Michigan Cuffs and Collars Issue: 1
CO Mark Leadman contacted a hunter coming out of the woods with his muzzleloader. When asked to produce a hunting license, the man handed over his wife's license. He stated he must have accidentally left his license at home. CO Leadman called the subject's residence and was informed by the wife that her husband had shot a buck earlier in the season. A ticket was issued for hunting without a license.
CO Marvin Gerlach is investigating a case of a nonresident using his camp address in Michigan to buy resident licenses. The investigation has revealed that the individual purchased five resident antlerless tags and a resident combination license this year. Once his investigation is complete, CO Gerlach will be seeking charges and restitution for all licenses illegally purchased.
CO Brian Bacon contacted a the operator of a slow-rolling truck in Dickinson County. After a short conversation with the driver, CO Bacon asked if the muzzleloader in the case on the front seat had a primer in it. The driver stated that it did and that he was just being lazy. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Bacon contacted a hunter coming out of the woods at the close of the muzzleloader season. The hunter was driving an unregistered ORV, operating without a helmet, and had a loaded/uncased muzzleloader on his lap. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Mike Evink and Jared Ferguson assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) with the investigation of a hunter who had died in his hunting blind. The blind caught fire and the hunter was not able to escape before being overwhelmed by the smoke and fire.
CO Jared Ferguson was able to connect with a problem road hunter. Upon contact, the driver had a loaded, uncased rifle on the seat, as well as open intoxicants in the vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jerry Fitzgibbon ticketed two individuals who had blocked roads into public land. The cases were not related, other than both subjects wanted to have the public land to themselves.
CO Kevin Postma received a complaint about a subject hunting in a prohibited area on Nature Conservancy property. Upon locating the hunter's treestand, the CO found bait and a crossbow hanging from a tree. A foot patrol was conducted to locate the hunter, during which a subject in a black pickup truck spotted the CO and then quickly turned around and left the scene. A call to a nearby local police officer resulted in a traffic stop, which led to a full confession of trespassing and hunting without a license.
CO Kevin Postma assisted local deputies with the search for and rescue of two lost hunters. The CO located the lost pair within minutes of arriving on the scene.
COs Mike Hammill and Kellie Nightlinger responded to a complaint about shining and shooting after hours. CO Nightlinger conducted a traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle in the area – the subjects stated they were out looking for their buddy who was out looking for his buddy because he was highly intoxicated. The two COs followed the subjects back to their deer camp. No illegal deer were located, but the COs located illegal bait, illegal blinds on state land, and illegal ORV activity. Tickets were issued, and the intoxicated and lost subject was returned to the deer camp.
On the Lake Huron shoreline, CO Jon Sklba observed two duck hunters in a lay-out boat, and a tending motorboat close by. As CO Sklba watched, the motorboat continually was driven into flocks of ducks that had landed some distance away from the lay-out hunters, flushing them off the water. CO Sklba observed the tending boat and the lay-out hunters communicating and then continue their activities. The subjects were met at shore when they were done, and three tickets were issued for rallying waterfowl. A warning was given for hunting without licenses or federal waterfowl stamps in possession.
Due to persistent road hunting and recreational trespass problems, CO Jon Sklba and Sgt. Greg Drogowski deployed the deer decoy on private land on the last day of deer season. The deer decoy was placed directly behind a fence and private property signs. At dusk, a slow-rolling vehicle stopped and CO Sklba observed a rifle barrel come out the window. A shot was fired, and a subsequent traffic stop was made on the vehicle. The driver was ticketed for hunting from a motor vehicle and recreational trespass.
CO Matt Theunick received a complaint and located a tribal hunter on state land who had planted a food plot and had an illegal blind. A report has been forwarded to tribal COs for follow-up.
CO Jon Sklba reports a third-offense snagging case that settled before trial resulted in the defendant pleading guilty and receiving $875 in fines and a two-year fishing license revocation as the penalty.
On the last day of firearms deer season, CO Kelly Ross received a call from a hunter who mistook a bull elk for a deer. The hunter stated he saw the body and antlers in the brush and shot. When he came upon the animal he realized his mistake and turned himself in. A report is being forwarded to the local prosecutor.
Sgt. Joe Molnar was checking state land during muzzleloader season when he contacted two hunters in a truck who had two uncased and loaded muzzleloaders; neither had hunting licenses and both were nonresidents. Sgt. Molnar followed them to their camp where contact was made with three individuals who where gutting a doe. An uncased muzzleloader was located in their truck, and a confession was obtained for shooting the deer from inside the vehicle and outside the appropriate deer management unit. CO Kelly Ross arrived and assisted, and while dealing with the hunters, the camp owner arrived, who also had an uncased muzzleloader. The hunters were ticketed for their violations, and the deer was seized.
While working in the Pigeon River Country, CO Andrea Erratt contacted a trapper who was checking mink and muskrat traps. He possessed untagged traps, and a file check revealed his driver's license was suspended. Enforcement action was taken.
Emmett County CO Duane Budreau is investigating a felonious assault and hunter harassment complaint. A group of subjects hunting on state land made threats to another group of hunters who were participating in a deer drive on state land. The subjects had an illegal camp set up on state land and had claimed the area as their own. Warrant requests are pending.
CO Brian Brosky received information from a subject who witnessed dogs take down a deer. The eyewitness was able to provide CO Brosky with the dog owner's location. CO Brosky responded to the residence and located the unlicensed dogs still running at large. The CO also was able to locate the deer that was killed. Enforcement action was taken against the dog's owner.
CO Steve Converse stopped to talk with two subjects who were operating a vehicle on a two-track road on public land. When asked about their deer season success, one subject informed the CO that he'd already killed a 5-point buck during bow season. Both men were in possession of rifles, but had no hunter orange with them. CO Converse asked them for deer licenses. One subject didn't have any licenses with him, and the other subject who killed the 5-point handed the CO an unused combination license. The subject admitted to failing to tag his deer. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Steve Converse responded to a complaint regarding shots fired at 4:30 a.m. CO Converse canvassed the area the next morning, going door to door, and located a subject with deer blood and hair on his clothing. CO Converse questioned him, and eventually obtained a confession to shooting a deer at night and without a license. The subject also was a convicted felon. The deer was seized, and the case has been forwarded to the prosecutor's office.
CO Jeff Ginn was on patrol when he observed a vehicle exiting the woods with an antlerless deer. CO Ginn contacted the subject and found that the doe had been tagged with an antlerless license from a different area. The subject attempted to provide false information to the CO, but quickly changed his story and admitted to harvesting the deer in the wrong deer management unit. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Lebel was contacted by local deputies who were on a complaint and noticed an untagged deer hanging in a garage. The subject admitted to CO Lebel that he shot the deer and failed to purchase a license. A check of the license system confirmed the hunter hadn't purchased a license for several years. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Troy VanGelderen was contacted by the sheriff's department concerning a subject who was stopped who was dumping a deer carcass in the woods. CO VanGelderen was familiar with the location, since he has received previous complaints about deer carcasses being dumped in the same location. CO VanGelderen interviewed the subject, who stated that the remains came from an 8-point that he shot in Wyoming. CO VanGelderen followed the subject to his residence and was provided with an 8-point rack with a Wyoming tag on it. With Wyoming being a documented CWD state, the subject was ticketed, and the carcass was collected and taken to be incinerated.
CO Mike Hearn patrolled a remote, swampy area of state land where there is a significant problem with illegal ORV operation. CO Hearn contacted a hunter who was afield without his kill tags. The hunter told the CO where he'd walked and entered onto state land more than a mile away. CO Hearn went to the area where the hunter had indicated he entered, and at dark checked the same hunter riding his ORV in the closed area with no registration and no helmet.
COs Chuck McPherson and Chris Bowen responded to a trespass complaint that had occurred several days earlier. Once on the scene, CO Bowen checked the 170-acre parcel while CO McPherson contacted the property owner. CO Bowen found the hunter asleep in a makeshift blind on the property. The hunter had no hunter orange and had purchased multiple deer licenses for the season.
CO John Huspen contacted several hunters who had purchased multiple licenses. One subject would not admit to having purchased additional licenses, but then showed CO Huspen his first two kill tags, which he had previously used on two deer. Eventually, he admitted to purchasing additional licenses and told the CO he did plan to continue to hunt with the licenses.
While on patrol, COs Mark Papineau and Steve Lockwood contacted a deer hunter. When asked for his license, the subject began to frantically search for his wallet. Unable to locate his wallet, the subject informed the COs that he must have lost his wallet and his licenses, but then provided the COs with his name. In checking the license system, it showed multiple purchases by the subject, including three archery tags and a public land antlerless deer license. The subject also admitted to purchasing too many licenses and leaving his wallet at home, as he never expected to be checked.
Three hunters who had been charged with numerous license violations, and possessing lead shot and unplugged firearms during the first week of the waterfowl season were sentenced to pay $500 in fines and costs, were ordered 18 hours community service, and lost their hunting privileges until 2015. The hunters had a history of game violations in Huron County.
CO Chad Foerster received a complaint about a hunter possibly in violation of the two-gallon bait law in the Tobico Marsh State Recreation Area. CO Foerster located the stand in question and found it occupied by a hunter not wearing hunter orange. The hunter was well over his legal bait limit, wasn't wearing hunter orange while hunting with a muzzleloader, and did not have his kill tag with him. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chad Foerster was at a local boat launch in Bay County when he observed several subjects across the channel in the marina hurrying to pack up their fishing gear and coolers. The CO waited until the anglers were packed up and headed out of the marina before he contacted them. Further investigation revealed the anglers were over their legal limit of 50 perch each. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Jason A. Smith and Phillip Hudson checked a hunter as he came out of the woods 40 minutes after legal hunting hours with his firearm still loaded. There also were two other uncased firearms in the hunter's vehicle that he had been driving around with for the past week or two. He was issued a ticket for possessing a loaded firearm outside of legal hunting hours.
CO Jason A. Smith received a complaint about a subject putting out too much bait. The subject was located, and he had just finished carrying out about six bags of various types of bait in the state game area. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Holly Pennoni and John Person conducted a decoy patrol in an area where a landowner has had problems with hunters trespassing and shooting onto his property. A ticket was issued to one road hunter for an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. This person previously had been ticketed for possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
While checking hunters leaving the Shiawassee River State Game Area, CO Dan Lee was approached by a man who stated that he had never seen a conservation officer in the area and that they need to do a better job enforcing the laws there. The man's request was answered. He was operating an ORV with a passenger (neither had helmets), he had no ORV license, and no one was carrying the appropriate permit for the game area.
COs Ken Cerny and Paul Higashi worked a complaint during muzzleloader season of a subject who was on parole and was prohibited from possessing any type of weapon. After repeated attempts, the COs located the subject hunting with a bow and arrow, while failing to wear hunter orange and without any type of hunting license. The COs located a second subject who was hunting with a crossbow while using his firearms deer license and was not wearing hunter orange. Both subjects were ticketed, and the subject on parole was lodged.
CO Mike McGee was on patrol when he observed a deer hunter in his stand without hunter orange. CO McGee watched the hunter and made contact 40 minutes after legal shooting hours and found the subject still possessed a loaded gun. The subject had filled one of his combination licenses and then purchased a firearms deer license.
CO Steve Mooney was called near the end of firearms deer season at 3 a.m. by a local police department that had responded to a complaint of shots fired and made a traffic stop. Upon arrival, CO Mooney obtained a confession from the driver of the vehicle. A second subject had shot and hit a deer with the aid of a spotlight, and had gone to retrieve it when the traffic stop was made. Later, the second subject was located and a confession was obtained. The .30-06 rifle with a laser sight was seized, along with the illegally taken deer.
COs Chuck Towns and Mike Mshar responded to a trespass complaint from a local hunter safety instructor. Two subjects were contacted who admitted to the violation, one of whom was in possession of a stolen firearm and was a convicted felon. The stolen firearm was turned over to the MSP for follow-up. The subjects also had no licenses or hunter orange, and one of them had an outstanding warrant.
CO Mike Mshar contacted subjects operating a motor vehicle in a closed area of the Allegan SGA. One of the subjects was in possession of a crossbow with night vision equipment attached.
On the last day of the firearms deer season, CO Rich Nickols was on patrol and observed two hunters cross the road ahead of him. CO Nickols contacted the hunters and found one of them in possession of a loaded shotgun one-half hour after the end of hunting hours. In addition to having a loaded gun after hours, the subject was a convicted felon and was on parole. The weapon was seized, and a warrant request is being sought for felon in possession of a firearm and hunting after legal hours. The second subject was ticketed for being afield without a valid hunting license.
COs Dan Prince and Pete Purdy investigated a deer-hunting trespass complaint in which a hunter trespassed on private property and shot a deer during the first day of muzzleloader season with a 12-gauge shotgun. The investigation is still open.
CO Daniel Prince received a waterfowl complaint in Livingston County. The complainant reported that two different groups of waterfowl hunters were decoying and shooting Canada geese. CO Prince met with the complainant, who let CO Prince borrow his canoe. CO Prince and the complainant canoed through ice to make contact with the hunters. Both groups of waterfowl hunters stated that they failed to read the waterfowl guide and assumed the goose season was opened for the last two days of duck-hunting season. Geese were seized, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Brad Brewer responded to a call for help from a local resident who wounded a deer while hunting outside the village of Jonesville. The small buck ran into the village limits and was running through the backyards of several homes. When the CO arrived, the deer was lying in a row of bushes in the front yard of a home at a busy intersection. The deer jumped again as CO Brewer was trying to find a safe angle to approach it. It ran through the intersection, stopping traffic, and finally fell in the front yard of a local elementary school. CO Brewer was able to safely dispatch the deer, which was recovered and legally tagged.
CO Jeff Goss noticed the new state record crossbow-killed deer looked similar to one on the website of a game ranch. After a few calls, it was determined the hunter had shot the deer on the ranch and was trying to get endorsements for the animal being a deer taken in the wild. CO Goss called the hunter and the hunter withdrew his trophy.
While following up on a RAP complaint, CO Brandon Kieft observed a subject in full camouflage carrying a shotgun and running through a nearby backyard. CO Kieft stopped and identified the subject, who turned out to be the complainant in a baiting complaint. After talking with him about his hunting for the season, CO Kieft noticed that the subject had just purchased his only license about an hour before their contact. The subject eventually admitted to hunting without a license and failing to wear hunter orange while firearms deer hunting. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brandon Kieft conducted a foot patrol in the Holly Recreation Area, checking firearms deer hunters on the last day of the season. He contacted one hunter who was surprised to see him. The man was hunting with a .30-30 rifle in the shotgun zone and had driven to the area on a suspended driver's license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kris Kiel observed a suspicious-looking camouflage SUV parked on an abandoned entrance ramp to I-94 in Macomb County. While investigating, the CO observed a bow case in the rear of the vehicle. A subject came walking out of a nearby woodlot and admitted to hunting. CO Kiel escorted the subject back into the woods and found the subject's bow and an excessive amount of bait. The subject stated he had already shot a doe and a buck, which used up his combination license. He had no other licenses. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Todd Szyska responded to a complaint about a safety zone violation where the complainant stated a subject had just shot a deer well within his safety zone after he had told him in the past that he could not hunt in his safety zone. After arriving on the scene and taking laser rangefinder measurements, the CO found the subjects had been hunting in the complainant's safety zone, although they were on their own property. They had two blinds set up – one was 87 yards away while the other was 410 yards. The hunter had bagged a 6-point buck with a crossbow. A warrant request will be submitted.
While on pass, CO Ken Kovach received a complaint about subjects hunting deer with pistols and no hunter orange during the muzzleloader season. When he returned to work, CO Kovach received another complaint of the same. He responded and contacted several hunters in a large hunting party. The subjects were not trespassing; however, there were numerous other violations, including loaded firearms in vehicles. Enforcement action was taken.