MI: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 25
CO Jason Niemi and Sgt. Pete Wright conducted a taxidermy
inspection of a business in Menominee County. The owner was unable
to produce records, didn’t have the majority of his animals tagged,
was in possession of an unsealed bobcat, and illegally possessed a
spruce grouse. Enforcement action was taken on the
CO Marvin Gerlach and Sgt. Pete Wright contacted a nonresident
bowhunter who was purchasing resident hunting licenses by using a
Michigan state ID card he had acquired. It was determined that he
had been illegally purchasing fishing, small-game, and combination
deer licenses every year since he had moved in 2004. Enforcement
action was taken.
CO Jason Wicklund and Sgt. Marc Pomroy checked an area known for
past baiting complaints. Once again, the COs located several stands
with huge piles of bait. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jason Wicklund responded to a complaint of trespass and an
illegal blind. The blind was located only a few feet from a “no
trespassing” sign. The owner of the blind was located, and
enforcement action was taken.
CO David Miller arrested two subjects on the night before the
firearms opener for shining an artificial light in an attempt to
locate deer at night. A loaded rifle and open cans of beer were
seized from the vehicle.
CO Brett Gustafson and Sgt. Steven Burton arrested a man in
Ontonagon County for possessing a loaded 12-gauge shotgun with
buckshot and hunting over bait prior to the firearms opener.
CO David Miller ticketed a man who brought a buck into the Baraga
office; the buck had three points total. The subject was hunting
with a combination license.
COs Matthew Eberly and Dennis Gast wrapped up an illegal wolf case.
A confession was obtained from a trapper who had caught a wolf and
shot it, then disposed of its carcass. Forensic evidence and DNA
were used to make the case.
CO David Miller issued a ticket to a local bear guide in the
Chassell area for failing to have his name and address on his
treestand. A warning also was given for placing names other than
his own on his other treestands in the area.
CO Brett Gustafson assisted local and state authorities with the
investigation of two men who appear to have died of natural causes.
One incident involved a man who died at a remote hunting camp. The
other was an older man who appears to have died of a heart attack
while baiting deer.
CO Kevin Postma responded to a complaint shortly after checking out
of service for the day, for shining and shots being fired. After
working the complaint for several hours, the CO observed a
vehicle’s occupant shining deer. Upon contact, an extensive
investigation ensued resulting in a loaded uncased firearm, felon
in possession of a firearm, open intoxicants in a motor vehicle,
operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, recreational
trespass, and an illegal deer. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Panich encountered a rollover accident that had just
happened. The CO provided first aid and secured the scene for
CO Michael Evink is investigating an incident in Schoolcraft County
in which the Wildlife Division recovered a wolf collar that appears
to have been removed from a wolf. Though the wolf has not been
located, the collar has blood on it, indicating foul play. The
investigation is continuing.
CO Reid Roeske contacted a subject who was a felon in possession of
a firearm, his driver’s license was denied and revoked, and he was
using improper plates on his vehicle. He was turned over to the
Michigan State Police (MSP).
CO Robert Crisp ticketed a subject who had incidentally caught a
bobcat in a trap prior to the season opener for bobcats. Rather
than release the bobcat, the subject, knowing the season was
closed, killed and kept the bobcat. He intended to keep it until
the season opened and then get it registered as required by
CO Andrea Albert checked a man who was deer hunting on public land.
The only license he had was a private land antlerless license. The
hunter was ticketed for the violation.
CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint about people snagging fish on
the Boyne River near Dam Road. CO Erratt patrolled the area and
ticketed one woman for retaining foul-hooked fish. CO Erratt then
contacted two brothers fishing with treble hooks on the Boyne River
and in possession of two illegally snagged salmon. One brother was
ticketed for fishing with a treble hook on the Boyne River and
warned for fishing for salmon without an all-species license. The
second brother was ticketed for snagging and keeping two salmon
hooked in the tail and the dorsal fin. He was warned for fishing
with a treble hook on the Boyne River. CO Erratt donated the three
seized salmon to a local family with eight kids.
CO Stephen Speigl followed up on a complaint of Conibear traps that
were not submerged under water. Once CO Speigl located the traps,
he found that they were only partially submerged and without trap
tags. He located the owner of the traps and took enforcement
A defendant that was ticketed for elk guiding on state land without
a permit, after being warned and advised to obtain one. The subject
was fined $540.
CO William Webster received a complaint about a subject hunting
with a rifle and using disease-control permits to shoot bucks. CO
Webster and CO Kelly Ross conducted separate interviews. CO Ross
recovered the head and antlers of a 10-point buck that had been
gun-shot, was in a freezer, and wasn’t tagged. CO Webster
interviewed the shooter and learned he did not have disease-control
permits or any state hunting licenses. The investigation
CO Mark DePew reports dispositions on two separate turkey cases
from this spring. Both subjects paid over $1,700 each and lost
their hunting privileges for 2 and 4 years, respectively.
Area conservation officers recently conducted a group patrol for
illegal shining activity in Mecosta County. COs Michael Bomay,
Jeffery Ginn, and Brian Lebel had briefly met at the same location
when all three observed a vehicle’s occupants shining a nearby
field. The COs made a traffic stop of the vehicle illegally shining
and contacted two subjects. In the truck the COs located a freshly
shot doe and a rifle. The subject was ticketed for the poaching
violation, and the rifle and deer were seized.
During a shining flight in Montcalm County, the plane located some
flashlights out in a field at 2 a.m. COs Michael Bomay and Michael
Wells responded to the location and surprised a father and son who
were standing over a dead 8-point buck with a deer tag in hand. As
it turned out, the 16-year-old boy had legally shot the large buck
with his bow and had waited until later that night to track it with
his father. The COs helped drag the deer out of the field and
congratulated the young hunter on his nice buck.
In Newaygo County, a 2-year-old boy fell into the Muskegon River
while playing at a park. CO Jeffery Ginn responded to the location
with his boat. CO Ginn advised a fishing guide of the situation and
sent him downstream to check. The fishing guide recovered the boy
and brought him back to the access site. CO Ginn assisted emergency
personnel with first aid, but the boy did not survive.
CO Brian Brosky responded to a complaint from a landowner who was
walking his property and observed a subject in camouflage running
away while carrying a crossbow. CO Brosky waited from a concealed
location and apprehended the person as he was making his way to a
waiting vehicle. The subject was ticketed for trespass.
CO Angela Greenway was following up on a spincast feeder at a
remote cabin that was located during a bait flight. When the CO
arrived, the landowner began verbally assaulting the CO and kicking
and throwing items around in his yard. CO Greenway ticketed the
subject for the baiting violation.
CO Angela Greenway was following up on a complaint in Lake County
from earlier in the fall regarding several piles of bait that were
discovered by a local deputy while conducting a helicopter patrol
targeting marijuana grow locations. The landowner began swearing
and accusing the CO of lying about the source of her complaint. CO
Greenway called the deputy, who was on duty, to come out and speak
with the landowner while she continued her investigation. The
deputy arrived to explain the detection of the illegal bait while
CO Greenway photographed four piles containing several dump truck
loads of potatoes. The landowner had driven to the eastern part of
the state to obtain the cheap bait and was upset that his secret
was out. He further explained that leniency should be granted
because he and his nephew only hunted over bait during the bow
season. A ticket was issued for hunting deer over bait.
CO John Huspen located a vehicle parked along a fenced military
artillery range closed to the public due to periodic live fire and
unexploded ordinance. CO Huspen waited and caught an archery deer
hunter crossing the fence, coming from the artillery range. The
range is heavily signed “no trespassing,” including a sign located
right where the hunter came over the fence. The subject first
claimed he didn’t know it was closed, then later admitted he knew,
but indicated hunting was slow outside the range.
CO Bobbi Lively inspected a taxidermist and discovered a deer
carcass that had been shot with a firearm during the archery
season. CO Lively took license information and the first name of
the subject who dropped off the deer, which enabled her to locate
several subjects involved. Assisted by COs Brandon Kieft and Ben
Shively, who interviewed the subjects, CO Lively determined who had
shot the deer. A search of the residence where the deer was shot
led to an additional deer, lighted bait piles on the property, and
several unregistered handguns. Warrants are being sought.
CO William Cherry responded to a complaint of an illegally taken
deer. The information led CO Cherry to a residence where he could
see an untagged deer hanging. The property owner was contacted and
denied having taken a deer. When asked about the blood on his
clothing, the owner indicated he had a car-kill deer that he shot.
When questioned about shooting the deer, he recanted and said he
had hit it with a shovel. When asked to see the shovel, he admitted
to shooting the deer the previous night with a .22-caliber rifle
behind his house.
CO Mike Hearn reports stopping an ORV operator who was running in a
closed area of state land. The subject was the brother of an
individual CO Hearn had ticketed and towed his ORV just a week
earlier. The brother was riding the same ORV and was ticketed and
transported to jail on an outstanding felony warrant. The ORV was
CO Mike Hearn continues to investigate the theft of over $20,000 in
timber taken from a local timber producer who had purchased the
timber and cut and stacked the wood, which ended up being stolen
before it could be removed from the sale location. The subjects
left heavy equipment to load the saw logs onto semi trucks to
remove the wood from the site. CO Hearn caught the subjects at
night when they returned for another load of logs.
CO Jason A. Smith received a complaint about juveniles hunting
without supervision. When he checked the area, a 14-year-old
apprentice hunter and a 15-year-old hunter were found hunting after
having been dropped off for the evening. Both boys’ parents were
called to the scene, where tickets were issued for allowing minors
to hunt unsupervised. They also were baiting. Verbal warnings were
issued for the bait.
CO Jason A. Smith received a complaint of trapping prior to the
season opener. Officer Smith checked a couple of areas and seized
the traps that were placed too early. CO Smith was contacted by the
subject the next day and it was planned to meet with the trapper
during the upcoming weekend, issue him a ticket, and return his
traps. In the meantime, CO Joshua Wright also contacted CO Smith
and advised him he was investigating the same trapper. CO Wright
had been in contact with the prosecutor’s office and had discussed
charging the subject with a separate count of trapping out of
season for each trap set (20 to 30 counts) and condemning the
COs Seth Rhodea and Bob Hobkirk responded to a shots-fired
complaint in northern Sanilac County. The complainant advised them
that he could see hunters in a field looking for the deer and
carrying a firearm. Contact was made with the hunters, and a
shotgun was found in the area. The deer that the hunters were
tracking was shot with an arrow, and the subject with the gun
claimed he was carrying it for pheasants. When asked for his
hunting license and where his hunter orange was, the hunter claimed
he did not need orange on his property and he did not have his
license in the field with him. He was ticketed for failing to wear
hunter orange and warned for not having his license in
CO Chad Foerster received a phone call from an off-duty deputy
regarding trespassers who were on his land and that he was holding.
The deputy stated that he was bowhunting and three other hunters
walked up on him. The hunters told the deputy that there were no
signs posted where they entered the woods. The deputy walked them
out to the location where they entered and showed them a “no
trespassing” sign that was clearly posted. Enforcement action was
CO Mike Mshar located two upland bird hunters using dogs within the
Todd Farm Wildlife Refuge in the Allegan State Game Area (SGA). The
hunters claimed to be unaware of the closed access area until CO
Mshar pointed out six signs they had passed to gain entry to the
CO Gary Raak was conducting a late-night shining patrol in Barry
County when he observed a small light being used from a slow-moving
vehicle after 2 a.m. After conducting a traffic stop and
investigation, CO Raak recovered a homemade light being used by a
front seat passenger and a crossbow loaded with a bolt possessed by
a rear seat passenger. Three people were ticketed for
COs Chris Holmes and Paul Higashi obtained information regarding a
subject who used a .410 shotgun to kill a deer during the archery
season. After locating a kill site and collecting evidence, a
suspect was identified and contacted by CO Holmes the following
day. CO Holmes obtained a confession from the subject who had taken
a shotgun to his stand while bowhunting over bait. The subject then
used the firearm to take an 11-point buck.
CO Mike McGee responded to a RAP complaint regarding a hunter who
had an untagged deer. CO McGee located a small doe stashed behind
the house of the hunter. The doe was taken with a bow, and the
hunter did not wish to use his tag on such a small deer. It also
was discovered that the deer was taken over bait.
CO Zach Doss responded to a complaint from the sheriff’s department
regarding shining and shooting activity. With assistance from the
sheriff’s department, CO Doss located the responsible subjects and
recovered a deer that was shot with a .22 while the subjects used a
CO Jeff Walker responded to a homeowner’s complaint about hunting
within a safety zone. CO Walker’s investigation found that a
subject using a crossbow had fired a shot that missed the game and
lodged in the complainant’s car door. Enforcement action was
While following up on an illegal baiting complaint, CO Dan Prince
and Sgt. Troy Bahlau contacted a subject who was hunting with a
crossbow from a ladder stand over bait. The investigation revealed
that the subject had shot a 4-point buck and did not possess the
correct hunting license. The COs also found what appeared to be
marijuana in the subject’s possession. Enforcement action was
CO Kyle Bader received a complaint that a landowner had just
witnessed a vehicle’s occupant shoot into a cornfield on his
property from the roadway and then speed off. CO Bader was able to
get to the location of the illegal activity and stop the vehicle.
When contacted, the occupants had an uncased shotgun on the front
seat between the driver and passenger. The driver stated that the
passenger had a permit to hunt from a standing vehicle so they
thought they were legal. CO Bader explained what was legal with the
permit and took enforcement action on the illegal activity.
While waiting for his partner to arrive at their meeting location,
Sgt. Bahlau observed a pickup truck occupant transfer a buck onto a
second vehicle. Upon contact with the two subjects, Sgt. Bahlau
learned that the subject who shot the deer doesn’t purchase his own
licenses, but “shoots the deer for his friend who buys the
licenses.” Enforcement action was taken.
COs Dan Bigger and Rich Nickols contacted occupants of a vehicle
who were illegally shining for deer during November. The COs
located an uncased crossbow in the vehicle, and the occupants
admitted their intent to shoot a deer at night with the aid of
flashlights. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Dan Bigger assisted local deputies with a complaint of hunter
harassment. The raccoon hunter complainant stated that he had been
shot at and he thought his dog had been killed. The CO’s
investigation led them to a suspect, a recently fired .22 rifle,
and the hunter’s dog in the suspect’s garage. Enforcement action
was taken, and the dog was returned to the rightful owner.
CO Mark Papineau received a RAP complaint of waterfowl hunters
doing some excessive shooting and a possible overlimit of
waterfowl. CO Papineau contacted seven hunters who were on a guided
hunt. While inspecting the birds that the hunters had taken, CO
Papineau found the subjects had an overlimit of hen mallards. The
CO also found various licensing violations. Enforcement action was
While off-duty, CO John Borkovich observed a pickup truck that
matched the description of a truck that had numerous complaints
regarding road hunting. The truck had two bucks in the back of it.
The CO followed the truck to a DNRE check station where he
contacted the subjects, who admitted to taking the deer. CO
Borkovich knew one of the subjects who claimed to shoot the
6-point. The problem was, the subject had already shot a 7-point on
Oct. 1, a 6-point a week later, and an 8-point the Friday before
Halloween. Enforcement action was taken.
While checking a trespassing complaint during the archery season,
CO Ken Kovach heard a gunshot, then had a bullet hit a tree near
him. The CO was able to find the subject hunting over a bait pile.
Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Ennett responded to a report of a subject found deer
hunting with a crossbow in Sterling State Park. After
field-dressing the deer, they found a bolt from a crossbow in the
chest cavity of the deer. CO Ennett interviewed the subject who
admitted to hunting in the park. The subject stated he was unaware
of a hunting ban in the park. A warrant is being sought for the
CO Brandon Kieft obtained an arrest warrant for a case involving
two anglers who were harassed and assaulted while fishing on an
Oakland County lake. The confrontation began when a lakefront
property owner yelled at two anglers in a boat to stop fishing near
his shoreline. The anglers ignored the property owner and continued
to fish. The property owner returned to his residence and obtained
a compound bow with arrows. He fired two shots at the anglers
before they were able to flee the area.
.COs Kris Kiel and Todd Szyska responded to a RAP complaint about
subjects rallying ducks. The COs observed three people in a boat
driving through and chasing ducks and shooting as they flew away.
At one point, the subjects’ dog was at the bow of the boat and all
three subjects stood up and fired over its head at ducks that were
on the water. Enforcement action was taken.