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Game Warden Field Notes 10.8.21

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement reports.

Bee Careful!

A swarm of bees attacked a rancher utilizing an open top bulldozer to clear brush from his property when he inadvertently ran over their hive. Unable to be removed from his vehicle, a ranch hand covered him in blankets and called emergency services for assistance. Supported by local EMS, Sheriff’s Department, and Eldorado Volunteer Fire Department, Schleicher and Sutton County Game Wardens responded to the incident. The volunteer fire department sprayed down the area to remove some of the bees. One of the responding wardens, an avid beekeeper in his spare time, applied his knowledge to reach the rancher. Wearing his personal beekeeping suits, the wardens and sheriff removed the man from the bulldozer. Since the area was inaccessible to EMS vehicles, the wardens cleared their truck and transported the severely stung operator to EMS vehicles who were waiting to take him to the hospital. He recovered from his injuries.

Tubin’ to the Oldies

Real and Uvalde County Game Wardens received a call about a 67-year-old man who had been separated from his family while tubing down the river. After interviewing the family and the outfitter, wardens determined the tuber failed to exit at the designated area and continued downstream. One warden drove to a nearby ranch where he launched a drone in an attempt to locate the tuber. At the same time, the other warden spoke to the foreman of the ranch and requested assistance in locating the tuber. The foreman spoke to a group of tubers who said they saw the individual. The information was relayed to both wardens. Based on the tips, the wardens located the individual and returned him to his family.

Shell Shocked

A state biologist contacted a warden about an inquiry made by a local elementary school regarding rehabilitating Texas tortoises. After learning more about the situation, the warden determined that the school was keeping approximately 24 tortoises inside a small atrium on school property. Unfortunately, the tortoises were a threatened species and unable to be possessed by any individual or entity. School staff stated that several years ago they acquired two tortoises and over the years, students brought more tortoises into the facility. The warden arrived at the school to collect the tortoises for TPWD assisted relocation. In doing so, the curious students and staff gathered around the atrium to watch. The warden made use of the attention by turning the removal into an impromptu educational program on the tortoises and their natural habitat. The tortoises were later released at a nearby ranch in prime Texas tortoise habitat.

Mother Knows Best

Over the Memorial Day weekend, game wardens conducting water safety patrols were sent videos of a man jumping off a red and white boat, harassing and capturing a Canada Goose. Despite efforts to locate the boat and the individuals involved, wardens were unable to track them down. Two months later while conducting a water safety check on a different boat, the wardens noticed several of the occupants on the vessel wearing identical hats to those in the video. One of the wardens humorously asked about the hats and if they knew the individual who had caught the goose in the video. The occupants confirmed they knew him and affirmed their knowledge of the “goose video”. They pointed to a male in the back of the boat and identified him as the “goose capturer”. The Wardens asked the identified male to join them on their boat for further questioning. The male admitted he was the one in the video and said his mom had warned him he was going to get into trouble. He added, “I should’ve listened to my mom!” Wardens explained to the individual the definition of “Hunt,” according to Texas law is “To capture, trap, take or kill, or any attempts thereof.” The individual was issued a citation for “Hunting Canada Geese in a Closed Season.” He was also issued a written warning for “Hunting Canada Geese by Illegal Means and Methods.” The goose survived.

Old Fishing Buddy

Texas Game Wardens were patrolling for water safety and recreational fishing activity when they received information regarding a boat that potentially possessed over the daily bag limit of red snapper. The Wardens located the unoccupied boat moored at a dock. Upon performing an inspection, twenty-one red snapper were found on board, exceeding the individual fishing limit. Wardens attempted to contact the occupants of the house where the boat was docked. After approximately thirty minutes of knocking, announcing, speaking with neighbors and attempting to call the suspect and his family members, an individual exited the residence. The suspect was immediately evasive when questioned about the red snapper in the boat. He stated he had caught them with five other people but only provided one name. The Wardens contacted the individual who stated he had not talked to the suspect in fifteen years. The suspect admitted to going over his daily bag limit to the wardens. Seventeen red snappers were seized, and citations issued, along with civil restitution.