After a fatal shooting last week, game wardens in Texas have increased patrol on Falcon Lake. Like usual, game wardens will be looking for drug smugglers and other dangers that may be out on the waters. The patrol boats that usually have at least three game wardens on board will now be stacked with a heavy machine gun.
Typically, the main responsibility of game wardens is to enforce hunting and fishing laws in the state, but those who patrol the borders have further responsibilities.
Areas on the border like Falcon Lake can see heavy amounts of drug trafficking come through the area.
Game warden Brad Whitworth said they can identify who is there for a legitimate reason and who isn’t.
“Coming straight from Mexico, back and forth, running back, straight across, number of people in the boat might be an indicator,” he said.
For those patrolling the water, there can be issues when pursuing a suspect because game wardens are not allow to pursue them past a certain point that puts them in Mexican waters.
Whitworth discussed the most recent incident.
“On the lake, for me, yes, first time for shots being fired on the water,” he said.
According to reports, the incident occurred on Falcon Lake when people on two boats exchanged words, resulting in a passenger on one boat to pull out a gun and open fire. One passenger on the boat was shot and killed, while the other passenger managed to flee the boat and swim to a nearby buoy. The boat was later recovered with the man’s body still inside, while it is suspected that the other boat retreated to Mexican waters.
Whitworth went on to talk about the dangers that game wardens face while patrolling the lake at night.
“We’re trying to come out; we’re trying to get out here fast to save people. We’re trying to keep ourselves safe. And at the same time, it’s dark. You don’t know if there are other boats out here. Maybe the people that were shooting are still here. You have no idea,” Whitworth said.
He also stated that the game wardens will now be more involved in law enforcement operations due to an increase in security tasks and more law enforcement agencies working together.
“A lot of the direction has changed for our department,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll ever go back to the way it was.”
Game wardens at Falcon Lake made it clear that no matter what their patrols are about keeping the wildlife and people of the park safe.
Web guru, blogger, digital mastermind at Game-Warden.Org, your online resource for up-to-date, comprehensive information about the educational and certification requirements for game wardens and conservation officers. Lucy enjoys EVERYTHING outdoors and dreams of moving to the Pacific Northwest.