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2011-02-17 digital edition

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2011-02-17 / General Stories

Outdoor News

February 14, 2011
By Victor Gonzales, Lee County Game Warden

It’s a known fact that being a game warden is not a job; it’s a way of life. While we adhere to state and federal regulations concerning work hours and overtime, we’re set apart from other agencies by the type of schedule we keep and our community policing philosophy.

We work all holidays and weekends, our days off are other than Saturday and Sunday, we’re subject to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, we use a compensatory system of time off in lieu of overtime payment.

Put it all together and you’ll frequently see a game warden in uniform wherever a private and/or public venue takes place to visit with landowners, promote programs and outdoor participation, provide search and rescue operations and maybe see their family if they participate in extracurricular activities.

Community policing is the staple of a game warden’s repertoire. Without the gift of gab, it’s difficult to meet and come to know so many people residing in one’s county. Without the eyes and ears of trusted landowners, wardens could not perform this duty.

On the street or highway, an officer can see the activity and those involved. For wardens, someone calls and says “I heard shooting in that direction or on that place where no one is supposed to be”.

Finding the location of entry, identifying actors and activity performed, and whether the activity is legal or illegal, takes a little bit of practice. This is why people are reluctant to call sometimes because they assume the activity is over if they can’t see it.

With approximately 540 game wardens statewide and most counties having one warden, try being everywhere, for everyone, for everything, and decide what becomes priority.

Contact me at 979-540-0194 (cell) or victor.gonzales@tpwd.state.tx.us.

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