LAMPASAS — Keeping up with deer hunters in Lampasas County is a two-man job. Lampasas County game wardens Shaun Bayless and Lance May have embraced the task.
“We anticipate a good year,” Bayless said. “Creeks are flowing; tanks are up so the deer have plenty to drink. We are seeing a lot of good, mature deer.”
A good deer season means lots of hunters and plenty of work, he said.
“We are burning the midnight oil,” he added.
After Bayless and May graduated together from the game warden academy in Austin in 2007, they both reported for duty in West Texas. Bayless went to work in Gaines and Andrews counties. May headed to nearby Lamb, Bailey and Cochran counties.
Bayless got to Lampasas County 3½ years ago. May joined him this spring.
“In this county, we are extremely busy in October with (Managed Land Deer Permit) and bow season,” Bayless said. “Now that rifle season has started, we are working nights.”
Most landowners with 100 acres or more have deer leases used by out-of-town hunters, he said, so the wardens stay busy visiting the deer camps.
Out-of-towners make up about 80 percent of the deer hunters, Bayless said. Many have been hunting the same land for 20 years.
While they sometimes split up the workload, May and Bayless are usually on the buddy system when making camp visits, particularly at night.
“When checking the camps, it is better to have two,” May said.
“You have to have your head on a swivel” during hunting season, Bayless said. “It is all about staying safe.”
About 95 percent of the hunter camps pose no trouble, Bayless said. “Most of the hunters are happy to see us and know us by name.”
The wayward 5 percent keep the duo busy. While most infractions are tagging or license issues, Bayless said, some violations are more serious.
“We have had some road-hunting situations, some issues with alcohol and drugs,” he said.
As licensed peace officers, Texas game wardens are willing and able to enforce all state laws, usually in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
Bayless and May said they enjoy a close working relationship with Lampasas County Sheriff David Whitis and his staff.
“The whole department is outstanding — the investigators, the deputies. We work hand in hand with them,” Bayless said.
Call Bayless at 325-203-7817 and May at 512-734-1627.