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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – October 25th, 2013

DISTRICT 1

CO Denny Gast finally caught up to and cited a group of bear hunters using illegal barrels filled with bait on Commercial Forest Lands. The group was using the barrels as strike baits for their bear hounds. The illegal activity had been called in by an anonymous complainant.
CO Doug Hermanson worked a complaint in Ontonagon County of a subject shooting a deer in a farmer’s field and getting chased off the property. A license plate was obtained by the farmer. CO Hermanson tracked down a 16-year-old female with an 18-year-old male. The 16-year-old shot the deer during the youth hunt under the supervision of her 18-year-old boyfriend. The adult was charged with trespassing, and possible charges are pending in probate court with the 16-year-old.
CO Mark Leadman responded to a complaint in which a landowner witnessed a subject with a high-powered rifle shoot a goose in his field. The landowner went out and seized the rifle from the 16-year-old subject and called police. The landowner had given the 16-year-old permission to deer hunt on his property but not to hunt anything else. Violations included using a rifle to goose hunt, unsigned federal waterfowl stamp, and a safety zone violation. A neighbor stated the same youth had shot a turkey two weeks earlier in their yard next to their vehicle. CO Leadman recognized the subject from a year ago when he had seized an illegal treestand with illegal bait that belonged to the same subject. The goose and firearm were seized.
CO Jason Wicklund, along with troopers from the Michigan State Police, responded to a hunting incident in Iron County. Two individuals were walking in thick brush when their dog flushed a grouse. As one of the hunters swung to shoot, he did not realize that his partner had gotten ahead of him and shot him in the legs. The investigation is ongoing.

DISTRICT 2

While patrolling the Carp River for salmon anglers, CO Kyle Publiski came upon a group of subjects who were yelling and having a great time snagging salmon. Along with snagging salmon, they also were littering and standing in the middle of the Carp River urinating in public. After CO Publiski observed and documented the violations, he contacted the subjects, who denied snagging and keeping any fish. After CO Publiski explained that he had been watching them long enough to witness them urinating in the middle of the Carp River, the group had nothing to say and accepted their tickets for snagging salmon.
COs Jeff Panich and Kyle Publiski were checking perch anglers around Drummond Island when they observed a boat with three subjects who were all fishing. As the COs approached, the boat’s operator started the boat and began to leave the area and head for the marina. The COs stopped the boat to check for fishing licenses, and only one of the three had a fishing license. The other two denied fishing at all. CO Panich held up a pair of binoculars and explained to them he had watched them fishing before stopping them. Both subjects then admitted that they had been fishing and accepted responsibility for their actions. Tickets were issued for fishing without a license.
Working a complaint of waterfowl baiting, CO Kyle Publiski set up early and watched two subjects who were hunting waterfowl over a small pond. After watching them for some time, CO Publiski contacted them. Although no bait was found, neither subject had a federal or state waterfowl stamp, and one subject was using lead shot. The subject using the lead shot stated that he was not hunting waterfowl, even though he was sitting in a blind overlooking duck decoys. The subject stated he was sharp-tailed grouse hunting and had just returned to the blind. CO Publiski explained to the subject that he had been watching them since before shooting light and that the subject had not left the blind. CO Publiski also explained that sharp-tailed grouse season didn’t open for another two weeks and asked the subject if he wanted that violation added to his list of charges; the subject declined. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

While patrolling the Pigeon River Country State Forest during the elk hunt, CO Andrea Erratt stopped an ORVer for riding with a passenger on a county road. The driver was operating on a suspended driver’s license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Carl VanderWall assisted with a domestic disturbance where a male subject took a 3-year-old child and ran into the woods at night. With the assistance of a canine unit, the subjects were located. The man was arrested, and the child was safely returned.
Sgt. Greg Drogowski located an angler on a small trout stream and upon checking his plastic bag, found six brook trout ranging in length from 3 to 6 inches. The subject was in possession of an overlimit of brook trout, all undersized. Enforcement action was taken for the overlimit.

DISTRICT 4

CO Brian Brosky, of Mason County, was conducting surveillance on the South Branch of the Pere Marquette River and located several individuals attempting to snag salmon with oversized treble hooks. CO Brosky witnessed the subjects snag and clean the fish on the shoreline and dump the carcasses in the woods. Tickets were issued for retaining fish that were foul-hooked, illegal gear, possession of mutilated fish, and litter.
CO Mike Wells, of Newaygo County, received a complaint about deer hunters at a camp who were placing bait out for the youth hunt. CO Wells contacted the hunters, and one individual immediately admitted placing bait early for bowhunting. The second subject placed a blind out and placed bait for the youth hunt. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Wells received a complaint about an unsupervised youth walking down a road with a firearm during the youth hunt. CO Wells contacted the hunting party and discovered the youth hunter got lost while helping track a deer shot earlier in the day. Upon checking the camp, a 5-point buck was being processed that was taken by the same youth, and the kill tag was not validated. Enforcement action was taken against the guardian for failure to validate the kill tag, allowing a youth to hunt unsupervised, and hunting deer without a valid license.
Sgt. Mike Bomay and CO Troy VanGelderen were patrolling the North Branch of the Pentwater River when they observed two individuals stalking salmon in the river with bows holding nocked arrows. The large camp included nearly 20 people, and some had been issued tickets in the past. CO Van Gelderen witnessed both individuals shooting arrows at salmon multiple times until finally connecting. Sheriff deputies were requested for assistance in dealing with the large camp. Upon the arrival of the deputies, several people from the camp started whistling to let the violators know to stop shooting fish. Enforcement action was taken, including seizing the bows and fish.
CO Brian Lebel was sent to a complaint about a lost hunter in the Haymarsh State Game Area. Upon his arrival, a frantic woman was contacted who kept repeating, “Just go get a boat.” The woman, who was the missing hunter, had just spent the night in the woods after her brother had not shown up in a canoe to pick her up after an evening hunt. After getting his boat, CO Lebel and two deputies located the canoe, which had flipped over. The body of the 61-year-old victim was located near the canoe and recovered. The subject was not wearing a life jacket.
While patrolling the Tippy Dam Recreation Area, COs Sam Koscinski and Brian Lebel contacted two subjects who had just snagged and landed a salmon. The third subject in the group continued to fish 15 feet from the river bank and hooked a fish. The angler kept yelling to his friends, who were being issued tickets by the uniformed officers, to get the net, but they continued to tell him they could not do that right now. The frustrated friend eventually walked downstream and had somebody net the salmon, which was hooked in the back. After this fish was put on a stringer, the subject was asked to return to their location where another ticket was issued. Apparently this angler had failed to notice his friends were getting tickets just 15 feet away from where he hooked and kept an illegal fish.
COs Steve Converse and Justin Vanderlinde, along with Sgt. Robert Torres, responded to a complaint about an untagged deer. The complainant advised that a youth hunter had shot a very small button buck and his father had advised the youth to leave it for the coyotes, as it was too small to tag. Prior to the COs’ arrival, the deer had been moved by the father and youth and stashed in the woods but still was not tagged. The COs were able to follow up and track down the father of the youth at a local residence. The subject admitted to telling the youth to not tag the deer as required. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Matt Liestenfeltz responded to a complaint about shots fired after dark on a vacant parcel of property and located a deer carcass with the hide removed. The carcass appeared to have been killed two days earlier. CO Liestenfeltz received another complaint about shots fired from the same location a few nights later, responded to the area, and contacted the occupants of a vehicle leaving the property. He conducted interviews with the two subjects, one who is a relative of the property owner, and determined they were shooting a potato gun. The CO also obtained information about a possible suspect in the illegal shooting of the deer he located on the property. Interviews were conducted of the alleged suspect, and it was determined the actual suspect was the original individual he contacted with the potato gun who gave him false information. CO Liestenfeltz re-interviewed the suspect and obtained a confession for not only the original deer located, but also a second illegal deer disposed of on the same property. The suspect also implicated three other individuals who were interviewed and confessed. Multiple charges are being sought, including taking deer after legal hunting hours, shining while in possession of a weapon, and possession of a loaded gun in a motor vehicle.
CO Mike Hearn located an illegal bear bait site on state land where the subject was using a steel barrel with a metal grate buried in the ground. The subject also had lines run through the trees with various scent rags and had set off bear bomb canisters that he failed to clean up. CO Hearn sat covertly at the bait site for the evening hunt. After the CO was visited by a bear, the suspect arrived and was issued a ticket to address the multiple violations.
COs Mike Hearn and Matt Liestenfeltz were working the Deadstream Swamp state land for bear-hunting activity and came upon a section of road that was unable to be traveled by patrol truck. Closer inspection revealed a set of ORV tracks continuing down the road. Both COs set out on foot and located the ORV at the end of the trail. After checking multiple foot trails, contact was made with a bear hunter. The bear hunter had multiple violations and was ticketed.
CO Steve Lockwood responded to a complaint about two deer that had been killed out of season. Upon contacting the suspects, it was learned that a youth had taken an 11-point buck before the youth season started. After an extensive interview, the subject’s mother admitted to killing an additional antlerless deer. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

CO Nick Atkin assisted CO Chad Foerster on a complaint where a subject fell out of his treestand. The COs assisted EMS with treating and removing the injured man from the woods.
While patrolling state land, CO Seth Rhodea contacted several hunters and inquired about their success. One of the hunters advised the CO they had just shot a grouse and the other guys were looking for it in the bushes. While checking the first hunter’s license, the CO heard one member of the hunting party say he found the bird, then stated that it was a robin. CO Rhodea then contacted the other hunters and seized the illegally killed bird. Subsequent questioning and searching of the hunters led to illegal narcotics being seized in addition to the hunting violation. Tickets were issued.
CO Dan Lee responded to a complaint about shots fired. The caller had been watching deer when he heard a shot, saw the deer fall, and then watched a truck drive by. The caller was able to get a good description of the suspect and vehicle but not the plate. The CO located the deer, a 10-point, and explained to the caller and his companions that they needed to call if they saw the suspect vehicle again. The next morning, CO Lee got a call that the suspect vehicle was back in the field where the deer had been shot. The CO made contact and found the suspect in the vehicle with his uncased rifle in the cab of the truck. Several charges are pending.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly received a complaint about a suspect who shot two antlerless deer during the early antlerless season. The deer were allegedly left in the field and not tagged. Upon checking the scene, the officer found a gun-shot, untagged doe in the field behind the suspect’s home. Further investigation revealed that local deputies received a domestic violence call and arrived on the scene shortly after the deer was shot. The suspect’s sister was not happy that he shot at a deer, and the suspect then tried to choke his sister. The suspect was a convicted felon and the sister advised the deputies that he had shot at a deer with a rifle. The deputies found the hidden rifle and lodged the suspect for domestic violence and felon in possession of a firearm. Kimmerly assisted the deputies with the additional evidence by providing a dead, gun-shot deer. The additional charge will be added.

DISTRICT 7

CO Cary Foster was called to Kent County on a RAP complaint with a report of an illegally killed deer near Lowell, prior to any deer season being open. During the investigation, he determined 12- and 20-year-old brothers were hunting rabbits with centerfire rifles, stating they had no intention of eating the rabbits. During the hunt, a doe ran past the younger hunter, followed by another deer. The 12-year-old fired at the second deer, wounding a spotted fawn with a rifle shot. The 20-year-old brother assisted in tracking and dispatching the deer and a mutual decision was made to bury the deer at the back of the property. CO Foster met with the parent and concluded his investigation. Charges are pending.
CO Cary Foster responded to a snagging complaint to witness a young man actively attempting to snag salmon at the Portland Dam. Walking down and standing next to the angler in full uniform, CO Foster asked the 12-year-old if he knew who he was. The angler correctly identified the CO as a conservation officer and continued snagging. After a discussion about his illegal technique, the young angler advised he was taught how to do this by his uncle. A verbal warning and brief education was given to the young angler on legal techniques and ethics.
Sgt. John Jurcich was on patrol at dark on the second evening of the youth hunt when he stopped to examine a parked vehicle in the Muskegon SGA. A very small pair of shoes were located next to the car door, and two boxes of 12-gauge slug loads were on the front passenger seat. As the situation looked suspicious, he waited until after dark to contact a possible young hunter. Sgt. Jurcich contacted a father and his 5-year-old son after dark as they emerged from the woods. No gun was located, and the father indicated the boy, who possessed a hunting license, was hunting with the youth-size crossbow the father was carrying. Sgt. Jurcich asked to see how the young boy handled the crossbow, and found that he could barely lift the youth crossbow to his shoulder and had little knowledge or skill in how to use the equipment. Sgt. Jurcich took the father aside for a discussion on his responsibility as a parent to introduce the young hunter to this activity with proper training and equipment for a safe, ethical hunt.

DISTRICT 8

While working south of Marshall, CO Brian Fish observed a truck miss a stop sign and nearly cause an accident. Upon stopping the vehicle, CO Fish located a loaded.243 and a .22 rifle in the cab of the vehicle next to the driver. The driver’s license was suspended several times. CO Jeff Goss has an illegal deer case awaiting trial on the same subject. Assistance was provided by local sheriff’s deputies, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Derek Miller was checking anglers in Lenawee County when two anglers reeled up their lines and walked toward their friends when he approached. One subject stated he forgot his license at home and the other stated he lost his wallet and fishing licenses. An RSS check revealed one subject did forget his licenses at home; the other hadn’t purchased a license in 5 years. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Bader was just returning from a long weekend up north and was called to assist an MSP trooper who had a vehicle stopped with an untagged buck in the back. CO Bader responded to the scene and ticketed the subject for taking an antlered deer during a closed season and failing to tag a deer.
CO Jason Smith was called to a complaint of steel shot from goose hunters coming down on a house. CO Smith contacted the hunters where the landowner was running a guide business and the hunters paid to hunt. CO Smith advised them that they were shooting into a safety zone, and also discovered that the landowner had placed out bait where they were hunting. CO Smith also checked the landowner’s brother-in-law, who was hunting without a license and had an unplugged gun. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Dan Bigger was called at his residence on the opening day of the Liberty Hunt with a complaint that there was a subject out hunting who was not disabled. CO Bigger took the information and got into uniform. Within 20 minutes, CO Bigger was on the scene at the location of the complaint. CO Bigger located the hunter who was not disabled and was participating in the early doe season. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

Checking small-game hunters at Pointe Mouillee SGA, CO Dan Walzak checked two hunters whose pickups were covered with fresh mud. When CO Walzak asked the first subject how he got so much mud on his truck, he claimed that he got it pulling his younger brother’s truck out from being stuck in the mud off the road. When CO Walzak asked the younger brother for his story he gave a different version. There was a third subject with them in his own vehicle, and, when asked, he also told a different version of the incident. CO Walzak completed a hunting check of the third subject and checked his firearm, which had just been put into his vehicle. The CO found one .177 pellet rifle, which was not in a case, and asked once more about his friends and what really happened. The CO was told that the older brother drove off the road into a low, muddy area on private property and made it through. The younger brother attempted his older brother’s feat and got stuck in the process. Neither had an ORV license on their vehicle and this all occurred on private property where they were operating without permission. When presented with this version of the story, both subjects admitted to what they had done. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Brandon Kieft and Ben Shively responded to a complaint on property in Holly Township. The COs located bait piles along a railroad right of way and a blood trail tracking onto the cemetery property. Although no deer was found, the blood led to an adjacent property with recent hunting activity. The COs located numerous bait piles on this property and recognized it from a few years earlier. The owner had been ticketed in 2010 by CO Kieft for trespassing and illegal hunting. An interview with the property owner led to confessions regarding the violations. Enforcement action was taken for baiting before Oct. 1.
CO Brandon Kieft followed up on a baiting complaint from Bald Mountain Recreation Area staff. The staff claimed that a subject was baiting prior to Oct. 1, had been cutting limbs and vegetation on state land, and had not removed his treestand from the 2012 season. CO Kieft recognized the hunting area and had dealt with the individual in the past. The subject was interviewed at his residence and confessed to the violations. Enforcement action was taken.

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