The following notes were compiled from the most recent Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement reports and published in a release. Here are some of the wildest reports from December 2020:
Mama’s Got Your Back
Two Harris County game wardens followed up on a local poaching complaint and discovered a suspect who had harvested a white-tailed doe had done so without landowner consent. The suspect confessed to poaching and when asked to collect the deer meat, was surprised to find his mom had hidden the illegal deer meat under the couch while the wardens visited with him outside the home. Multiple charges and restitution pending.
An Upshur County game warden received an anonymous tip about a substantial amount of fish that had been cleaned and dumped at Lake O’ the Pines near Ore City. The warden and his partner responded and inspected the property where the fish were dumped and discovered that two out of state fishermen were responsible. The two fishermen had been fishing every day for a week and were staying at a motel at the local marina. Further investigation revealed 273 crappie, 173 fish over the legal state possession limit, were taken, filleted and stored in ice chests and freezers on the property. More than 350 crappie fillets were seized and donated to multiple families around the area. Multiple charges and restitution pending.
A warden was notified about a complaint regarding a local pet store in San Antonio that had a tortoise for sale. Upon inspection of the pet store, the warden seized a Texas Tortoise (a threatened species) that was “given” to the store. Further investigation revealed the store was also selling Mississippi Map Turtles and River Cooter Turtles without a non-game dealers license. The Texas tortoise was released back into the wild. Charges pending.
What’s in the Bag?
A Val Verde County game warden was patrolling the northern end of the county for white-tailed deer hunting compliance when he contacted several subjects who were acting evasive when asked simple hunting related questions. Further questioning revealed the group had been trespassing and duck hunting without licenses or duck stamps in between their deer hunt. The breasted-out ducks were found neatly stored in a potato chip bag. Multiple cases and restitution pending.
See You Later, Alligator
Three game wardens from Johnson, Ellis and Harris Counties and a State Park Police Officer concluded a three-month investigation into an alligator poaching case. In mid-September, game wardens received a tip about an individual living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who had poached an alligator somewhere on the Trinity River at night while bow fishing. After an extensive search, the subject was identified and found to live in Waxahachie. Two of the wardens questioned the individual at his home and, after some time, he admitted to shooting the alligator. The man also told wardens that it happened on a stretch of the Trinity River near Centerville and his friend had been driving the boat and working the spotlight. Further investigation revealed that the friend shot the alligator with a pistol after it had been shot with the bow twice. The head of the alligator, which was buried on his parent’s property, was recovered from the suspect. With information about the additional suspect, a warden and park police officer questioned the friend who also confessed to poaching the alligator. Multiple charges and civil restitution pending.
A Knox County game warden received a call about someone hunting without landowner consent, so they partnered with a Haskell County game warden and responded. After a quick investigation, the landowner requested that the deer hunter remove his belongings and leave the property. Soon after, the wardens stopped on a road that travels through a ranch and saw an unknown vehicle with two men driving towards them. When they made contact, the men told the wardens they had not hunted that morning. One of the wardens found three turkey feathers and blood stuck to the hitch rack at the rear of the vehicle. When asked about the feathers, they denied killing anything. The men were separated, and wardens were able to get a confession from one of them about killing two turkeys an hour earlier. The hunter that killed the turkeys failed to tag the birds and had hidden the breast under the back seat of the vehicle. The turkey meat was seized and donated to a family in need. Multiple charges and restitution pending.
A Uvalde County game warden was on patrol when she saw a subject shoot from a vehicle on a farm to market road. After a short pursuit, the truck pulled over and she contacted the subject. At first, he said he didn’t shoot but finally admitted to shooting at a coyote. When the warden was retrieving the gun, she noticed a deer backstrap in a plastic bag in the back seat. The man said he got the meat from his uncle. The warden and the man went to the uncle’s house to confirm the story, and after a short visit the man finally admitted to shooting the deer at night from another public road in the area. Multiple charges and restitution pending.
Two Newton County game wardens received a call about two suspects hunting white-tailed deer on private property without landowner consent. The wardens responded to the area and were able to locate the suspects in possession of an untagged white-tailed deer and several squirrels. After further investigation, the wardens determined they had been hunting on multiple private tracts of land that morning without landowner consent and had illegally harvested the squirrels and a white-tailed doe. Multiple charges and restitution pending.
Mississippi or Bust
A Lubbock District game warden was patrolling for mule deer compliance in Lamb County when he came across a group of hunters loading up a mule deer buck. After checking their hunting licenses, the warden noticed a mule deer tag missing from one of the hunters’ license. The hunter said he hadn’t taken a deer this season. When asked about the missing tag, the man told the warden that he had put the tag on a mule deer another hunter killed. The warden asked where the antlers were located, and the hunter wasn’t certain. Further investigation revealed the antlers were probably in Mississippi with a local taxidermist. The warden called the taxidermist and the antlers were in fact there. A Mississippi warden was contacted and the antlers were seized. The hunter was cited for allowing another to hunt under their license. The warden later contacted the hunter who actually shot the mule deer and she was cited for hunting without a hunting license, hunting under someone else’s license and no hunter education. Charges and restitution pending.
A Limestone County game warden obtained a social media picture involving a female hunter posing with a freshly harvested white-tailed doe in Kosse. The warden began their investigation and it was determined that the suspect did not have a valid Texas hunting license. Since the woman resided in College Station at Texas A&M University, the warden reached out to a Brazos County game warden for assistance. After a brief interview, the woman admitted to harvesting the white-tailed doe during opening weekend and using her father’s hunting license tag to properly tag her deer. The meat was processed and taken to her father’s residence in Montgomery County. A Montgomery County game warden contacted the father and inspected the deer meat. Multiple charges and warnings were issued, and civil restitution is pending.
A Shelby County game warden followed up on an ongoing investigation of a local individual who had hunted without a valid hunting license when he shot a buck in 2019. The subject confessed to not buying the license to save money for college. Case pending.