Michigan Cuffs & Collars – February 15th, 2013


CO Dave Painter is assisting a Wisconsin warden with an ongoing investigation involving a deer-poaching ring along the Wisconsin border. Multiple deer and suspects have been uncovered, and the investigation is ongoing.
CO Grant Emery responded to the scene of a snowmobile that sank on Lake Gogebic. A 20-foot-wide pressure crack opened up, and one snowmobile was lost in 12 feet of water. The snowmobile was recovered later that day.
CO Mark Leadman observed a vehicle being operated too fast for road conditions on a remote fishing access site road. After passing the vehicle, CO Leadman observed fresh footprints in the newly fallen snow. The footprints left the road and led to a sign post that was suspiciously missing its fishing access site sign. CO Leadman was able to track the vehicle down after not having a visual for more than 20 minutes. A confession was obtained from one of the vehicle occupants for stealing the sign. The access site sign also was recovered. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Leadman contacted a group of anglers who were in the process of using illegal drugs in an ice shanty on an inland lake. CO Leadman seized the illegal substance. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Mike Hammill was on routine fish patrol when he encountered a subject fishing with too many lines and in possession of an illegal bass. The subject was six lines over the legal limit. A ticket was issued for too many lines, and a warning was given for the illegal fish.
CO Kyle Publiski was at a local taxidermist when he observed a nice 10-point buck. While admiring the 10-pointer he noticed that the deer tag indicated the deer was shot on the 27th. Further investigation revealed that the tag was purchased after legal hunting hours on the same day it was shot. The CO began an investigation into the suspicious deer and was able to get a full confession that the subject was hunting without a license and only buys a kill tag if a deer is harvested. The 10-point was seized, and arrest warrants have been sought and approved. Restitution for the deer is being sought in the case.
CO Kyle Publiski responded to a complaint about illegal traps being set on private property. Upon arriving at the location, the CO found an illegal 330 Conibear trap and illegally set snares. A suspect was identified, and a ticket was issued for the illegal traps.
CO Robert Crisp checked an inland lake where there were several anglers using tip-ups as well as jigging rods. At one point, a subject noticed CO Crisp watching from shore and quickly reeled up his line and dropped the rod on the ice. CO Crisp then moved his patrol truck a short distance away and returned to where the anglers’ vehicles were parked. He watched and listened from nearby. The angler he saw drop the pole stated to a friend that he was surprised the CO didn’t see him with his fishing line. Just before the group was about to leave the parking area, CO Crisp contacted the suspect and was able to get the angler to bring up the part about trying to hide his fishing line. The reason was that he had not purchased a fishing license. A ticket was issued.


An investigation into an unlicensed taxidermist led to conservation officer Mark DePew and five other District 3 officers serving a search warrant on an Otsego County man. Officers found evidence of the unlicensed taxidermy business, along with other illegally harvested animals, which officers are investigating.
Conservation officer Kelly Ross received a confession from one hunter who shot a 12-point buck and had his wife buy a tag so he could continue hunting.
COs John Sklba and Bill Webster received a complaint about a deer that had gotten stuck in the slush ice of Lake Huron. The COs put on their waders and went into the waist-deep water. They were able to circle around the deer and move it in the right direction, and ultimately had to drag the deer onto the shore.
CO Kelly Ross arrested an individual on a warrant for hunter harassment during the firearms deer season.
CO Eric Bottorff investigated an elk-kill site in which it appears the bull elk was shot and wounded during the December elk hunt and never recovered. The investigation continues.
COs Andrea Erratt and Andrea Albert patrolled the Jordan Valley snowmobile trails and encountered several snowmobilers who failed to purchase trail permits. Tickets were issued. One rental sled didn’t have a trail permit, and the rental agency/owner was ticketed for the violation.
CO Andrea Erratt is following up on subjects who had multiple deer license purchases in 2012. So far, most have been found to be legitimate mistakes, but one subject lost his licenses before the season and then shot a buck and failed to tag it. He then bought another license. When contact was made, the buck still hadn’t been tagged. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jon Sklba took down names and addresses from ice shanties on Grand Lake during the January thaw, which proved to be beneficial, as two shanties went through the ice later in the week. The owners have been contacted and were given some time to get the shanties out.
CO Carl VanderWall responded to a complaint about a pile of deer carcasses dumped on the side of a county road. The investigation led to multiple subjects being charged with loaning and borrowing deer kill tags, littering, and giving a false statement to an officer.


CO Holly Pennoni responded to a complaint about subjects catching and keeping undersized northern pike on a Wexford County lake. CO Pennoni contacted the suspects and located two undersized pike. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Angela Greenway was patrolling in rural Lake County when she encountered a vehicle stopped in the roadway. Upon contacting the occupants, she learned that they were coyote hunting with hounds. Further investigation revealed that the two occupants had two partially uncased firearms in the vehicle, one of which was loaded. Tickets were issued for the safety violations.
CO Steve Converse was patrolling by a residence when he observed deer parts in the yard. After stopping to check on the source of the parts, he discovered that the owner of the residence had taken the deer prior to having purchased a license. The subject was charged for taking a deer without a license.


CO Mike Hearn was patrolling state land and found a snare set and fresh signs of the snare being checked. Officer Hearn walked the area and located four foothold traps, with only one having a tag. CO Hearn followed up with the name on the tag, and the subject admitted to setting the traps and snare. Enforcement action was taken.
Area 5-1 conducted patrols during the first weekend of Tip-Up Town in Houghton Lake. Numerous violations were encountered, including unregistered snowmobiles, no trail permits, careless operation, and fishing with too many lines. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Warren MacNeill was the first on the scene of a rollover accident. The female driver was still in the car upon his arrival. Officer MacNeill helped Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel extricate her from the car and load her into an ambulance.
CO Jason McCullough finished an investigation of a trapper not checking his traps on a daily basis. The investigation started with a complaint about a raccoon that had been in a trap for three days, and concluded with a confession from the suspect and a ticket being issued.


CO Nick Atkin was on patrol when he contacted a small-game hunter in possession of a rabbit he had just harvested. When the CO asked to see his hunting license, the hunter was unable to produce it, and after a short investigation, CO Atkin determined the subject hadn’t purchased one. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Seth Rhodea responded to assist an MSP trooper who had a felon flee from him in a vehicle. During the chase, the subject drove into the Minden State Game Area (SGA), through a locked gate, and eventually into the woods on an old foot path. CO Rhodea followed the subject’s tracks back to his vehicle, where it was found abandoned. A perimeter was set up around the game area, and eventually an MSP helicopter assisted in the search; however, the subject appeared to make it out of the game area and is still at large.
CO Bob Hobkirk received a complaint from an individual who was concerned that a hunter was hunting rabbits within his safety zone. The homeowner wanted the hunter to be charged with the violation. When CO Hobkirk contacted the hunters, it was apparent that one of them had been hunting very close to the complainant’s residence. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Quincy Gowenlock had a bench trial with a defendant who shot an 8-point buck from a vehicle last November while using a spotlight. Numerous other game laws also were violated. When the defendant arrived at the courthouse, he had a change of heart and pleaded guilty. The prosecutor dropped seven additional charges and let the defendant plea to just the illegal deer. During sentencing, the judge gave him 10 days in jail and a $500 fine. The subject then stated he was planning to move out of the state. The judge then suspended his jail sentence and gave him 45 days to leave the state of Michigan and to show proof of moving. If he failed to show proof, he would be doing the time.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly was checking walleye anglers as they were pulling their boats off the ice ledge on the Saginaw River. The officer approached one of the anglers and asked if he’d caught any fish. The angler said he hadn’t caught a single fish. When the officer said he was going to search the boat, the angler stated he’d caught one, and reached into the livewell and handed the officer an undersized walleye. The angler said when he measured it he thought it was 15 inches. The officer then asked if there were any more walleyes in the boat. The angler said no. The officer again said he was going to check the boat. The angler again reached into the livewell and said there was one more walleye and it was the same size as the other one. The officer then searched the boat and found no additional walleyes. When asked for his fishing license, the angler couldn’t find it, but swore that he bought one. After checking the license system, it was found that he hadn’t purchased a fishing license in 2012. Tickets were issued.


COs Andy Bauer and Steve Mooney were on marine patrol on the St. Joseph River, checking boating and angling activity, when they received a complaint from an MSP trooper about a deer at a residence. COs Bauer and Mooney were able to respond to the location by boat, as the location was next to the river. An investigation led to the discovery of a road-killed deer possessed without a permit and deer-hunting licenses purchased by an individual who had not met hunter safety requirements before purchasing the license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Robinette obtained a four-count warrant for a subject who was repeatedly harassing a lawful hunter during the firearms deer season. At one point during the investigation of the complaint, CO Robinette accompanied the hunter to his stand and observed the suspect trespass onto the property and harass the hunter. Three counts of hunter harassment and one count of criminal trespass were authorized by the prosecutor.
CO Mike McGee was on patrol when he observed a large cloud of black smoke in the distance. CO McGee followed the smoke to three men who were burning a fiberglass boat. CO McGee issued the subject who was burning the boat a ticket for illegal burning.
CO Mike Mshar contacted two juveniles who were trapping with untagged traps. The CO instructed them on how to properly tag their traps, reviewed other laws, and met with their grandmother to advise her of the rules as well. A positive learning experience was had by all.
CO Gary Raak located an ORVer driving over gates, small trees, and through wetlands on state land. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Derek Miller checked two subjects fishing in a shanty. He announced his presence, and the subjects took a while to open the shack and wanted to talk through the portable shanty. CO Miller convinced them to open the door and immediately smelled marijuana. Only one subject was able to produce a fishing license. During the contact, CO Miller was unable to locate any marijuana, but the subjects admitted to smoking a small amount earlier. One subject was issued a ticket for a fishing violation. The other subject had a statewide warrant for his arrest and another warrant for possession of stolen property. That subject was transported to the county jail.
CO Kyle Bader received four different Report-All Poaching (RAP) complaints for the same small cove on Rose Lake about people taking overlimits and double-tripping (returning to catch another limit). CO Bader checked the cove and there were several anglers who all had near their limit of panfish. CO Bader set up on a ridge across the lake with his spotting scope and watched and took notes on all 10 anglers that showed up and when they left. Less than an hour after they left, a pair of anglers came back to the same holes they’d drilled earlier. CO Bader watched them catch fish for a while, then drove to their residences. One angler had 48 bluegills and the other had 56. They said they thought the 25 limit was per trip, so they took their fish off the ice and came back. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Daniel Prince and Jeff Walker conducted a waterfowl patrol on the late-season goose opener. The COs contacted three field hunters, and only two of the hunters had shotguns. While checking the hunters’ shotgun shells, the COs observed a full box of 20-gauge shells. The third hunter stated that they were hers, and stated the shotgun was under the layout blind they were using. The hunter had no licenses, and the shotgun was unplugged. The hunter was ticketed for the violations.
CO Pete Purdy assisted the MSP with apprehending a subject wanted on a felony embezzlement warrant. The officers went to the subject’s house and were advised he wasn’t home. Shortly after, they were told the subject saw the patrol vehicles at his residence and was driving around until the police were gone. The officers searched the area, and CO Purdy located the subject at a gas station, pumping gas. He was taken into custody without incident.
CO Shane Webster met with a subject from Indiana to follow up on an illegally taken deer. A confession was obtained from the subject for hunting the opening day of firearms season and taking an 8-point buck. The subject confessed to not purchasing a license and after killing the deer, having his mother purchase a senior resident license to put on the deer. Charges are pending through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Todd Thorn and an Ingham County animal-control officer responded to a RAP complaint about a deer that had been hanging in a yard since the middle of November. When they arrived at the residence, an untagged antlerless deer was found on the ground under a tree beside a house. The man living at the residence, and his son, were questioned. They admitted to having shot the deer on Nov. 17 and leaving it in the yard without ever putting a tag on it. The deer was gutted, but the meat was wasted. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Todd Thorn checked an ice angler coming off of the ice and found he had 14 panfish in a bucket that he was taking to his truck. When the man was asked about the other 15 panfish lying in the bed of his pickup truck, he paused and then said they were from earlier in the day when he and his roommate were fishing. The fish in the truck bed were inspected, and although the temps had been at or below freezing all day, the fish were still pliable. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Daniel Prince conducted ice-fishing patrols on local lakes in Livingston County. While observing anglers on Lake Chemung, CO Prince observed one subject fishing with five hand lines. The angler tried to discreetly reel in the lines when he noticed CO Prince approaching. When contacted, he only had one line in the water. The angler stated that he was fishing with five lines to locate the fish. He was ticketed for the violation.


COs Kris Kiel and Todd Szyska received a RAP complaint about ice anglers taking overlimits of panfish in St. Clair Shores. The COs checked anglers at a local marina and found two subjects carrying heavy buckets. Upon inspection, one subject had 13 panfish over the limit and the other subject had 23 panfish over the limit. Tickets were issued, and restitution will be sought.
CO Ken Kovach received an anonymous complaint about a subject who shot several deer on Jan. 1, including a buck. The CO searched the general area of the complaint and found foot tracks in the snow that led to a hunting blind. There were several deer tracks all around the area, and the CO was able to find a faint blood trail. CO Kovach followed the blood trail for several hundred yards onto the adjoining property, where he then found drag marks. The CO contacted several neighbors and developed a possible suspect. CO Kovach contacted the suspect, and during a lengthy interview the suspect admitted to shooting a 3-point buck with a muzzleloader. The CO will be seeking a warrant.
COs Linda Scheidler and Al Schwiderson have been working a complaint in Genesee County in which a subject shot a deer in early January with a crossbow. The COs have been taking turns conducting surveillance on the property in an attempt to catch the subject at home. Persistence paid off. When CO Schwiderson found the subject at the residence and questioned him, he admitted to taking the deer out of season. A warrant will be sought for the violations.
CO Mark Ennett was patrolling sections of land near the Dundee Pheasant Farm when he observed a vehicle parked nearby. This land has been the source of ongoing trespass complaints from other landowners. CO Ennett located and checked a small-game hunter who gave several reasons why he was hunting that property. CO Ennett contacted the landowner, who described a hunter with a similar vehicle as this subject who had been run off the same land a week earlier. CO Ennett ticketed the hunter for recreational trespass.
COs Ben Shively, Kris Kiel, and Mike Drexler conducted an inspection on a taxidermy shop in Oakland County. The inspection led to an illegally taken bear, a subject taking an overlimit of antlered deer, an otter that had been taken during the closed season and not sealed, three fawn hides with no scientific collection permits, and two cases of using/lending the kill tag of another. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was contacted and responded to the taxidermy shop after the COs located a full bald eagle, three bald eagle heads and parts, a great horned owl, a red-tailed hawk, and a sandhill crane. The COs located approximately 100 specimens that were not tagged. Tickets were issued to the taxidermy shop for failing to keep accurate records, failing to tag specimens with specimen ID tags, and possession of a road-killed fawn. Evidence was seized by the COs and USFWS agents. The COs have been conducting interviews and obtaining confessions, and warrants will be sought on the illegally taken game. The USFWS agents will be investigating the protected species.

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