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Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – November 8th, 2013


COs Trey Luce and Jason Wicklund checked a well-used bear bait on state land. They located a nonresident hunter sitting over the bait while not wearing hunter orange. The hunter tried to hide his rifle in the brush, but left the end of the rifle sticking out where the COs could see it. A check revealed that the subject did not have a bear-hunting license and was ticketed for both violations. The subject needed to post bond and did not have the money with him. All three went back to the hunting camp, where another hunter was arrested on a felony warrant. The subject was lodged in the Marquette County jail.
CO Ryan Aho checked a slow-rolling vehicle and located an uncased rifle on the front seat. The female passenger was holding a 2-month-old baby on her lap without any type of restraints. CO Aho explained the serious injury that could result if another vehicle collided with them. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Grant Emery investigated a complaint about a beaver trapper getting a jump on the trapping season, with several traps out along a creek in Marenisco Township. Upon contacting the trapper at his residence, CO Emery located several beavers, a raccoon, and an illegal bobcat. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Marvin Gerlach responded to a trespassing complaint. The complainant stated that a subject had set up a treestand and bait pile on his property. Upon investigation, CO Gerlach located survey stakes indicating that the suspect had actually placed his treestand and bait pile on his own property by about 5 feet. The bait pile, however, exceeded the 2-gallon limit. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Robert Crisp was off duty, duck hunting, when he observed three ORVs cruising around with the operators not wearing helmets, and one rider with a pistol in a shoulder holster and carrying sacks of corn bait. The CO returned later that day while working and located all their hunting blinds with illegal baits, ORV trails to the blinds, and illegal tree cuttings. The following day, he contacted the three hunters in their blinds. All had numerous violations and were issued tickets and educated about the violations.
While on patrol, CO Robert Crisp observed tracks in the road where a truck had been spinning its tires and doing donuts. He followed the tracks and located the vehicle. The driver was intoxicated, his license was suspended, he had a warrant, was on probation, and the truck he was driving had no plates or insurance. He was arrested and lodged in the Alger County jail.
While on patrol, CO Jeff Panich checked a small stream and observed a subject snagging salmon. A short while later, the snagger was contacted as he was hauling four salmon up the bank. When CO Panich asked the man how the fish were caught, he stated “all in the mouth.” CO Panich then showed the man the tear marks in the sides of the fish. Upon seeing this, the angler stated that the marks were made when the hook fell off in the net each time he caught a fish. The CO then told the subject that he was watching while the angler snagged the fish. When the angler heard this, he told the CO that he snagged the salmon. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Panich was checking a river for salmon anglers and came upon a vehicle parked with a gun case inside. The CO walked toward the woods and heard brush breaking as two hunters walked within a few feet of the CO. After watching the hunters for a while, the CO came out of the woods and identified himself. The hunters were both wearing tennis shoes and shorts and neither one was wearing hunter orange. CO Panich explained how hard it is to spot someone walking in the woods without hunter orange and how easily an accident can happen. Both hunters were issued reminders of the rules.
CO Kyle Publiski contacted two subjects fishing salmon in Mackinac County. One of the individuals fishing with a spear was determined to be a tribal member exercising his tribal rights. The other angler casting a spoon was asked for his fishing license. The angler advised it was back at his house. When CO Publiski advised he could check his license via the radio, the angler then remembered that maybe he hadn’t purchased a license for a couple of years. CO Publiski determined the individual hadn’t purchased a license since 2010. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Andrea Albert observed three anglers snagging salmon on the Jordan River during the closed season. One subject was teaching his mother how to snag the salmon, at which she was successful. The same subject waded the river and attempted to net salmon with a large landing net. The subjects were ticketed for their illegal actions.
CO Mark DePew was working on the Boyne River, watching a group of four anglers snagging fish. When he contacted the anglers, they became verbally abusive, which later turned into crying. One of the subjects pleaded not to get a ticket since she was just arrested the night before for drunk driving. All subjects were ticketed for their violations.
CO Steve Speigl responded to a baiting complaint and found a pile of sugar beets estimated to be around 150 gallons. Further investigation led CO Speigl to a second pile of beets also estimated to be around 150 gallons. The suspect was ticketed for the bait and was told to reduce the baits to the legal amount of two gallons.
CO Bill Webster was flagged down by a motorist who told him her father was drunk and needed to be arrested. She stated they took all of the car keys and hid them, so he got on his tractor and drove to the store to get more beer. CO Webster contacted the individual driving the tractor along a county road with a case of beer on the floor of the tractor, and had him perform sobriety evaluations. Upon completing the evaluations, the operator was arrested and lodged in the county jail.
CO Bill Webster tracked a hunter to a blind on state land where there was a large pile of bait, an illegal blind, and where numerous trees were cut down. The hunter also was hunting without a license and told the CO he was surprised to be checked, since he had not seen an officer for 12 years. He was ticketed for his violation.


Two weekend group patrols were conducted at Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee River to address numerous complaints of the illegal snagging of salmon. Numerous officers participated, along with a team of Michigan State Police troopers the first weekend. The first weekend resulted in 83 arrests with 1,224 pounds of illegal salmon seized, and the second weekend resulted in 42 arrests with 395 pounds of illegal salmon seized. All officers reported numerous illegal activities and were kept busy making cases.
COs Steve Converse and Joel Lundberg observed four subjects snagging salmon on the south side of Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee River. Two of the subjects were using lead torpedoes. The subjects were landing the salmon and then kicking them up on the shoreline. Upon contact, the COs discovered close to 30 salmon on shore. Additional COs assisted, and more salmon taken by this group were discovered at their vehicles in the parking lot. In total, 41 illegal salmon were seized, with numerous tickets issued.
COs Steve Converse and Carla Soper received information about an individual who was selling salmon. The COs made contact and discovered that the suspect had recently sold approximately 35 pounds of salmon eggs. Further investigation led to the discovery of a deer hanging in a barn with a car/deer permit attached. Upon inspecting the deer, it was determined the deer had been shot with an arrow. The COs then discovered a large illegal bait pile behind the residence. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer at 3 a.m. with a spotlight over the illegal bait pile with a crossbow and then obtaining a car/deer permit to cover the deer. The investigation continues, with several warrants being sought.
COs Rebecca Hopkins, Rich Stowe, and Justin Vanderlinde worked a complaint filed by a bird hunter about marijuana plants being grown on state land in Benzie County. The COs ran 24-hour surveillance, and on the second night observed a suspect roll in at approximately 9:30 p.m. The suspect harvested the marijuana and then returned to his vehicle around 11 p.m. The COs contacted and arrested the subject with three large bags of harvested marijuana. The suspect was turned over to the local drug enforcement team for processing and follow-up investigation.
CO Troy VanGelderen was patrolling the White River on foot when he observed a subject in the river with a landing net and no fishing pole. A second subject was observed upriver, attempting to scare the salmon down into the net. CO VanGelderen observed this activity for several minutes before contacting the two individuals and taking enforcement action.
CO Troy VanGelderen was patrolling the White River when he observed a subject throwing a spear at salmon. The subject continued throwing the spear until CO VanGelderen made his approach. The subject then threw the spear into the brush. The subject denied possessing a spear until the CO told him exactly where he threw it and to go and retrieve it. The spear was seized, and enforcement action was taken.


CO Brian Olsen’s patience paid off when he waited for a group of waterfowl hunters to make their way back to shore. It seems that in addition to not putting plugs in their shotguns, they also forgot to bring any nontoxic shot. Tickets were issued for the violations.
CO Warren MacNeill assisted local agencies in two different incidents. In one instance, he responded to a remote area inaccessible by local deputies. A hunter had a broken leg and was unable to get himself out. In the second instance, CO MacNeill assisted county dispatch with a group of lost youth. Dispatch was able to patch their phone lines, and CO MacNeill was able to talk them out of the woods based on information about the surrounding area provided by the lost youth.
Sgt. Jon Wood contacted the occupants of two vehicles on a seasonal road in Clare County. At the time, one of the subjects was walking down the road with a firearm and no hunter orange. During the ensuing conversation, one of the subjects admitted to shooting a hen turkey about five minutes prior to the CO’s arrival. The turkey was not tagged and was stashed out of sight underneath gear in the rear of the vehicle. The hunter also was not in the correct fall turkey-hunting unit. There is not a fall turkey season in Clare County. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Hearn received a complaint about a person driving beyond a DNR gate to access state land, and located the suspect as he was leaving the area. The suspect was transporting a large amount of beets, and when questioned, admitted to baiting and setting up his treestand. CO Hearn investigated further and located 15 gallons of bait placed prior to Oct. 1. The subject was ticketed.
CO Mike Hearn was working the duck opener when he checked one group consisting of the dad, 9-year-old son, and 20-year-old son-in-law. The group had multiple violations including no personal flotation devices on the boat, an unplugged shotgun, and no hunting licenses. Tickets were issued .


While patrolling the Pine River near Alma, CO Jeremy Payne checked a group of waterfowl hunters who mentioned they were with an additional group of hunters down the river. The CO then saw that corn had been spread on the ground of the small island from where the subjects were hunting. The CO continued down river and checked the second hunting group. The CO again noticed corn at this location. The CO then waited for the two groups to reunite and made contact and took enforcement action for the baiting violation. The two groups harvested a total of seven geese and 31 ducks from these baited locations. Ducks, geese, and the guns were all seized. All were charged for hunting waterfowl over bait.
CO Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint regarding a subject posing on Facebook with two bucks – a spike and a 5-point. The 5-point only had three points on one side, which is a violation of the antler point restriction. The CO contacted the suspect's father, who said it was his fault. He told his son over the phone to shoot the second deer, not knowing about the point restrictions. The CO then contacted the son, who admitted to the violation. He said he shot a buck and it ran off but he wasn't sure of the antler size. Fifteen minutes later, another group of deer came in with a 5-point buck. He called his dad on the phone and asked him what to do and his dad told him to shoot it because he had two tags, so he did. Later he found the other deer and saw it was a spike. He didn't find out it was illegal until one of his friends on Facebook asked if he shot both deer. When he responded with yes, the friend told him that he couldn't do it and it was illegal. Warrants are being requested for the violations, and the deer were seized and donated.
CO Joshua Wright received a Report-All-Poaching complaint about a person trespassing on a parcel of state hospital property. CO Wright was able to hide in the woods and wait for the suspect to come out. When the person did come out from hunting, he came within 20 feet of the CO. CO Wright turned his flashlight on the suspect and he hit the ground like he was trying to hide. This was the second time this suspect has been caught on the same property. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Chris Holmes and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers conducted surveillance along a private lake in Kalamazoo County in response to a complaint of potential illegal waterfowl-hunting activity. Contact was made with three surprised hunters at the end of their hunt. One claimed he had left his license at home and needed to go to the bathroom real bad. CO Holmes asked him if he was allowed to go to his residence to use the bathroom if he would come back out to show them his license. He responded that he would not, and that his wife would probably not be happy when they tried to contact him at his residence. CO Holmes then asked again if he had a license, and he admitted to taking two ducks without any state or federal licenses. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Gary Raak finished an investigation of a complaint received from the youth Liberty Hunt where a father took his son and stepson hunting. Neither youth was licensed, while one of them had taken an antlered deer – and the father had taken an antlerless deer during the early antlerless season without tagging it. The father was charged with allowing the youth to take a deer without a license.
COs Steve Mooney and Jeff Robinette observed a group of juveniles in a closed trout stream chasing salmon with nets and sticks. The COs identified themselves and two of the subjects ran. After a short foot chase, the two were apprehended. Local police officers arrived and advised that one of the juveniles was wanted on an assault charge. The two subjects who ran will be petitioned into juvenile court for the fishing violations.
COs Chris Simpson and Greg Patten responded to a RAP complaint in Muskegon County about a subject with untagged deer at his residence. After several interviews at the residence, the COs located several hides, meat in a freezer, and a butchered carcass of a buck dumped behind the residence. CO Simpson recalled investigating a tarp with the remains of two does dumped on nearby property within the past week. COs were able to obtain admissions of the hunter taking two does and a buck within the last week while bowhunting. None of the deer were tagged, as he admitted he wanted to continue buck hunting. It was further established that he had dumped the carcasses, tarp, and trash on nearby public lands days ago. Enforcement action was taken.


While preparing to check waterfowl hunters on the opening morning, CO Rich Nickols began hearing shots 18 minutes before the start of hunting hours. CO Nickols approached the first group of hunters that he observed shooting and asked if they had any ducks down. One hunter mentioned they had one down. CO Nickols replied, “That’s pretty good since hunting hours officially start in two minutes.” A ticket was issued for the violation.
CO Brian Fish was called to a complaint about a landowner using a backhoe to create a new road, nearly one-half mile long, along a designated trout stream. Upon reaching the site, he found there was sand and material going downstream. The landowner had removed all the growth, rocks, downed trees, and branches along the south side of the stream in an effort to open the stream to fishing. The material that was removed was used to fill regulated wetlands and floodplain areas. The complaint was turned over to the Department of Environmental Quality for follow-up.
COs Kyle Bader and Derek Miller worked Goose Lake from kayaks and checked a boat with three nonresident anglers. Two of the three were fishing without licenses. One subject had an outstanding warrant for boating while under the influence of alcohol out of Coldwater. Since CO Bader was headed back to Coldwater, he gave the subject a ride and dropped him off at the Branch County jail.
CO Shane Webster contacted two waterfowl hunters and offered to collect a few of their wood ducks that were floating in front of their blind. In all, eight wood ducks were easily retrieved, an overlimit. The hunters stated they didn’t realize they had shot that many. CO Webster noted that it seemed unlikely that every duck they had shot had fallen perfectly in front of their blind. They admitted maybe at least one more had gone over behind them into the marsh area where they couldn’t recover it. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Ken Kovach was requested by the St. Clair County Drug Task Force to assist in the early morning hours at two residences under search warrant entry. During the search, freezers full of game animals were found, and they needed a conservation officer on scene. The seizure will be one of the largest marijuana drug seizures in St. Clair County history. There were marijuana trees that had to be removed with heavy tractors due to the large root systems. The game animals that were found at the residence totaled 12 untagged deer (bucks and does) and one turkey that had been shot with a firearm. The suspect was interviewed about the animals, and he admitted that they were all his. CO Kovach had already run a license check on the subject, and there were more deer than tags. The suspect is a convicted felon and now faces multiple felony charges as well as the charges for all of the unsubstantiated game animals taken without licenses.
CO Mark Ennett received a complaint from a resident that his home had been peppered with shot all morning. Several groups of hunters were in the vicinity in the Pointe Aux Peaux State Game Area. The closest group was investigated, and they each had a violation, an unplugged shotgun, and a PFD violation on their vessel. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Mike Drexler and Dan Walzak were checking waterfowl hunters at Pointe Mouillee SGA. One subject had a loaded firearm on a dike and an unplugged shotgun. The hunter had a small spot of blood on the latex gloves he was wearing and stated that it came from a duck he shot, but when he grabbed the duck it flew away. The COs were not impressed and continued investigating. When checking the hunter’s shot shells, CO Drexler asked to see a few pocket knives in the hunter’s pockets. Inspecting the knives revealed fresh feathers and blood. The hunter then stated that his religion requires him to cut the throats of the bird he shoots, but after doing so the bird flew away. An inspection of a grocery bag in the hunter’s pocket revealed six protected non-game songbirds. The hunter was ticketed for an unplugged shotgun and taking nongame protected species.
CO Brandon Kieft assisted Bald Mountain Recreation Area staff on a deer complaint. Two male subjects acting suspiciously were stopped by park rangers and questioned. The subjects stated they were tracking a deer in the rain during the last few days in September. The rangers knew the deer season was still closed for these individuals and called CO Kieft. Both subjects had misdemeanor warrants for their arrest. When CO Kieft arrived and interviewed the subjects, the truth eventually was told. A third individual was located deeper in the woods at an illegal camp with cut trees and a ground fire. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Mike Drexler and Dan Walzak checked four waterfowl hunters. Three of the hunters failed to sign their federal waterfowl stamps, one hunter did not have any of his hunting licenses on him so a federal stamp could not be confirmed, and they were in possession of loaded firearms on the dike. The hunters protested a few tickets and several warnings and couldn’t understand why the COs didn’t just give them all a break.

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