Michigan Cuffs & Collars – April 12th, 2013
CO Doug Hermanson received complaint information involving predator hunters trespassing on private property. The hunters were identified and later interviewed. A confession was obtained; enforcement action was taken.
CO Marvin Gerlach investigated a complaint of illegal cutting of trees on state land in early March. He located an elevated blind currently under construction on the state land. The subject building the blind had brought in heavy equipment from his private property to create a path to the deer blind and had opened several long shooting lanes extending into a marsh, all on state land. For good measure, the subject also decided to get a head start on his deer baiting, as several illegal deer baits were located near other deer blinds in the area. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Jason Wicklund and Dave Painter watched a vehicle leave a large gathering on a local lake. The vehicle operator then did doughnuts on the road for the watching crowd. A traffic stop a short distance out of sight of the crowd resulted in many violations. Violations included careless operation of a vehicle, possession of marijuana, open intoxicants, invalid plates, and operating while impaired. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Grant Emery was the first officer on the scene of a domestic disturbance near Bessemer. A subject was irate, holding a 5-foot piece of pipe and was threatening to hit anyone who approached him. CO Emery contacted the subject and was able to have the subject put down the pipe without incident. The subject was taken into custody and was arrested by local deputies.
CO Brett Gustafson investigated a fatal snowmobile accident on Mackinac Island. Reportedly the subject, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, lost control and hit a tree. The passenger was thrown from the sled, narrowly missing several trees himself, and walked away with only bumps and bruises.
COs Jeff Panich and Brett Gustafson conducted a snowmobile safety patrol on Mackinac Island. The COs encountered several violations and issued more than 40 warnings. They also issued five tickets for no helmets, one for an unregistered snowmobile, and arrested a subject on a drug-related warrant.
CO Kyle Publiski received a call from a conservation officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources who explained that he observed some Canadian anglers who were ice fishing in Michigan waters. Upon contact, the wayward pair of anglers was in violation of both Ontario and Michigan law. CO Publiski investigated the incident, and proceedings have begun for possession of undersized walleyes and fishing without a license.
COs Jeff Panich and Kyle Publiski were on routine patrol when they observed the familiar vehicle of a local coyote hunter. As they watched the subject, it became apparent that he had an uncased firearm in the truck. Upon contact, the COs found the firearm also was loaded in both the barrel and magazine. Tickets were issued for an uncased/loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
COs Jared Ferguson and Mike Evink assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) on the Garden Peninsula with the recovery of human bones found by an angler. The ice angler had gone to shore and had come upon a femur bone. He reported the find to 911. Soon after, the COs were needed to transport the angler and troopers to and from the scene.
COs Jerry Fitzgibbon and Robert Crisp assisted MSP troopers with an incident in which subjects had broken into a residence, then assaulted and tied up the occupant. The COs arrived with the troopers and secured the scene. The officers found the suspects had left prior to their arrival.
While on patrol, CO Duane Budreau observed and followed a column of black smoke to a fire where there were illegal materials being burned. Three 17-year-olds were in the bed of a pickup truck in reclining chairs, watching the fire. Considering their age, CO Budreau gave them a warning and advised them to put the fire out, then watched as they started to kick snow on the fire. CO Budreau left and came back to check about 20 minutes later and found the fire going again, with the three subjects sitting in their reclining chairs once again. This time a ticket for unlawful disposal of solid waste was issued.
CO Michael Feagan found an ORV being operated on the North Central Trail, which is currently a snowmobile trail. The operator was on a closed trail, his driver’s license was restricted, and he was not wearing a helmet. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Matthew Theunick and Sgt. Greg Drogowski investigated an angler harassment complaint that had occurred on Mullett Lake. An angler reported other anglers had operated their vehicles within 10 feet of his ice shanty several times at a high speed. In addition, they were fishtailing and swerving on the ice with their vehicles dangerously close, and a bottle was thrown in one angler’s direction. Some threats were made, with the “problem” being he was fishing “too close” to “their” fishing location. The investigation led to four suspects, and multiple interviews were conducted with witnesses and suspects. Charges pending include angler harassment, reckless driving, littering, and witness intimidation.
Checking Bear Den Lake, CO Jon Sklba noticed an angler watching him with binoculars as he pulled up. The angler then immediately walked over to a tip-up and pulled it out. After walking out and contacting the angler, CO Sklba found he still had three other lines out. A ticket was issued for fishing with too many lines.
While patrolling Lake Charlevoix, CO Andrea Erratt checked ice shanties still left on the ice and anglers fishing for walleyes. Upon contacting an angler at dusk, the subject stated he had a cut finger and asked for a Band-aid. While supplying him with a Band-aid, CO Erratt counted lines, and found he was fishing with too many lines. He was issued a Band-aid and a ticket.
CO Bill Webster received a complaint about an ice shanty frozen into the ice and left out past the March 15 deadline. CO Webster responded to the area and chipped the shanty out of the ice, along with empty propane tanks and beer bottles. He then contacted the owner of the shanty, who stated he planned on burning it the next day. CO Webster informed him that also would be illegal and issued him a ticket for leaving his shanty on the ice past March 15.
CO Rebecca Hopkins investigated a complaint about an ice shanty that had been set on fire in Leelanau County. The shanty owners stated they poured gas on the shanty and set it on fire because they did not feel like dragging it off the ice as required by the March 15 deadline. A ticket was issued for illegal disposal of solid waste.
COs Steve Converse and Carla Soper were checking anglers along the Manistee River when they encountered three subjects who had been fishing for steelhead. When contacted, the three subjects provided false information to the COs as to their identities. The COs eventually were able to identify the subjects and discovered that one of the subjects had been fishing without a license and another was in possession of marijuana. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Steve Converse and Carla Soper followed up on a complaint of illegal trapping in the Manistee Marsh. The COs located seven illegally set muskrat traps and developed a suspect. A short interview led to an admission and a ticket for trapping muskrats during the closed season.
CO Angela Greenway responded to a Report-All-Poaching complaint about a subject who allegedly used his vehicle to intentionally run over several wild turkeys in the roadway and then take several of the birds. A lengthy investigation revealed the location of possible suspects. When CO Greenway contacted the suspects at their residence, she observed a garbage bag on the porch overflowing with wild turkey feathers, tails, and other parts. CO Greenway obtained a full confession from the subjects, and arrest warrants will be sought through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Mike Wells located a subject who had registered a river otter before he purchased a license. CO Wells conducted an investigation and discovered that the individual was trapping without a license. He was issued a ticket for failure to validate an otter kill tag.
CO Chris Bowen participated in Operation Life Saver Patrol, which was conducted in Crawford and Otsego counties. CO Bowen issued two tickets for operating on the railroad tracks and gave six warnings for various snowmobile violations.
CO Steve Lockwood was on fish patrol in Gladwin County when he observed three anglers catching largemouth bass and burying them in the snow a short distance away. After further surveillance, CO Lockwood approached the subjects, who all denied catching any fish. The anglers seemed a little surprised when CO Lockwood let them know that he had been watching for a period of time before approaching. After retrieving three bass from their “hiding spot,” enforcement action was taken.
Responding to a complaint about a dog being caught in a snare, CO Steve Lockwood located several illegal snares. Further investigation led to a subject who confessed to setting the snares. Enforcement action was taken, and the snares were removed from the area.
CO Jason McCullough was checking ice anglers when he observed one of the subjects had more than 35 bluegills lying on the ice. The subject claimed that he would sort the fish at the end of the day and throw the extras back in the water. The obvious problem was that all the “extra” fish would be dead from lying on the ice. CO McCullough ticketed the subject for taking an overlimit of bluegills.
CO Warren MacNeill responded to a snowmobile fire on a local lake. Upon arrival, CO MacNeill found what was left of the completely burned snowmobile lying on the ice. There were no injuries, and it is believed a mouse nest may have been the cause of the fire.
While investigating a complaint about a deer shot after dark in late January, CO Larn Strawn stopped a suspicious vehicle that left from the suspect’s residence and was approaching the deer kill site. After stopping the vehicle and speaking to the driver, the CO detected an overwhelming smell of marijuana coming from the driver and the vehicle. The CO confirmed his suspicions and discovered a large amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. The subsequent investigation led the CO to a local residence where he and a trooper with the MSP contacted two additional suspects with more marijuana, amphetamines, and cash from the sale of the drugs. Felony warrants were issued, and the subjects were arrested.
While working in plain clothes on the Saginaw River, CO Ken Lowell watched an angler land a walleye that was hooked in the side. The angler then unhooked the fish and threw it in his livewell. The CO then contacted the subject, and after going through the livewell, the CO also found the anglers had short walleyes. Enforcement action was taken.
Last Christmas, CO Ken Lowell worked on a case in which a hunter shot a deer after dark and from a vehicle. The case recently ended with the hunter paying $1,300 in fines and restitution and losing his hunting privileges for the next four years.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly was watching walleye anglers on the Saginaw River just before the season closed. The ice had recently melted and the river was full of anglers taking limits of walleyes. Kimmerly had received numerous complaints about anglers taking limits in the morning and limits again in the afternoon. As Kimmerly checked boats coming off the river at the access site, he contacted two anglers who advised they had a great day. The two anglers had a livewell full of walleyes. After checking the walleyes, Kimmerly asked both subjects if they were in possession of any more walleyes. Both said no. Kimmerly then searched the vehicle and under a pile of clothes found a cooler. The cooler contained six 1-gallon baggies full of walleye fillets totaling an additional 22 walleyes. Enforcement action was taken.
While on patrol using snowmobiles, COs Joshua Wright and Seth Rhodea came upon a group of coyote hunters. While checking them for licenses and firearms, CO Wright observed an uncased firearm on the passenger seat of one of the trucks. The firearm was not just uncased, but also was loaded with a 30-round magazine attached. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chad Foerster was patrolling the Saginaw Bay when he came into contact with two anglers who were proud to show off their limit of 10 walleyes. Unfortunately for them, they forgot their measuring device and had to guess if the fish met the legal limit of 15 inches. The CO measured the fish and found that four of the 10 fell significantly short of the legal mark. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Mshar reported that a subject he arrested for trapping with untagged traps requested a jury trial. The judge found the subject guilty of the violations and was charged $500 in fines and costs and is to serve three days in jail.
CO Mike Mshar responded to a complaint regarding a subject attempting to snag walleyes at the Allegan Dam along the Kalamazoo River. CO Mshar conducted an undercover patrol, fishing by the subject, and witnessed the violation. The subject was ticketed and it was discovered that he had 13 prior violations with the DNR, with many related to snagging and illegal taking of walleyes. The subject’s equipment also was confiscated.
CO Cary Foster observed an ice angler on Morrison Lake who appeared to have panfish on the ice near the holes he was fishing. CO Foster moved to another vantage point to monitor the angler’s activity, and eventually contacted him as he left the lake. The angler initially advised CO Foster that he had no fish and only a lantern in his bucket. When questioned about the second bucket, he responded he might have a few fish. A check of his two buckets revealed 51 bluegills, 26 fish over his limit. As CO Foster took enforcement action, two citizens walking by wanted to know if there was any way they could assist the angler by posting bond as he was the most law-abiding citizen they knew.
CO Dave Rodgers checked more than 200 ice anglers who were fishing for crappies during the day and after dark. CO Rodgers ticketed five people for fishing without licenses and also described an incident that occurred while checking anglers where he listened to a person telling his companions how he had never been checked by a conservation officer and had never purchased a fishing license. CO Rodgers introduced himself and ticketed the angler for fishing without a license.
CO Kyle Bader observed an angler walk on the ice with a full-size fishing pole. The angler sent a few casts into the open water while walking toward the edge of the ice, within 3 feet of the open water. Just as CO Bader was thinking, “This guy is going to go through the ice,” he did. As CO Bader got his rescue disk from the back of the truck, the angler was able to touch the bottom (the water was only 3 to 4 feet deep) and get himself back onto the ice. When the angler made dry land, CO Bader asked for a fishing license. He didn’t have his fishing license or ID on his person. The angler supplied a false name to CO Bader, which his girlfriend verified. The alias did not have a fishing license or show up on file. When CO Bader obtained his real name, the angler had three outstanding warrants. He did have a fishing license though, and proper action was taken.
COs Derek Miller and Jason Smith were patrolling lakes in Lenawee County where they encountered an angler coming off the ice of a lake where they had received multiple complaints about overlimits. A quick check of the anglers’ catches uncovered 13 panfish over the limit. Enforcement action was taken.
After observing anglers at a local dam, CO Rich Nickols checked two subjects fishing at the entrance to a fish ladder. One of the subjects had tossed his fishing pole in the river, but the water was too low and the pole could be observed sticking out of the water. The subject admitted to fishing and said he usually buys a license every year on his birthday but he didn't get one for the current season because he did not have a valid ID. The subject also had a warrant for failing to appear on a snagging charge. The pole was retrieved from the river, and the subject was issued a ticket for fishing without a license and given a notice to appear for the warrant.
CO Shane Webster was approaching an angler on the ice and witnessed the man scooting fish back into his hole with his foot. Upon contact, the angler was still found to be in possession of 32 panfish, seven over the legal limit. The man stated that he thought he could keep as many as he wanted as long as he "sorted them" and only took home 25 and threw the rest through the ice. CO Webster explained that the fish he had kept on the ice and in his bucket while fishing would not survive being thrown back after that amount of time and that it is a possession limit, not a take-home limit. A ticket was issued.
CO Jeff Goss investigated a suspected illegal deer case found at a taxidermist. The subject had purchased two archery deer tags during the 2012 deer season. It was discovered that the subject had filled his original archery tag early in the season, and was then left with only an antlerless tag. While hunting in early November, the biggest buck of his life “forced” him to make an unethical and expensive decision. Unfortunately for him, the subject made the wrong decision and shot the buck without a valid license. After killing the buck, the subject purchased another archery tag and then took the deer to a taxidermist. Enforcement action was taken.
While checking anglers at Atwood Stadium in Flint, Sgt. Tom Wanless contacted two subjects. One of them did not have his fishing license with him. He stated that he lost his wallet and all identification. Sgt. Wanless checked to confirm the subject had a license, which he did. However, the subject had a warrant for drunk driving. Sgt. Wanless transported the subject to jail.
CO Linda Scheidler received a complaint about an ice shanty that was left out overnight after March 1. The CO left a tag on the shanty and followed the ice path to the nearest residence. She was met halfway by the owner of the shanty who said he’d remove it when he could, within a few days. CO Scheidler advised him he would be receiving a warning for not having his name and address on the shanty, and a ticket if it was still there the following morning. The shanty was removed before the CO could walk back to her vehicle.
While checking several anglers near the Clinton River Spillway Dam, CO Kris Kiel and intern Ryan Cook contacted a subject with five northern pike on a stringer. The CO asked the subject if he knew what the limit was, and the subject told him, “Someone told me six or seven pieces.” The subject got an education on the legal limit and a ticket for the overlimit.
CO Brandon Kieft followed up on a complaint about ice anglers keeping overlimits of panfish, undersized northern pike, and out-of-season bass on Voorheis Lake in Orion Township. CO Kieft was able to contact two subjects matching the descriptions given by the complainant. One angler was in possession of an undersized northern pike and the other was in possession of an out-of-season largemouth bass. One of the individuals had an extensive history with the DNR Law Enforcement Division dating back to 1983. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ben Shively and intern Ryan Cook responded to a complaint about two anglers fishing with more lines than allowed on a northern Oakland County lake. CO Shively was able to set up and watch the two anglers and counted eight tip-ups. Both anglers were using a rod and jigging. Contact was made, and tickets were issued for fishing with more than three lines, possession of an overlimit of panfish, and a verbal warning was given for no name and address on tip-ups.