By avoiding cop-speak and judiciously applying amusing headlines, Field Notes compiler Mike Cox manages to get me to read his reports from beginning to end whenever he puts them out -- which is irregularly, but roughly once every two months.
"Shot in the Dark" is our favorite from his latest dispatch, and we present it here on the 65th birthday of the AK-47, for reasons that will soon become apparent:
A McLennan County game warden received a trespass call. While unable to immediately locate the individuals, he decided to wait in the area. After dark, the warden saw a vehicle stop just down the road and noticed a group of people get out with an AR-15 rifle and flashlight. They began to shoot off the road into a nearby creek and field, so the warden approached the group and issued a citation for discharging a firearm from a public road. No evidence of hunting from the road was found. Forty-five minutes later, another truck stopped down the road in the same general area, and a man got out of the truck with an AK-47 and fired numerous rounds into the creek. When the warden made contact with the shooter, he noticed open containers in the vehicle. The subject said he was testing his AK-47 on the turtles in the creek. No turtles were located and citations were issued.
Ah Texas, where game wardens can wait by a stretch of rural road and have not one but two trucks full of rednecks pull over and fire high-powered assault rifles into the night, for little or no good reason at all. At least no shattered turtles were found on the scene, and we are gratified that citations were, in fact, issued.
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Last month's report contained this gem from southwest Texas:
Two Val Verde County game wardens investigated mountain lion sighting reports that were called in from the outskirts of Del Rio. The first investigation was for a horse that allegedly had been attacked and the second involved a herd of goats. No indications or evidence was found that a mountain lion is roaming and feeding on pets in Del Rio. The wardens also ruled out a Chupacabra.
And you reckless, inaccurate shots better keep your incidental kills to yourself. Your friendly neighborhood game warden has the Internet too.
A Washington County game warden received information about a possible hunting violation from a local cyber crimes unit. The warden interviewed an individual that had posted a photo on his Facebook page of six cattle egrets that had been killed during a dove hunt on Labor Day. On the subject's Facebook page, it was noted that only three doves had been killed because the egrets got in the way. The subject gave a statement stating he and three other individuals had shot the egrets. The warden obtained information on the other three hunters and the location of the violation, which occurred in Austin County. With assistance from an Austin County game warden, statements were obtained from the other three hunters. Citations and restitution pending on all four subjects.