SOMERVILLE, Texas — Labor Day weekend is a time many families spend enjoying the outdoors - which means, game wardens have a little extra work to do in terms of keeping people safe. KRHD spent several hours on Lake Somerville with two Texas game wardens, as they patrolled the area Saturday morning into the afternoon.
Game Wardens Kyle Yoder and Mike Novak started their day on a Texas Parks & Wildlife patrol boat. They made contact with a majority of the boats they spotted.
“Summers, we’re out any given day of the week," Yoder said. "So there’s a chance we could be out Monday through Friday, all weekends. We pay particular attention on busy holiday weekends.”
Upon approaching a vessel, the game wardens would check to ensure that each craft was equipped with important items such as life jackets and fire extinguishers. If the boaters caught any fish, Novak would measure it.
For the late morning hours on Saturday, interactions with boaters were calm, and the public was cooperative. Only one citation was issued for an expired boat registration.
“This time it’s pretty tame," Yoder said. "Y’know, there are little hiccups here and there, but pretty much there’s compliance all the way around.”
While they can make arrests, the law enforcement officers said their job is more focused towards educating the public on boating and hunting safely.
Safety is something that deeply motivates both men.
“In my career, I've probably seen five kid drownings, and they were all due to no life jackets," Novak said. "...when it comes to kids [and life jackets], I’m not very flexible on that.”
Thankfully, the families enjoying lake Somerville this Saturday had safety on their minds, each with life jackets properly available for their children. By the end of the day, Yoder and Novak would be free to return to land, where they would begin patrolling for the opening of dove season.
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