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Gear Up for Game Wardens Update December 2019
 

Thanks to you, Texas Game Wardens are getting the specialty gear they need to be safer, more efficient, and more effective.

Hundreds of generous donors have contributed more than $845,000 since the Gear Up for Game Wardens program launched in 2017.

In recent months, the emphasis has been on providing specialty gear used in water rescues, which is critically important during the spring and summer months.

You can help the game wardens in your region who protect the land, waters, wildlife, and people of Texas.

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Inflatable Search and Rescue Boats are Saving Lives in Texas

The tragic drowning death of Texas Game Warden Ty Patterson in 2007 underscored the limitation of the standard issue gear and equipment that game wardens work with every day.

Patterson’s flat-bottom boat was no match for the swift-moving waters of the Paluxy River as he and another warden attempted to recover a drowning victim. That tragedy was the catalyst for the development of the Texas Game Warden Search and Rescue Team, which now consists of 60 highly trained wardens who are scattered across the state.

Thanks to the Gear Up for Game Wardens program, these wardens now have access to the latest inflatable search and rescue boats, uniquely suited for rescues in flooding situations or swift water. In Region 7, which covers the numerous lakes and rivers of Central Texas, two new inflatable boats have been purchased and are now stationed where Search and Rescue Team members can get to them quickly.

"It's a huge development to have ready access to this critical gear when we need it," said Capt. Andrew Alexander, who leads the Search and Rescue Team. "Before we had these boats, we would often have to wait hours to get an inflatable boat from another part of the state. This equipment is helping us save lives - both those we rescue and those doing the rescuing. There is no doubt in my mind that there are some folks whom we have rescued who would not be alive today, were it not for this equipment being available."

Alexander is hoping the funds can be raised to purchase a third inflatable boat for Region 7’s many waterways. Each boat costs $18,000. The Austin Chapter of Safari Club International recently raised $9,000, and another $9,000 is needed to put a third boat in the water.

Will you help Texas Game Wardens get the specialty equipment they need?

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Meet Texas Game Warden Ray Milloway

Ray Milloway has been a Texas Game Warden since 2012 and has worked out of Lampasas County in Central Texas for the last five years. He is one of 60 Texas Game Wardens who are part of the Search and Rescue Team. It’s part-time duty, and each team member undergoes rigorous training on top of all of their other game warden duties.

When disaster strikes, these wardens are ready to spring into action to serve and protect fellow Texans. Milloway has been involved in dozens of rescues over the last few years and is immensely grateful for the inflatable boats that have become available. He’s hoping funding for the third boat in Region 7 will come through soon, because it will make his job safer and he’ll be more effective in rescue situations.

"They have a flexible floor on the bottom, and they literally hug the water,” he explained. “They can climb over waves, the buoyancy is better, they don’t easily flip, and they are so much lighter, faster and more maneuverable. It helps us do the job we need to do when the conditions are really rough."

When the Llano River flooded last October, Milloway and other first responders were on the front lines as the river rose more than 35 feet in 24 hours. Hundreds were evacuated and many were trapped in their homes, surrounded by swift-moving water. Milloway launched his boat and maneuvered for several miles through floodwater that was filled with downed trees, unmoored boats and docks, and all manner of debris. They ended up rescuing three families from their flooded homes that day, and many more before it was all said and done.

"There have been so many times that we have gotten a call for swift water events that happen without any heads-up or notice,” he said. “We simply do not have enough equipment around the state to have it in the right place at the right time. We’re very grateful here in Region 7 to have two additional inflatable boats. We’re hoping the funds will be raised for a third one soon."

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Become a Friend of Texas Game Wardens Today!

Sustaining the Gear Up for Game Wardens program ensures TPWF can manage the program and purchase the specialty equipment Texas Game Wardens need.  Becoming a Friend of Texas Game Wardens helps us continue our work to enhance the capabilities of the best-trained corps of conservation officers in the nation. And with your $100 donation, you will receive a special decal so you can show your support of Texas Game Wardens.

Become a Friend


Danny Shaw Takes the Helm at Operation Game Thief

Congratulations to our friend Danny Shaw as he takes on a new role with Operation Game Thief!

Danny retired as Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Division at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on June 30, after a 33-year career as a Texas Game Warden. He didn’t miss a beat, and stepped right into the executive director position with Operation Game Thief (OGT) on July 1.

He’ll be the first executive director in OGT history. OGT is the original support organization for Texas Game Wardens, and was formed by the Texas Legislature in 1981. The program encourages Texas citizens to get involved in conservation by reporting poachers.

“Our mission at Operation Game Thief is to improve the quality of life in Texas by working together with individuals and communities across Texas to protect the natural resources that enhance all of our lives,” said Shaw. “Whether you hunt, fish, birdwatch, or just enjoy a hike in nature, you should appreciate that Texas Game Wardens protect the wildlife we all love."

You can report poaching incidents to 1-800-792-GAME (4263) and earn up to a $1,000 reward. Since the program’s inception, tens of thousands of calls have been made, and more than $625,000 has been paid out for tips that have led to convictions.

Learn More

 



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