Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars – Sept. 15, 2017

DISTRICT 1

CO David Miller received a complaint from the Baraga office that a disabled individual was in need of assistance with a stinky situation. The individual had a skunk that had gotten inside a garbage can in his garage and was stuck. Miller went to the house, dragged the can outside and around the corner, tipped over the can, and the skunk ran right back into the garage. Next, Miller grabbed the skunk with the catch pole, took him outside were the skunk managed to slip the noose and again ran right back into the garage. Miller then went home, picked up a live trap, set the trap and caught the skunk the next morning.

CO Brian Lasanen was called to assist with a search and rescue of a missing family in the Porcupine Mountain State Park. The group was made up of four adults and seven kids ranging in age from 3 to 16 years old. The family got separated and the kids went one way and the parents went the other way at an intersection in the trails. Lasanen, along with park rangers, sheriff’s deputies, and the Michigan State Police, started to search at 1  a.m. The missing kids were located at about 4 a.m. The kids realized they were lost and wisely stopped and waited until someone came along. All the kids were OK; just cold, hungry, and a little scared.

CO Jared Ferguson and CO Brian Bacon followed up on an illegal bear bait that they have been investigating. Bacon made contact with the suspect and law enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

CO Mark Zitnik and Pictured Rocks Park Ranger Seth Turi were patrolling Lake Superior when dispatch advised them of an injured kayaker. The kayaker was near a section of cliffs off of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore when he hit his head on some rocks. Upon arrival they rendered first aid and transported him to Munising where EMS personnel provided care and transported him to Marquette General Hospital.

CO Mark Zitnik was on patrol when he came across some eager bear hunters training their dogs for the upcoming bear season. Ultimately, illegal early bear bait was discovered and admitted to. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Lynch was doing some follow up on a suspicious deer hunting license purchase. The hunter shot a 9-point without a license then bought a license after the fact. The 9- point was harvested on opening day of 2016. While investigating this case, Lynch learned the father of the hunter had shot two 8-point bucks on opening day of 2015 without a license, then bought the licenses after the fact. A confession was received from both hunters. The combined restitution for the three deer equals $18,500 under Michigan’s new trophy buck laws.

CO Kevin Postma contacted two anglers fishing on Lake George near the back side of Sugar Island. Postma asked them for their Michigan fishing licenses. Both individuals advised that they were residents of Ontario and thought that they were fishing in Ontario waters, therefore, did not need a Michigan fishing license. Postma explained to the fishermen that they were over a mile into Michigan waters. The fishermen were also in violation of several marine safety requirements. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

COs Adam LeClerc and Brad Bellville did a presentation at the Hunt Creek Trout Research facility in Montmorency County for summer campers with Lake Superior State University. The COs explained the DNR hiring process, recruit school, patrol duties and shared a few closed cases. The COs set up and ran the campers through a scenario in which the campers had to figure out who was responsible for the illegal killing of an elk. By examining all of the evidence they found, they were able to determine the suspect shooter.

CO Adam LeClerc assisted in a group patrol on the Au Sable River near Mio in Oscoda County. COs along with officers from the US Forest Service patrolled the river and addressed multiple violations, resulting in several arrests and over 30 citations.

CO Paul Fox was on patrol late one night in Presque Isle County when a 911 call came in regarding an intoxicated female who had assaulted multiple family members. Local deputies were on the opposite side of the county and Fox was the closest unit. Fox responded and separated the parties. He assisted the deputies in the investigation. The female subject was arrested for domestic assault.

CO Chad Baldwin received a complaint on Beaver Island about an individual shooting Canada geese. Baldwin contacted the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the island and after a short investigation, the deputy was able to locate a suspect and confiscated one goose and obtained a statement. Charges are being sought on the suspect.

DISTRICT 4

While patrolling Colfax Township, CO Colton Gelinas and CO Rebecca Hopkins observed a column of smoke on what appeared to be a parcel of state land. The COs tracked the smoke to a marshy section of the Betsie River near Grass Lake in Benzie County. The COs asked for aircraft assistance from Forest Management Division, fire personnel from FRD, and Inland Township Volunteer Fire Department responded. Gelinas and Hopkins, along with Benzie County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol, assisted through the fire suppression process by transporting firefighters and equipment up and down the Betsie River in patrol boats.

CO Hopkins closed out a 2015 case after learning of the subject’s arrest and court sentencing. The warrants were for carrying a concealed pistol in a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. The suspect served 25 days and the firearm was condemned.

CO William Kinney received an anonymous complaint of a wild goose found dead on a lake in Wexford County. The goose was still warm when Kinney found the animal washed up along shore. The complainant remembers seeing a flock of geese in the lake earlier in the day. A short time later the geese flew away in a frantic manner. Afterwards, the complainant witnessed the dead goose floating away. A field necropsy was performed and a small hole was discovered in the goose’s neck. The hole was believed to have come from a small caliber air rifle or BB gun. The surrounding neighbors were questioned in regards to the dead goose. One neighbor admitted to shooting at the flock of geese on the water when they floated in front of his dock. He told the CO he never initially aimed at one particular goose; however, just shot in the general direction to scare them off. He was unaware he had actually hit one until the CO presented the evidence. Case is pending review from the local prosecutor.

DISTRICT 5

COs Ethan Gainforth and Joshua Wright responded to the scene of a marine collision in Clare County. It was a fatal collision that involved the passenger on a tube striking a vessel that was moored at a dock. Both COs led the investigation and it has now been turned over to the Clare County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Steve Lockwood recently sat in wait on an illegal bear bait in Roscommon County. Lockwood watched as the suspect showed up on location with his hounds. The suspect told the others in his group that the bait had been hit and he began to tend the bait and ready his hounds for a chase. Lockwood popped out of the woods and spoiled the excitement for the morning. The houndsman’s first attempt to dodge responsibility was to tell the CO that he was out looking for wild pigs. When that did not work, he just complained that he needed to bait bears early because there were numerous other houndsmen that also had early baits. Nonetheless, Lockwood issued a citation for placing bear bait before established dates.

CO Steve Lockwood was watching an angler from a distance at a remote Gladwin County Lake when he noticed the angler catch a fish. The angler threw the unidentified fish onto shore and Lockwood was able to hear the ‘thud’ as it hit the ground. After additional surveillance, Lockwood approached the subject and made contact. At first, the subject denied any fish, but eventually admitted to the fish that had been thrown in the brush. Unfortunately for him, the fish was an undersized 22-inch northern pike. A citation was issued for the violation.

DISTRICT 6

CO Mark Siemen responded to the Lexington Harbor after receiving a complaint about a dead juvenile mute swan. Once on location, Siemen located and recovered the swan which was not dead, only stuck in the mud. The swan was removed from the mud and returned to its parents without incident. Siemen spoke with multiple bystanders who had stated the same swan was attacked last week by a mink while walking on the shore of the harbor and is currently recovering from its injuries.

CO Joshua Wright assisted the Caro Michigan State Police troopers in locating a missing ORV rider in Tuscola County. The rider had been missing for several hours and with the assistance of the cellphone carrier they were able to locate the rider’s phone. Unfortunately when they located the operator of the ORV, he was found deceased. It was determined that the operator of the ORV was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed and collided with a deer. Both were killed on impact.

DISTRICT 7

CO Greg Patten investigated an illegal charter boat operation out of Whitehall. A subject was caught carrying passengers for hire without a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and taking people on a fishing charter on Lake Michigan. The case has been turned over to the Muskegon Prosecutor’s Office for enforcement action.

CO Jeremy Beavers received a complaint that two people shot and killed a deer on private property north of Ionia. Based on the complainant information, Beavers was able to locate remains of a gutted deer in a nearby bean field, but was unable to locate a carcass or any additional evidence. Beavers then went to the suspect’s house where he observed a truck in the drive way with blood and deer hair in the bed. Beavers made contact with the suspects and explained why he was there. Both subjects stated that they did not kill a deer. He then questioned them about the blood and hair in the bed of the truck and the vehicle owner stated that it was from a coyote. Beavers then stated he was going to take a sample of the blood and have it tested in order to determine the source. The owner of the truck put his head down and said “No, it was not from a coyote.” Beavers then asked if it was from a deer, in particular, a fawn that they shot two days ago. Both subjects then admitted that it was in fact from a fawn. The owner of the residence stated that he was the one who shot the fawn. Beavers seized the firearm used along with the remaining meat from the deer. The subjects then led Beavers to the discarded carcass. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Rich Nickols was on marine patrol on Bruin Lake in Washtenaw County when he observed subjects on a boat waving their arms trying to get his attention. Nickols went to investigate and discovered they had an unconscious male subject onboard who they had pulled from the water. Nickols instructed them to go to the boat launch while he radioed for assistance. At the boat launch Nickols performed CPR as well as utilized an AED. Nickols continued CPR for almost 10 minutes until EMS arrived. The subject was flown to U of M Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The investigation is ongoing with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department. Nickols had checked the subject fishing about two hours prior to the incident and everything seemed fine.

CO Matthew Neterer recovered a dead hawk that was located near the MSU campus by an Ingham County Sheriff’s deputy. There was no apparent cause of death but the hawk was missing all of its tail feathers. The hawk was dropped off at the MSU disease lab where a necropsy will be performed.

CO Matthew Neterer drove by a cornfield and noticed several live traps set on the field’s edge. Neterer found two pie plates containing a blue gel. A short time later a farmer pulled up and admitted to placing fly bait in the pans as an attempt to reduce the raccoon population. The suspect went on to say that he didn’t have the heart to dispatch the animals himself. Neterer explained how dangerous and reckless his actions were to both domestic animals and non-target wildlife. Neterer issued a citation for attempting to take game with poison.

CO Rich Nickols observed a rollover crash in East Lansing. Nickols helped to free people that were trapped in the vehicle, including an infant. Fire and EMS units arrived a short time later to extricate the remaining occupants. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. East Lansing Police Department is handling the investigation.

DISTRICT 9

CO Jason Becker was checking anglers in the Highland Recreation Area and contacted four subjects in a boat complaining about how bad the fishing was. Becker checked the subject’s licenses as they were loading their boat. While talking with the fishermen, Becker discovered that even though the fishing was poor, the subjects still had some fish in the livewell of their boat. When Becker checked the fish, he discovered three under sized bass. The subjects stated that they thought the minimum size for bass was 12 inches. Becker advised them that it has been 14 inches for years and that none of the three fish were even 12 inches long. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jacob Griffin was on patrol in Oakland County when he responded to a complaint of one subject shooting at several geese. While in route, Griffin communicated the complaint to CO Chris Knights who was nearby. The COs canvased the area and spoke with some local residents to obtain additional information. Griffin and Knights quickly located the responsible subject who was in possession of four geese. The COs seized the four geese, the shotgun used, and the subject was informed that he was in violation of state and federal laws. Enforcement action was taken.

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