Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 27, 2018

DISTRICT 1

Conservation Officer Ethen Mapes was patrolling Lake Gogebic after the close of walleye and pike season when he discovered four unattended tip-ups. Eventually a subject came to check the lines and was found not to have a license. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, fishing with more than three lines and failing to be in immediate control of his fishing lines.

CO Brian Lasanen contacted a fisherman on Lake Gogebic who had a couple of walleye lying in plain view. Lasanen asked the angler if he knew when walleye season closed, and the angler stated “today.” Lasanen advised him that the season had closed the day earlier. A short time later, another subject arrived, and Lasanen overheard the fisherman state, “If I knew the DNR was coming, I would have hid the walleye.” Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Lasanen and Sgt. Grant Emery conducted a snowmobile sound meter patrol in the city of Houghton near the waterfront. One snowmobiler was ticketed for failing to attach his trail permit.

CO Ethen Mapes responded to a 911 call where a woman heard her husband fall in the bathroom. When Mapes arrived, he found that the man was having a medical emergency and had fallen against the door of the bathroom which trapped him inside. Mapes was able to gain entry and assist the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office and medical personal to extract the man from the bathroom.

CO Jeffrey Dell responded to a complaint of a dead eagle. The eagle was recovered and turned over to Wildlife Division staff for follow-up regarding the cause of death.

CO Brett DeLonge conducted a presentation to the Northern Michigan University Fish & Wildlife Club. DeLonge discussed the role conservation officers play in protecting Michigan’s natural resources.

DISTRICT 2

CO Chris Lynch was on patrol on Little Bay de Noc when he noticed one ice shack where someone was recently fishing. A look through the window revealed a tip-up that was frozen into the ice. The tip-up was removed and observed to be baited with a live minnow. Lynch contacted the owner at his residence to return the tip-up, along with a citation for the unattended line.

COs Chris Lynch and Michael Evink conducted an interview of a hunter who was suspected of shooting a buck and using a tag of another to tag the deer so he could keep hunting. The hunter confessed to the violations and enforcement action was taken for attempting to take an over-limit of bucks and using a kill tag of another.

COs Chris Lynch and Michael Evink are working ongoing complaints relating to crop damage deer permits in the Garden Peninsula.

CO Kevin Postma and Probationary CO (PCO) Nick Ingersoll conducted an ice fishing patrol on Lake George. The COs made several contacts with anglers and no violations were observed. The anglers were happy to see the COs out patrolling.

CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nick Ingersoll followed up on a complaint they received from the RAP hotline about someone throwing things at and harassing snowy owls. After a few days of patrolling the area where the complaint came in, the COs were able to identify a subject. The COs interviewed the suspect at his residence. The suspect was a photographer, who was trying to get shots of the snowy owls flying. The COs asked him if throwing things at the snowy owls was considered harassing. He admitted that it could be considered harassing if they flew away. The COs issued a warning for harassing snowy owls and told him to stop.

CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nick Ingersoll patrolled Drummond Island. The COs made several contacts with anglers on Scotts Bay. The COs gave warnings for failure to display ORV registration and fail to attach snowmobile registration. Overall, the anglers were happy to see the COs out patrolling.

COs Colton Gelinas and Calvin Smith responded to a residential house alarm in Mackinac County. Upon further investigation it was determined that the homeowner was not in distress and accidentally pressed the 911 button on the telephone.

COs Colton Gelinas, Calvin Smith and Mark Zitnik participated in a Cops vs. Robbers basketball fundraiser at Engadine High School. All proceeds went to the Engadine Senior Class.

COs Colton Gelinas and Calvin Smith contacted a group of anglers and it was determined the anglers were fishing with too many lines. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

CO Paul Fox and Sgt. Mike Mshar investigated a complaint in Montmorency County of an elaborate illegal ground blind, property fence, posted signs and food plots being maintained on state forest property. The subject was contacted. During the contact, the subject claimed squatter’s rights on the state-owned land. Law enforcement action was taken.

CO Jon Sklba responded to a complaint in Presque Isle County of an injured baby owl. After contacting the complainant, it was determined to be a screech owl that was not injured at all.

COs Jon Sklba and William Webster responded to a complaint of an ice shanty that was left out on Long Lake in Presque Isle County, after the deadline to remove them. After locating the shanty, the owner was contacted. The owner of the shanty removed the shanty the following day. Enforcement action was taken.

CO William Webster handled a couple of complaints of dead deer in the Hubbard Lake area. A DNR Wildlife Biologist determined the deer had died of starvation.

COs Nathan Sink and Kyle Cherry were dispatched to two different dead elk located in and around the Pigeon River County State Forest. The COs continue to investigate possible causes of death.

CO Nick Torsky and PCO Danielle Zubek are investigating a possible over-limit of deer taken during the 2017 season. Information was given that an individual had taken three bucks throughout the season last year. Interviews and evidence collection is currently ongoing.

DISTRICT 4

CO Sean Kehoe was contacted by a subject who reported seeing someone cutting live cherry trees on state land. The subject was able to get a license plate and passed it on to Kehoe, who followed up with the local business the plate came back to and they provided the information of the employee who was borrowing the trailer. Kehoe contacted that subject who admitted to cutting the trees. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Patrick McManus received information on a dead bald eagle near the Leland Harbor. Upon retrieving the bird, McManus did not notice any initial signs of foul play. The eagle has been sent to Michigan State University for further investigation and testing.

CO Sam Koscinski and PCO Cody Smith followed up on a RAP complaint of a deer harvested without a license. After interviewing the individual, they admitted to not having a license when the animal was harvested. The situation was discussed and enforcement action was taken.

CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Stephen Butzin worked a targeted marine safety patrol on the Pere Marquette River. While patrolling, Publiski and Butzin issued citations for failing to have life jackets and stressed the importance of having life jackets readily accessible.

CO Troy Van Gelderen was conducting surveillance on a group of fishermen across the White River. Van Gelderen saw one of the subjects hook and land a large walleye. The walleye was hooked in the belly of the fish, but the fishermen took the hook out, looked around, and then ran the fish to his truck. Van Gelderen went across the river and explained that he saw everything, and even showed the fisherman where the hook wound was in the belly. A ticket was issued for retaining a foul-hooked fish.

CO Troy Van Gelderen was conducting surveillance on a small creek that contained spawning steelhead trout. A family of six people came down to look at the fish. After a while they sharpened sticks and began chasing the fish around in a group effort trying to spear and club the fish. Van Gelderen eventually made his presence clear and issued tickets for attempting to take fish illegally.

CO Ben Shively and PCO Zachary Painter were checking anglers along the White River on March 16 when they located two anglers who were done fishing and walking back to their vehicle. One angler was in possession of a walleye, wrapped in a sweatshirt and tucked under his arm. The walleye was seized and the subject was cited for taking walleye during the closed season.

DISTRICT 5

Upon receiving information of suspicious fishing activity, CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jeremy Cantrell responded and set up surveillance on an angler on Manistee Lake in Kalkaska County. For two hours the angler was observed fishing with six tip-ups well after dark. Upon leaving the lake, the subject was stopped on his ORV while traveling home. He was found to be in possession of two walleye during the closed season, as well as operating the ORV with a suspended driver’s license. The subject was arrested for the multiple offenses.

CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jeremy Cantrell responded to a residence in Kalkaska County to investigate a shooting complaint. The homeowner was concerned over reckless shooting that had occurred near his property. Upon arrival, the COs were shown evidence where multiple firearms were used to shoot at trees and beer can targets on the homeowner’s property. A tree had also been destroyed by an explosion. The COs collected evidence and a possible suspect was identified. The case remains under investigation.

COs Josh Wright and Ethan Gainforth observed untagged traps in the bed of a pick-up truck that was parked on state land near the Missaukee/Clare county line. The COs conducted a foot patrol to locate the trapper. Once contact was made with the trapper, it was revealed that all the traps in his possession were also untagged. After further investigation, the trapper admitted to trapping a bobcat without a kill tag in December. He then had a friend tag and seal it for him. The COs interviewed the friend and the story was corroborated. The friend admitted to sealing the bobcat under his name and falsely claiming it was taken during hunting season in Osceola County. Charges for the violations are being sought for both parties through the Missaukee County Prosecutor’s Office.

DISTRICT 6

CO Will Brickel and PCO Josh Boudreaux were patrolling in Saginaw County for activity during the walleye closure. Multiple anglers were contacted that were using artificial lures during the closed season. Some of the anglers also had warrants for their arrest. Tickets were issued for the fishing violations and the warrants were dealt with.

CO Robert Hobkirk received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint that an individual who was perch fishing on Mud Creek had caught and kept two walleye. The complainant informed the RAP dispatcher that he had told the fisherman that the season for walleye was currently closed and also that the walleye was undersize. Once the complainant had informed the fisherman of his violations he quickly left the area, but not before the caller had written down his license plate. Upon receiving the complaint, Hobkirk went to the suspect’s address and contacted him as he arrived home. The walleye were still in a pail in the bed of the suspect’s truck. A citation was issued to the individual for taking walleye during the closed season.

While on patrol, CO Jill Miller was at a boat launch checking angler’s coming in from the Saginaw Bay and Saginaw River when she heard a cry for help. Investigation revealed a subject that got stuck inside a pit toilet. Miller and another subject at the boat launch were able to get the door open. The individual was embarrassed, but very happy to be rescued from the confines of the pit toilet.

CO Jill Miller received a complaint about an unlicensed wildlife rehabilitator in Bay County. Miller and CO Jason King contacted the subject at her residence. She was advertising on Facebook and had accounts set up for donations. She admitted that she has been doing it for a few years and knew she needed a permit. Education and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

CO Tyler Cole was patrolling along the Black River when he came across two subjects fishing in a closed stream. Both subjects stated that they were from out-of-town and had no idea that the stretch of river they were fishing was closed. After further questioning, it was found that neither subject was from out of town and that one of the subjects had actually been issued a citation last fall for fishing in the same spot. Citations were issued to both subjects for fishing in a closed trout stream.

CO Tyler Cole was patrolling a location along the Black River known for having many violations such as snagging fish and fishing within a closed stream. Cole observed a subject walking along the river with a fishing rod. Cole watched as the subject attempted to snag and fish in a closed stream for approximately 10 minutes. Upon contact, the subject threw his pole into the weeds and stated that he was not fishing. It was found that the subject was a repeat offender and had been issued three prior citations for fishing in this same location. Citations were issued for attempting to snag fish and fishing in a closed stream.

CO Zach Bauer located an individual along a closed stream. Once the angler saw Bauer, he ran onto the other side of the creek. As he was running, Bauer noticed him throw a pitch fork into the woods. After the angler threw the pitch fork, he returned to the river where Bauer made contact with him. The pitch fork and one steelhead that the angler speared were seized. Citations were issued for the violations.

While on patrol, CO Greg Patten spotted a subject burning a large brush pile in their yard. Patten noticed black smoke coming from the fire and stopped to check on it. Patten saw that the resident had placed some refuse in with the brush. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Greg Patten received a complaint of a coyote that had been in a trap for two days. A local nuisance animal control operator was called by another person about the animal. The nuisance animal trapper was given permission to let the coyote out of the trap. He also dug up the trap and turned it over to Patten. Follow-up investigation revealed that a subject was trapping on Muskegon County property with permission. The trapper said that he had already pulled out all of his traps, but must have missed that one. Patten submitted the information to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, and they issued a warrant for failing to check traps daily.

DISTRICT 8

CO Mike Drexler and PCO Tyler Sabuda received a trapping complaint where a pet dog had been caught in a foothold trap a few days prior. The COs conducted a foot patrol of the area and located three untagged foothold traps surrounding a bait site. During the investigation, the COs followed ORV tracks from the trap site to a local residence and identified the trapper. Contact was made and the subject admitted the untagged traps belonged to him. A citation was issued for use/possess untagged traps.

CO Daniel Prince, Sgt. Jason Smith, and Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Sokol responded in Howell to a complaint of a wild turkey being shot and killed out of season. The complainant reported hearing two gunshots and saw a turkey flopping, mortally wounded in a cornfield behind their home. The complainant went out to investigate the situation and scared off the poacher, who was trying to recover the turkey. Officers were able to follow the suspect’s foot prints in the snow and flooded timber back to the suspect’s home. The subject made a full confession to shooting and killing the gobbler with a high powered rifle. A report is being submitted for a warrant to the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Pete Purdy and PCO Adam Beuthin were contacted by a State Game Warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and asked to interview a Livingston County resident who was believed to be purchasing resident licenses in Pennsylvania. The subject was contacted and interviewed, and the information was turned back over to the Pennsylvania State Game Warden.

CO Rich Nickols and PCO James Garrett conducted follow-up on a complaint of a subject chasing down a fox with a snowmobile. The subject had unknowingly been photographed committing the violation. When the COs arrived to interview him, he was wearing the same coat and boots as he was photographed in. The subject admitted to the violation because the fox appeared to be diseased. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

CO Ken Kovach was requested to assist Michigan State Police on an accidental shooting. A female was shot while sitting in her home, while talking with her husband. It was unknown where the shot came from. Kovach located a possible suspect who had been out target shooting and, along with St Clair County Deputies, the subject was interviewed. The subject was turned over to the State Police.

CO Pat Hartsig and CO Brad Silorey were on the Black River in Port Huron checking anglers. A boat approached them at a high rate of speed in a slow no wake zone. The wake caused boats on the docks to crash into pier heads. The boat was stopped, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Joseph Deppen, CO Patrick Hartsig, CO Brad Silorey and Sgt. Todd Szyska worked a group patrol targeting boaters and anglers on the St. Clair River from Fairhaven to Port Huron. Multiple vessels and anglers were contacted. Most walleye limits were coming from the Port Huron area of the St. Clair River. A few Atlantic salmon were also spotted in angler possession limits. One vessel contacted by Szyska yielded that the persons on board had no life jackets. Further checking through LEIN found that the vessel’s owner also had a warrant out of Waterford for operating a snowmobile on the roadway. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jacob Griffin was conducting a taxidermy inspection when he discovered a deer that was likely taken without a license. Further investigation revealed that the subject claiming to have harvested the deer did so without purchasing a deer license. Furthermore, the subject used another person’s deer license to tag the deer and have it mounted. Griffin spoke with the subject who admitted to taking the deer and using his friend’s kill tag. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Justin Muehlhauser and CO Jacob Griffin monitored fishing activity at the Holloway Dam. One of the fisherman advised Griffin that someone was keeping walleye and currently had two in his vehicle. He pointed out the fisherman and the vehicle that contained the fish. Griffin made contact with the individual who stated that he didn’t have any fish. Griffin accompanied the angler back to his vehicle and noticed a bucket in the back. The CO inquired about the bucket and the angler offered it for inspection. There were two walleye, which were taken out of season. Further, the angler’s rod was equipped with a jig head and a white Twister Tail. Muehlhauser asked the angler if he was aware of the gear restrictions on the Flint River. He advised that he knew there were restrictions but didn’t know if the Holloway dam was included. He said he doesn’t usually fish there. The angler was cited for the violations and the fish were released back in the water.

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