MI: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 26
CO Marvin Gerlach and Sgt. Pete Wright observed a slow-rolling
vehicle in Menominee County, and followed it until the driver
reached his hunting location. When contacted, the driver had a
loaded/uncased rifle in the vehicle, and sitting next to the rifle
was his 6-year-old grandson. A ticket was issued.
CO Denny Gast and Sgt. Steven Burton broke in the new deer decoy in
the Misery Bay area. The occupant of the first truck that drove
past shot twice out the window and subsequently was arrested.
CO Doug Hermanson and Sgt. Steven Burton responded to a mortality
code on a wolf collar. Upon the COs finding the wolf, a cabin was
noted about 100 yards away. CO Hermanson later contacted the owner
of the cabin and received a confession for the illegal take of an
CO Jason Niemi followed up on a lengthy investigation from the deer
season involving the loaning and borrowing of tags between resident
and nonresident hunters. Several tickets were issued.
CO Dave Painter continues to investigate the theft of a 9-point
buck. The hunter had shot the deer, tagged it, and left it near a
trail while he walked back to his camp. He returned a short time
later and found the deer was gone. The investigation is
CO Jason Wicklund received a phone call from a Wisconsin warden
relaying information on two suspected illegal deer. A Wisconsin
state trooper stopped a vehicle north of Green Bay and discovered
the fresh deer in the bed of the truck. One of the deer was not
tagged, and the second had a tag from a subject who was not present
in the vehicle. It was determined the deer were shot in western
Iron County without the proper licenses. Charges are pending in
Wisconsin and Michigan.
CO Jared Ferguson was contacted by MSP troopers who were dealing
with a breaking and entering investigation. While at the suspect’s
residence, the troopers observed a deer hanging in the garage, but
could not see a kill tag. When CO Ferguson arrived, he contacted
the suspect, who confessed to shooting the 7-point without having a
kill tag. He was ticketed for taking a deer illegally.
CO John Wenzel contacted a hunter while investigating an illegal
blind and illegal ORV trails. The hunter was asked to show his
hunting licenses. He did so, showing two unused combination license
tags. During the contact CO Wenzel observed blood on the hunter’s
hands. When asked about the blood, the subject said he had earlier
shot a deer. When asked how he tagged it, the hunter said he tagged
it with his wife’s tag. A ticket was issued for using the tag of
CO Robert Crisp was called by a hunter who shot at a buck, but hit
a doe. After making contact with the caller and checking the scene,
CO Crisp took the deer but warned the hunter. No tickets were
issued. The deer was turned over to a needy family in the
CO Robert Crisp reports that one subject who took an illegal deer
was ordered to pay fines and costs, plus serve 60 days community
service and three years license suspension. In another case, a
hunter who shot a cub bear this fall was ordered to pay $2,000 in
fines, costs, and restitution, serve five days in jail, and receive
a three-year license suspension.
CO Kyle Publiski located an illegal bait pile in Chippewa County.
Upon checking the bait on opening day, he found a hunter without a
license and no hunter orange. Further investigation revealed two
friends of the subject who also were overbaiting and hunting
without licenses. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Postma responded to an ongoing complaint about hunter
harassment. Initially, one of the hunters was hunting without a
license and was issued a ticket. A few days later, the conflict
continued, and it was found that one of the subjects had poured gas
in the area, set up a blind with a loud radio playing, and also
laced the entire area with skunk scent. The CO was able to get a
full confession, and a report was sent to the prosecutor for
CO Kevin Postma encountered a subject exiting the woods with a buck
that was tagged with his wife’s kill tag. The wife was nowhere to
be found, and the deer was fresh. The subject claimed that his wife
shot it when she brought him lunch. Further investigation revealed
that the subject’s wife doesn’t hunt and only buys a license for
her husband to use. Tickets were issued.
While on patrol, CFS Craig Milkowski spotted a subject sitting in a
parked vehicle overlooking a field, with an uncased rifle in his
lap. While he watched the subject, CO Jon Sklba and Sgt. Greg
Drogowski approached and made contact. The subject was a
wheelchair-bound disabled person. While he did not have a proper
permit, it was apparent that he would qualify. The subject was
warned and given the information to apply for the appropriate
permit to hunt from a standing vehicle.
CO Mike Feagan contacted a hunter at a residence regarding a deer
possibly shot with a firearm out of season. The subject apparently
had taken the buck with a bow; however, it had his wife’s tag on
it. He’d also shot a spike buck during the firearms season that was
tagged with his restricted tag. Enforcement action was taken, and
the deer tagged appropriately, ending his deer hunting for the
CO Mike Feagan responded to a hunter causality call. CO Feagan was
the first on the scene and found one subject in a vehicle, who
directed him to the location of the incident. CO Feagan proceeded
on foot, and found the victim already deceased. A self-inflicted
gunshot wound was the apparent cause of death. Apparently, the
victim stumbled and discharged the firearm. Local deputies also
responded, and the incident is still under investigation.
While checking a deer processor, CO Matt Theunick found a whole
deer with a Wisconsin deer tag on it. The hunter was contacted, and
it was confirmed the deer was taken in Wisconsin. With Wisconsin
being a CWD-positive state, it is illegal to import into Michigan a
deer without the meat being de-boned and the skull/antlers cleared
of the brain and muscle tissue. A ticket was issued, and the deer
was seized. The deer must now be destroyed.
CO Bill Webster and Sgt. Joe Molnar checked a buck pole on opening
morning and while looking at the first buck, they noted that the
license was purchased that morning. The hunter was located and
interviewed, and he admitted to shooting the buck and then
purchasing his hunting license.
CO Angela Greenway contacted two minors afield during the firearms
deer season who were hunting while unsupervised. CO Greenway
located the father of the minors; he was hunting one mile away. The
father stated he was checking on his children by using an ORV to
check after the morning and evening hunts. Enforcement action was
CO Troy VanGelderen and acting Sgt. Brian Brosky utilized a deer
decoy to address road-hunting complaints on private property. In
one case, a vehicle operator dropped off a subject to deer hunt. As
the pickup proceeded down the road, the driver saw the deer decoy,
slammed on the brakes, and backed up quickly to pick up the subject
he’d just dropped off. The subject ran from the field and jumped
into the truck with his uncased and loaded firearm. The vehicle
stopped right next to Sgt. Brosky, who watched the barrel of the
passenger’s firearm point out the driver’s window to scope the
deer. Recognizing the deer as a decoy, the subjects panicked, with
the driver again reversing quickly and dropping the passenger off
by the field. However, the COs observed the entire incident. The
driver was contacted while seated in his vehicle, still in the
middle of the roadway, as he attempted to unload his rifle. Both
subjects were ticketed.
CO Brian Lebel observed several people looking into the back of a
truck at a party store on opening day of the firearms deer season.
CO Lebel contacted the group, and a proud hunter claimed that he
shot the large 10-point buck. CO Lebel noted that the deer was
tagged with a senior firearms deer license. The younger hunter
claimed it was cheaper to put his dad’s tag on it. A check of the
license system revealed the young hunter hadn’t purchased a hunting
license. The large buck was seized, and enforcement action was
CO Troy VanGelderen was conducting a deer processor inspection and
received an anonymous complaint about a subject who had taken three
bucks. As luck would have it, the named subject had taken a 5-point
to the same processor where CO VanGelderen was conducting his
inspection – and the deer was tagged with the subject’s spouse’s
license. CO VanGelderen attempted to locate the subject at his
residence and found no one home. Later that day, CO VanGelderen was
checking steelhead anglers and came upon the subject. CO
VanGelderen followed the subject back to his residence and
discovered that he had shot a spike and a 3-point buck. The subject
was ticketed for the illegal deer.
COs Chuck McPherson and Chris Bowen walked two miles into a swamp
to check four hunters who each had cut five to six shooting lanes
100 to 200 yards long and eight to 10 feet wide at their hunting
blinds on state land. Some hunters were not wearing hunter orange
when contacted. They told the COs they went into the area during
the past winter and cut extensions on the shooting lanes. The
hunters also had left their blinds, scaffolds, and hunting gear at
the site throughout the year.
CO William Cherry ticketed a subject hunting and using two
55-gallon drums of bait plus additional piles of apples and
carrots. The hunter also was hunting without a valid license. The
same subject had been ticketed in the past for shooting at the deer
CO Chris Bowen and Lt. Creig Grey responded to a complaint about a
hunter who indicated he’d shot a deer, but a second hunter claimed
he’d killed the deer and tagged it. The COs arrived to find the
11-point gutted and tagged by the second hunter, but blood evidence
showed the deer had been shot at the complainant’s blind and ran to
its current location. The deer was turned over to and tagged by the
CO Mark Papineau and Sgt. Glenn Gutierrez responded to a
trespassing complaint in Gladwin County. The complainant advised
that just after daylight on the firearms opener, a neighbor shot a
4-point buck on the complainant’s property without permission. Upon
arrival, CO Papineau and Sgt. Gutierrez interviewed the suspects,
who admitted to shooting a deer on the neighbor’s property without
permission. Both individuals also trespassed to retrieve the
While patrolling, COs Mark Papineau and Steve Lockwood stopped a
suspicious, slow-moving vehicle and discovered several loaded
firearms. The operator of the vehicle confessed to “road hunting”
for a reported large buck that was seen in the area. The property
in the area is privately owned, and the operator stated he was
willing to risk committing multiple violations in hopes of getting
a shot at the trophy buck.
On opening day of firearms deer season, CO Jason McCullough
responded to a complaint about a subject who had shot a turkey.
When CO McCullough contacted the subject, he confessed to shooting
not one turkey, but two.
CO Warren MacNeill had the good fortune of assisting a hunter who
was an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran and had been wounded in action
one month earlier. He was home recovering from his injuries and
surgeries and wanted to go hunting. CO MacNeill assisted him in
finding a hunting location on private land in Alcona County, where
the hunter was able to harvest a buck.
CO Jeremy Payne made a traffic stop of a pickup truck occupied by
two hunters. The CO asked to see their firearms and licenses, and
the hunters handed the CO resident deer firearms licenses. The CO
then noted that one of the hunters was wearing a cap that said,
“Registered Maine Poacher.” Upon further investigation, it was
found that the two hunters were Maine residents and had purchased
the Michigan resident licenses illegally. As the investigation
continued at their temporary residence, an antlerless deer was
found hanging. One of the hunters admitted shooting and tagging it
with a friend’s antlerless tag because he did not have one. After
issuing tickets and seizing the deer, the CO contacted the friend
who loaned his tag to the Maine hunter. CO Payne found the friend
and a female subject, who were dressing another deer. It was
determined that this deer was shot by the female subject in the
morning without a license. The deer was then tagged with a license
that was bought that afternoon. The CO then wrote the female
subject a ticket and seized the deer. The friend who loaned his tag
to the Maine hunter also was issued a ticket.
While CO Jason A. Smith was contacting camps in state game areas,
he located a deer hanging that had a tag that recently had been
purchased. An interview was conducted, and the hunter admitted to
buying his license after he’d shot the deer. Enforcement action was
COs Jason A. Smith and Joshua Wright both worked a trespass
complaint in which a subject shot a deer on the adjacent
landowner’s property and started to retrieve it without permission,
before being confronted by the property owner. Officer Wright
located the highly intoxicated subject back at camp and issued a
ticket for recreational trespass.
CO Jason A. Smith followed up on a complaint about a subject taking
deer without a license. Officer Smith was able to locate two deer
that had been shot by the subject. One of the animals was tagged
with the subject’s father’s senior deer license, and the other deer
had not yet been tagged, even though it was shot several days
earlier. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jason A. Smith received a complaint about subjects packing out
untagged meat from a state game area in backpacks. The area was
checked a couple times, and the subjects were not located. Sgt.
Tony Soave was able to contact the subjects a few days later as
they were dragging out a legally tagged 3-point buck. The hunters
stated they did shoot a big doe and quartered it up in the field
because it was too heavy to drag out.
CO Jason A. Smith received information about an illegal camp in the
middle of a section of state land. An early morning patrol was
conducted, and a subject was located. The subject had multiple
warrants and was trying to “live below the radar.” The firearm the
subject was supposed to have was a smooth-bore BB pistol. The
subject was lodged on the outstanding warrants.
CO Chuck Towns checked a large group that was conducting a deer
drive in the Allegan State Game Area. One subject was observed
attempting to conceal his gun as the CO approached. The firearm was
located, and then the subject tried to provide a fake name.
However, CO Towns had ticketed this subject before and remembered
who he was. After the subject provided his actual name, it was
discovered he had no license and several outstanding
CO Cary Foster was called to investigate a complaint about a
carcass that was dumped along a road in Ionia County. Upon arrival,
the CO found a deer carcass that was not gutted, with a tag
attached belonging to a resident a short distance from the scene.
When the CO spoke to a female at the residence, she quickly stated
she was not going to lie – her husband shot the deer and tagged it
with her tag. A short time after this contact, CO Foster located
the husband, who while driving to the processor, had lost the deer
from a cargo trailer, and was unaware of where he lost it. Further
questioning revealed that the deer was actually shot by a
13-year-old son with a .223 rifle in the shotgun zone while hunting
with his father. The deer then was illegally tagged with the
mother’s tag. CO Foster further questioned the man and learned he
had illegally killed a buck recently with the same .223 rifle in
the shotgun zone.
CO Kyle Bader inspected a deer processor and found a
suspicious-looking tag. When the CO located the owner, the subject
was still feeling the effects of too much drinking from the
previous night. The subject quickly admitted to purchasing his
license after he shot the deer and took the ticket without
question, just so he could lie back down.
CO Jeff Goss responded to a trespass complaint in which a subject
had shot at a deer on a neighbor’s property and covered it up with
cornstalks to hide it. The subject had picked up the spent casings,
but had forgotten about the sabot and slug in the tree. The subject
was shown the evidence and confessed to his actions. He also was
hunting without a license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Derek Miller handled a complaint in which a young girl heard a
loud noise in her bedroom on opening deer-hunting morning. She
later realized that a bullet had penetrated her bedroom wall. CO
Miller’s investigation is ongoing, but it appears that a hunter was
shooting at deer that were crossing the field, and he
unintentionally shot at the house. There were no injuries.
CO Derek Miller responded to a compliant about two subjects not
wearing hunter orange and trespassing on University of Michigan
property. CO Miller waited for the subjects until dark and found
them not wearing hunter orange and in possession of firearms loaded
after hours. They stated that they were not hunting on U of M
property and that they were on private land. However, when they
left the woods, they became turned around and exited on U of M
property. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ken Kovach investigated an anonymous complaint in which a
subject without a license shot a record-book 13-point buck in
Lapeer County. The subject entered the buck in a local and
statewide buck pole, and he had a very detailed story regarding the
hunting episode. The part he left out was that he did not have a
hunting license. After a discussion with CO Kovach, the subject
admitted he did not have a license and provided a statement as to
the real story. A warrant will be sought.
CO Linda Scheidler and Chief Gary Hagler received a complaint about
subjects hunting within the city limits of Flint and trespassing.
The COs responded to the subject’s residence and talked with the
homeowner. They were told the subject did not hunt; however, he
allowed another subject to hunt behind the property. The COs walked
to the back of the property and found the fence was cut and a trail
led onto city property. The COs followed the trail, which led them
to two subjects dressed in full camouflage and not wearing hunter
orange. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ben Lasher received a call from a property owner who found a
trail camera on his property. The property owner developed the
photos that were taken on the trail cam and provided them to CO
Lasher. The property owner and the CO were able to establish a
suspect based on the photos. CO Lasher contacted the subject, who
could not dispute the photographic evidence from his own trail cam.
Some of the photos were of the subject trespassing and putting bait
out. Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling in St. Clair County, CO John Borkovich heard rifle
gunshots. The CO set out on foot and started to walk through the
woods in the direction of the shots. The CO came upon a hunter, who
informed the CO he had seen subjects walking in the direction of
the shots and not wearing hunter orange. The CO continued on and
observed two subjects in full camouflage with rifles. The CO
quietly approached the subjects and got to within 10 feet before he
announced his presence. The CO secured the .300 Win. magnum, which
was mounted on a bipod, and a .270. After some questioning, the CO
determined there were four more subjects hunting illegally. The CO
rounded up all six of the subjects and called in backup. Five of
the six subjects were illegal aliens in possession centerfire
rifles in the shotgun zone. Five of the subjects did not have
hunting licenses and were not wearing hunter orange. Two of the
subjects had felony and misdemeanor warrants for their arrest. Once
the scene was secure, the CO found two deer that were illegally
taken, turkey decoys, and litter in the areas where all the
subjects were hunting. The illegal aliens also were in possession
of body armor. The U.S. Border Patrol was called, and officials
took custody of the five illegal aliens, who were transported to a
federal facility in Detroit. There were nearly 30 violations of
both state and federal laws. CO Borkovich took enforcement action
and also is working with Border Patrol.