MI: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 24
CO Matthew Eberly checked a hunter who was sitting in a deer blind
with a .22-caliber rifle. The blind was baited, and the subject
claimed he was shooting squirrels that were stealing his bait. He
had neither a small-game nor deer license, so he was ticketed for
hunting squirrels without a license.
COs Dave Painter and Jason Wicklund responded to a wolf-poaching
complaint in Dickinson County. A juvenile wolf was found dead from
a gunshot wound. Evidence was collected from the scene, and the
investigation is ongoing.
CO Dave Painter worked a complaint of subjects hunting woodcock
after hours and possibly while intoxicated. CO Painter located the
group in a remote section of Iron County shooting at woodcock well
past the close of hunting hours. Numerous other violations were
addressed, and enforcement action was taken on all three
CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy responded to a complaint about
a trapper who was trespassing while targeting muskrats. The trapper
was located along a different stream in the area. This stream also
was on private property, and enforcement action was taken.
COs Trey Luce and Mark Leadman are investigating the apparent
poaching of a moose in western Marquette County. A severed head
with the antlers sawed off was found propped up on a rock in a
prominent location. There was a sign written on cardboard that
stated, “The wolfs won’t get this one.”
CO Denny Gast located a 16-year-old hunter on an ORV with a loaded
shotgun. The CO escorted him home and wrote his father a ticket for
allowing the youth to hunt while unsupervised.
CO Doug Hermanson received a call from the sheriff’s office in
Ontonagon County stating officers had stopped a vehicle with two
deer in it whose occupants were shining. CO Hermanson responded the
next morning and interviewed the subjects, who were shining deer
with weapons in the vehicle, had taken one doe and one 6-point
buck, and who were drinking while in the vehicle. Local deputies
lodged the three individuals for alcohol-related offenses, and CO
Hermanson obtained warrants for the deer-poaching violations.
While enjoying a day off in Alcona County, CO Jeff Panich heard a
nearby gunshot. Curious, the CO walked out to the roadway and
observed a vehicle parked on the shoulder. The CO approached the
vehicle and observed two subjects in camo walking into the woods.
CO Panich followed them as they continued to track a deer. The
subjects never realized they were being followed, and upon finding
the deer – a nice 8-pointer – they exclaimed to one another how
nice the buck was. At that point, the CO chimed in and agreed that
it was a nice deer, which startled both subjects. Further
investigation revealed that they were trespassing, neither had a
hunting license, and they weren’t wearing hunter orange. CO Panich
hailed the local CO, Warren McNeil, who responded. Enforcement
action was taken.
CO Kyle Publiski was conducting a routine waterfowl patrol in the
early morning hours and observed a group of hunters shoot before
legal hunting hours. Contact revealed the use of lead shot, and one
subject didn’t have a state license or a federal waterfowl
In another incident, CO Kyle Publiski was working a late-night
shift and heard a gunshot. Within minutes a four-wheeler was
started and headed down the road. Upon contact, the subject claimed
to be coyote hunting, but had a loaded and uncased rifle on the
ORV, and no ORV license on the machine. Enforcement action was
CO Robert Crisp received a complaint about shots being heard in a
certain location. He contacted individuals in the area and was able
to narrow the shots down to one camp. When he spoke with subjects
at the camp, he found that they had shot a deer on the night in
question; however, the deer was shot somewhere else. The shot that
was heard was someone else shooting a .22 near the camp later that
night. Warrants are being sought for the two subjects who shot the
CO John Wenzel is investigating the theft of firewood from state
land. The area had been part of a timber sale, and logger had given
the firewood to an elderly man in the area. During the next few
weeks, he spent several hours cutting and stacking the firewood.
Another camp owner in the area decided to take the stacked firewood
to his camp.
CO Carl VanderWall is seeking a warrant for the arrest of an
individual claiming to be a member of the Mackinaw Band of Native
Americans. The Mackinaw band is not federally recognized and
therefore retains no treaty-guaranteed hunting or fishing rights.
Several violations were observed, including possession of fish that
were illegally taken, using illegal equipment on a trout stream,
and fishing without a license.
CO Duane Budreau handled a safety zone violation complaint in which
someone placed a hunting blind within 60 yards of a licensed day
care facility. The blind, which was placed by a power line, had a
large bait pile and was facing a residence less than 100 yards
away. The owner of the blind was located before the start of the
season and was ordered to remove the structure immediately.
While on patrol, CO Jon Sklba observed a pile of deer bait and a
hunter next to it. When the CO headed that way, the subject took
off on foot into a swamp. CO Sklba found the subject’s vehicle
close by and attempted unsuccessfully to call the subject out. The
vehicle, which was partially blocking the roadway, was impounded. A
short time later the sheriff’s department received a call from the
subject, stating his vehicle had been stolen. CO Sklba located the
subject at his residence, and after a short interview received a
confession that the subject was hunting over bait in a closed area.
A ticket was issued.
CO Mark DePew contacted two hunters who had each shot two bucks
this year; neither hunter had tagged the bucks and intended to
continue to hunt. The deer were seized, along with equipment, and
charges are being sought through the prosecutor.
CO Bill Webster contacted an individual coming out of the woods
shortly after dark who stated he wasn’t hunting, but his son was
hunting raccoons with a .22 after dark. A search of the vehicle
produced .30-30 ammunition but no evidence of a .22. CO Webster
continued to search the area and finally located the individual
hiding in a corn field with a loaded .30-30 rifle, no hunter
orange, and no hunting licenses. The hunter admitted he was trying
to shoot a buck and he was hiding because he knew the CO was
CO Sean Kehoe investigated a complaint about bass being released
into Spider Lake. CO Kehoe discovered that the bass were caught
during an organized fishing tournament where anglers fished several
local lakes and on East and West Grand Traverse Bay. The fish were
brought back to Spider Lake for the weigh-in and subsequently
released into the lake and not taken back to the body of water in
which they were caught. Enforcement action was taken for the
releasing of fish without a proper permit due to VHS
CO Carla Soper was checking a closed trout stream when she
encountered a subject trying to club fish with a stick. After
expressing his impatience to another subject, he decided that
taking the spawning fish by hand would be easier. Upon contact, it
was determined that the subject also did not possess a fishing
license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Lebel received information that a subject had shot four
deer by the second week of October. CO Lebel interviewed the
subject who admitted to shooting three 8-point bucks and an
antlerless deer. All of the deer were seized, and the case is being
forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for possible multiple
CO Brian Lebel received a call from a landowner who witnessed a
subject drag two 8-point bucks off his property and hide them in
the brush along a river. While the CO responded to the area, the
landowner went back to the deer and recorded the tag numbers. A
short time later the subject loaded the bucks into a canoe and
transported them downstream. CO Lebel located the subject at his
residence as he was hanging the deer. After an interview, a
confession was obtained from the subject to trespassing and taking
three bucks, including one that earlier had been processed. The
deer were seized, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Troy Mueller was patrolling state land and located a father and
son dressed in camouflage and blaze orange. The father stated he
was just taking his son out with his BB gun to shoot at some
blackbirds. Even though the father stated he was not hunting, he
carried a shotgun loaded with birdshot. The father stated that the
loaded shotgun was to protect his son from bears and cougars. A
check with the retail sales system confirmed that the father had
not purchased a small-game license. Enforcement action was
CO Mike Wells seized two trail cameras from an illegal deer bait
pile. CO Wells re-entered the hunting property and located a father
and son hunting over more than 100 pounds of bait. CO Wells also
located a second hunter on the property with no license and in
possession of a .22-caliber magnum handgun. The young adult claimed
he had been hunting since he was 12 years old. A check of the
retail sales system confirmed that the subject has never purchased
a hunting license in Michigan. Multiple tickets were issued to
address the violations.
CO Matt Liestenfeltz was first on the scene of an accident in which
a subject had fallen from a tree while taking down his treestand.
The hunter sustained injuries and needed to be transported from the
scene to the hospital.
CO Mike Hearn observed fresh tire tracks that caused ruts in a
gravel road. CO Hearn followed the tracks and caught up to a truck
towing a trailer with flat tires and no license plate. The driver
had a fugitive warrant for his arrest and a suspended operator’s
license. He was taken into custody, and arrangements were made for
the passengers in the vehicle. While at the jail, CO Hearn received
a call from the owner of the trailer, informing him that the
trailer being towed had just been stolen from his property.
CO Mike Hearn located 15 bags of trash that had been dumped along a
one-mile stretch of a two-track on state land. CO Hearn located
information in the trash that provided a possible suspect and he
went to the residence. Upon contact, the suspect indicated she had
asked someone to take her trash, but refused to provide the CO with
the subject’s name. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jon Warner located an illegal bait pile in Oscoda County and an
illegal ORV trail to the stand. CO Warner went to the stand and
located fresh blood on the bait pile and a dead deer hidden in the
woods. A short time later, CO Warner heard an ORV drive up to the
stand. A subject retrieved the deer and was dragging it out of the
area when CO Warner made contact. The deer was not tagged and the
hunter did not have a license. The hunter also admitted to having
an additional baited hunting location.
CO Chuck McPherson responded to an excessive bait complaint and
located a parked vehicle near the area. The truck contained
additional bait along with a dead doe. In addition to litter, bait,
and blind violations, the tag on the deer that had been shot that
morning had not been validated.
CO Jay Person is investigating a complaint about damage to a
vehicle on state land. Two small-game hunters returned to their
vehicle at dark to find an arrow had been shot into one of the
passenger doors. The hunters said there was a second vehicle parked
in the area when they went in hunting. Shortly after they began
hunting, they heard the vehicle start and peel out of the area.
It’s believed that this individual was bowhunting the same property
and was upset about the small-game hunters being there and decided
to take his frustration out by shooting an arrow into their
COs Joel Lundberg and Jay Person received a Report-All-Poaching
(RAP) complaint from a bowhunter who heard a single gunshot right
at dusk on the property adjacent to that which he was hunting. The
COs investigated and located evidence of small blood drops.
Interviews were conducted with possible suspects, which led to the
seizure of a 7-point buck that was shot with a rifle. The subject
said he was having no luck with his bow, so he thought he would use
his .30-30 to increase his odds. Enforcement action was
While checking waterfowl hunters on Saginaw Bay, COs Bob Hobkirk
and Seth Rhodea contacted two hunters who were having a successful
morning hunt. Upon locating all the harvested ducks, the COs
discovered they were 16 ducks over their limit. When asked why they
had shot so many ducks, the hunters said they did not get to hunt
much and were making up for lost time. Both hunters were ticketed
for their overlimits and had their firearms seized.
CO Jason A. Smith received a complaint about small-game hunters who
were trespassing. After responding to the area, it was discovered
that the trespassers were neighbor kids of the complainant, and the
property owner was not as eager to prosecute. The young hunters had
also failed to purchase small-game licenses. Because of the age of
the hunters, Smith spoke with the hunters and their parents, and it
was agreed that in lieu of prosecution, they would pick up trash in
several SGA parking lots.
While checking duck hunters, CO Joshua Wright came upon a hunter
who said he was done hunting early because his gun was jammed. CO
Wright checked his gun and observed a bottle of liquor in his gear
bag. A breathalyzer test was given, and the subject was found to
have a preliminary blood-alcohol level well over the legal limit. A
search of the subject’s vehicle revealed a bag of marijuana. The
subject was arrested, and charges are being sought.
Sgt. Jeff Rabbers assisted local deputies with a complaint of shots
fired on a local private lake. Four subjects were located leaving
the area after waterfowl hunting that morning. None of the subjects
had plugged their shotguns, one hadn’t purchased a state waterfowl
hunting license, one possessed lead shot, and one of the ducks
killed was found in the vehicle already breasted out without a wing
attached for identification. Lengthy discussions of the regulations
were presented to the hunters, and enforcement action was
CO Chris Holmes contacted two subjects who were shining. A crossbow
was located in the truck with a bolt lying next to it. A compound
bow was in the bed of the truck, and open intoxicants were in the
vehicle. One of the subjects had been charged for killing an
antlerless deer from a motor vehicle the previous year.
CO Chris Holmes responded to a complaint of shots fired in
Kalamazoo County. A large 10-point buck was located, and the CO was
able to follow tracks to a nearby residence. Contact was made with
the landowner, and the suspect was located at another family
member’s residence. A confession was obtained of shooting the deer
with a .30-30-caliber rifle, out of season. The deer was taken as
evidence, and the meat was donated to a local family.
CO Andy Bauer and Sgt. Zachary Doss investigated the capsizing of a
sheriff’s department patrol boat that occurred during an attempted
body recovery on Lake Michigan. A rogue wave hit the patrol boat
and the two deputies were trapped underneath the boat, but were
able to escape.
CO Ken Cerny checked a subject just beginning to turkey hunt at a
state game area. Upon contact, it was discovered that the hunter
was using a private-land turkey license to hunt on public land and
had never taken a hunter safety course. The subject was ticketed
for the hunter safety violation and was warned for the other
CO Rick Villerot responded to a waterfowl trespass complaint where,
just prior to his arrival, the subjects had run from the property
owner. CO Villerot located the subjects and issued tickets for
trespassing and hunting without a federal waterfowl stamp. Two
geese also were seized from the subjects.
CO Rich Nickols followed up on a tip of marijuana growing on state
land in the Portland SGA. Officer Nickols located and pulled three
plants. As CO Nickols was leaving the game area, he found a
“mudder” truck stuck in the middle of a two-track road. There were
areas of damage caused by similar vehicles nearby. The driver
admitted to mud-bogging in the game area, among other careless
activities. A wrecker was called to tow the vehicle out, and the
driver was ticketed for careless driving.
While on shining patrol, CO Rich Nickols observed an operator
driving a vehicle down the road, stop, turn off its lights, and
turn off the engine. CO Nickols listened for a while but eventually
contacted the occupants of the vehicle. Officer Nickols found two
subjects who were hunting raccoons and attempting to locate their
dogs. The subjects were not sure where they were and could not
provide the name of anyone giving them permission to hunt the area.
A file check of both subjects found they each had two misdemeanor
warrants, and neither had a valid driver’s license. One subject did
not have a hunting license, and the other was intoxicated. Tickets
COs Daniel Prince and Pete Purdy, while working a nighttime shining
complaint area, observed a vehicle’s occupants shining just after
midnight. Upon making contact, it was determined that a 15-year-old
on a learner’s driving permit was operating the vehicle while his
father was hanging out the passenger window shining the fields.
Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling Lake St. Clair for waterfowl hunters, COs Kris
Kiel and Todd Szyska contacted four subjects in a hunting party.
One subject was very excited that he had just shot his first duck.
Unfortunately, the hunter had an unplugged shotgun and was in
possession of 13 rounds of lead shot. One other hunter in the party
was unable to produce a federal duck stamp. Enforcement action was
CO Ben Lasher worked the managed area on Harsens Island. Several
hunters took advantage of the large population of ducks in the
area. The CO contacted a group of three hunters. Two of them had
too many shells, and one had an unplugged firearm. Enforcement
action was taken.
CO Mark Ennett checked three different groups of waterfowl hunters
at Sterling State Park during the week. One hunter failed to obtain
a small-game license, another hunter was using an unplugged
shotgun, and the third hunter had his shotgun loaded after hunting
hours. Enforcement action on each of the offenders was taken.
CO Mike Drexler was on patrol when he observed an ORV being
operated on the roadway. He activated his emergency lights and
siren to initiate a traffic stop, and the operator looked over his
shoulder and began to flee down the roadway. After a short pursuit,
the CO apprehended the operator when his ORV became stuck in a
ditch while he attempted to flee through a farm field. In addition
to operating on the roadway and failing to stop for a police
officer, the subject was carrying an uncased bow and could not
produce the ORV registration or his hunting license. Enforcement
action was taken.
COs Brandon Kieft and Kris Kiel followed up on a trespassing
complaint involving two neighbors and a 12-point buck. While
checking the deer and the area where it was killed, the COs located
evidence that the large buck was shot at night. Further
investigation revealed that the deer was shot within the safety
zone and over an excessive bait pile. The deer was seized, and
warrants will be sought for taking a deer after legal hours,
excessive baiting, hunting in the safety zone, and trespass.
COs Kris Kiel and Brandon Kieft responded to a complaint of shots
fired after legal hunting hours. The COs interviewed a subject who
admitted to shooting two large beavers after legal hunting hours
with his .308 rifle. The subject had used solar-powered lighting to
illuminate the beaver dam area so that he could see the animals
after dark. Warrants will be sought for the violations.