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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – December 6th, 2013


CO Doug Hermanson tracked down a subject who had posted images on a social network site of two bucks that he shot last year. The pictures showed a 7-point and a 10-point buck. A check of the retail sales system revealed that the subject had purchased a firearms license and later purchased an archery license. The site indicated that one deer was taken in rifle season and the other in muzzleloader season. As the hunter had not purchased a combination deer license, he was in violation of the one-buck rule. One set of antlers was seized, and the subject was charged with taking an overlimit of antlered deer.
CO Jeff Panich contacted a group of three subjects waterfowl hunting near the Mackinac Bridge. CO Panich checked licenses and birds. When checking the shotguns, one of the hunters confessed that he hadn’t had time to put a plug in his gun this season. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Panich contacted a group of waterfowl hunters. After checking all licenses, birds, and guns, CO Panich observed something floating a short distance from the blind. CO Panich retrieved a cormorant from the water and asked who had shot the bird. One of the hunters confessed and stated that he was able to shoot cormorants under a federal permit that had been issued. CO Panich explained that there are certain locations, dates, and times on the permits, and that waterfowl season definitely isn’t the time.


CO Kyle Publiski was northbound on the highway when he observed a vehicle backing up against the flow of traffic and pulling into the oncoming lane in reverse, nearly running a semi-truck off the road. CO Publiski contacted the young operator, who indicated that he had forgotten something at home. A ticket was issued for careless driving.
CO Michael Evink was on patrol in the Manistique area when he observed dark, black smoke near a residence. Upon investigation, CO Evink located the homeowner and found that he was burning a large pile of old roofing material and insulation. CO Evink made the owner put the fire out and then took enforcement action.


CO Jon Sklba received a complaint about tire burning at night. CO Sklba responded and caught two subjects burning more than 20 tires, with more ready to be added to the fire. The subjects were ticketed and required to remove any unburned tires from the fire. The appropriate way to dispose of scrap tires was explained.
CO Andrea Albert contacted a duck hunter who failed to purchase his federal waterfowl stamp and still had his shotgun loaded while walking out of his hunting area well after shooting hours. The hunter also had a 20-gauge shotgun in the trunk of his vehicle, which was loaded and pointed at the driver’s seat. The hunter was ticked for the violations.
CO Kelly Ross received a complaint about late-night shooting on state land. When he arrived in the area, he located the suspect vehicle and a traffic stop was made. CO Ross located a loaded rifle and a quantity of marijuana. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Kelly Ross was attempting to serve an arrest warrant at a suspect’s residence, and while knocking on the door he observed a marijuana plant by the front steps. CO Ross contacted sheriff deputies and the local drug team and executed a search warrant on the house, locating numerous live marijuana plants, other narcotics, handguns, and long guns. Additional charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.


CO Brian Lebel received a complaint in Osceola County about shots fired two evenings in a row. CO Lebel patrolled the area and contacted a resident near the complaint location. CO Lebel questioned the homeowner and was able to obtain a confession regarding a deer hanging in a shed that was killed by the man’s son. Upon inspecting the deer for a valid license, it was determined the son had not purchased a hunting license. CO Lebel also located evidence that the deer may have been taken with a firearm. CO Lebel contacted the son and confirmed the deer was taken illegally. The deer was seized, and a ticket was issued.
CO Brian Lebel received a complaint about a deer carcass dumped on state land. CO Lebel patrolled to the area and upon investigating the carcass, was able to determine that the deer was skinned from the shoulders up and the head was removed. Follow-up investigation by checking area taxidermy businesses led to a deer head and cape that matched perfectly the carcass that was dumped. The suspect was contacted and interviewed, and admitted to dumping the deer remains. A ticket was issued for littering.
CO Troy VanGelderen was patrolling the White River on foot when he observed two subjects near the river. One subject was attempting to snag salmon with illegal fishing gear, while the other subject stood as the lookout. CO VanGelderen was able to get close enough to both individuals to observe the lookout smoking marijuana and sharing it with his fishing partner. The CO contacted the pair and located a freshly snagged salmon hidden in the weeds. Enforcement action was taken on the two subjects, including being in possession of marijuana, snagging salmon, illegal fishing gear, and fishing without fishing licenses.
CO Mike Wells worked a group patrol at Tippy Dam on the Manistee River and issued tickets for snagging salmon, fishing with illegal gear, and retaining foul-hooked fish. In addition to issuing multiple tickets, over 100 pounds of illegally taken salmon was seized and charged restitution.
CO Carla Soper reports that a bench trial concluded against a subject she contacted in April who had taken a deer illegally. In April, CO Soper responded to a residence where a deer was hanging without a tag. The suspect advised that he had hit the deer with his car. CO Soper investigated his claims and did not find any evidence to back his story. CO Soper submitted her investigative report to the prosecutor, who issued an arrest warrant. The subject was found guilty of taking a deer without a license and was charged $1,000 restitution for the deer, and $325 in fines.
CO Brian Brosky was patrolling an area where he had received complaints about illegal shining after 11 p.m. when he observed a vehicle stopping at intersections and head-lighting fields. CO Brosky followed the vehicle for several miles before making a traffic stop. In addition to shining after hours, it was determined the passenger of the vehicle had multiple warrants for his arrest and had been sought by local deputies for several months. Additional units responded to the scene to assist with lodging the subject.
CO Jeff Ginn and Sgt. Mike Bomay were patrolling Brooks Creek when they located three juveniles attempting to net salmon in the creek. Upon making contact with the juveniles, it was determined they had successfully netted two salmon and threw them up on the bank. The juveniles were followed home to grandmother’s house. She thought the children were out fishing. CO Ginn explained the rules of the closed stream, that netting fish was illegal, and the seriousness of their actions. CO Ginn provided the juveniles with hunting and fishing guides and explained to them the importance of following the rules.
CO Jeff Ginn contacted a group of archery hunters who had successfully harvested an antlerless deer. Upon contact, CO Ginn observed the untagged, field-dressed deer in the bed of a pickup truck. CO Ginn was able to determine that the subjects had multiple opportunities to tag the deer but had not done so. A ticket was issued for failure to immediately validate and attach a kill tag to their deer.
CO Jeff Ginn responded to assist a sergeant from the sheriff’s department who had executed a traffic stop on a vehicle for an equipment violation. The officer observed blood on the hands of the driver and determined the man had shot a deer in Newaygo County. Further questioning revealed the subject had never tagged the deer. After arriving at the location of the traffic stop, CO Ginn followed the subject back to his camp to investigate further. CO Ginn was able to locate an untagged deer inside a barn at the suspect’s family farm. Enforcement action was taken.


CO John Huspen was on waterfowl patrol and observed individuals operating a boat on Big Creek Impoundment. While watching them, he witnessed the individuals shoot from the moving boat at passing waterfowl. CO Huspen contacted the individuals and found that in addition to having a loaded gun in a moving vessel, the subjects did not have any life preservers. Tickets were issued.
CO Matt Liestenfeltz received a complaint about shots fired. The complainant witnessed a vehicle slow-rolling along a two-track and heard gunshots come from the car. The witness was able to get a license plate number. CO Liestenfeltz responded to the address of the license plate registration, and, while walking up to the front door, was able to see inside the suspect car. He observed two uncased shotguns and an uncased bow. After he conducted interviews, the suspects confessed to road hunting and allowed a search of the car. The two shotguns were loaded. Tickets were issued.
CO Chuck McPherson was on patrol on state land and observed a vehicle slow-rolling on a two-track. The CO followed the vehicle for a while to observe their activity. While behind the vehicle, the officer witnessed the passenger of the vehicle throw a beer can out the window. CO McPherson contacted the operator and occupants, and a ticket for littering was issued.
CO John Huspen received a hunter harassment complaint from a waterfowl hunter. The complainant indicated the suspects urinated on the tires of his truck. CO Huspen contacted the suspects, who were also waterfowl hunting. The young hunters apologized for their behavior, and were written a ticket for hunting out of an illegal blind.
CO Chuck McPherson contacted a hunter in a blind he had previously located on public land. The subject had an illegal blind, had placed bait for deer prior to Oct. 1, was using more than the two gallons of bait allowed for deer, and at the time he was contacted, did not have his hunting licenses with him. In addition, the subject had a restricted driver’s license and drove his vehicle to the location in violation of his restrictions. CO McPherson issued tickets and advised the subject he could not drive his vehicle.
CO John Huspen contacted a hunter who was hunting out of an illegal blind, had cut illegal shooting lanes on public land, was using more than the two gallons of bait allowed to hunt deer, and was using screws penetrating the bark of the trees. Tickets were issued.
While on patrol, CO Mark Papineau was flagged down by an individual who was deer hunting just south of the city of Gladwin. The deer hunter stated that he was hunting from a ground blind when a vehicle full of “kids” pulled into the parking area. Moments later, the individual advised that a gun went off from the parking area and he heard the bullet fly by his head. The individual advised that he confronted the “kids” and they laughed at the incident and then walked into the woods. CO Papineau made contact with subjects matching the description. Upon discussing the incident, CO Papineau was informed that one of the subjects was a first-time hunter and the other guy was trying to show him how things are done. He continued by telling CO Papineau that he removed his .22 rifle from the trunk and proceeded to show the new hunter how to make sure the firearm is unloaded. The individual advised that the magazine was already removed from the rifle, so he pointed the barrel in the direction of the woods and pulled the trigger. To his surprise, the gun went off. In addition, the new hunter was not wearing any hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.


Sgt. Ron Kimmerly received a Report-All-Poaching complaint in which a hunter in the Shiawassee River State Game Area saw another hunter shoot a trumpeter swan. Seven additional calls came in regarding the shooting. Trumpeter swans are on the endangered/threatened list. The officer contacted the suspect hunter in the field and obtained a confession but could not find the swan. After the officer met the hunter back at the field office and issued a ticket, he went back to the game area to search for the swan. The officer flushed the injured swan out of the thick brush, but it could not fly and appeared to have a broken wing and was bleeding from the neck. Unfortunately, the swan will die somewhere in the game area.


While patrolling a closed section of Bear Creek, CO Patrick McManus observed a truck that seemed out of place – several hundred yards down the road away from the creek in a hunting area. CO McManus found a single boot track that was similar to a hip boot or wader leading away from the vehicle toward the creek. As CO McManus walked through the woods, he noticed a subject coming up the bank from the creek area with a black plastic bag. When he saw the CO, he dropped the bag and kept walking toward him. After the CO obtained an ID and confession of taking fish by net from the closed stream, the subject stated he was with one other person. Two other subjects were located with a large landing net, and several fish strung across sticks each of the men were carrying. They also had a cooler with fish in it. None of the subjects had fishing licenses, were using a net to capture the fish out of a closed stream, and had illegally taken 10 fish totaling approximately 120 pounds. Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling for illegal fish-run activity along a closed stream in Allegan County, CO Patrick McManus and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers contacted two subjects operating recklessly in the Allegan SGA. The operator had a suspended license, no proof of insurance, and was operating under the influence and in possession of marijuana, had an expired registration, and had failed to transfer registration of the vehicle. When asked where they were headed in such a hurry, they stated to catch fish in Bear Creek, which is closed to fishing. A search of the vehicle showed they were on their way to snag fish with numerous articles of snagging equipment and illegal cast nets. Enforcement action was taken.
COs BJ Goulette and Ivan Perez responded to a RAP complaint in which a person heard a shot and watched a great blue heron slowly descend to the ground and was found dead. The COs located the bird, which appeared to be shot, and followed their lead to the source of the shooting: a nearby farm. The COs contacted a farmer at the location who quickly admitted to shooting the heron. He reasoned the bird had been drinking at a water trough used by his cattle and there was the chance of disease transmission. CO Goulette asked why he did not just shoot to scare away the bird, and he responded that he did just that and the bird flew away. He then shot again and killed the bird on the chance that it might return. He was ticketed for taking a nongame bird.
CO Ivan Perez observed an angler on the Black River hook and drag a salmon up the river bank one day while the CO conducted surveillance. Believing the salmon was foul-hooked, CO Perez approached the angler, only to have him kick the fish back into the river as he approached. A discussion took place about his method and retaining fish not hooked in the mouth. Two days later, CO Perez found the same angler fishing with a weight below a treble hook, attempting to snag fish. The angler was ticketed for the violation, making this his third offense for snagging.


COs Derek Miller and Jason Smith worked a complaint of subjects hunting in an area closed to hunting. After a long foot patrol, the COs located several hunting points, along with trail cameras and equipment stashed in the woods. The COs were able to obtain identification of the subjects from the trail cameras, and after a short investigation, obtained a full confession from the involved party. Warrants are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Pete Purdy contacted two waterfowl hunters on a boat. They advised that there was no need to check them because they knew what they are doing and had hunted waterfowl for several years and were 100 percent legal. They displayed correct hunting licenses, all steel shot, plugged shotguns, and life jackets. When CO Purdy asked about the vessel registration, they advised that they had forgotten to register the watercraft.
CO Rich Nickols assisted local police officers with a call regarding an overdue hunter and an abandoned vehicle. The hunter was located deceased in the Rose Lake Wildlife Area. The hunter apparently fell about 20 feet while climbing down from his treestand.
While at the district office, CO Rich Nickols took a walk-in complaint about possible deer poaching. The complainant said that someone had dumped two deer behind a fence at a vacant house. CO Nickols went to question a possible subject and located the hindquarters of a deer in the back of a pickup. After some lengthy questioning, locating the vehicle involved, and taking blood samples of all the deer involved, the CO received a confession from the subject to shooting two deer with a firearm the previous night. The firearm was seized, and charges will be sought.
Sgt. Troy Bahlau made an off-duty arrest of two subjects who were caught in the act of keying vehicles in a parking lot. The female subject, while being placed under arrest, cut Sgt. Bahlau across the neck with the key being used to damage the vehicles. Three felony charges have been issued for destruction of property over $1,000 on two vehicles and resisting and obstructing causing injuries, and drunk and disorderly on both subjects.


CO Ken Kovach worked late duck hunters in northern St. Clair County and set up surveillance on them. The subjects hunted waterfowl until 30 minutes after the legal shooting hours. In fact, the subjects tried to shoot at and missed several wood ducks coming in. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ken Kovach assisted on a call from an MSP trooper in the central portion of St. Clair County. The trooper had called out that a vehicle occupant was either shooting out the window of his vehicle or was shooting at the trooper. It was determined that the subject was shooting at the trooper. The subject was apprehended and taken into custody.
While working late waterfowl hunters at St. John’s Marsh, CO Ken Kovach set up surveillance on a group of hunters who continued to call ducks after legal shooting hours. CO Kovach witnessed ducks swooping down into the subjects’ calls, but the subjects could not get shots off. When approached by CO Kovach, 15 minutes after legal shooting hours, the hunters still had their weapons loaded and were still attempting to call ducks. Other violations included an unplugged shotgun and an unsigned federal stamp. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brandon Kieft observed a subject in full camouflage exiting the woods, carrying a shotgun. After the CO made contact with the hunter, he claimed to have been archery deer hunting in the morning and later decided to hunt small game. His shotgun was loaded with mostly slugs, and the subject was unable to provide any piece of hunter orange clothing. Enforcement action was taken.
While working a shining patrol in the early morning hours in St. Clair County, CO Ken Kovach observed a vehicle actively shining cut cornfields. After following the subject for several miles, the suspect vehicle continually shined fields, stopping at certain ones that had deer in them. The suspect vehicle finally was pulled over at approximately 2 a.m. and was found to be occupied by four individuals, a spotlight, and an uncased rifle in the backseat. One of the four individuals also had a warrant for his arrest. The suspects admitted that they were in pursuit of trying to kill a big buck and they had passed up all the fields they stopped at due to the fact that the deer in the fields were too small. One subject even commented that the reason they had four guys in the truck was because they needed the extra manpower in case they were successful in getting a deer. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kris Kiel received a complaint that suspects had been shooting after hours at ducks at Wetzel State Recreation Area. CO Kiel conducted surveillance at night in the complaint area. CO Kiel was able to find one hunter actively shooting at and trying to take waterfowl after the close of legal hunting hours. Enforcement action was taken.

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