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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – October 26th, 2012

DISTRICT 1

CO Brian Bacon walked along a trail he thought led to bear bait. After a short walk, it was evident the trail did not lead to a bear bait, but to marijuana plants. Thirty mature marijuana plants were located and seized. The CO was assisted by Michigan State Police troopers.
CO Dave Miller responded to a bear-hunter harassment complaint. After investigating the incident, he determined both parties were at fault and issued several verbal warnings.
CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy worked a complaint about bear hound hunters trespassing and illegally harvesting a bear on private property. With the assistance of COs Quincy Gowenlock, Jeremy Payne, Dan Lee, and Ken Lowell, multiple search warrants were executed at residences in lower Michigan. A 500-pound trophy bear hide was seized, along with other evidence related to the illegal taking of the trophy black bear. Charges are being sought through the Dickinson County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Marvin Gerlach received an anonymous complaint about a subject hunting bears in the Carney Bear Management Unit without the proper license. CO Gerlach investigated the complaint and located two subjects hunting bears with rifles during the third season in the Carney unit and using third-season Bergland BMU licenses. The subjects were dressed in full camouflage and were not wearing any hunter orange. The firearms and licenses of both men were seized, and tickets were written to both subjects regarding the license and hunter orange issues.
CO Dave Painter worked the grouse decoy in Iron County to target road-hunting activity, which was steady by the decoy, with one shooter taking aim from a vehicle. A check of the vehicle revealed open beer, and each subject had marijuana in possession. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

CO Mike Hammill was on routine patrol when he observed the truck of a bear hunter parked in the woods. Because it was close to the end of the hunting hours, the CO decided to wait for the hunter at his truck to see how his season was going. The end of hunting hours came and went, and no hunter appeared. Then, 45 minutes after hours, a light appeared in the woods and contact was made with the subject, who was holding a loaded pistol in his hand. When ordered to put the gun away, the subject refused, but after being told a third time he complied and holstered the gun. When asked why he was out so late after hunting hours, the subject said his bear stand was a mile away. The CO then asked to see the hunting stand, and the subject took him to the stand, which took less than four minutes to reach. It was obvious that the subject was hunting after hours. He also was hunting from an illegal stand, illegally using screw-in tree steps, and didn’t have any hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Publiski responded to a house fire in which it was reported that a man was still trapped inside. Upon the CO’s arrival, the home was fully engulfed and the trapped man burst through a glass window. The subject was cut in several places, had back and chest pains, and was suffering from smoke inhalation. The CO assisted the fire department with first aid until the ambulance arrived.
CO Kyle Publiski responded to a complaint about a subject driving his ORV through the Carp River, and upon arrival, located the subject, who was fishing on the other side of the river. The ORV tracks told the story, as the subject caused extensive erosion in a wetland area, down the beach and then through the mouth of the Carp River. A ticket was issued for operating an ORV in a wetland.
CO Jerry Fitzgibbon followed up on an early bait he found during patrols. He contacted a hunter who had not only placed deer bait early, but also had trail cam pictures and video indicating he was baiting as early as Sept. 8. A video showed the hunter and his friend placing another early bait two miles from the first. The hunter confessed when asked about the violations and was written a ticket for early bait.

DISTRICT 3

CO Mike Feagan observed an angler with an unbaited treble hook and large sinker trying to snag fish on a river. When contacted, the angler stated that he had bait, but it was in his truck and he didn’t feel like getting it. He was ticketed for attempting to snag fish.
CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint from duck hunters about other duck hunters shooting a swan. CO Erratt contacted the subjects and received a confession. She then kayaked into the marsh and found the nearly dead trumpeter swan. In checking their other birds, she found a pie-billed grebe, which is also protected. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jon Sklba received a complaint about a badger killed out of season and a 330 Conibear trap set on dry land. The trap also did not have a tag on it. After investigating, CO Sklba located the trapper and interviewed him, obtaining a confession. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Bill Webster contacted four waterfowl hunters who had driven an ORV through a wetland, and while checking their licenses and firearms, he found three unplugged guns. The hunters also did not have their federal and Michigan waterfowl stamps and were ticketed for their violations.
CO Mark DePew contacted an archery hunter who had put out bait on state land prior to Oct. 1 and also had dumped a truckload of carrots, bread, and salt blocks. The hunter was going out West to hunt and wanted to make sure there was enough bait out to keep the deer coming in while he was gone.
COs Nick Torsky and Jon Sklba worked an early strike bait on the hound opener for bears in the Red Oak BMU. They contacted a hunter who was ticketed for the early bear bait.

DISTRICT 4

A search for a man who had sexually assaulted his 12-year-old daughter led police to a wooded section of Manistee and Lake counties. CO Carla Soper and an LRB tribal CO located the man on a remote back road. The man was armed with a loaded handgun and had it sitting on his front passenger seat. The man was taken into custody by the COs and turned over to the sheriff’s department and MSP.
CO Carla Soper was covertly patrolling a local creek in Manistee County when two anglers arrived and began informing other anglers that “the blonde CO was down here two days ago writing tickets to everybody, so watch out.” The same two people then went down and snagged two fish. CO Soper caught up with them as they were leaving with the fish and asked why they didn’t heed their own warnings. They said they wanted a fish so badly, they had to do it. Both subjects also had prior offenses for taking fish not hooked in the mouth. The two were ticketed for second-offense snagging.
COs Carla Soper, Angela Greenway, and Sgt. Kevin Hackworth worked a joint foot patrol on Huff Creek, targeting people illegally taking salmon. After a short time, three separate groups of anglers arrived and began chasing salmon on foot, shaking logs, throwing rocks at fish, and attempting to snag fish by various methods. One subject was able to hook a salmon by hand by inserting a hook into the fish’s mouth and manually impaling the hook as the fish swam in a log jam. After hand-hooking the fish, the subject told the woman to start reeling. The pair then went upstream, where the wife excitedly informed her husband that she had caught one by herself. After all the subjects and fish were gathered up, a total of eight tickets had been issued and six fish had been confiscated.
CO Sam Koscinski is investigating a complaint from a concerned citizen about a 4-year-old alleged to have killed a buck under the new youth mentor license during the youth hunting weekend. An investigation continues, but it also was ascertained that this same youth was reported to have killed a turkey under the youth mentor license this past spring.
CO Sean Kehoe located a trail camera and bait on state land prior to Oct. 1. Bait was placed out on Sept. 4. On Oct. 1, CO Kehoe contacted the hunter. Photos from a trail camera showed that the hunter had deer, two cub bears, raccoons, and squirrels all enjoying the bait pile during the course of several weeks. Enforcement action taken.
CO Sam Koscinski observed two waterfowl hunters in a field close to the end of hunting hours. CO Koscinski set up a surveillance point and watched as the hunters shot at waterfowl approximately 20 minutes after legal hunting hours. When contacted, one of the waterfowl hunters did not have a license. Tickets were issued.
During the early antlerless season, CO Mike Wells responded to a trespass complaint on property that was in the process of foreclosure. The hunter had been advised by the bank to not be on the property. CO Wells located the subjects, who were in full camouflage, running out of the woods toward an ORV. CO Wells located blood and hair in the ORV that indicated an animal was killed. The subjects also were baiting prior to Oct. 1. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Chuck McPherson contacted four subjects standing around a vehicle parked on state land. While talking with the subjects, CO McPherson observed numerous empty plastic bait bags in the bed of the truck. All four individuals indicated they had baited several weeks before the legal start day. The illegal baits were located and found to be well over the 2-gallon limit. Four illegal blinds also were found.
CO Mike Hearn assisted a deputy with a domestic dispute complaint with trespass, assault, and possible weapons involved. CO Hearn talked to one subject who indicated the dispute was over drugs and stated that he had dumped the drugs in the woods. The subject then led CO Hearn to the area he’d indicated, but no drugs were found. The subject later admitted to CO Hearn he had hidden the drugs in a wood pile. CO Hearn recovered heroin, methamphetamine, and oxycodone that had been stashed.
CO Jason McCullough investigated a complaint about a subject posting state land. He located the individual, who was using an ORV illegally on state land. He had cut several large trees and then used them to make a log cabin-style blind out of which to hunt bears. He also blocked the two-track road. Tickets were issued.

DISTRICT 6

COs Seth Rhodea and Jason Smith were working an area where complaints had been received about shining after midnight. Just before 3 a.m., the COs located a subject shining from his vehicle. A traffic stop was made and the subject was ticketed for shining after 11 p.m. and for possessing a bow.
CO Seth Rhodea contacted several anglers in Port Sanilac who were fishing from a small boat. The anglers were in compliance with all fishing laws, but their boat had not been registered in over a decade. A ticket was issued.
CO Seth Rhodea received a complaint involving a subject putting photos of two bucks his son shot during the youth weekend on Facebook. The father admitted to the overlimit and showed CO Rhodea the deer, in addition to several other deer he was storing at his house for family members. Upon checking tags on all the deer, none were found to be validated. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chad Foerster has been working the Saginaw Bay area where large amounts of perch were being taken by hook and line. One angler was in possession of an overlimit of 50 perch. Enforcement action was taken, and the perch were seized.
CO Ken Lowell received a complaint about a hunter shooting a deer out of season and on another person’s property. Officer Lowell contacted and interviewed the suspect at his residence, where he observed fresh blood on the subject’s shoes. A confession to killing a doe out of season was obtained, and the suspect went to jail on a warrant.
While at a gas station, CO Dan Lee met some north zone duck hunters on their way home. They said that it was their first time duck hunting and they had a blast. They told CO Lee that they had gotten a couple wood ducks and about six black ducks. CO Lee asked the excited hunters if he could check them out. The hunters produced two wood ducks and six coots. CO Lee explained the bag limits for waterfowl hunting and told them they had not shot any black ducks, which was both good for them and bad for them, since they had a pile of coots.

DISTRICT 7

CO Chris Holmes initiated an investigation of a subject who was thought to be deer hunting while his hunting privileges were revoked. The revocation stemmed from a conviction in 2011 in which CO Holmes pulled the subject over for shining deer and found the subject in possession of a loaded crossbow. After several hours of surveillance and interviews, the CO found that the subject had shot a doe and tagged it with his girlfriend’s unlawfully purchased license. The deer and firearm were seized, and multiple charges will be sought on three subjects involved in the unlawful killing of the deer.
CO Brad Brewer pulled into a parking lot at a fishing site on the St. Joseph River and observed a woman at the rear of her car. Upon seeing CO Brewer, she immediately closed the trunk and began walking back to the river where she met her husband. CO Brewer checked a couple with whom they were fishing, who were nearing their limit of panfish, but the woman and her husband only had 13 fish in their possession. CO Brewer asked if there were fish in the car, and the woman admitted there were fish in the trunk. CO Brewer checked the fish in the trunk and found 56 panfish, in addition to the 13 they had at the river. Enforcement action was taken for the 19 panfish over the limit.

DISTRICT 8

COs Derek Miller, Damon Owens, and Shane Webster received an early antlerless season complaint about a man and his son who’d shot a buck. The COs responded to the complaint and found the two men hunting on state land. They had shot a buck instead of an antlerless deer. While investigating the complaint, the COs also found one of the subjects had outstanding DNR warrants from a previous illegal deer case. The deer was seized, and charges were filed against one of the men. The other hunter was lodged in the Washtenaw County jail.
CO Damon Owens received information about a subject allegedly selling wild game from his residence during a garage sale. CO Owens and CO Shane Webster conducted an undercover investigation of the allegations, which led to wild game being sold unlawfully to CO Webster. CO Owens contacted the subject, who admitted to the violation and stated he was only clearing out his freezer to make room for this year’s meat to be stored. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Derek Miller was working on the Huron River when he saw a group of anglers on a railroad trestle where there have been problems in the past. CO Miller went out on foot and observed the subjects from across the river. CO Miller finally contacted the anglers and advised them that the “no trespassing” signs they walked past were there for a reason. CO Miller also asked them about the beer cans they were throwing into the woods and told them that he’d been there for quite some time, observing them. To make matters worse, the subjects had an overlimit of panfish. They were ticketed for the violations.
COs Dan Bigger and Pete Purdy responded to a trespass complaint in which the subjects had shot a small doe. The property owner was frustrated that the trespassers had uprooted an oak tree and placed their blind on a newly planted white pine. The complainant stated the doe was tossed over one hunter’s shoulder and was extremely small. CO Bigger immediately recognized one of the subjects as a person who was arrested in 2010 in an illegal deer case not far from this location. Further investigation revealed that the doe was not shot on the complainant’s property, but the hunters were trespassing. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Pete Purdy received a RAP complaint about a subject who was bragging that he had placed deer bait prior to the antlerless season and didn’t believe he would get caught. The complainant was upset with this, and made a RAP complaint. CO Purdy located the deer bait, with a pop-up blind and trail cam over the bait pile one day before the antlerless deer season began. The subject received a ticket.
CO Pete Purdy contacted a group of three anglers. The first angler said he didn't have a license and that he didn't have time to buy a license, even though he traveled 30 miles to reach the lake, and purchased beer for himself and the other two anglers prior to getting there. He was issued a ticket for fishing without a license. The second angler had a fishing license but had a misdemeanor warrant for fishing without a license last year in Lapeer County. The third angler didn’t have a license and had over $120,000 in child support warrants out of Genesee County. He was issued a ticket for fishing without a license. Additional enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

CO Todd Szyska received a RAP complaint regarding a subject throwing a deer carcass into a fenced-in yard of a neighbor. The incident apparently occurred due to an argument between the neighbors. The subject was on his porch, and when CO Szyska approached him, he went into his home and would not come out. CO Szyska repeatedly tried to make contact with the subject. Positive identification was made of the subject by the neighbor and LEIN physical description. A warrant is being sought for the illegal dumping issue.
CO Linda Scheidler received a complaint from a Gaines Village police officer. He said he was resolving a domestic dispute when he saw two raccoons on the enclosed porch of the residence. CO Scheidler responded to investigate and saw two adult raccoons on the porch. No one was home, so she called the prosecutor, who said a warrant was not needed. She caught the first raccoon and left the area to release it back to the wild. Upon her return, the owners had arrived and assisted with capturing the second raccoon. The owner said she spent some time the previous day trying to find someone who would take the raccoons that she had held in captivity since July. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ben Lasher reports that a former hunter education instructor and his son went out for the youth firearms deer season and the instructor’s son shot two deer. The subject posted the results on Facebook. When others saw it, they told the subject he was in violation, so the subject called and turned himself in. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ken Kovach received an anonymous complaint about a 23-year old subject who shot a 6-point buck during the youth/early antlerless hunt. CO Kovach was able to recover the deer from a processor. It had a kill tag from a 12-year-old female. The CO talked with a few other people involved before interviewing the subject. At first the subject provided a story about how his friend’s daughter shot the buck and he helped track and drag it out of the woods. After a few inconsistencies in his story, the subject finally confessed and admitted to shooting the buck during the early antlerless season. He stated he and his friend swapped kill tags between the subject and the friend’s daughter so it would look like the daughter shot the buck. Enforcement action is being taken on both adults in this incident.
CO Ben Shively contacted two subjects returning to their vehicles on the railroad tracks after hanging treestands in the Davisburg SGA. Upon contact with the subjects, CO Shively asked if they had any firearms. One subject stated he had a pistol in his bag. A check of the pistol through LEIN showed that the firearm hadn’t been registered. The subject stated he purchased it in Tennessee before moving to Michigan. CO Shively also located a small amount of marijuana in the bag with the pistol. CO Shively seized the firearm and issued the subject a ticket for failing to register a handgun and issued both subjects tickets for railroad trespass.

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