Field notes from state game wardens

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The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s law enforcement reports.

Operation Lights Out

In December, 20 game wardens were called in to take part in Operation Lights Out, which focuses on illegal activity in Red River, Bowie and Lamar counties. Their efforts over a weekend resulted in a total of 37 charges filed, three arrests, one felony arrest and one impounded vehicle. The violations consisted of hunting from a public roadway, possession of an open container, hunting duck over a baited area, possession of drug paraphernalia and discharge of a firearm from a public roadway, just to name a few.

Puff, puff, crash

Two Henderson County game wardens received a call in the evening from a local landowner who said he and members of his church were conducting a Bible study when an unknown vehicle sped through his front gate and crashed in the pasture behind his property. As the wardens arrived on scene, the driver of the vehicle fled on foot and couldn’t be found.

However, the driver left behind his wallet and identification card in the car along with other personal items. After searching the area with no success, the wardens decided to continue the investigation the next morning.

Early the next day, the landowner called the wardens saying he had gone deer hunting and as he was leaving the deer stand the driver appeared out of nowhere, smoking a cigarette. The driver asked him “Where am I? How did I get here?” The wardens responded to the call and found the landowner and driver sitting down by a fire having coffee.

The driver told the wardens he decided to smoke some Kush cannabis after leaving his parole officer’s office. The driver spent the night outside in freezing temperatures and was so impaired he had no clue how he got to this ranch or where his car was.

Furry detectives

A Limestone County game warden was contacted by a landowner who was concerned about an undersized white-tailed buck deer head found on his front porch. He told the warden he believed his dogs took the deer head from his neighbor’s house across the street. The warden spoke to the neighbor and found the man who harvested the undersized buck.

The man admitted he knew he made a mistake but was afraid to call the game warden because he didn’t want to get in trouble. The warden filed several cases including taking an illegal buck under 13 inches, untagged deer and a harvest log violation.

Let minnow how that works out

A Navarro County game warden received a call from a local fisherman about multiple people cast netting and keeping everything they caught. The caller told the warden they had been recording them with their cellphone. When he arrived, the warden found the people and a white five-gallon bucket. The bucket was nearly full of fish.

The warden asked them about the fish and one person said they were just minnows. The warden told them most of the fish were undersized crappie. When asked for fishing licenses and identification, one of the individuals said they would “just throw them back” and attempted to reach for the bucket.

The warden stopped them and said the fish were now evidence and many of the fish looked dead. Upon further inspection of the fish within the five-gallon bucket, nearly 100 fish were identified. Of those fish, more than 70 were undersized crappie of which 61 were either dead or too injured to be released back into the water. There was also one catfish, numerous sunfish, shad and yellow bass.

Many of the crappie measured between three and five inches in length, with the longest being nine inches long. Non-game fish were returned to the individuals, as they had current fishing licenses. Multiple citations were issued to the individuals.

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