Game warden stories from East Texas, beyond

Being a Texas game warden is not always a walk in the park. But on the other hand, it can be downright comical on some days. The following situations are just of a few of the highlights from a day in the life of Texas game wardens.

Pineywoods hog hunters get locked out

Trinity County Game Warden Randy Watts received a call from a landowner on Jan. 22 about hog hunters trespassing on his high fenced ranch. The landowner found a dog with a GPS collar and a few minutes later the hog hunters showed up to get the dog. The landowner asked the hunters how they got in the ranch. They stated the gate was open and they would leave it like they found it. After the hunters left, the landowner checked his gate. His lock was missing and a new lock was on the gate. The landowner knew the identity of one of the hunters. Game Warden Watts called the hunter and met with all the individuals on the neighboring property. Citations were issued to five hunters for trespassing.

Trespasser attacks game warden

Jan. 21, Dallas County Game Warden David Bosecker was patrolling for night hunters in Hunt County when he spotted a subject trespassing at a barn and corral area. When Warden Bosecker approached the subject and told him he was under arrest, the man became belligerent and attacked him. Warden Bosecker arrested the subject, and several cases are pending.

Newton county outlaws can’t outfox

East Texas game wardens

Facebook helps tag illegal hunters: Newton County wardens Ellis Powell, Brian Srba, Landon Spacek and Bradley Smith, and Jasper County Warden Morgan Inman executed a search warrant on a Louisiana resident living in Newton County on Jan. 21. The warrant came after a four-month investigation, with warrants also being served on the subject’s Facebook account for e-mails and photos. As the interview was taking place, Louisiana game wardens were interviewing other subjects implicated by the man’s Facebook account. The subject admitted killing eight deer in the last few months and named several other subjects with numerous deer kills. None of the four main subjects have had a hunting license since 2004, with no deer taken in daylight hours during that time. Numerous charges filed with more interviews of other subjects pending.Outlaw crabbers, shrimpers in Chambers, Galveston counties

During coastal operations Jan. 23-27, Galveston and Chambers county wardens filed cases that included a crew boat that was in possession of five bags of fish fillets, a commercial crabbing boat that was caught in possession of oysters, illegal stone crabs and no commercial licenses, and a commercial gulf shrimp boat caught in possession of head-and-tailed fish, exceeding the limit of flounder and shark fins.

Spotlighting arrest ‘illuminates’ outstanding warrants

While conducting a nighttime patrol Jan. 22, Game Warden Harry Rakosky observed a vehicle intermittently shining a spotlight into area farm fields. A citation was subsequently issued. The next day, the court called the game warden to report that the subject had outstanding warrants. In response, the game warden went to the offender’s residence, arresting him for third-degree felony intoxication assault and first-degree felony intoxication manslaughter.

Outlaw red snapper and grouper fishermen get busted big time

Cameron County Game Wardens Libby Balusek and Santana Torres were patrolling the Gulf of Mexico aboard the TPWD patrol vessel Whatley on Jan. 5 looking for incoming gulf shrimp and recreational fishing boats. Capt. Melinda Dunks (Game Warden Sgt. James Dunks’ wife) of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division was aboard the resource vessel Kemp and reported that she had seen a bay boat heading toward an oil rig just outside state waters. After making contact with the recreational boat as it entered the jetties heading to port, the wardens determined that the three individuals on board had indeed been fishing in federal waters. They had 19 red snapper on board (14 of which were undersize), as well as two undersize gag grouper. The game wardens issued a total of eight tickets for over bag limit of red snapper, possession of undersize red snapper, and possession of undersize gag grouper. Cases and civil restitution pending.

Wardens seize 98 sacks of illegal oysters

Game Wardens Raul “Pinky” Gonzales, Danny Kelso, Scott McLeod, and Derek Reeder checked numerous commercial oyster boats in Hynes and San Antonio bays on Jan. 27. Four captains were cited for undersize oyster loads. Approximately 98 sacks of oysters were returned to their reefs.

Game warden sinks boat theft plans

Fayette County Game Warden Calvin Harbaugh apprehended an adult and two juveniles in the act of stealing a 14-foot aluminum boat on Jan. 24. The boat had been chained to a tree on the edge of the Colorado River. The defendants had broken the lock, loaded the boat into the bed of a truck, and were about to drive off with it when caught.

Greedy angler catches too many rainbows

Game Warden Cynde Aguilar received a call on Jan. 19 about a fisherman keeping too many fish. Aguilar made contact with the man and found him with 14 rainbow trout over the daily bag limit of five. Tickets were issued for fishing without a license, exceeding the daily bag limit and restitution to the state.

Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com