Michigan Cuffs & Collars – June 7th, 2013


CO Ryan Aho observed a young child standing on a booster seat and hanging out the rear window of a passenger vehicle. Upon stopping the vehicle, it was discovered that the operator of the vehicle and another young child were not wearing safety belts. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Dave Miller contacted an angler who had a permanent shanty with no name or address and had failed to remove his fishing shanty prior to March 31. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Grant Emery finished an otter investigation involving three individuals. A total of seven illegal otters were discovered to have been harvested dating back to 2011. The otters were sealed, and warrants were sought for the responsible parties.
While conducting a late-night patrol in Iron County, CO Dave Painter was nearly run off the road by a vehicle leaving a remote camp. When the CO stopped the vehicle, he found four juveniles in possession of alcohol. Follow-up at a nearby camp resulted in 16 juveniles in possession of alcohol. Enforcement action was taken with the assistance of local deputies.


CO Kevin Postma responded to two separate complaints about illegal burning in which a fire had escaped. Tickets were issued to the responsible parties. A third investigation is under way in which a fire was intentionally set on state lands near Sault Ste. Marie.
A local resident decided to go “mudding” on the exposed bottomlands of Lake Michigan. During the fun, the driver got the truck stuck. CO John Wenzel came upon him soon after. A ticket was issued for operation in a prohibited area.
CO Mike Evink assisted local authorities with the apprehension of a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old riding double on an ORV. They two had attempted unsuccessfully to flee through a cemetery.
COs Mike Evink and John Wenzel checked more 30 boats targeting perch in Garden Bay. A couple of tickets were issued for unregistered vessels. One subject on a personal watercraft also was issued a ticket for no personal flotation device.
CO John Wenzel issued a ticket to a subject for allowing a fire to escape. The subject’s grass fire escaped and not only burned down his storage shed and contents, but his neighbor’s shed and contents as well.


CO Mark DePew observed two anglers at the Otsego Lake pike marsh fishing in the closed area and attempting to snag fish. CO DePew watched the subjects for a while, and when he contacted them, he discovered one of them did not have a fishing license. They were ticketed for their violations.
CO Mark DePew was patrolling the Pigeon River Forest when he observed two ORVers riding in a closed area. When CO DePew attempted to stop the operators, they tried to flee, but eventually were stopped. Both subjects admitted to running from the CO and are being charged with riding in a closed area and fleeing the officer.
CO Kelly Ross responded to a complaint about a dead animal in a trap. When he looked at the trap, it was tagged, and he contacted the owner of the trap. The trap belonged to two juveniles who had lost a trap during the season. When CO Ross contacted the youth, he discovered they had set lines out for trout and were attempting to dam the river they lived on to improve the fishing. CO Ross educated the youth on the laws they violated and provided them with the appropriate guides and explained how to better secure their traps to prevent losing them in the future.
CO Kelly Ross responded to a complaint about individuals cutting cedar trees on state land. When the CO found the subjects on state land, they had cut 45 live and dead cedar trees that were approximately 30 feet long. CO Ross contacted them as they were securing the trees to the roof of their van and issued tickets for violation of their fuelwood permit. They also had their chain saws seized.
CO Kelly Ross responded to a complaint about an individual taking an overlimit of walleyes in Alpena County. When he contacted the angler at his residence, the subject was in possession of nine walleyes and largemouth bass. The fish were seized, and the subject was ticketed.
Sgt. Joe Molnar responded to a wildfire where the landowner believed the fire was started by his ORV. The CO asked to see the ORV and found a loaded, sawed-off shotgun in a gun rack on the machine. The gun was secured, and the owner was taken into custody for possession of a short-barrel shotgun and was ticketed for burning piles of leaves when prohibited.
CO Steve Speigl was the first to respond to a vehicle accident in Antrim County where a driver left the roadway, travelled approximately 100 yards through a deep ditch, then was sent airborne at the next crossroad, crashing into boulders and a tree. The minivan carried enough speed that it was airborne for over 30 feet before coming to a stop. Injuries were minor since the van had full-curtain airbags. The driver was treated and released.
CO Eric Bottorff received a complaint regarding a campsite in the PRC State Forest with trash strewn about and live trees cut down. CO Bottorff contacted the individuals, enforcement action was taken, and site cleanup was ordered.
CO Andrea Erratt reports a subject was convicted of shooting deer in February and was sentenced to pay a total of $1,750 in fines, costs, and reimbursement, as well as having his hunting licenses revoked for three years.
Sgt. Greg Drogowski responded to a wildfire in which a subject lit garbage on fire in a barrel and then left the area. When he returned, he found his shed and the adjacent field on fire. Luckily, firefighters were able to extinguish the fire prior to it reaching a neighbor’s house. A ticket was issued for failing to prevent the spread of fire.
COs Carl VanderWall, Andrea Erratt, and Steve Spiegl patrolled an area on state land that has received extensive damage from ORVs, especially large “mudder” trucks. Upon arrival to the area, they observed approximately 50 trucks covered with mud, already on the road, attempting to leave. However, there was one straggler whose truck was stuck in a remote wetland area. The owner/operator was contacted and ticketed for operating a motor vehicle in a wetland, third offense. The truck was impounded, and consideration is being given to permanent forfeiture of the vehicle.


While off duty, COs Steve Converse and Sam Koscinski were fishing from a boat on Portage Lake when they observed another boat with two subjects approaching other boats on the lake and giving them fish. Eventually this boat approached their anchored boat and one of the subjects asked them if they wanted some extra fish they had caught. The subject went on to say that they didn’t want to take the extra fish back to the boat launch. CO Converse asked them to pull alongside and show them  their fish. The subjects showed a large quantity of yellow perch, at which time both COs identified themselves, with CO Converse boarding the boat to count their perch. The subjects were over their limit of perch and were issued tickets later that day when CO Converse checked into service.
CO Carla Soper was called to a complaint regarding a dam being constructed on a Manistee County lake. When CO Soper arrived, several subjects were constructing an elaborate dam to control their lake level. Several agencies, including the DNR, worked together to remove the dam that was being constructed without a permit. An investigative report is being submitted to the prosecutor’s office.
CO Angela Greenway received a complaint about unattended fishing lines on the Pine River. With the detailed information provided by the complainant, CO Greenway was able to locate the unattended fishing rods and the responsible subjects. Tickets were issued to two subjects who were camping in the area.
CO Angela Greenway reported that an individual who used his motor vehicle to run over several wild turkeys pleaded guilty to careless driving and was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution to the state of Michigan for the intentional killing of the turkeys.
Sgt. Mike Bomay and CO Angela Greenway were checking anglers on the flies-only section of the Pere Marquette River and located a drift boat that was getting ready to launch with no life jackets. The boat owner happily agreed to delay his fishing trip and return to his cabin to retrieve the appropriate number of PFDs to be safe and avoid a ticket.
CO Troy Mueller assisted with the investigation into an illegal burn that was responsible for destroying a barn. CO Mueller determined that the property owner was burning brush the day prior to the damaging fire and that the embers had smoldered in the pile until strong winds re-ignited the fire that eventually destroyed his barn. Enforcement action was taken.


CO John Huspen received a complaint regarding a subject who had been snagging fish the previous night. CO Huspen patrolled the area and conducted surveillance the following evening and observed the subject snagging numerous fish. The subject cut his line when approached by CO Huspen. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jason McCullough responded to a complaint about a hunter nearly being shot by subjects who were attempting to shoot turkeys from their vehicle. The caller was hunting in the woods when he heard a shot and saw a group of nearby turkeys begin to scatter. The hunter, who was nearly struck by the shot, noticed two subjects in a truck and was able to provide a good description, which enabled the CO to track down the vehicle and suspects at a different location. After interviews, both subjects admitted to their illegal activities, and enforcement action was taken.
COs Steve Lockwood and Jason McCullough were able to track down the suspect in a turkey-hunting trespass complaint the day after it occurred. When the suspect picked up the bird from the property where he trespassed, he dropped his eyeglasses. The next day, the COs located the suspect’s vehicle at a nearby cabin. The individual denied all allegations until the COs pulled out his eyeglasses and a turkey feather. Faced with the evidence, the subject stopped all denial and admitted to his actions. He had a prior history of trespassing, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Jonathan Warner observed several anglers fishing at the Van Ettan Dam in Iosco County. As two of the anglers started to leave, CO Warner approached them to check for fishing licenses. Both subjects denied any fishing activity. When CO Warner was able to describe some of their recent actions, including the number of fish they had caught, both changed their stories and admitted to fishing without licenses.
CO Steve Lockwood responded to a complaint about snaggers below the dam on Wixom Lake. Upon arrival, he observed one of the subjects throwing empty tin cans into the water. One of the subjects admitted that he had been using canned corn to bait the fish and decided to throw the can in the water instead of taking it with him. CO Lockwood issued a littering ticket to the subject and discussed proper disposal techniques.


CO Ken Lowell was on patrol in the Stanton State Game Area and located a vehicle illegally parked on state land. The vehicle had gun cases and other hunting items in the cab. After a long walk, the CO located the owner of the vehicle. The subject was turkey hunting, and it was discovered that he was hunting in the wrong area for the tag he possessed. After checking old licenses in the system, it was discovered the hunter buys the same tag every year and hunts the same area. Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling state land in Montcalm County, CO Ken Lowell stopped a vehicle and found the driver in possession of a loaded 12-gauge shotgun. It was the last day of the man’s turkey hunt, and he was looking for a turkey on state land. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Quincy Gowenlock responded to a call about a woman who had stepped in a woodchuck hole and fell in the Maple River SGA. The caller advised that she thought she had broken her shoulder. The CO unlocked the gate and drove an Emergency Medical Technician to the injured woman. The CO assisted the EMT with first aid and then transported the woman to the awaiting ambulance.
CO Seth Rhodea concluded an investigation involving a subject who had illegally started to build a deer-hunting ranch that ultimately led to the deaths of numerous free-ranging white-tailed deer. CO Rhodea obtained warrants for the subject for failing to license his facility, killing free-ranging deer, and several charges for taking deer out of season.


CO Dave Rodgers responded to a 911 complaint about a possible safety zone violation by a turkey hunter. When contact was made with the hunter in a portable blind, CO Rodgers found the hunter in violation of safety zone and hunting hours regulations. This hunter has been contacted on four separate occasions for wildlife violations. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Steve Orange was patrolling the Rouge River SGA when he encountered a suspicious situation involving two vehicles and intoxicated people near an access site. When he returned a short time later to check on the situation, he was contacted by a subject stating the female subject with him had been assaulted by one of a group of four men and that they just fled the scene into a wooded area on state land. CO Orange requested backup from county and state officers, and an MSP helicopter responded to the scene to assist with the ground search. The evening concluded with three people accounted for, one arrested for operating while impaired, and the primary assault suspect identified but still at large.
CO Gary Raak observed a subject fishing for bass during the catch-and-release-only season, near a culvert at a local inland lake. As the subject caught the bass, his friend unhooked the fish and hid them in the weeds on the other side of the road. When the subjects decided to leave, they retrieved the fish and attempted to hide them in a bucket. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Andy Bauer and Sgt. Zach Doss had completed a 9-month investigation of illegal charter boat operation by unlicensed charter boats from Indiana, fishing in Michigan waters without a Michigan charter boat license. Warrants were obtained for eight subjects for a total count of 28 violations. All have appeared and all subjects have been convicted of the illegal unlicensed charter operation in Michigan waters.
CO Chris Holmes conducted surveillance on local inland lakes for overlimits of panfish being taken in Kalamazoo County. In two days, CO Holmes ticketed four individuals for possessing overlimits. One subject was ticketed by CO Holmes in 2012 for possessing bass during the closed season on the same lake. Several other tickets for marine violations and fishing without licenses also were issued.
CO Mike Mshar assisted local deputies in the search for a subject connected to a meth lab investigation who fled from officers. CO Mshar located the subject and turned him over to the deputies.


While on their way to a complaint, COs Derek Miller and Jason Smith assisted local deputies with a possible barricaded gunman. The subject was talked out of the residence and was taken into custody without incident.
CO Kyle Bader interviewed a subject who shot a 5-foot blue racer while turkey hunting. The hunter claimed to be in fear for his safety from the harmless snake, and felt he had to shoot it. He also claimed not to know that it was illegal to kill reptiles with a firearm. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Dan Bigger investigated a decommissioned captive cervid facility where the owner was allowed to keep his fence intact to keep wild deer out. The property owner and a friend were hunting deer inside the enclosure that was not to have any deer, and confessed to allowing the fence to be compromised and wild deer to enter. Once presented with the evidence that found deer in the facility, several bait piles, and a walk-through of the facility with the caretaker, a full confession was obtained. Three deer that had been shot inside the fence were located, and evidence was seized. The fence is now in compliance, and the subjects have a court date.
CO Todd Thorn was called out on a Report-All-Poaching complaint about a turkey being shot after legal hunting hours. The subjects were contacted at their residence, and a discussion with a father and his 17-year-old daughter occurred. The investigation revealed that the 17-year-old was hunting for the first time with her dad with an apprentice license and shot a bearded turkey about three minutes after legal hunting hours. She also was hunting about a mile and a half outside the zone for which her tag was valid. CO Thorn instructed the hunters about laws and ethics regarding turkey hunting and issued verbal warnings.


CO Ben Lasher received an anonymous tip about a subject without a license who shot a turkey behind his residence. CO Lasher arrived at the home of the suspect and questioned the individual. The subject confessed to CO Lasher that he shot a turkey without a license, and turned over the illegally taken bird. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kris Kiel received a RAP complaint about ducklings trapped in a storm sewer. The caller observed a hen mallard circling the storm sewer grate. COs Kris Kiel and Todd Szyska responded to the complaint and located the mallard hen circling the top of the grate. The sewer cover was removed, and CO Kiel lowered himself down the sewer head-first while CO Szyska held his feet. CO Kiel passed the 11 ducklings up to CO Szyska. The ducklings were released to their mother.
CO Kris Kiel received a call from a sheriff’s department detective who turned an illegal goose case over to him. The suspect shot a goose with a bow and arrow. The goose then flew and landed, with the arrow stuck in it, on the baseball field of a Little League game in progress. A local deputy who was taking a witness statement was able to contact the suspect coming out of the woods. The suspect stated he may have shot the goose by accident while target practicing. He was lodged overnight, and his bow and arrows were seized. Warrants will be sought.
CO Mark Ennett checked anglers at Sterling State Park that led to a pair of violations. The first angler was fishing without a valid fishing license. She stated she was just keeping her brother company as he fished. The second angler was happy to show the variety of fish he had caught so far. Three of the fish were smallmouth bass. Two were roughly half the size of a legal fish. Another group member stated that the clerk who sold the licenses was at fault, because he did not tell them the rules before they went fishing. CO Ennett told them they were responsible for their own actions, and they should have checked a DNR fishing guide. Enforcement action was taken.
Sgt. Arthur Green and CO Mark Ennett responded to a RAP complaint about anglers snagging and keeping undersized fish. Four anglers in different groups were found fishing without valid fishing licenses, and a juvenile admitted to keeping a smallmouth bass. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Lacelle Rabon responded to a RAP complaint about people fishing without a license and taking sturgeon. CO Rabon found about 125 anglers fishing from a pier. He wrote two tickets for fishing without a license.

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