Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 8, 2017

DISTRICT 1

CO Brian Bacon assisted an older gentleman walking down the roadway after his tractor ran out of gas. The subject was very thankful for the ride back to his residence.

CO Jared Ferguson and Sgt. Marc Pomroy assisted Cpl. Dave Painter with a hunter safety field day in Dickinson County.

CO Jared Ferguson and CO Brian Bacon assisted DNR Forest Management Division with the removal of a gate blocking an easement agreement with the state of Michigan and local land owners.

CO Jeffrey Dell located several traps set along a county road behind no trespassing signs. After checking with the property owners, it was determined that no one had permission to trap their respective properties. A suspect was identified and confessed to setting the traps. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Jeffrey Dell and Jeremy Sergey received a complaint of a large bait pile at a camp. Investigation into the bait pile led to the discovery of several violations including illegal ORV trails, and blinds on state land as well as over an acre of state land being clear-cut. A suspect was contacted and confessed to the over bait, which was enough sugar beets to fill a truck bed, the ORV trails, illegal blinds and clearing the state land. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeffrey Dell located a hunter in an illegal blind on state land. When asked about the illegal ORV trail that the subject had made through state land, the subject stated he didn’t think anything was wrong because he had been doing this for years. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeffrey Dell contacted a father and son hunting grouse on state land. The son was approximately 10 years of age and was carrying a small pellet gun. When asked if they had gotten any birds, the father said no. The son said, “Well, we got that one.” When asked where that bird was, the father explained that they had shot a chickadee with the pellet gun but had not killed it. The father was educated on the differences between game and non-game species.

DISTRICT 2

COs Bobby Watson and Mark Zitnik were on an evening patrol at a local duck hunting hot spot. The two COs made contact with a pair of duck hunters. The COs conducted a routine check, which revealed the duck hunters were not in possession of their hunting licenses. The two hunters also failed to produce the proper PFDs. Watson explained the dangers of two grown men being in a small, flat bottom boat in inclement weather without having any flotation devices. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Lynch received a complaint of a deer that was possibly illegally taken. Further follow-up on the complaint revealed enough information to obtain a search warrant. With the assistance of Sgt. Jerry Fitzgibbon and CO Pat Hartsig, the search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence. Evidence was seized and a full confession was obtained from the suspect. The suspect shot a spike horn with a rifle, no deer license and within the safety zone. The search also turned up illegal drugs. The deer meat was turned over to a meat processor to be distributed to local veterans in need. A report will be submitted to the Delta County prosecutor’s office for review.

CO Chris Lynch was on patrol when he located a large litter pile on state land. A search of the pile and multiple interviews lead to the responsible party. The responsible party cleaned up the pile and enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Jerry Fitzgibbon assisted a state trooper who was dealing with a conflict between a trapper and a dog owner. The owner of the dog was upset that his dog had spent the night caught in a leg hold trap that was set in a residential area where many people walk their dogs. The land is undeveloped property that is uninhabited. The dog was taken to the vet with minor injuries to its foot. The trapper was advised to pull his traps as the landowner was not pleased to find out traps were set on their property. A ticket was issued for not having a tag on the trap that had been set.

CO Rob Freeborn represented law division on the DNR panel on the “Ask the DNR program.” Many questions were answered on the live TV call-in show on TV 13 out of Marquette.

CO Calvin Smith assisted wildlife division and a local trapper with releasing a wolf that was caught in a leg hold trap.

DISTRICT 3

COs Chad Baldwin and Steve Spiegel responded to a late night 911 call. A woman heard a noise outside of her house and her fiancé went outside to check and claimed to have seen a man run through the woods. During additional questioning the man said that he had seen glowing reflective eyes when he shone his light in the woods. The officers then confirmed that what the man had seen was actually a deer.

CO Tim Rosochacki received a Report All Poaching complaint of an individual in Otsego County, Hayes Township that had failed to tag a buck. Rosochacki made contact with the suspect who admitted to shooting the deer but was unable to track it the evening he shot it. When he returned the following morning, he located the buck which had been mostly consumed by coyotes. The subject retained the head of the animal and left the rest for the coyotes. Enforcement action was taken.

CO William Webster made contact with a hunter in Alpena County who asked to have his deer aged. Webster followed the hunter to his vehicle and while walking to the car the hunter explained to the CO that he had shot the deer the night before and decided to bring it in and get a patch and have it checked. Webster examined the buck and then looked at the kill tag. The kill tag was purchased 40 minutes prior to the deer getting to the DNR check station. Webster asked the hunter why he waited to buy his tag and he said he just kept putting it off. The deer was seized and enforcement action was taken.

CO Kelly Ross responded to a complaint in Montmorency County of a subject who found a coyote in a trap. The subject stated that when he attempted to release the coyote, that the coyote bit him. Ross explained to the subject that it was unlawful for him to try and remove an animal from a legally set trap. The trap was returned to the trapper with an explanation of what had transpired.

DISTRICT 4

CO Colton Gelinas and CO William Kinney responded to a deer that had been shot by a rifle. The COs arrived on scene and spoke with the suspect. The suspect had a DMAP license to harvest the buck, however there were other numerous violations present on scene. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Colton Gelinas met with a farmer in Leelanau County and toured his property. The farmer is allowing hunters the right to access his property via foot and hunt his property. The farmer enrolled his land into the HAP program. Gelinas became familiar with the property in case of any future calls to this property.

CO Rebecca Hopkins was given information from Report All Poaching dispatch that a subject had posted taking an 8-point whitetail on social media. A RSS search revealed the subject had not purchased a deer license for 2017. Further investigation by Hopkins revealed a friend of the subject bought a license on the same day the deer was taken. It was the only purchase in RSS for the friend. An interview revealed the friend did purchase and give the subject the deer license for the deer posted on social media. A warrant request was made to the County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a deer without a license and using the license of another. The subject is currently evading police and is wanted for nine other court warrants.

CO Ryan Andrews discovered an 8-point buck at a processor with an un-validated date on the tag. The logbook and receipts from the processor showed that the deer was dropped off the same day the license was purchased and the license was purchased an hour after shooting hours ended. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Shively was working a shining patrol in Oceana County in the rain when he observed multiple lights coming from a vehicle traveling down the road. Shively was able to follow the car and after watching them shine two other fields conducted a traffic stop on the Newaygo County line. Both the driver and rear passenger had spotlights sitting next to them and when asked why they were shining in November both subjects just put their heads down. Both subjects were cited for shining in November.

DISTRICT 5

Following up on a complaint received in July, COs Mike Hearn and Sam Schluckbier contacted a group of hunters in Kalkaska County. The group was using their neighbor’s private property and adjacent state land to build permanent elevated hunting blinds. They were also posting state land with no trespassing signs, baiting early, baiting excessively, making their own trails with ORVs, transporting bows and crossbows uncased on ORVs, as well as building a structure over a creek without approval from DEQ. While being interviewed by the COs, the hunters admitted to harvesting two deer the day before. Upon returning to their camp to check the deer, one of the deer was found to be untagged. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Brian Olsen responded to a complaint of a dead deer in a field in Crawford County. The complainant obtained a license plate number off a nearby vehicle after noticing flashlights outside his residence around 1 a.m. Olsen used prior forensic training to determine the time of death for the deer to be around 10 p.m. Olsen and CO Ben McAteer interviewed the registered owner of the vehicle along with his girlfriend. Initially, they told the COs they were out looking at the stars. However, after being confronted with additional evidence, they quickly confessed to shooting the deer around 10 p.m. and returning at 1 a.m. with the intent to retrieve it. Charges are being sought through the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Kyle Bader stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in Ogemaw County while exiting the woods nearly two hours after the close of hunting hours. The driver claimed they were tracking a deer, but were unable to locate it. Further investigation revealed that the driver did not possess a valid driver’s license, did not have valid insurance and had a fraudulent plate on the vehicle. Enforcement action was taken and the vehicle was towed.

DISTRICT 6

CO Mark Siemen received multiple complaints about fishermen snagging and netting Atlantic salmon in the Lexington Harbor. While working a late night shift in the harbor, Siemen watched four subjects for a period of time fishing by the boat ramps. Siemen watched the subjects put large nets in the water, and after a short period of time saw them net a fish and pull it up on shore. At this time Siemen made contact with the subjects and an argument took place with one of the subjects, who was upset about being caught for fishing by an illegal method. Siemen called for backup from Lexington Police Department, which arrived quickly to assist. All four subjects were issued citations for multiple offenses and evidence was seized and photographed.

COs Joel Lundberg and Steve Lockwood pulled into a gas station and were filling the patrol truck shortly after dark. Lundberg and Lockwood were discussing a vehicle at the gas station they believed had a turkey in the truck bed. The COs contacted the driver and passenger of the truck as the COs walked by. Lockwood discovered a loaded rifle in the cab of the truck that had an illuminated night scope mounted on it. The driver finally admitted to shooting the turkey with the rifle, without having a license and along with shooting the five squirrels in the truck also without a license. The COs followed the driver back to his house where they located two illegal bobcats and four illegally killed/possessed antlered deer. The interviews with the driver ultimately led to the confession of killing some nice bucks with a rifle out of season and taking the bobcats without a fur harvester license. The bobcats, squirrels, deer, turkey and gun were all seized and enforcement action taken.

CO Joel Lundberg contacted a hunter on state land that was illegally smoking marijuana as he was walking into his blind. Lundberg asked to do a consent search of his vehicle and the hunter agreed. Even though the hunter stated nobody had gotten a deer yet this year, Lundberg located a bloody handbag under the tonneau cover on the bed of the truck. Lundberg followed the hunter back to a cabin, the same cabin Lundberg seized deer from two years ago. The hunter advised Lundberg about a deer at the cabin, but when he arrived, there were two bucks hanging in the barn. Both bucks had tags on them that had been purchased just hours before (midday) and one deer had a tag on it that was borrowed from a relative. The deer were seized and enforcement action was taken. The individuals stated they were “done hunting because they keep getting tickets.”

DISTRICT 7

CO Justin Ulberg stopped a vehicle for shining after hours in Kent County. While the minor subjects were not in possession of any weapons, they were in possession of alcohol and had been drinking. Enforcement action was taken.

While patrolling a closed section of the Black River in Van Buren County, CO Tyler Cole observed two subjects attempting to snag salmon. One subject had hooked into a salmon and after two minutes of fighting the fish, his line snapped. The subjects then discussed if the walk back to the car to retrieve more treble hooks was worth the time. One subject decided it was not worth the time and picked up a large stick from the edge of the river. The subject proceeded to enter the river and attempt to take salmon by hitting the fish in the head with the stick. After failing at this venture for a few minutes, the subjects left the area to retrieve more treble hooks. Contact was made with the subjects at their vehicle and citations were issued for fishing in a closed stream and using an illegal method of take.

CO Matt Page, while conducting a meat processor inspection, observed a small buck tagged with a restricted combo tag. The buck did not have 4 points on one side; additionally the tag was wrapped around the antler in an effort to hide the tagging violation. Page made contact with the hunter who stated he has been hunting for over 20 years and claims he did not know. A citation was issued for the tagging violation. 

DISTRICT 8

CO Mike Drexler responded to a Livingston County complaint where hunters shot a bobcat that was attacking their dog. The hunters rushed the dog to the vet after shooting the bobcat. When they returned (with Drexler) they discovered the bobcat was caught in a foothold trap that likely resulted in the conflict with the dog. Due to the circumstances, no enforcement action was taken. The dog was released with minor injuries to its head.

CO Jeff Goss received a hunter harassment complaint stating that the complainant had trail cam photos of someone dumping an unknown substance on his bait pile. When Goss made contact with the suspect, he admitted to tampering with the bait pile because he was upset about how close the other man was hunting to his stand. When asked what he dumped on the bait, the suspect replied, “Deer be gone.” After explaining that it is a misdemeanor violation to harass someone who is legally hunting, Goss didn’t have the heart to tell the man that his attempt to scare off the deer didn’t work anyway. According to the complainant, deer were observed licking the substance off the bait. Charges are being sought through the Calhoun County Prosecutor.

CO Matthew Neterer received a Report All Poaching complaint advising that a man from the Stockbridge area was bragging on Facebook about killing a nice buck early that morning. A check of the hunter’s RSS history showed that he purchased his deer hunting licenses two hours after he admitted to killing the buck. Neterer arrived at the residence a short time later to find a 9-point buck that was not tagged or field dressed and still had the arrow sticking out of it. The hunter gave a full confession and stated that the deer wasn’t tagged or field dressed because he was too tired and wanted to take a nap first. Neterer took the deer and enforcement action was taken.

CO Matthew Neterer made several attempts to contact a hunter who had placed bait near a ladder stand in the Stockbridge area early in the archery season. The hunter placed bait and a trail camera just over the fence line on property that he didn’t have permission to hunt. Neterer was finally able to catch up to someone sitting in the stand and discovered that they were hunting without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

CO Joseph Deppen and Sgt. Todd Szyska worked a Report All Poaching complaint concerning trespassing on private property and a possible over limit of deer in Macomb County. COs responded to the address and spoke with a hunter leaving the property with his crossbow and self-climber in hand. The hunter did not have any hunting licenses on him and he had multiple bags of carrots and apples in his truck. The COs followed the hunter to his stand and he was found to be over the 2-gallon bait limit. The hunter was educated on ethical hunting and enforcement action was taken.

While working a late-night patrol in southern St. Clair County, CO Ken Kovach observed a vehicle slowing at different fields as it traveled down the road. After a while, Kovach witnessed the occupants of the vehicle start to shine select fields. A traffic stop was conducted and enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Lasher received a complaint from a boater who had come across duck decoys left out overnight. The boater got his prop entangled in the decoy lines and ended up pulling all 36 decoys knowing they were not legally set after 9 p.m. Lasher spoke to the caller and then called the local police department to see if anyone had reported the decoys stolen. A subject had called and reported his decoys being stolen and the name matched the name on the bottom of the decoys. Contact was made and the decoys will be returned and enforcement action will be taken.

CO Jacob Griffin received a complaint of suspicious activity from an Oakland County farm involving the taking of several deer. Griffin investigated the complaint to discover that the farm held several DMAP deer permits. After multiple interviews Griffin discovered that one subject hunting the farm was in violation of the DMAP permit restrictions regulating the taking of deer on the farm. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Justin Muehlhauser received a call from The Metro Police Authority of Genesee County regarding a suspicious vehicle located at the closed down Swartz Creek Raceway. The CO located a vehicle which appeared as though it belonged to a hunter. The property was clearly posted against trespassing and is patrolled regularly. Muehlhauser and Dragomer were tied up on another complaint at the time. After a short while, the officer called back and said that he had a suspect detained. The officer was able to track down the hunter and checked his license status. The COs cleared their original complaint and met up with the officer. The suspect stated he was just looking for a good place to hunt and the raceway looked very promising. He scouted the area the day before and setup to hunt on this particular evening. He admitted that he did not have a hunting license and disregarded the no trespassing signs. Enforcement action was taken.

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