As the result of a joint investigation by the Horseshoe Bay Police Department and Texas State Game Wardens, charges have been filed against a 16 year-old Burnet County youth for violations of Horseshoe Bay city ordinances against the discharge of weapons within the City and hunting in a prohibited area. State law charges included exceeding the annual bag limit on deer and hunter safety violations.
The City of Horseshoe Bay has an ordinance which prohibits the discharge of any firearm, Crossbow, bow and arrow, or blow gun within the incorporated city limits and an ordinance that prohibits hunting on any property, public or private unless certain circumstances are met.
On 11/15/2011, the youth killed a 12 point, non-typical buck in the Slick Rock area of Horseshoe Bay using a bow and arrow from the second story balcony of a residence.
Horseshoe Bay Police Officers had become familiar with the buck and noted in late November the deer had vanished. Officers suspected the deer had been killed by a poacher. Working in conjunction with Texas Game Wardens Kevin Webb, Ronnie Langford, and Captain Kevin Davis, they vigilantly pursued leads and information that led to the filing of charges after the deer’s head appeared on an internet web posting.
For killing the trophy buck, the youth faces a cumulative maximum on all fines that totals $5,000. In addition, civil restitution for the deer has been calculated at approximately $4,300, and according to Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations, the youth will be unable to obtain a hunting license in the future until any civil restitution that may be levied is paid.
Had the buck been lawfully taken by a hunter, with an approximate Boone and Crockett score of 145 inches, the deer would have placed 5th in Region 4 of the Texas Big Game Awards program during the 2010-2011 season for a non-typical deer taken with a bow outside a high fenced managed area. The trophy buck would have been the highest scoring non-typical deer taken with a bow outside of a high fenced area in Llano County in that same season.
The unlawful and illegal killing of deer in Horseshoe Bay is not a new or unique problem. On 11/17/2011, Horseshoe Bay Police responded to a vacant lot on Lucy Lane where a 10 point buck was discovered dead, killed with an arrow. Investigators have recovered evidence in that case and are continuing to pursue leads with area Game Wardens. Three days later, on 11/20/11, Horseshoe Bay Police Officers responded to a call from a Deer Haven resident who reported seeing two different deer impaled by arrows. HSBPD officers, working with Texas State Game Wardens, subsequently filed charges on a 54 year-old Kingsland man when he was discovered hunting with a bow in the Bay West area of the City that same day.
The Horseshoe Bay Police and the Texas Parks and Wildlife encourage area residents to report suspicious persons, activities, or vehicles to help curtail poaching. TPWD operates Operation Game Thief, Texas’ Wildlife Crime-Stoppers Program where tipsters can earn rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction for a wildlife crime. Residents are asked to contact either the Horseshoe Bay Police or the Texas Parks and Wildlife tip line at 800-792-4263 to report game violations.
“Our Police Officers are tasked with the mission of protecting the public and our natural resources. They do it effectively and vigilantly. We work very closely with other area State, County, and Local agencies to accomplish just that,” said Horseshoe Bay Police Chief Bill Lane. “The illegal killing of deer or other animals in this community will simply not be tolerated.” Chief Lane says he and his officers have a stern but simple warning for those who might consider poaching in Horseshoe Bay. “Should you choose to come here and hunt illegally, you will quickly become the hunted.”