You can tell deer season is in full swing by the recent reports posted by our Texas game wardens. You really have to read some of these to believe them.
The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
- Wife bags her first buck…Not! Terrell County Game Wardens Saul Aguilar and Kenneth Stannard entered a hunting camp on Oct. 5 and noticed a tagging violation on a hanging 10-point white-tailed buck. As the wardens talked with the couple staying at the camp, they noted the man’s wife was particularly excited about her first buck. She even offered her license and ID without being asked. After educating the couple on proper tagging requirements, Warden Aguilar decided to take some time to talk with their 9-year-old boy, who seemed intrigued by the wardens. After discussing his favorite superheroes and passion for the outdoors, the boy said he sure wanted to shoot a buck like the one his dad had shot and pointed to the hanging buck. Citations were issued to the couple after the husband admitted to shooting the deer and using his wife’s license to tag it.
- High velocity camp prank not so funny after all: Val Verde County Game Wardens Kirk Clendening and Mike Durand responded to a call of shots fired at a hunting vehicle on Oct. 5. When the wardens arrived at the hunting camp, they found a large group of extremely intoxicated hunters. Apparently a hunter who had left the scene before the wardens arrived thought it would be entertaining to shoot at a truck occupied by several people. The wardens took statements and documented the bullet holes from a high-powered rifle that went through the passenger side window and exited the driver side windshield. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the wardens are hoping to file deadly conduct charges against the trigger-happy hunter when he’s identified.
- Warden nabs felon with sawed-off shotgun: On Nov. 4, while patrolling the desert for hunting violations, El Paso County Game Warden Hallie Dacy came across a man armed with an illegal sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun with pistol grip. When asked why he was in possession of a shotgun like this, he said he was out target shooting. A check determined that the individual had two violent offenses pending, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The warden confiscated the firearm. Felony charges pending.
- Wardens save two duck hunters: Nov. 5, while returning to the boat ramp after checking duck hunters, Tarrant County Game Warden David Vannoy noticed a large amount of debris in the main body of a lake. As the warden drew closer, he could see the bow of a flat-bottom boat sticking up out of the water. Warden Vannoy rushed to rescue two hunters whose boat sank just five minutes prior to the warden’s arrival. The two hunters and a dog were pulled from the water and safely returned to their vehicle. Both hunters were wearing personal flotation devices when the boat suddenly went down, which probably saved their lives. The two were the last hunters out of the hunting area, and no other boats were around due to the high winds. One hunter said this was his first encounter with a game warden and he was sure happy to see one.
- No USDA inspection on this meat: Cherokee County Game Warden Eric Collins received a call on Nov. 3 from a local state trooper who said he had stopped a truck and found a large amount of blood in the bed. Warden Collins met the trooper and the driver of the vehicle at the sheriff’s department. During the initial interview, the subject said he had killed a deer a week before with his bow. After further questioning, the man admitted killing the deer at night from a public roadway with a .22-caliber rifle, as well as hunting numerous times without a hunting license. He also admitted to only removing the back straps from the deer, discarding the rest of the meat, and selling the back straps for $15 to one of his friends. Cases pending.
- Not everyone was out after deer opening weekend: Jasper County Game Warden Justin Eddins and Capt. Tom Jenkins were patrolling the north end of Jasper County when Warden Eddins received a phone call from a local hunting club reporting that two individuals were trying to steal pipe from an oil well location. Warden Eddins and the captain arrived to find two subjects on ATVs trying to steal a 300-pound piece of pipe. Criminal trespass and theft charges pending.
- Hole in more than one at the golf course: Montgomery County Game Warden Brannon Meinkowsky apprehended two subjects on Nov. 4 after they had shot a doe at night on a local golf course. In addition to the doe they killed, the men were also in possession of an untagged 8-point buck. During the investigation, the subjects also admitted to killing two deer at night and two deer during the day on the golf course last year. Multiple cases pending.
- Busted by his cell phone: Montgomery County Warden Brannon Meinkowsky was patrolling for illegal night hunting on Nov. 4 when he noticed a truck driving unusually slow through a subdivision known to have a lot of deer. The vehicle was occupied by two males and one female armed with a .17 caliber rifle, a compound bow and three flashlights. During the investigation, the warden found cell phone photos of one of the men holding buck heads. The pictures had all been taken at night and before deer season opened. The subject confessed to killing one of the deer and provided information about the other deer killed out of season. Multiple cases filed. Additional charges pending.
- “Big” is in the eye of the beholder: Angelina County Game Warden Phillip Wood made contact with a hunter on Nov. 5 and observed blood on a trailer. When he asked whether the subject had killed something, the reply was “a big six point.” After a short investigation, the warden located the deer horns at a residence and found they had already been sawed in half. Turned out the “big” deer taken in an antler-restricted county had only a 9 5/8-inch spread. Citations issued.
- Funny place for catalog orders: Shelby County Game Warden Mike Hanson received a call Nov. 7 from an informant regarding trespassers on a hunting lease. The caller said two vehicles left the highway, turned off their lights and proceeded down a power company right-of-way. Using night vision equipment, Hanson was able to locate the vehicles. As the warden approached, a male jumped into one of the vehicles. Meanwhile, a female in another vehicle became engrossed in reading a catalog. The male said the female was his sister-in-law and he was just meeting her there to purchase products from the catalog. Just the same, the lease holder elected to file trespass charges.
- No, really, I didn’t lay a hand on my wife: On Nov. 1 Harris County Game Warden Jennifer Inkster received a call from the Pasadena Police Department about a possible hunting violation. Turns out police had responded to a domestic dispute and found a large amount of blood and a rifle in the suspect’s pick-up. When questioned, the subject quickly admitted he shot a white-tailed deer the previous weekend on his lease, and that the blood had nothing to do with the domestic incident. Warden Inkster arrived and seized an 8-point buck and meat, and citations were issued.
- Not everyone’s out deer hunting: Zapata County Game Wardens Roy Martinez and Shane Bailey set out on Oct. 25 to check for illegal commercial fishing on Falcon Lake. After several hours on the patrol boat, wardens observed two Mexican commercial fishing vessels enter Texas waters just north of their location. As the wardens made their move to make contact, the subjects bailed out into the brush. Border Patrol marine units came in to assist, and while in route to the wardens’ location, they observed another vessel just south of the wardens’ location. A total of three boats, a motor, and 1,980 feet of gill net were seized.
- Wild hog leads hunters astray: On the afternoon of Nov. 7, Llano County Game Warden Kevin Webb and San Saba County Game Warden Brad Reeves responded to a 911 call regarding two lost hunters on a 20,000-acre property in San Saba County. The two wardens, with help from the rancher, were successful in locating the two hunters and returning them to their deer camp. The hunters had wounded a feral hog that morning and started tracking it when they became lost. The hunters were several miles from their camp when wardens and rancher located them.
- Bragging can get you in trouble: On deer season opening day, Williamson County Game Wardens Turk Jones and Joel Campos were patrolling a subdivision in Liberty Hill off U.S. 183 when Campos spotted a man in camo holding a rifle in his front yard. The wardens made contact, and the first thing the hunter said was, "Look at what I shot during archery season." The hunter then displayed antlers from an 8-pointer. Warden Campos inspected the man’s license and found he had an antlerless tag missing. Warden Campos brought this to the man’s attention, and he said, "Well, you got me; let’s change the story and say my cousin shot that one." Warden Campos told him he couldn’t do that, and the hunter finally admitted he’d been bragging to people that he shot it. But as a further investigation revealed, in reality he cut the antlers off a road kill he found. Antlers were confiscated and citations were issued.