Check out the latest from the Texas Game Warden Notes.
Let us embark once more, gentle friends, upon the trail of the North American Knucklehead.
The TPWD's Game Warden notes, as mentioned previously, are mostly an archive of ridiculous things done by stupid people. Oh sure, there are moments of touching pathos, like the turtle rescue that capped off our previous edition of this feature, but by and large most of these Texas Game Warden Notes will leave you scratching your head.
Today, in particular, I thought we'd look at some of the odder incidents from the archives of the TPWD.
Before hunting became the dominantly recreational activity it is today, it was survival, a dangerous but lucrative source of calories against cold nights and lean times.
This woman, from last year's October report, clearly understands this, as she was engaged in necessary food gathering before being cruelly stopped by a TPWD Game Warden:
A Val Verde County game warden received a call from the Del Rio Police Department about a small SUV that had a white-tailed deer in the back seat. The warden asked the woman about the deer and she said she needed it for tamales she was planning to make the next day. One case filed for possession in closed season and one case of DWI filed by the Del Rio Police Department."
From a storytelling perspective, you have to appreciate the TPWD's decision here to let the fact that this involved a DWI stand without any explanation. Doesn't really need one, I guess.
You have to appreciate the Tamale Woman's honesty, however; sure, she had a deer out of season in the back of her truck, which, okay, she was driving will a little buzzed, but hell, she needed to make some tamales damn it.
At least she owned her situation, unlike these dove hunting fellas from the same month's report:
While patrolling the Trinity River during the opening day of teal season, Trinity County game wardens heard several shotgun shots coming from the other side of a hill covered in goat weed. The wardens walked in and found two dove hunters. The hunters were very surprised and immediately began walking towards the wardens. When asked for hunting licenses, the hunters were extremely nervous and had a hard time removing their licenses from the pouches. The wardens asked the hunters why they were so nervous and if there was anything they needed to know about. The hunters replied no and said the last time they were checked in this county they were hunting ducks with lead shot and received citations. While the hunters were speaking to a warden separately, the other warden began searching the area by the hunters' folding chairs. The warden found corn on the ground in the area where they were hunting. The hunters denied knowing anything about the corn. Citations for hunting over bait were issued."
The license-fumbling is a nice touch; I envision some Charlie Chaplin slapstick, the license falling out of the guy's hand and into the trousers of the warden, the hunter diving for it, the other hunter's license slipping out of his hand and into a nearby brook, just delightful hijinks all around. It's ruined somewhat by the lackluster nature of their excuse: "Golly, Corn!? Where'd THAT come from, Earl?" At least come up with something a little more inventive, fellas: "That Cracked Corn is mine; I eat it to keep my diabetes in check."
I can only imagine that Game Wardens are often forced to endure tortuous, college-freshmen-in-a-philosophy-101-class level discussions from the people they encounter, trying desperately to provide plausible reasoning for their dumbass behavior. The following report, from October of 2013, seems to ask: what are Laws, anyways?
A game warden patrolling Coleman County came across a van with no lights on pulling a trailer. He stopped the vehicle and could smell a strong odor of marijuana. The warden asked the driver and passengers to get out and was surprised to see seven adult males emerge. When the warden asked the passengers where they were coming from, they said Denver and headed to Austin. When asked if they had been smoking marijuana, they said yes but that it was not illegal in Colorado. After gaining consent to search the vehicle, the warden found a pipe and several baggies of marijuana. Tickets for possession of drug paraphernalia were filed on the violators. Cases pending."
First thing: it's a damn clown car full of Colorado shit kickers. How great is that detail? Second Point: Why, gentle Denver Friend, limit yourself to this geographical deconstruction of modern laws? Why not argue that, since US Law didn't exist before 1776, ALL Laws are simply ephemeral temporal constructs and therefore all are equally meaningless, in the broad scheme of geological time? I imagine a couple more hits and dude would have gotten there.
Of course, constantly dealing with morons results in a person developing coping mechanisms. Sometimes, they become humorless engines of destruction. Alternatively, they can develop a playful streak:
An Ellis County game warden met a new farmer at a gas station who wanted his business card because he was having trouble with dove hunters on his properties. One day, the farmer called the warden with the license plate of a truck with two men inside who were shooting at dove while driving down the road. The warden drove to the location and picked up hulls on the road and proceeded to look for the truck. The truck was spotted just as it was turning into the driveway. After confronting the subjects about their hunt, the warden made a deal with them and said, "I'll leave, but only if I can't guess what gauge shotgun is in the gun case in your backseat, and I'll bet in that camouflage bag there are low brass, Winchester #8 shot shells that are red in color." After puzzled looks and realizing the warden knew more than they thought he did, the two men confessed and multiple citations are pending."
I think the TPWD should institute this sort of thing more often, leading to rumors that they possess dark, occult powers that allow them to know the deepest, darkest secrets of those who would transgress against their mighty authority. At the very least, it might cut down on the number of drunk people gathering ingredients for the next potluck.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons