Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Game Warden Abuse of Power

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jennifer Chandler
Larry Chandler
Permanent address:
Kingsland, Texas 78639

Secondary home address:
Larry & Jennifer Chandler Property
Dryden, Texas

To The Honorable Judge Corina Castro
P.O. Box 313
Sanderson, Texas 79848
Phone: 432-345-2341

As pertaining to citations numbered: 1013484 (Stannard) to Jennifer Chandler and 1012938 (Aguilar) to Larry Chandler, issued November 06, 2011.

My story:

Before daylight on Saturday, November 05, 2011, I woke my husband up so that he could go hunting. Our plan was that once our 10 year old son awoke, I would head down to Larry’s deer stand where he and I would change places, with Larry going back to camp to be with our 10 year old and allow me time to hunt.

After he left, I walked south a few hundred feet and squatted down near a mesquite bush/tree to watch our protein feeder. I was carrying my 223 Magnum rifle. As the dusky dawn begin turning to light, I watched three bucks walk up and begin to feed on the cotton seed at the protein feeder. A little after daylight, not sure of the exact time, a rifle shot was fired. A few minutes later, I heard the 8mm. I eased up and looked toward my husband’s stand with the binoculars, then walked back up toward the camp, veering right to walk about 100’ down the road toward the stand. A time lapse of between 5 and 10 minutes had passed, when I heard the 2nd shot from the 8mm. I stood there watching Larry’s stand and within seconds, I saw his door open. He could see me and waved, I waved back. Instead of going to where the deer was, he came back to camp for me. He said he had shot a buck and needed me to help him load it in the ‘Rhino’. We could see our older son walking back to camp, so we went back to camp to find our 10 year old still sleeping. I woke him enough to tell him that I was ‘going with Dad to his stand and (his older brother) was on his way back to camp.’ He mumbled an aggravated ‘Okay!”, pulled the covers over his head and went back to sleep.

On the way to the downed deer, Larry told me that he had shot the buck in the shoulder a few feet from the feeder. The buck didn’t go down immediately, but staggered around a few feet, before falling down and kicking up dust for several minutes. He said as he watched that spot, waiting for the deer to still, it suddenly popped it’s head up and he said that he thought, “Oh, no! He’s not dead yet!” and that is when he aimed for the head shot, which was his 2nd shot, to bring the buck down.

When Larry and I arrived at the feeder, I saw the body of a buck lying against a mesquite bush. As I was walking toward the buck, I stopped at a pool of frothy lung blood as well as pieces of lung tissue. Another two foot I found a smaller pool of lung blood with a larger piece of lung tissue. However, when I stepped to the downed buck, all I saw was a bullet wound to the head and an exit wound from the neck. I was surprised that the 8mm had left such a small exit wound as it has not in the past been normally so. I looked back at the blood pools with the lung tissue, then back at the downed deer and I told my husband, “There’s another deer out here.”

He stopped and looked at me and the look on his face was pure shock. He repeated what he had told me on the way to the downed buck, but I helped him roll the downed buck over and there were NO shoulder wounds, no other wounds that could account for the lung tissue. He became upset to the point of shaking and because I know that his health isn’t great and his eyesight is failing, I made a judgment call that was morally right, but would turn out to be legally wrong. I told him that I would put one of my buck tags on the downed deer.

He argued with me and told me that I couldn’t do that, but I refused to listen to him and before he probably realized what I was doing, I had tagged the deer with my tag. Because I have not hunted or held a hunting license since the mid to late 80’s, and because I had failed to wear my glasses, I did not read the fine print on the tag that says the date must be cut out as I was struggling enough trying to figure out the dates. I simply inked it in like we were allowed to do years ago.

There was NO force from my husband to do this. I did it because I saw how upset he was and did not wish to see him so.

At this point, though, he was still not 100% convinced that he had actually shot two deer and became a bit aggravated at me for tagging the buck so quickly. He felt sure that once he cleaned the buck he would find evidence that it did indeed have two bullet wounds.

It did not and he ended up even more upset that earlier.

My older son and I returned to the feeder and looked for the other deer for several hours, but found no blood trail past about 20’ from the original large pool of blood and tissue. The deer had zig-zagged, appearing to head to a small draw on the far eastern side of our property. We followed every trail, having to stop at the fence that marks our eastern property boundary. We looked in every thicket we could get in to, around every single bush and we found absolutely nothing. No blood, no deer, nothing.

My husband and I went back down there late that evening and again Sunday morning. We still found no deer and no sign of a wounded deer.

End of my story.

Sunday, November 06, 2011, just before noon, Game Wardens Stannard and Aguilar showed up and the now issued citations are evidence of their presence.

Mine for “Allowing another to hunt under my license” and Larry’s “Hunt under another license”.

My deer was confiscated as evidence, apparently donated to the starving game wardens of Terrell County. My husband was threatened with jail, confiscation of all our firearms and ice chests. Apparently we are supposed to be thankful for their leniency because we allowed them to sadistically humiliate us as they attempted to pit our children against us, as well as us against each other.

I just wonder how many children and parents they cite on youth weekend when daddy’s and momma’s actually hold, point & fire the weapon that brings down a nice buck or doe for Little Johnny or Little Betsy who can’t even lift a gallon milk jug from the refrigerator, let alone lift and hold steady a rifle or shotgun that kicks? Then, Pa or Ma fills out the kids tag, securing it to the deer, even having the kids face and name in the local paper as having killed said deer…when anyone with any degree of intelligence, especially anyone who has ever raised children, knows that Little Johnny or Little Betsy did not shoot that deer! But that’s okay because it allows the TPWD to teach our youngest kids that it’s okay to tell a ‘tiny white lie’ because it’s teaching them ‘be responsible, our next generation of hunters.’ Talk about double standards!

I will add this, not because it will matter to you, but since this letter will be made public as soon as it is completed, I will exert my right to freedom of speech and our story needs to be heard.

My 10 year old son was originally my grandson. He was coerced, bribed and intimidated so that his abuser could abuse him at will. Because I knew something was amiss, long story short, his abuser now sits in a prison cell in Huntsville, Texas. After years of prayer, tears, sleepless nights, physical tolls and thousands of dollars, he is now our legal son and he is SAFE, PROTECTED and LOVED! For anyone, regardless of what kind of badge they wear or gun they carry, to insinuate that my husband or I would EVER harm this child is not only ludicrous and insane, it is UNFORGIVABLE! Aguilar told my husband hat he had better not hear of our child being harmed or retaliated against for ‘telling the truth’.

Furthermore, for ANY person wearing a badge and calling themselves ANY type of law enforcement official to bribe and coerce a 10 year old child when said child remembers that this type of manipulation only leads to pain, horror and broken promises, as far as I am concerned, (as well as many Child Advocacy Centers across the state), that person needs to get out of law enforcement entirely, receive specialized training in how to deal with MINOR children or be thoroughly reprimanded!

*Aguilar supposedly ‘found’ my son behind our house, and begin questioning him about who killed said deer. My son was told by Aguilar that if he told the truth, Aguilar WOULD GIVE HIM A BADGE. My son also told me that he thinks Aguilar said, “Tell me who really shot the deer. It was your Dad wasn’t it?” Minutes later, my son was crying and asked me, “Are you and Dad going to jail?” I asked him why he would say that and he replied with a shaky shrug, “I think someone said it.”

I also saw Aguilar behind our house with my son and the look on my son’s face was one I’d seen before and it was one of fear. I looked up at Aguilar and he ‘scolded’ me, accusing me of giving my son the ‘look’ that I was giving Aguilar. Aguilar read that ‘look’ as my anger at my son for ‘telling the truth’, as well as my guilt. I REALLY wish he could have read that look for what it was!!! From what I remember upon studying the Texas Penal Code several years ago, a minor, especially one under 12 years of age, must have legal representation and/or another adult present any time said child is interrogated. And it was an interrogation as we were all sequestered and not allowed to speak with each other.

And the saddest, most hateful part of this is that Aguilar NEVER gave my son any badge! My son even told me today, “Mom, I guess the real liar was that game warden guy.” And I told my son, “Remember, just because a person carries a gun and wears a badge doesn’t mean you can trust them or believe them.”

My husband was told that he was ’selfish’ for ‘making me use my tag‘. I will defend this by saying that no one forced me to use my tag. I did it in opposition to my husband’s wishes.

My husband was told that the NEXT time ’they’ come out, we had better have EVERYTHING right or else. In other words, ‘they’ will be looking for reasons to harass, embarrass and fine us. Well, at least we now know the continual hell that will be meted out to our family, especially since we will eventually make Terrell County our permanent home!

Concerning the first deer that was shot and lost: Wardens told my husband he HAD to find that deer and tag it. When told that we had looked repeatedly, stopping only at property lines, Wardens said that we HAD to find and TAG that deer. When asked if they could help us, they refused saying that they were too busy. Aside from trespassing onto adjoining properties, we have exhausted all attempts at finding this deer.

My husband and I ARE NOT poachers. We ARE NOT illegal hunters. We ARE NOT lawbreakers. We ARE NOT day-leasers, but property owners as Terrell County tax rolls will prove. We make mistakes because we are human. Last year Stannard gave my husband a warning citation for not filling in a single line on his hunting license. Before Aguilar decided to find a crime where none truly existed, Stannard was in process of writing me a warning for inking in the dates on the tags, instead of cutting them out with my knife. Neither of these instances were ‘crimes’, but simple mistakes that hundreds of hunters make every hunting season. I know because I asked hunters in other counties, as well as a former game warden this very evening.

Just for the record, and because said game wardens insinuated that because I did not hunt last year I was incapable of hunting and killing a deer at all, they are both terribly mistaken! I begin hunting with my mother when I was about four or five, though I was closer to eight before I was allowed to actually carry & fire a weapon. Later, I would also hunt with my grandfather, aunt, brothers and husband. I have shot numerous poisonous snakes, wild hogs, coyotes, raccoons, possums and rabbits. Small game, of course, but something to brag about considering that the target’s heads were smaller…and yet my aim has most always been true and my prey does not get up and walk away. Many women, myself included, are far more accurate in marksmanship than men. I’ve allowed my husband to do all of the hunting for several years now as it satisfies his male ego to be able to provide meat for our table. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, his health is declining, as is his eye sight, and I am not sure how much longer he will be able to provide meat for our table. THAT is the reason I bought my license, with HIS money I might add, this year.

As for our ten year old child saying that ‘Dad shot that deer’. He truly has no way of knowing who shot that deer. None at all. He was asleep in camp and only knows that Dad kills deer and Mom kills varmints. If I arrived in camp dragging a deer behind me while my husband stayed in camp tending to the ten year old, the ten year old would still assume and say that ‘Dad HAD to kill that deer because Mom only kills snakes.’

This entire chaotic episode could have been handled with far less drama. Aguilar was NOT looking for the truth, but to intimidate and bully. Despite any guilt or blamelessness, truths or untruths, morally right or governmental illegalities; coercion, bribery and intimidation of a child is totally unacceptable and completely unforgivable. Their goal was to write a citation, regardless of the reason. I think that on their next visit, which they have promised, if they fail to find issue with our hunting license, I’m sure they will find issue with the way I balance my checkbook, my gender or even my weight! Therefore, from this date forward, I will be chronicling their visits and posting them publicly.

The TRUTH of this entire matter is this…I am publicly admitting to tagging a 9 point buck, shot on our property in Dryden, Texas on the morning of November 05, 2011. I am publicly admitting to loving and protecting my husband and my children by admitting to a wrong in order to appease a couple of overzealous, bullying game wardens. And, I am publicly admitting that the truth is often stranger and much more complicated than fiction and often unable to be comprehended by the simpler minded within our society.

Finally, I have actively been trying to sell my home in Llano County AND in constant contact with Kenn Norris since March of this year as we hope to buy a permanent home within the town of Sanderson, Texas. After this episode, my husband was wanting to let our land go and never ever step foot again in Terrell County thinking these two wardens represent the types of people found in this area. But I think moving to Sanderson, Texas would be absolutely perfect as it will allow me the opportunity to blog about so many things, including my family’s experience with your game wardens.

My husband and I are at your mercy.

Jennifer  Chandler

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