Michigan Cuffs & Collars - May 25th, 2012
CO David Miller and Sgt. Steven Burton hiked more than 2 miles into Mirror Lake on Friday night before the traditional opening day of trout season. The COs watched four campers in a boat for a while and saw that they weren’t fishing. Upon contact, the four anglers from Wisconsin stated they were waiting for the trout opener the next morning to fish. The COs showed them the DNR fishing guide and showed them that Mirror Lake is open all year for taking trout. They said they had been coming up for the past three years and could have been fishing instead of hanging around camp.
CO David Miller located a small girl who walked away from a campsite in the Porcupine Mountains. He was able to return her to her mother.
CO David Miller located a lost hiker on the North Country Trail and transported the hiker back to his party.
CO Jason Wicklund assisted local deputies with a complaint. An individual assaulted a female and stole a large sum of money before leaving on an ORV. The CO and deputies searched the area and located the ORV a short distance from the home. CO Wicklund stayed and set up surveillance on the ORV while the deputies continued their investigation. Just before dark, CO Wicklund observed an individual coming across a field and alerted the deputies, who made contact with the individual. The individual was arrested and lodged in the Iron County jail.
CO Jason Wicklund located a blind that was set up next to a feeder. The blind contained several turkey decoys, and the ground was littered with corn. The next day the CO was driving by the area and observed the turkey decoys were set up in front of the blind. The CO parked and walked a short distance and took up a position next to the back of the blind. Two individuals were in the blind, and one of the individuals was using an electronic call, which is illegal to use for turkey hunting. The CO made contact, and the subjects were arrested for multiple violations.
CO Brian Bacon was traveling on M-95 when someone in the vehicle in front of him tossed a sandwich wrapper out the window. CO Bacon stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver. When asked why he threw the wrapper out the window, the driver replied, “It was in my lap; where was I supposed to put it?” Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Bacon was traveling on a state highway in Dickinson County when he was passed on the right by an erratic driver. CO Bacon stopped the vehicle and interviewed the driver, who stated he was in a hurry because his son was late for the local prom. CO Bacon educated the driver on safe driving and ticketed him for improper passing.
CO Kevin Postma encountered two subjects fishing on opening day of the trout season. The CO located an extra fishing line that was tied off to a limb and hidden from view. The CO pulled in the line, followed by four others. The hidden lines all had the same bait, fishing line, and fishing gear. The two anglers insisted that they were not responsible for the extra hidden lines; however, inspection of their fishing gear and bait proved to be an exact match to the suspicious lines. When this fact was pointed out, the two subjects confessed to using the extra lines. Tickets were issued.
CO Kyle Publiski received a Report-All-Poaching (RAP) complaint at home late in the evening. He arrived in the complaint area on Drummond Island shortly after midnight. The CO quietly found his way through the darkness and located the subjects, who were illegally using trap nets to catch fish. Several buckets of perch and suckers were found. As the CO pulled the trap nets, one subject started dumping the buckets of fish. The CO quickly put a stop to that and seized their kayak that was being used in the illegal operation. In the end, all four individuals were charged with the illegal taking of fish. Several trap nets and buckets of fish were seized, along with the kayak. Other charges are being reviewed.
CO Jerry Fitzgibbon, during his contacts on the trout season opener, warned one angler for keeping a small brook trout and ticketed another subject for using live bait on a restricted trout lake.
CO John Wenzel investigated a solid waste violation that was reported by the DNR fire plane pilot. The individual involved was burning tires, mattresses and various other toxic items. He was arrested for solid waste disposal violations.
CO Eric Bottorff responded to a complaint about three lost mushroom hunters in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. CO Bottorff was able to locate and lead the lost mushroomers out of the woods.
Area conservation officers conducted a covert patrol to address complaints about subjects taking overlimits of walleyes and taking walleyes hours before the opener at the mouth of the Indian River. Numerous vessels and anglers were contacted, with one subject being ticketed for taking walleyes out of season and for having an overlimit of walleyes.
CO Steve Speigl checked a camp set up on state land in Antrim County. Though no one was at the camp at the time, it was apparent that the people were turkey hunting and had put bait out in an attempt to bring a turkey close enough to shoot from the camp. CO Andrea Albert checked later and found the campers had put decoys near the bait. The hunters had several violations, including improper shot size, a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, an unregistered campsite, and baiting turkeys. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark DePew patrolled the PRCSF on the eve of the trout opener and saw activity at one of the sinkhole lakes. CO DePew watched the anglers for a short while and then contacted them. The group claimed they didn’t know the lake was not open to fishing yet. CO DePew issued the group a ticket for the violation.
CO Mark DePew was checking trout anglers on opening day, and while talking with one angler who stated he had not had any luck, CO DePew saw a 10-inch brown trout stuffed in the mud. CO DePew inquired about the fish, and the angler said he’d caught it and it was 10 inches; CO DePew informed him the legal size was 12 inches and issued him a ticket for the short fish.
CO Bill Webster saw a vehicle parked at a designated trout stream the weekend prior to the trout opener. CO Webster watched an angler make several casts, then contacted the subject, who denied trying to catch trout; he claimed he was trying to catch bass. The CO advised him that was closed too, and issued him a ticket for fishing in a closed trout stream.
CO Rebecca Hopkins assisted the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and several other first responder agencies with attempts to locate an overdue person who went canoeing in Omena Bay on Lake Michigan. A USCG helicopter located the overturned canoe, and a short time later the subject, who was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), was located face-down in the water. Attempts to revive the individual were not successful.
CO Angela Greenway responded to a RAP complaint about a subject hunting turkeys over bait. CO Greenway walked into the hunting site and found two subjects sitting in a pop-up blind several yards away from a corn feeder fashioned to look like a tree stump, with corn spread all over the ground. The subject admitted to placing the corn for turkeys. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Jeff Ginn and Brian Lebel were working together checking turkey-hunting locations when they passed a subject dressed in camouflage, casing a gun next to a pickup truck parked at a camp. The COs stopped and spoke with the subject about his hunting success and noted that he appeared nervous. While CO Ginn spoke with the subject, CO Lebel located a turkey feather on the ground. When questioned about the feather, the subject stated no one had harvested a turkey. CO Ginn then observed a drop of blood on the back of the vehicle, and again the subject denied having a bird. It was only after a consent search of the truck’s bed that turned up additional blood, feathers, and spilled bird seed, that the subject admitted to taking a bird and failing to tag it. Upon request, the subject led the COs to the location where he had shot the turkey. The hunting location was heavily baited with bird seed. The turkey was seized, and the subject was ticketed for the illegal taking of a wild turkey.
CO Troy VanGelderen was walking along a small creek that held spawning steelhead when he observed evidence of human activity in the creek. CO VanGelderen was able to make contact with several subjects as they walked from the area on a two-track, with one subject carrying nothing but a freshly taken steelhead. The subject stated he took it by hand and stated he believed it to be legal due to a TV program he had viewed in which subjects were taking catfish by hand. CO VanGelderen explained that each state has different regulations and the fish he had taken was a rainbow trout, not a catfish. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Hearn reports a subject who pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of an illegal deer, resulting from a 2011 case, was sentenced to jail time, a 3-year revocation of hunting privileges, $1,000 restitution, and $480 in fines.
CO Chuck McPherson continues to investigate a complaint of heavy equipment being used on state land to excavate an old landfill site in an effort to extract scrap metal. Extensive damage was done to state land, and large holes were left behind.
CO Jon Warner responded to a forest fire and conducted the cause and origin investigation. It was determined that the fire was started by a subject who was firing incendiary tracer rounds.
CO Warren MacNeill responded to six separate forest fires and conducted cause and origin investigations. Three of the six were caused by downed power lines, the result of high winds. The other three were debris burns that had escaped. Two tickets were issued.
CO Mark Papineau investigated a boating accident on Wiggins Lake. CO Papineau was informed that several subjects in a fishing boat had crashed into another vessel that was docked on a hoist. After contacting the subjects in the fishing boat, CO Papineau learned that the subjects had been looking in the livewell while the motor was in gear. With neither subject paying attention, the fishing boat crashed into the side of the docked vessel. The owner of the boat was ticketed for careless operation.
CO Holly Pennoni investigated a deer carcass littering complaint on private property. An individual had dumped three deer carcasses on his neighbor’s property. CO Pennoni contacted the individual, who admitted that he dumped the deer after the November firearms deer season and did not think it was a big deal because his neighbor doesn’t use the property. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Joel Lundberg and Joshua Wright were checking anglers on the evening of the walleye opener when they encountered four anglers in a boat, returning to the launch. The COs questioned them about how they had done fishing. The anglers stated they caught five fish. The anglers were questioned about how their success was in the morning, and the COs were told they caught 15 walleyes, which completed their daily limit. The COs thought something was suspicious and questioned the anglers individually. They found out that one of the subjects did not fish in the morning and did not catch any fish in the evening. After presenting the other three anglers with this information, they admitted to taking too many fish. The fish were seized, and tickets were issued.
After receiving a complaint about bait being placed in a field, CO Bob Hobkirk checked the location and photographed the bait. Two weeks later, on the opening day of turkey season, CO Hobkirk revisited the location and contacted a subject hunting over the bait. The subject admitted to baiting the location to bring birds into the area. The subject was ticketed for using bait to hunt turkeys.
CO Bob Hobkirk received a complaint from a local hunting guide that a subject had trespassed onto land leased by the guide. While the guide and a client were sneaking up on some turkeys, another hunter shot at the birds near the guide and his client. CO Hobkirk contacted the subject, who admitted to trespassing. He was ticketed for the violation.
CO Jason A. Smith checked an angler and his two young children who were fishing from shore. His young son began telling CO Smith about the shark his father had caught and put in the bucket. CO Smith checked the “shark” and identified it as a northern pike. After measuring the pike, CO Smith gave the angler a verbal warning for possession of an undersized “shark.”
While checking the Tittabawassee River for any early walleye anglers, CO Dan Lee watched two men start to pack up as he approached. He contacted the men as one was attempting to unload their stringer. The man with the stringer explained that they use the stringer to keep track of how many fish they catch in a day, but have no intention of keeping any of the fish. Tickets were issued.
While working the Flat River State Game Area, CO Ken Lowell received a complaint regarding a subject in Greenville who was trapping and killing squirrels. The CO contacted the subject and then located a live trap buried in the ground underneath a bird feeder. After talking with the subject, it was discovered that he traps the squirrels because they eat his bird seed, and then relocates the squirrels. He was issued a ticket for illegally taking squirrels out of season.
CO Gary Raak responded to complaints about illegal off-road activity in the Barry SGA. Four arrests were made of subjects driving their motor vehicles off of designated trails on state land.
CO Jeff Robinette was contacted by the sheriff’s department regarding a discovery that a deputy had made during a traffic stop. The deputy had located an uncased .22 rifle in the vehicle, and upon further investigation, discovered two robins, a mourning dove, and a starling in the trunk of the vehicle. CO Robinette responded and took enforcement action for the taking of protected species.
CO Andy Bauer was called by a local landowner, who, when he went out the evening before turkey season to scout turkeys, discovered a "mudder"-style truck stuck on his property. CO Bauer responded and ticketed the subject for trespass.
CO Cary Foster, of Ionia County, was on patrol in Kent County when he observed a large column of smoke. CO Foster went to check the source and became the first on the scene of a large barn fire. CO Foster notified the dispatch center to initiate the response of fire units while he maintained the scene until fire department personnel arrived.
CO Greg Patten assisted local deputies at the scene of a domestic assault. Upon arrival, the officers were unable to locate the suspect who had run into a wooded area. After clearing the scene, a 911 call came in from the victim stating that the suspect had returned to the residence. CO Patten was the first to arrive and detain the suspect, who was arrested by deputies when they arrived.
CO Greg Patten was on patrol when he encountered a 13-year-old subject operating a dirt bike illegally along a paved county road. Upon returning the juvenile to his parents who had allowed the operation, CO Patten ticketed the owner of the motorcycle for title violations and gave several warnings to the rider and owner for various ORV violations.
CO Shane Webster took advantage of a clear day to patrol the Michigan Center Lake Chain with his patrol vessel. During the patrol, CO Webster noted a vessel without a valid registration occupied by two anglers. CO Webster contacted the individuals and observed a small bass in their fish basket, hanging over the side of the boat. The anglers told CO Webster that the fishing was slow, but they had caught a fish and weren't sure of the species. CO Webster asked for fishing licenses and found that neither angler had a valid fishing license. CO Webster questioned the subjects, and they admitted they knew it was a bass and also that the size limit was 14 inches. The out-of-season bass was released, and enforcement action was taken for the violations.
While CO Pete Purdy was stopped on US-23 in a construction zone, he observed a subject passing vehicles on the right shoulder to get around the slowed vehicles. CO Purdy conducted a traffic stop, and the driver stated that he was in a hurry and didn't want to wait like all the other vehicles. As CO Purdy spoke with the subject, several vehicle operators passed and thanked CO Purdy, as this individual had been operating carelessly for several miles in the construction zone. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Daniel Prince, while patrolling during the turkey season, heard two small-caliber rifle shots. CO Prince was listening to three gobblers when the shots were heard. CO Prince was able to locate a hunter on private property with a .17-caliber bolt-action rifle with a scope. CO Prince and a local deputy were unable to recover the turkey. The subject was turkey hunting without a turkey-hunting license and had a second firearm, which was a loaded shotgun uncased in the subject’s vehicle. The firearms and other evidence were seized. A warrant request will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review.
CO Dan Bigger responded to a complaint about a subject taking an overlimit of turkeys. Upon arrival, CO Bigger located a subject at his vehicle with a tagged turkey. Further investigation led to the subject showing him he had been on property on which he did not have permission to hunt. With the subject’s story changing frequently, CO Bigger began to realize there may be other violations. CO Bigger took the subject to the location where he stated he had shot the bird and noted another area nearby with blood and feathers. CO Bigger was able to locate a second bird that the subject had hidden on other property on which he did not have permission to hunt. Further investigation showed that the subject had shot the second bird without realizing that there was another hunter in a straight line in the direction he had shot. A report has been submitted for a warrant request.
CO Mike Drexler checked a vessel coming off the Detroit River with three nervous anglers on board. The CO checked one livewell that contained almost their limit of white bass. When CO Drexler asked if there were any additional fish on board, one angler hesitantly opened the front livewell. CO Drexler counted 123 white bass, making the anglers 48 fish over their limit. Tickets were issued to all three occupants for the overlimit, two of whom had numerous DNR prior offenses for fish and game-related violations.
CO Brandon Kieft recently finalized a deer case from October 2011. The subject involved in the case was charged with shooting a 12-point buck after legal hours, within the safety zone of another residence, and over excessive bait. The subject entered into a plea deal for a lesser charge, but paid $1,000 in restitution for the deer, $500 fines and costs, lost his hunting license for approximately 4 years, and the trophy was forfeited to the state of Michigan.
CO Todd Szyska responded to a complaint from an anonymous caller that a subject had shot a turkey over a bait pile from his deck. The CO contacted the subject, and found the baited area as well as a pop-up blind set up on the subject’s second story balcony of his home. It was determined that the subject shot the turkey from his elevated stand with a shotgun at 7:45 a.m., over bait, and did not tag the bird. The bird was recovered, and warrants are being sought for multiple violations.
CO Ken Kovach responded to a complaint from a taxidermist about an untagged turkey from a subject. The subject told the taxidermist that the tag must have fallen off. The CO met the subject at his residence, and the tag was located. It appeared to have been attached with a bread bag tie. The subject stated that he entered the turkey into a contest at a local business. The CO contacted the business and confirmed that the turkey was properly tagged.
CO Ken Kovach reports that a subject he arrested in January for taking a deer out of season lost his hunting privileges for 3 years and was ordered to pay $1,000 reimbursement to the state and over $400 in fines and costs.