Dustin Dockery never knows what he may encounter during the workday. The Texas game warden who was born and raised in Baytown, Texas turned to a law enforcement career after a stint as a salesman and a professional minor league baseball umpire. Dockery said that he grew up fishing and duck hunting in the waters that he now patrols.
Texas employs 550 game wardens and as Dockery explained, just about anything can happen. One day a 9-11 call came in when a kayaker got caught against a saltwater barrier, Dockery assisted at the scene performing CPR after the kayaker was released and taken to the shore. Unfortunately, the man, Chadd Burke, was pronounced dead a short time later. Upon returning to the spot where it happened, Dockery gets sentimental. “You just want to go home to your wife and your kid and just hug them a little tighter,” he said.
On another day, Dockery came across a man on the Trinity River shooting at nutria from his boat. Nutria are giant swamp rats but as Dockery explained, “You can’t ride around in a boat and shoot at them. It’s no different than on a public roadway.”
The four-year veteran disclosed that game wardens depend on informants to help them do their jobs. When Dockery recovers illegal game from hunters, he will oftentimes give it to one of his informants as a reward. He said that by helping the informant feed his family, they will then offer up every tip they come across.
In addition to the excitement of his duties as a game warden, Dockery is part of reality show “Lone Star” which airs on Animal Planet. Dockery believes that the show has helped show the public the day-to-day life of a game warden. He calls himself and other game wardens stewards of the resources of Texas.