Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 3, 2017
CO Ethen Mapes assisted an elderly woman who had made a wrong turn and drove her vehicle down a snowmobile trail which became stuck near the White Pine Trail parking lot. Snowmobilers on scene assisted as a wrecker removed the vehicle from the trail.
COs Ethen Mapes and Brian Lasanen patrolled Lake Gogebic finding over 15 set lines (fishing lines not in immediate control of the fishermen), one individual fishing without a fishing license, one fisherman in possession of an undersized northern pike, one snowmobiler who failed to attach his trail permit, and multiple tip-ups with improper identifications. Law enforcement action was taken on nine individuals throughout the late night and early morning hours.
CO Brian Lasanen responded to a snowmobile versus car accident. Lasanen was about two miles away when the call was dispatched over the radio. Lasanen was first on scene and attended to the operator of the snowmobile who was complaining of severe leg, arm and chest pain until medical personal arrived on scene. Lasanen also assisted the sheriff’s department with the accident investigation.
COs Ethen Mapes and Nathan Sink conducted an overnight patrol on Lake Gogebic. Several violations were discovered through the night including: 14 set lines, one person fishing without a license and one undersized walleye. Four individuals were cited for failing to have immediate control of their fishing lines, one fisherman was cited for fishing without a license and one angler who was in possession of a 12-inch walleye.
While investigating a snowmobile complaint, CO Shannon Kritz checked a camp in the area that had fresh snowmobile tracks. While checking the camp for anyone present, Kritz observed a deer carcass hanging from the buck pole. Kritz checked the carcass and located foothold traps below the carcass and a turkey stuffed into the chest cavity of the deer carcass. Kritz was able to locate the person responsible for the traps and the turkey. The suspect confessed that the turkey had been caught in his trap and sustained a broken leg. The suspect then shot it. Kritz advised the suspect of the violations associated with shooting the turkey outside the legal season along with illegally using it for trapping bait. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Mark Zitnik, Chris Lynch and Robert Freeborn patrolled the busy snowmobile trails from Munising to Grand Marais. Even with the warmer weather, the COs contacted large numbers of snowmobilers. Overall compliance was good; however, the COs did write six citations for no trail permits, expired registrations and failing to display trail permits and registrations.
CO Pat Hartsig and Sgt. Jerry Fitzgibbon patrolled the Wetmore area for snowmobile activity. Violations such as no trail permits, improper registration placement, and careless operation were addressed.
While checking snowmobilers in Alger County, CO Pat Hartsig stopped a snowmobile that did not have a trail permit on it. The operator produced it from his wallet and stated he didn’t want to place it on his sled because he was saving up for custom decals for his snowmobile. When Hartsig instructed him to put it on his windshield, he was worried about how it would affect his future “wrap” for his sled and didn’t want to affix the permit. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Zitnik along with Alger County Sheriff’s Department received a call of two deer stranded on the ice on Lake Superior. A hovercraft was deployed, Zitnik and the Alger County Sheriff’s Department successfully removed the two stranded deer from the ice and onto the shoreline. Unfortunately, both deer died shortly after.
CO Mark Zitnik was checking anglers on Munising Bay when two anglers attempted to keep the CO away from their shanty. When Zitnik reached the shanty he smelled the strong odor of marijuana. Zitnik asked the angler where the drugs were and the fisherman produced a small mason jar of marijuana, a pipe and a vapor pen with a jar of resin. The 22-year-old said he was trying to get his medical marijuana card but didn’t have it yet. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Lynch successfully served an arrest warrant on a hunter who shot a 6-point buck without a license.
CO Steve Speigl and CO Chad Baldwin responded to a complaint of unattended lines on an Antrim County lake. After searching the lake, the COs were unable to locate any set lines, but did find an angler that was fishing with five lines. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Steve Speigl responded to a complaint of snowmobile trespass in Antrim County. When Speigl arrived on scene, the snowmobiles were gone but the trucks used to transport them were nearby. Speigl acquired the names associated with the trucks and left. A short while later, 10 miles away, Speigl stopped a group of snowmobiles for running stop signs on the trail. The group of snowmobilers was the same as those trespassing earlier. Enforcement action was taken on all violations.
CO Andrea Erratt, Charlevoix County, checked numerous inland lakes for fishing activity. A few verbal warnings were given for no name and address on tip-ups and for no license in possession.
COs Eric Bottorff, Tim Rosochacki, Matt Theunick and Paul Fox patrolled Black Lake and checked two subjects that had left their lines unattended for over an hour. When they returned, the subjects were riding double on an ORV with no helmets. Enforcement action was taken and COs also warned an additional five anglers on the lake for minor violations.
CO Matt Theunick received a complaint about a possible illegal mountain lion that was being transported to Michigan from Colorado. Theunick was able to track down the hunter and verify that the animal was harvested legally and registered in Colorado, as required by law.
COs Brad Bellville and Adam LeClerc, Alpena County, worked a patrol in Alpena County in response to a specific complaint on Fletchers Pond. Specialized surveillance tactics were used and resulted in contact with the targeted group in possession of an undersized pike and an out of season largemouth bass. Enforcement action was taken.
While on patrol, CO Colton Gelinas observed ice fishermen on South Lake Leelanau. Gelinas made contact with two fishermen as they were leaving the lake. It was determined that one of the fishermen did not have a license. Law enforcement action was taken.
Sgt. Michael T. Bomay responded to a Report All Poaching complaint of a subject who fell through the ice while ice fishing. The angler was upset that he fell through a spearing hole that was unmarked and felt that a violation had occurred and failure to mark a spearing hole should be illegal. Bomay advised the complainant that there is nothing in the law requiring an angler to mark where they have been fishing but also provided caution to the angler that anytime walking on frozen lakes a spud or walking stick should be used to check the ice prior to taking a step.
COs Jeff Ginn and Brian Lebel conducted a taxidermy inspection at which they located a head and cape of a Kansas whitetail buck. Their investigation revealed one additional buck being imported illegally from Kansas. Both buck heads and capes were seized and destroyed and the suspects were cited for illegal importation of deer from a CWD state. The taxidermist was subsequently cited for receiving the deer.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was subpoenaed for a jury trial involving a subject who had taken an 8-point buck without a license. After the 9-plus hour jury trial concluded, the defendant was found guilty and was sentenced to five days in jail. The defendant’s hunting was revoked for six years and was ordered to pay $6,000 in reimbursement to the state of Michigan for the deer.
COs Brian Brosky and Kyle Publiski checked a local taxidermist in Mason County and found a tag on a 9-point buck that had not been notched properly. The COs checked retail sales records and found that the female who purchased the license had not taken hunter safety and had no license history. The COs went to speak to the female and she advised them that she indeed took the deer but she only had photos of her husband posing with her first 9-point deer, not herself. The husband confirmed her story, but the COs weren’t buying it. They then advised the woman that she would be receiving a citation for the offense of hunting without hunter safety. That was when her husband decided to tell the truth, admitting to shooting the 9-point and two additional 7 points. He had used her tag for one of his three deer taken in 2016. Enforcement action was taken for the taking an over limit of antlered deer.
While patrolling Lake Margrethe in Crawford County, CO Sam Schluckbier contacted an ice angler with an over limit of northern pike. The angler claimed ignorance and stated that the DNR failed to inform him of the fishing regulation change. Schluckbier informed the man that the changes had been in existence for a few years. The extra fish was seized and a citation was issued for possession of an over limit of northern pike.
CO Mike Hearn contacted a nonresident angler in the process of ice fishing with multiple lines and no fishing license in Kalkaska County. The subject stated he was going to buy a license after his fishing equipment was set up. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Casey Pullum received a complaint of a subject taking deer illegally over multiple years. After completing several months of investigation, he drafted search warrants on four separate residences to recover evidence of the crimes. Pullum enlisted the help of 18 additional COs to assist with the search warrants. When the search warrants were executed simultaneously in both Oscoda and Genesee Counties, various deer antlers, firearms, compound bows and media devices were seized. The evidence is being analyzed and the case is still under investigation.
CO Kyle Bader received information of a bobcat that was shot at night during a local predator hunt in Ogemaw County. He followed up with the hunt coordinator and developed a suspect. Bader interviewed the suspect who advised he was ashamed that he had killed the bobcat in the afternoon, prior to the start of the competition. Bader informed the suspect that he was going to verify the story with as many of the other competitors as he could. The suspect quickly confessed to shooting the bobcat at night to avoid looking like a cheater. Enforcement action is being sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Mike Haas responded to a complaint on Coldwater Lake in Isabella County. An ice angler was driving his 4-wheeler over the ice through dense fog and operating too close to open water. As the machine and ice fishing shanty fell through the ice, the angler was able to jump to safe ice. Two days later, all of the angler’s fishing gear and 4-wheeler were recovered from the lake.
While on patrol in Bay County, COs Dan Robinson and Mike Haas were working the Saginaw Bay. The COs made contact with several anglers, including several just coming off the ice. Robinson made contact with a subject pulling a sled with fishing gear. The subject had 15 yellow perch in a bucket and when asked for his fishing license the subject started digging through his pockets but was unable to produce a license. A check of the retail sales system’s records showed that the subject had not purchased a 2016 fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Joel Lundberg checked an individual in December that was trapping an area of state land in Midland County. Lundberg continued to monitor the area and the trapper and eventually turned up evidence in January of a bobcat that was trapped a month before bobcat season was open. An investigation led to a confession from the trapper to trapping and killing the large male bobcat. The bobcat was seized and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Siemen concluded his investigation involving a suspect that was trespassing on private property during firearm deer season in Sanilac County. The suspect was hunting on a property line and shot an 8-point buck that was on property he was not allowed to hunt. The suspect was questioned and enforcement action was taken.
CO Josh Russell was patrolling the Stanton State Game Area in Montcalm County when he came across a pickup truck blocking a two track. Russell then observed a hunter a short distance away with no hunter orange. As Russell approached, the truck backed up and pulled in a parking area. When the CO made contact he learned the driver of the vehicle was 12 years old and the brother of the hunter. The hunter did not have hunter orange, a case for the firearm, and was also in possession of tobacco while under the age of 18. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Andy Bauer received a complaint of some possible illegal trapping activity. During the course of the investigation, Bauer discovered two raccoons in an untagged live trap that had been transported to the residence from another location. Bauer issued a citation for the untagged trap.
CO Richard Cardenas observed tracks indicating that people on dirt bikes were operating illegally on state game area lands. Cardenas ultimately located three subjects operating dirt bikes who admitted to trespassing onto private property and riding their dirt bikes on state land. Enforcement action was taken
CO Richard Cardenas received an internet complaint referencing a subject who had taken several deer without purchasing his deer hunting license. The investigation resulted in confessions from the subject related to the illegal taking of four antlered deer over the past four years. A warrant was approved for the subject’s arrest and he appeared in court. The subject was ordered to pay $12,250 in reimbursement, and his hunting rights were revoked.
CO Chris Holmes completed a lengthy investigation regarding a subject who had been purchasing licenses unlawfully. During the investigation, Holmes found that the suspect had taken a turkey during the closed season and an antlerless deer from an area other than the DMU the subject had a license for. He also discovered that the suspect had possessed/transported untagged antlered deer. The incidents took place in Ionia, Kalamazoo and Montcalm counties. Charges have been issued in each county totaling 10 misdemeanor counts.
CO Mike Drexler was checking anglers on Silver Lake when he contacted one angler who stated the CO would need to check the system for his fishing license as he did not have it on him. Drexler explained it was required for the angler to have his license with him while he was out fishing. A computer check revealed the subject never purchased a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Goss investigated a complaint of a suspect posting a photo of a dead bald eagle online and claiming to have shot it. Upon interviewing the suspect, it was discovered that he was upset that people were posting photos on a waterfowl hunting site of birds they killed, that they couldn’t identify. In an attempt to ridicule the others on the site, he posted the picture of a dead bald eagle that he found online and then asked them to help identify the bird he had shot. The subject admitted that it wasn’t the smartest thing he’d ever done.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Hillsdale County when he observed an ORV on the roadway. The operator was not wearing a helmet. Contact was made with the operator at their residence and it was also discovered the ORV was not licensed. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Al Mendez responded to a Report All Poaching complaint and contacted a suspect who had a snapping turtle in a dog cage. The suspect stated he had gotten the turtle from a local Eaton County river approximately two months ago. After advising the suspect when snapping turtle season was open, he decided to change his story. The snapping turtle was measured and was two inches too short also. Enforcement action was taken for both violations.
CO Todd Thorn responded to a Report All Poaching complaint of feeding deer at a residence in East Lansing. Thorn found the feed and saw that there were many deer tracks throughout the individual’s yard. Thorn contacted the individual, who was an elderly man, and advised him not to feed the deer any longer as his actions could be helping to spread CWD.
COs Todd Thorn and Troy Ludwig arrested a man at his residence on outstanding DNR warrants. A cellphone was located during the arrest and images of the suspect with additional violations were observed. The cellphone was seized and a search warrant was obtained for the phone. Over 500 photos and other digital data were recovered, and will be submitted as evidence in the case, which included the taking of at least three antlered deer without licenses.
COs Todd Thorn and Matt Neterer contacted a man suspected of taking a deer before purchasing a license. It was a large, trophy-class deer with unique antler features. After a short interview, the man confessed to shooting the deer and purchasing a license afterwards. Charges will be sought through the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.
While on general patrol in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen was checking an angler with six perch. When asked for his license, he said he had lost it, but another CO checked him last week and he was good. Upon checking his license with dispatch, it was found that the angler did not purchase a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken and reimbursement is being sought for the six perch.
While checking waterfowl hunters on the opening day of the late goose season, CO Joseph Deppen and Sgt. Todd Szyska encountered a party of four hunters in Chesterfield Township, Macomb County. Upon inspection of their hunting gear, one hunter was found to be in possession of three lead shot shells in the bottom of his box of steel shells. The hunter said he was new to the sport and did not know those lead shells were in his bag. Enforcement action was taken.