Thu, Feb 19, 2015
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom
One of the duties of Game Warden Stephen Ingram is to lead youth hunts.As a Game Warden, Stephen Ingram leads youth hunts.
As a Game Warden with Texas Parks & Wildlife, Ingram has all the powers of a state law enforcement officer, as well as responsibilities for hunting and fishing regulations and water safety. “There is no telling what I will come across; I have to deal with it,” said Alumnus Ingram, who graduated with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management in 2012.
Ingram has worked drug and human trafficking interdiction at the border.During his career, Ingram has worked all over the state and has handled a diverse array of cases. He is based out of the Huntsville office and is assigned to Walker County and surrounding areas.
One of his most memorable hunting cases involved a large, antlered deer shot illegally on a local ranch. The headless animal was found inside the perimeter of a high-fenced portion of the ranch. By following a clearing in the woods, Ingram was soon able to identify a shooting suspect from a nearby house, who confessed to killing the deer. But the suspect, who was found guilty of a felony offense, swore he didn’t take the trophy head.
Ingram holds the trophy deer head found in the case.Ingram recalled interviewing a neighbor in the case who appeared vague and nervous. After getting consent to search the property from the man’s wife, Ingram discovered a 55 gallon drum with an old door on top, secured with a large piece of cement. Inside, he found the deer head and charged the homeowner with criminal trespass and tampering with evidence.
“We did a full investigation, which included forensics, DNA and blood analysis in that case,” said Ingram. “Over time, you develop an extra sense – something was giving me the feeling that something was not right with this guy.”
Drugs seized along the border.In addition to enforcing hunting and fishing laws, Game Wardens now rotate in service on the U.S. - Mexico border, watching for human trafficking or drug smuggling into the country. During two shifts on the border, Ingram was involved in a boat pursuit which yielded 2,300 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $1.8 million as well as human trafficking cases, where steady streams of 20 to 30 unauthorized migrants – mostly women and children – attempted to cross into the U.S.
Most of his time is spent in the Walker County area enforcing wildlife laws and monitoring water safety. He works on the Trinity River and on Lake Conroe, which had the highest number of boating fatalities in the state last year with three deaths attributed to boating accidents and one to drowning. He often boards boats on the lake to check on the sobriety of drivers and for the presence of flotation devices for each member onboard.
Ingram also promotes the responsible use of natural resources by youth. In addition to assisting with hunter education courses, Ingram is involved with Operation Outdoors, which organized hunting trips for groups of youth, and Kid Fish, which allows kids to experience the sports on nearby waterways.
Ingram poses with a contestant at a KidFish event.Over the last two years, opportunities for Game Wardens are expanding, with the introduction of special teams, such as K-9 Units, marine tactical teams and forensic reconstruction of boating accidents.
Before joining Texas Parks & Wildlife, Ingram worked as a teacher for five years while he waited to become a game warden. He said the process is “very, very competitive.”
“I wanted to work in the field with hunting, fishing and water activities outdoors,” Ingram said. “To become a game warden, you have to have a four year degree and a squeaky clean record. There may be only 20 spots, but there are 1,000 applicants.”