Compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Drifting Away: Two Val Verde County game wardens responded to a distress call involving a small child trapped in a drifting boat. The boat had drifted into the middle of Amistad International Reservoir with a 7-year-old child, and the family was unable to retrieve it. The wardens quickly responded with their patrol boat, found find the vessel and reunited the young boy with a grateful family.
The All-Knowing Game Warden: A Floyd/Hale County game warden saw the driver of a pickup truck shoot a .22 rifle into a wheat field across the street about 30 feet away from where he was stationed. While the warden tried to get a license plate number, the vehicle took off and stopped about 100 yards down the road. The driver then fired another shot into the field. The warden took off in the direction of the vehicle and caught up to the driver a few miles down the road. The driver admitted to shooting grackles in the field and did not seem happy to be stopped. He then told the warden he knew what he was doing was wrong and that he should go find a real criminal. The driver then asked the warden how he knew that he was the one who had shot off the road and wanted to know who told on him. The warden politely let the individual know that he sees everything that goes on and left it at that. The man received a citation for hunting from a public roadway.
Fishing for Trouble: A Hemphill County game warden and an Ochiltree County game warden observed a group of nine people in a remote section of Palo Duro Lake, upstream from the main lake in an area that is rarely used recreationally. Undetected, the two wardens approached the group on foot and saw various actions associated with possible illegal fishing activity. After watching the group for a while, the wardens split up and approached the group from opposite directions. When the wardens announced their presence, the group scattered and the wardens saw that one of the men was carrying a scoped black rifle. After several tense moments, the wardens were able to talk to the man and got him to put down the rifle. When the group was rounded back up, nine individuals from Oklahoma were found to be in possession of various types of fish, including 24 undersize crappie and five undersize channel cats. These were removed, measured, photographed and released.
Swim at Your Own Risk: A Lubbock County game warden and a Deaf Smith/Castro/Parmer county game warden were patrolling Buffalo Springs Lake when they noticed two young girls trying to swim across the lake in an area with very heavy boat traffic. Both girls appeared to be very exhausted and were struggling to stay above water. The wardens quickly responded as one of the girls went underwater for an extended amount of time. The girl then surfaced as the patrol boat arrived at their location. Both girls were rescued and pulled aboard the patrol boat, then delivered safely to the shore. The wardens then took a moment to educate the very grateful girls about the dangers of trying to swim across the lake.
Hand-y Fishing: A Smith County game warden was patrolling boat ramps around Lake Palestine when he saw three people in the water hand fishing. A fourth man was on the bank putting fish in the truck and watching the parking lot. The warden watched the fisherman from the bushes for about 45 minutes. When the last man came out of the water, he eased a snag pole to the man who was looking out, who quickly put the pole on the back of the truck. The warden made contact with the group and tickets were issued for no fishing licenses and for taking fish by illegal means and methods. The fish were returned to the water.
Abandon Ship: A Grayson County game warden was checking striper fishermen on Lake Texoma when he noticed smoke coming from a boat about three quarters of a mile away. The warden notified the local fire department and approached the boat. Two people had stopped their 16-foot jet boat and noticed smoke coming from the engine cover. The boaters attempted to put the fire out with their fire extinguisher, but the fire was too intense. The occupants put on their life jackets and abandoned the boat and a passing fisherman picked them up. The warden transferred the two men to his boat and transported them to a local marina.
In Tow: A Dallas County game warden and a lieutenant were patrolling Joe Pool Lake for water safety violations when they saw a boat towing a tube with a 12-year-old child well after dark. The wardens made the stop and determined that the driver of the boat was intoxicated and they arrested him for BWI.
Age is Just a Number: A Williamson County game warden saw eight teenagers walking down the road toward Lake Georgetown. They parked in a grocery store’s parking lot a mile from the lake and were “borrowing” a shopping cart to carry their ice chest and belongings. While discussing the shopping cart issue, the warden noticed another individual carrying an ice chest. When asked what was in it, the owner said there was nothing in it. The warden told him that it didn’t make sense to carry a brand new ice chest to the lake empty. When asked to open it, the teenager hesitated. But when asked a second time, it was discovered the ice chest was just a big container for his marijuana, pipe and a bottle of eye drops. After the teen was placed under arrest and told he was heading to jail, his response was, “But I’m 17.”
“It Was My Dog’s Fault” Two game wardens and a cadet filed multiple citations on an individual for violating the daily bag limit for white bass. The violator had 21 fish over his daily bag limit. He claimed it was his dog’s fault and that he needed to get a fish counter.
Cedar Tree Helps with Traffic Stop: While patrolling county roads for hunting activity, a Burnet County game warden came across a truck that was having a hard time staying on the roadway. The truck then ran a stop sign and the warden attempted to stop it. The truck sped up, so the warden pursued the truck for 15 miles down several county roads. During the chase, the driver was throwing beer bottles out of his window. The truck crashed into a cedar tree, getting stuck, and the warden took the driver into custody. He was charged with evading arrest and driving while intoxicated.