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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – October 11th, 2013

DISTRICT 1

CO Trey Luce checked a vehicle on the small-game opener and found the operator with a shotgun and ammo next to him on the seat. The operator did not have a small-game license but said he was looking for grouse. The operator was ticketed for no license.
CO Jason Wicklund continued his investigation into the illegal killing of seven turkeys by a motor vehicle operator. CO Trey Luce used the information provided by a witness to locate the suspect, who admitted to striking the turkeys. A warrant request has been sent to the Iron County prosecutor’s office for review.
CO Brian Bacon set out a grouse decoy on the opening day of small-game season. The decoy was out for less than five minutes when a vehicle stopped and the occupant attempted to shoot the decoy from the vehicle, but was stopped before firing. An investigation revealed the shooter didn’t have a hunting license, had no hunter orange, and had a suspended driver’s license.
CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy contacted a hunter sitting over an illegal bear bait. The bait contained plastic bags, buckets, peanut butter containers, and other trash. The hunter failed to attach a name or address to the stand and used screw-in tree steps. During the contact, the hunter also was found to be carrying a concealed pistol without a concealed pistol license, and was not wearing hunter orange.
CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy were patrolling an abandoned railroad grade on ORVs and stopped along the grade. A vehicle pulled up next to the COs, and when contact was made with the driver, an uncased shotgun was observed on the front seat. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Bacon contacted a subject who was returning to a vehicle with an empty white corn bag. An investigation revealed the subject had just baited a deer stand and admitted he was getting a head start. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

CO Mike Hammill received a report about several dead skunks in live traps near a residence. Upon investigating, CO Hammill found there were numerous deceased animals in live traps set around a residence. CO Hammill discovered that the owner of the property lives in Illinois and set the traps nearly three weeks earlier. Upon contacting the landowner, CO Hammill pointed out the cruel and inhumane way to get rid of nuisance animals and ticketed the subject for the violation.
CO Mike Hammill was checking bear houndsmen during the second-season bear opener. Upon contacting a group of hunters, the CO asked if all their weapons were unloaded. The hunters told CO Hammill that the guns were all unloaded. When the CO went to the vehicle he could see that the hunters had five rifles, all uncased, inside. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Postma conducted a check of several goose hunters during the early goose season. Upon contacting one group of hunters and completing the check, the CO found one hunter had a box of lead-shot pheasant loads. The hunter previously had stated to CO Postma that he had hunted for several years prior and that he was unaware of the lead shot in his possession. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Panich was patrolling early in the morning in dense fog when he observed a large amount of black smoke visible near a residence. The CO pulled into the driveway and observed a man with a tractor frantically pushing piles of burning lumber away from nearby trees. Upon contact, the subject stated he was burning down an old garage behind his house. The owner then stated to the CO he started the fire early in the morning and in the fog in hopes that no one would catch him burning the building. The CO assisted in controlling the dying fire and notified dispatch. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Evink was working with a local U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer when they came upon a vehicle with a marijuana pipe on the seat. They were able to track down the owner of the vehicle, who advised he had a medical marijuana card, but didn’t have it with him at that time. The officers followed the subject back to his residence where he did produce the medical marijuana card. While at the residence, the officers observed what appeared to be a short-barreled shotgun on a window sill. After leaving the residence, they contacted the local drug enforcement team and found that the subject had a felony record. The drug team then investigated and found close to 20 other firearms at the residence.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau reports the suspect he investigated for taking a trophy buck out of season (at night with a centerfire rifle during muzzleloader season and over an illegal bait pile) was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.
CO Eric Bottorff checked several anglers, inquiring into their success. The subjects stated they hadn’t caught a thing – until the CO looked into their bucket and found a 6-inch largemouth bass. Their excuse was that they were only keeping it for their aquarium. It prevented a ticket being issued for possession of an undersized bass, and the fish was returned to the water.

DISTRICT 4

COs Steve Converse and Sam Koscinski received information concerning a possible illegal charter boat being operated on the Manistee River. The COs were able to locate the vessel and watched from a distance. Upon the vessel leaving the area, the COs checked and located several fresh salmon carcasses that had been dumped. The officers contact the suspect vessel and conducted a charter boat inspection that revealed several marine violations. Enforcement action was taken for the illegal dumping of fish carcasses.
CO Brian Brosky was on foot patrol on the Pere Marquette River and was checking fishing vessels for marine safety equipment. CO Brosky issued two tickets for fishing vessels without personal flotation devices (PFDs). One of the operators was a guide on the river and had failed to provide his clients with life jackets.
CO Brian Brosky reported that two subjects he had arrested and lodged for snagging salmon and littering by cutting their lines after being instructed not to do so were convicted and ordered to pay fines and costs totaling over $1,300.
CO Jon Sklba and Sgt. Joe Molnar were working the fall elk hunt, and while checking a kill site located a second blood trail. The COs were able to follow the trail and located a second dead elk. The COs investigated the scene and requested the hunter and guide return to the scene. After a short investigation, the guide admitted to shooting the elk for the hunter who did not feel comfortable doing so himself. Charges are being sought with the prosecutor’s office.
CO Mike Wells received information that two subjects dumped salmon carcasses at a local lake access site. CO Wells received a valid plate but the registration information showed that the suspect lived downstate. CO Wells was patrolling the following week and located the suspect vehicle in Lake County. CO Wells was able to interview both subjects and was able to obtain admissions of dumping the salmon carcasses. CO Wells checked with the retail license sales system and was able to confirm that the subjects did not have fishing licenses. Enforcement action was taken.
COs from three districts assisted numerous other law enforcement personnel with a large marine event on the backwaters of the Muskegon River in Newaygo County. Estimates obtained from aerial photos placed the rafted boats at around 700. The event, known as the “Hardy/Gras, Hot Boat Weekend,” has increased in attendance and associated alcohol-influenced problems. The team of COs operating off five Great Lakes patrol boats issued more than 30 tickets for a wide variety of marine safety violations.
COs Chuck Towns, Jeff Ginn, and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers worked off one of the large patrol boats and issued tickets for operation exceeding slow, no-wake within 100 feet of an anchored vessel, operating a vessel with no navigation lights, failing to provide a sufficient number of PFDs, and operating a vessel with expired registration. The COs arrested one subject for minor in possession of alcohol. The COs also arrested an operator of a personal watercraft for operating under the influence of alcohol. Both arrests resulted in the subjects being lodged in the Newaygo County jail.
COs Steve Converse, Sam Koscinski, and Carla Soper worked off the new SafeBoat and issued tickets for unregistered watercraft, bow-riding, and failure to display navigation lights. During one of their marine stops after dark, the officers heard splashing and voices screaming for help. The patrol boat’s overhead spotlight was used to locate the subjects who had just capsized their canoe in a high-traffic area during the event. The canoe, without displaying any navigation lights to allow for their location, had been capsized in 30 feet of water. The occupants and their canoe were safely loaded onto the patrol boat. The occupants continued to thank the officers for saving their lives the entire ride back to their campground that was nearly a mile away.

DISTRICT 5

CO Matt Liestenfeltz served a search warrant at a residence as part of an investigation of a subject taking and possessing protected migratory bird species. With the assistance of COs Mike Hearn, John Huspen, Chris Bowen, and Bobbi Lively, as well as TNT (Traverse City Narcotics Team), two bobcats, one river otter, and one barred owl were seized from the residence. In addition, TNT seized approximately 5 pounds of marijuana from the residence. Charges are pending.
CO Chuck McPherson assisted local deputies and the Michigan State Police with a combative, highly intoxicated, suicidal subject who, while in custody, assaulted a deputy. CO McPherson and an MSP trooper gained control of the subject and made the arrest. The subject was lodged, and it was determined he had a blood-alcohol level of .225. Charges are being sought.
CO Mike Hearn resolved an ongoing investigation involving a wildfire. The suspect, a Georgia resident, turned himself in on charges filed by the CO, and the case is being processed in court.

DISTRICT 6

CO Joshua Wright was checking a pair of goose hunters when one of the hunters advised him that this was his first time out goose hunting and that he was not hunting, but just calling for his friend. CO Wright asked him, if it was the first time he was goose hunting, how did he learn to blow a goose call? The hunter had a confused look on his face. CO Wright advised him that before he made contact with them, he observed two shotguns. The “non-hunter” admitted that he was hunting and that they hid the gun in a camper when they saw the CO. The hunter not only was hunting without a license, but also was drinking alcohol. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Josh Wright was checking the Saginaw Bay shoreline during the youth waterfowl season when he encountered a person driving an ORV in a wetland, with a passenger, no helmets, and with uncased shotguns. The hunters were advised of the ORV laws and issued a ticket.
CO Seth Rhodea was working at the Fish Point waterfowl managed area when he contacted three hunters to check their licenses and other hunting equipment. Two of the three hunters were hunting the managed area without an annual use permit and also had more than the 25-round limit of ammo per hunter, with one hunter possessing three times the legal limit for ammo possession in the managed area. Tickets and warnings were issued.
CO Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint about a suspect who had shot a 4-point buck in velvet. During the initial interview, the suspect advised that he came upon the deer that was hit by a car. He further stated that he shot it to keep it from suffering. The suspect advised that he left the deer at the scene and never took possession of it. A few days later, CO Josh Wright was in Bay County and located the head of a 4-point buck in velvet with a .22-caliber hole in the forehead. The head was dumped on a dead-end road near the suspect’s residence. CO Gowenlock made contact with the suspect, who now admitted shooting the deer and removing the head. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jay Person is seeking a warrant for a subject after being called to assist DNR fire officers on a parcel of state land in Midland County. Fire officers were removing a gate and fence that was placed on state land to block public access. The private property owner who put up the fence showed up at the scene, in a vehicle, coming from the state land side. Warrants for operating a vehicle in a closed area, possessing a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle, and placing an illegal fence on state land are being sought.
COs Quincy Gowenlock and Dan Lee were checking the area around the Shiawassee River State Game Area (SGA) for goose hunters when they observed a group of hunters in a field. The COs contacted the hunters in the field and found the hunters missing the required federal waterfowl stamp. Tickets were issued.
CO Joel Lundberg stopped a vehicle being driven in a reckless manner at 2 a.m. on state land. Upon contact with the driver, it was found that both the driver and passenger had open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. A ticket was issued. The following weekend, on the same two-track, at 2 a.m., CO Lundberg stopped an ORVer for driving where prohibited and driving carelessly. The two occupants on the ORV were the same two people CO Lundberg stopped at the same spot a week earlier, and both had open beer. Tickets were issued.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly took a RAP complaint about a suspect shooting a great horned owl. The complaint was generated from Facebook, where the suspect posed, “The strangest thing just happened. An owl just flew over my chicken coop and just fell out of the sky dead. I also noticed something else strange. It had a hole in its neck.” Kimmerly contacted the suspect, who admitted to shooting the owl. A ticket for shooting the owl was issued.

DISTRICT 7

CO Chris Simpson made several contacts along the lower Muskegon River access site while conducting marine and fish enforcement patrols. In two separate incidents, four people were ticketed for use of marijuana as CO Simpson contacted users of these public access sites. While the CO worked another access site along the river, a subject with no helmet arrived on an ORV, with no ORV license and having traveled county roads to arrive there. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike McGee was on patrol when he observed an ORV being driven on the roadway. The vehicle contained two occupants on the vehicle, which was designed for one, and neither subject was wearing a helmet. Numerous warnings were issued, along with a ticket for the helmet violation.
CO Patrick McManus patrolled a closed section of Swan Creek in Allegan County in response to a report received about a subject taking fish illegally with a hatchet. As luck would have it, CO McManus located a subject matching the description along the closed stream with a spear in his possession the next day. Contact was made, and a confession was obtained on the previous day’s activity. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Mshar responded to a safety zone complaint received about subjects hunting waterfowl too close to a residence and horse barn. Contact was made with two hunters who claimed they were outside of the required 150-yard safety zone. CO Mshar measured their distance and found them to be within the safety zone. The hunters didn’t believe CO Mshar was correct and so were allowed to measure it themselves with their equipment, which showed the same illegal distance. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Derek Miler patrolled Belleville Lake on a night shift and made numerous contacts. One subject was fishing near the launch, and when CO Miller checked his license, he said he was going to release the ones he caught. He stated they were over by his friend who wasn’t fishing. When CO Miller walked toward him, he set down a pole and said he was reeling it in for his friend. A license check revealed that the subject did not have a license. A basket of fish was found, and both anglers stated that they never keep fish, but that they just took pictures. Six bass were found in the basket. Four were undersized and two of them were dead. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Bader was working in Branch County but monitoring Hillsdale dispatch when he heard an MSP trooper get dispatched to a goose-hunting complaint in Hillsdale County. CO Bader responded with the trooper, and the two located the venue, but no subjects. The trooper went off-duty and CO Bader continued digging, eventually locating the subject’s residence. Upon contact with the subject, it was determined that he had shot four geese without a state or federal stamp. When the CO asked to see the geese, the subject took him to the brush pile beneath which the geese were hidden. A ticket was issued.
CO Todd Thorn was on a late-night foot patrol, checking fishing activity on the Grand River in Lansing. He heard some excited shouting and watched with binoculars as two men reeled in a large catfish. CO Thorn then watched the men for another 10 minutes as they both continued fishing. The men were then contacted, and one of them stated that he was not fishing, just watching. The man produced an out-of-state license and then changed his story after he was told that he had been watched for the past 15 minutes. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

Patrolling the Pointe Mouillee SGA, CO Dan Walzak contacted two subjects, a male and a female, fishing from the dike of a refuge that was closed to traffic. The CO observed four lines in the water and asked the two anglers for their licenses. The male subject pulled his license from his wallet and advised CO Walzak that the female was his sister, that she did not have a license, and that he had just asked her to fish with one of his lines. A look came over his sister’s face that indicated that the last part was news to her. After explaining to the male subject that either he was fishing with too many lines or she was fishing without a license and would receive a ticket, the man admitted to using all four lines. Verbal warnings were given, and enforcement action was taken for the fishing violation. A check through LEIN revealed the female subject also had two outstanding traffic warrants.
While on a marine patrol of Belleville Lake, COs Mike Drexler and Derek Miller observed several subjects fishing along the shore. As the COs approached to check the anglers, two subjects quickly packed up their fishing gear and started heading to their car. The COs were able to catch up to the pair, who stated they were going to try a new spot. One subject stated he did not have a fishing license while the other stated that his “old lady was supposed to buy it for him.” That subject had not purchased a fishing license since 2008. Both subjects received tickets.
CO Brandon Kieft assisted local deputies on a complaint about goose hunting at a local golf course. The original complaint stated that the subjects were shooting within the safety zone of residences. When deputies arrived on the scene, the subjects were no longer shooting. However, CO Kieft checked the hunter and issued two tickets for waterfowl hunting without appropriate licenses.
CO Ben Shively responded to a RAP complaint about three subjects keeping fish on a “catch-and-release-only” lake. CO Shively located the subjects’ vehicle in the parking lot and contacted them just as they were packing up to leave. The three subjects were in possession of 20 panfish and two bullheads on a stringer. CO Shively pointed out the sign stating catch and release only right next to the subjects, and the two other signs they passed from the parking lot down to the fishing piers. The subjects were taken to the parking lot and ticketed.
While checking shore anglers in Marysville in the late-evening hours, CO Ken Kovach contacted an angler who had three fish in his possession. The three fish included a rock bass, a freshwater drum, and an undersized smallmouth bass. When addressing the law violation, CO Kovach learned from dispatch that the subject also had a felony warrant for his arrest out of the state of Florida. Enforcement action was taken.

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