Texas Game Warden Michael Hummert grew up in the small town of Grandview, roughly 30 miles south of Fort Worth. Much of his youth was spent fishing, and he and his dad even enjoyed competing in bass fishing tournaments together—his dad in the adult competitions, and Michael, in the youth.
Photos by Lauren Hummert Photography
His family also grew up reading Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, and one story had a profound impact on him during his senior year of high school. According to Hummert, “Growing up, we had a subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, and there was an article called ‘A Game Warden’s Life.’ It seemed like a really interesting job, getting to be outdoors and give back to the hunting and fishing community that I had been a part of most of my life.”
Hummert went on to pursue his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. In 2004, he applied and was selected for the Texas Game Warden Summer Internship. “I got to spend all summer riding with the game wardens in Region II, all around the Dallas-Fort Worth area and up north to Lake Texoma. After spending the summer on the lake, boating and learning the job, I decided this was definitely the job I wanted to do.”
After graduating from the Game Warden Training Academy in 2008, he received his first assignment. “My first duty station was in Laredo for two years. Then I was transferred to Grayson County, so I went from South Texas to far North Texas, and I stayed there for eight years.”
“My wife and I met at college in Stephenville, so we had always said that if a spot in Erath County came up, we would put in for it. In 2018, the county came open, so I put in for it and got it! We moved and have been here ever since.”
Hummert and his wife are now raising their own family just west of Hummert’s hometown, and now he gets to pass down his and his dad’s favorite pasttime by taking his 10-year-old son fishing. “My son loves fishing, and that’s primarily what we do now.” His 7-year-old daughter, however, may need more convincing. “My daughter also likes to fish some, but she’s really into gymnastics, so that’s her favorite thing at the moment.”
Has his experience lived up to his expectations after reading that game warden article back in high school? “I would say definitely so. Still the best job in law enforcement as far as I’m concerned! The good part about our job is that it constantly changes. Right now, it’s summertime and it’s hot, and it’s tiring to be on the lake day in and day out, but dove season is right around the corner, and then deer season. It helps to keep you from getting burned out because what we are doing constantly changes.”
And change hasn’t only come with the seasons. Since becoming a game warden 15 years ago, technology has also proven to be a game-changer out in the field and in Hummert’s everyday duties. “When I first started, drones weren’t even a thing, and now we’ve had the drone department since 2018, which I’ve been a part of for a little over a year.”
As part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program, Hummert is an FAA-licensed remote pilot, and he has a drone on hand and ready to go for any mission, including lifesaving search and rescue efforts. “I had a missing person case in Callahan County in June, and the family and sheriff’s office had been searching for a family member with special needs for 4 ½ hours, and we were able to find him in less than 30 minutes.”
“They are such a powerful tool. Who would’ve thought ten years ago that we’d have these little mini helicopters. We are able to get these drones out there in the field, throw them up, and get straight to work.” And, over time, drones have been used for more efforts than just search and rescue. “I’ve responded to several brush fires in the county. I’ve been able to fly an overwatch for the fires, which allowed our emergency management coordinators to watch the live stream so they can decide where they need to allocate their resources. I’ve also done aerial crash mapping for the local highway patrol troopers, and I even helped with an unfortunate string of bomb threats at the local school by checking the rooftop and keeping an eye in the sky for anything unusual.”
Through the generosity of donors, Gear Up for Game Wardens has helped Texas Game Wardens keep the UAS program going strong by providing the vast majority of the drones in their arsenal. Donors have also helped secure other vital specialty equipment your Texas Game Wardens need to maintain safety and ensure the highest level of service for the people of Texas, including all-terrain vehicles, airboats, funding to replace retiring K-9s, and more.
“The support from the Gear Up for Game Wardens program shows that we have the public’s support behind what we do. It makes me proud to be a game warden. Having so many people supporting us and ensuring we have the equipment that we need is a great thing. There are really no words to adequately describe it, but it’s appreciated beyond measure.”