter flying over his property shooting feral hogs, and just one week before the case was set to go to trial in June, the helicopter pilot and the gunner both pled guilty to Class A misdemeanors for hunting non-game animals without landowner consent. Game wardens made the cases after an extensive investigation documenting 34 dead feral hogs on the complainant’s property, along with evidence collected using drones, metal detectors and a K9 game warden search dog. The investigation ultimately led to four arrest warrants and multiple Class C citations being issued in addition to the Class A guilty pleas.
Can’t Run from the Law
In late May, a Hill County game warden received a call from a complainant who stated he had observed someone shooting from the roadway near Hubbard. The warden responded to the area and soon after received a call from man admitting that he had shot a feral hog from the public roadway. He then stated that he went on to the private property to retrieve the hog, but after seeing a vehicle he fled the area. The subject stated that he knew his actions were wrong, and he called to confess because he believed a game warden would come knocking on his door since he’d seen the TV show Lone Star Law. The landowner of the property was contacted, and he elected not to file hunting without landowner consent charges. The subject was issued citations for hunting from a public roadway.
Guess He Told Them
Montgomery County game wardens were patrolling for fishing violations at a local camp ground in the Sam Houston National Forest when they came upon an unoccupied vehicle with an open door. As the wardens peered into the vehicle, a young male approached and shouted they were not allowed to search his vehicle. One warden attempted to inform the subject that the vehicle was not being searched, but the individual continued to be belligerent. The wardens noticed the subject was displaying alcohol in a wildlife management area, a Class C misdemeanor violation, and appeared to be intoxicated, also a Class C citation. So, the wardens initiated an investigation. The subject refused to provide the wardens with his name and date of birth, yet another Class C violation. While inventorying the subject’s pockets, a vape pen with a brown waxy substance was found that tested positive for THC. The subject was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony, and subsequently arrested.