Michigan Cuffs & Collars – February 28th, 2014

DISTRICT 1

CO Elton Luce concluded an investigation into an illegal deer kill from the last firearms deer season. A Minnesota resident had been hunting in Michigan for the past several years by purchasing resident combination deer licenses. The Minnesota resident, who attended Northern Michigan University several years ago, had been using an old student ID to purchase the licenses. Minnesota conservation officers interviewed the subject and discovered that he had harvested a 10-point buck in Michigan this past season. The meat, antlers, and firearm, were seized as evidence, and a three-count warrant has been secured for the suspect’s arrest.
CO Ryan Aho conducted a snowmobile patrol in northern Marquette County. He encountered an unregistered snowmobile being operated on the trail in Big Bay. CO Aho also observed the machine had no trail permit and the operator was not wearing a helmet. When the operator saw the CO, he attempted to speed away down the trail. Due to being familiar with the area, CO Aho was able to use an alternate route to get in front of the subject and make contact. The operator was issued a ticket for operating without a helmet and was issued warnings for the other violations.
CO Doug Hermanson conducted a snowmobile patrol on Keweenaw and Huron Bays and encountered multiple violations of ORV and snowmobile law. CO Hermanson also encountered an angler who had in his possession a lake trout that was under the size limit. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Matt Eberly assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) with a domestic violence incident in Ontonagon County. A woman dialed 911 and reported that her husband had harmed their dog with a knife and was threatening her with a shotgun. Upon arrival, the officers were able to safely remove the woman from the residence. After negotiations, the man was convinced to put down the gun and surrender. He resisted arrest and the officers had to deploy a taser to subdue the individual. He was then lodged in the county jail.
COs Grant Emery, Dave Painter, and Sgt. Marc Pomroy executed a search warrant at a residence in Gogebic County. The officers recovered bald eagle parts from the residence, along with an untagged deer. The investigation is ongoing, with warrants being sought from the prosecutor’s office.

DISTRICT 2

COs Jared Ferguson and Kyle Publiski provided assistance to a man who was stuck on his snowmobile near Brimley, attempting to make it to his private land. The man called 911 in distress, considering the sub-zero temperatures and deep snow conditions. COs Publiski and Ferguson were able to get the man out, despite waist-deep snow and harsh conditions. COs Publiski and Ferguson were on their third search-and rescue-mission helping snowmobilers out of waist-deep snow.
CO Michael Evink was asked to assist local deputies with a 20-plus-car incident on US-2. The roads had drifted to the point where vehicles could not get through. Snowmobiles were used to check on stranded motorists who could not be reached by conventional vehicles.
CO Brett Gustafson assisted at the scene of a rollover accident on I-75. A young female driver lost control of her vehicle and flipped end over end. Minor first aid was administered until an ambulance arrived.
Sgt. Gerald Thayer and Lt. Skip Hagy, while on patrol at the I-500 in Sault Saint Marie, observed a subject operating a snowmobile without a helmet, with no registration and no trail permit. When contact was made, a strong odor of intoxicants was detected. Sobriety tests were conducted, and the subject was found to be operating while under the influence. He was transported and lodged in the Chippewa County jail.
COs Mike Hammill and Kyle Publiski patrolled the Raco and Trout Lake areas during the I-500 Snowmobile Race. Their main focus was careless snowmobile operation. Several tickets were issued for snowmobilers blowing though stop signs at intersections at high rates of speed.
COs Kyle Publiski and Kevin Postma were working the Brimley area on snowmobile when they spotted a snowmobiler traveling down a paved road. After stopping the snowmobiler, it was determined the snowmobile was a 1980 Kawasaki and not only did it not have a snowmobile trail permit, it had not been registered in 34 years. A ticket was issued to the owner and operator.

DISTRICT 3

COs spent considerable time patrolling prior to, during, and after the 2014 Black Lake sturgeon season. The season itself lasted one day, when the quota of sturgeon was taken on Saturday. Enforcement problems were few, with non-sturgeon-related tickets issued for other fishing, ORVing, and snowmobiling violations.
COs Mike Feagan and Eric Bottorff found a tip-up at least a quarter-mile from the nearest ice shanty. The flag was set off and the COs waited for 25 minutes with no response from an angler. Tracks were then followed to the nearest shanty, where the subject claimed he was keeping a close eye on it. A ticket was issued for fishing with an unattended fishing line.
CO Jon Sklba was answering a complaint about coyote houndsmen trespassing on farmland with snowmobiles. As CO Sklba approached the farm, he observed several snowmobilers fail to stop at a road crossing, and then proceed to enter the private property. The snowmobilers were stopped and ticketed, and the coyote-hunting group was contacted and warned about future trespass.
Officers in Area 3 participated in Operation Lifesaver, which is a joint enforcement effort with the county sheriff’s department, MSP, and the railroad company. Eight tickets were issued during the enforcement detail – four for railroad trespass, one for an unregistered sled, one for no trail permit, and another individual was arrested for operating while intoxicated and driving while his license was suspended.
CO Bill Webster was fishing on Fletchers Floodwater on his day off, and upon returning to his truck was contacted by another angler. While they were talking, the angler said he caught his limit of panfish and then showed CO Webster his bucket of fish. The CO identified himself and counted the fish, which totaled 59 fish – 34 over the man’s legal limit. A ticket was issued for the violation.
CO Jon Sklba and Sgt. Joe Molnar were on patrol when they passed a snowmobile parked on private property with expired registration. A few minutes later, they drove past the residence where the sled had been parked. The COs followed the tracks in the snow and later contacted the rider. The snowmobile had run out of gas and had stopped in the middle of a road. The snowmobile’s registration had expired in 2002, and there was no trail permit on the sled. The driver was ticketed for his violation.

DISTRICT 4

CO Holly Pennoni and Sgt. Robert Torres conducted a taxidermy inspection. During the inspection the COs observed the heads of two deer taken in Illinois in violation of the CWD importation regulations. The COs were contacted by the Illinois DNR to assist with an investigation they have involving three Michigan hunters who harvested these same two 9-point bucks in violation of their state laws. The COs seized the deer/antlers and contacted the three hunters. Statements were taken, and the information was forwarded to the Illinois DNR.
CO Steve Converse conducted a taxidermy inspection and located two deer brought in from Wisconsin in violation of the CWD importation regulations. CO Converse interviewed the hunters, and a ticket was issued for the importation violation.
COs from throughout the district joined forces to work the North America Snow Festival held in the Cadillac. Several tickets were issued to snowmobile operators for careless operation, disregarding stop signs, registration violations, and no trail permits. The COs also issued tickets for fishing violations on lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. One angler was lodged in the Wexford County jail on an outstanding arrest warrant.
CO Brian Lebel made contact with a subject fishing in a shanty. When the subject realized he was about to be checked by a CO, he quickly attempted to cover up his fishing pole in the shanty, as he had already placed three tip-ups on the ice. The subject admitted to fishing with more than three lines and was issued a ticket for the offense.
CO Brian Brosky contacted a subject on the frozen Custer River who was in possession of two undersized northern pike. The subject stated that both pike had swallowed the hook and he felt he should keep the fish. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Troy Mueller was working a snowmobile patrol when he stopped a snowmobiler operating against the flow of traffic. Upon making contact with the operator, CO Mueller observed what he thought was a valid trail permit. Upon closer inspection, CO Mueller found that the operator had attached his firearms deer license and used a black marker to write “snowmobile 14” on the license and affix it to the windshield in an attempt to deceive law enforcement with the counterfeit trail permit. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

COs John Huspen and Matt Liestenfeltz were working an area of the snowmobile trail system in Roscommon County when they observed a snowmobiler operating in a careless manner. In the course of the COs trying to initiate a stop, the operator fled at a high rate of speed in a further careless manner. Officers eventually were able to track the suspect back to a residence. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Hearn was patrolling Kalkaska County on snowmobile when he began to follow a group of riders through a residential neighborhood. The CO estimated their speeds at over 75 mph. CO Hearn was able to get the last machine in the group to stop. He then was able to follow the suspect back to a cabin and make contact with the remainder of the riders. CO Hearn educated the group on the laws regarding safe operation of snowmobiles, which included issuance of a ticket.
CO Mike Hearn wrapped up a lengthy investigation that involved the illegal taking of deer, making use of an illegal device, and taking deer without licenses. It involved a male/female pair that bragged about their conduct on social media. The complaint was turned over to CO Hearn, who began an intensive investigation that included a search warrant to locate evidence. After all the pieces were put together, a report was turned over to the local prosecutor. Numerous arrest warrants were issued for both individuals.
While patrolling Secord Lake, COs Mark Papineau and Jason McCullough found several tip-ups set in the ice and partially covered with snow. The tip-ups had no name or address, and there was no recent sign of anyone checking them. The COs tracked several footprints back to a residence and attempted to make contact with the anglers. Unable to make contact, they seized the tip-ups. CO Papineau returned the following day and contacted the responsible party. The anglers stated that they had set the tip-ups but then went to the bar for the evening. They went to check them that morning, and noticed that they were missing. Confessions were obtained for unattended lines, and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

CO Dan Lee and Sgt. Ron Kimmerly were along the Saginaw River discussing patrol plans when an angler came off the ice and into the lot where the COs were located. Sgt. Kimmerly asked how the fishing had been, and the man said it was slow and that he had only caught one short fish. The COs asked to see the short fish and the angler produced a walleye less than 15 inches in length. However, the angler could not produce a license. The angler was issued a ticket for the short walleye.
COs Ken Lowell, Jeremy Payne, and Dan Lee conducted a group patrol on the Saginaw River system. The area they wanted to work was reportedly an area where short walleyes and overlimits were being taken. It took the COs hours to get to the area due to the number of snowmobile and ORV violations they encountered on their way. Multiple tickets were issued for improper or no registration, no trail permits, no helmets, 100-foot rule violations, and more.
CO Quincy Gowenlock and an animal-control officer responded to a call about dogs attacking deer. Upon arrival, the officers found a freshly killed doe. While talking to the complainant, she advised the dogs chased down the deer in her backyard and attacked it. She advised the dogs had just run off prior to their arrival. The CO searched the area and located the two dogs near a house. At a closer glance, the CO observed fresh blood on the faces and heads of both dogs. The CO advised the animal-control officer and both made contact with the owner. The owner admitted that the dogs were hers and said they run loose all the time. The owner was issued a ticket for allowing her dogs to run at large.
CO Quincy Gowenlock responded to a call regarding an Alma City police officer who had been bitten by a pet fox. The original call went out as a dog loose in a building. When the city officer arrived on the scene, he grabbed what he thought was a small dog. It turned out to be a fox, which bit him on the hand. It later was determined that it was an Arctic fox. The owner was located and interviewed. After reviewing all the paperwork, it was determined that the fox was legally possessed. However, the animal was seized and dispatched for rabies testing at the demand of the Isabella/Gratiot Health Department.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly has been investigating a complaint in which suspects have been taking pheasants and rabbits by shooting them from their vehicle. This has been occurring for the past few weeks in southern Saginaw County on Amman and Ditch roads and on Briggs Road and the surrounding areas. The suspect vehicle is light brown, tan, or beige in color, a four-door, and most likely a Buick. The suspects have been shooting the pheasants and rabbits while they feed close to the road and also pheasants while they roost in trees close to the road and homes with bird feeders. Sgt. Kimmerly believes the suspects will continue taking the wildlife in the area and is asking for help from local residents. Any information about the suspects can be provided confidentially to the Report-All-Poaching (RAP) hotline by calling 1-800-292-7800.
CO Jason A. Smith contacted a couple of ice anglers coming off Saginaw Bay in the dark a couple of hours after all of the other anglers had already come in. One of the machines was being operated without a headlight, their trailer did not have any working taillights, and they had a couple of undersized walleyes. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Joshua Wright received a complaint from the RAP hotline that a person had shot three antlered deer during the 2013 deer season and had put the images on a social media site. CO Wright tracked down the suspect, and after a quick interview, he admitted to taking all three bucks in the 2013 season, in violation of the two-buck limit. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

No reports available.

DISTRICT 8

CO Kyle Bader issued one last ticket left over from deer season. The subject confessed to using two of his brother’s kill tags in the antlerless season. During the first interview with the subject, he was adamant that his brother shot the deer. After the CO traveled two counties east and talked to the brother, who confessed that he didn’t shoot any deer and left his tags for his brother, the original subject confessed.
CO Kyle Bader checked a pair of anglers on Gilead Lake. One angler said he hadn’t caught any fish, but when the CO asked about a plastic shopping bag in his sled, he said, “I do have a fish in there.” The bag contained a large perch and a 13-inch largemouth bass. A ticket was issued for taking a bass out of season.
CO Jason Smith followed up on a deer complaint in which a hunter shot a deer on opening day without a license and posted pictures of himself on Facebook. CO Smith talked with the hunter, who was less then truthful, and when CO Smith asked him about the pictures on Facebook, the hunter then remembered that he went out and shot a buck opening morning and then decided to go buy a license that night. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Shane Webster completed an investigation into the taking of an 8-point whitetail during the firearms deer season. CO Webster was able to piece together evidence that the deer had been taken prior to a license being purchased. COs Webster and Damon Owens interviewed the subject, who confessed that he hadn’t purchased his license until after he had killed the buck.  A warrant request will be filed.
CO Todd Thorn responded to a late-night complaint about shining occurring in an area where recent investigations resulted in a large poaching case. After patrolling the complaint area for over an hour, CO Thorn and a county deputy made a stop of a vehicle matching the complainant’s description and found three juveniles with spotlights and marijuana in the vehicle. The juveniles admitted to shining, and their parents were contacted. After lengthy discussions with the juveniles and their parents, the juveniles were turned over to the parents. Verbal warnings were given for shining, as no weapons were involved, and the deputy issued verbal warnings for possession of marijuana.

DISTRICT 9

COs Todd Szyska and Kris Kiel patrolled the Salt River on snowmobiles. The pair made many fish, snowmobile, and ORV contacts. One ORV was stopped that was being operated with a passenger and without helmets. The operator had a suspended operator’s license and multiple warrants for his arrest. The subject was turned over to local deputies on his warrant, and enforcement action was also taken on his ORV violations. One other ticket was written for no helmet on an ORV, and a warning was given for riding double.
Sgt. Arthur Green worked the first shift of the new Belle Isle assignment with CO Jason Smith. Despite a severe winter storm, several people visited Belle Isle, attending events at the casino, the aquarium, or the boat club. The officers assisted a number of motorists who were stuck in the snow and assisted MSP on traffic stops. Everyone that was contacted expressed their pleasure in having COs patrolling the park.
Checking on a complaint about trash dumped on state land, CO Dan Walzak found discarded household trash containing a number of magazines with a name and address on them. Visiting the address, CO Walzak was able to contact the resident and quizzed him about how his trash may have ended up in a parking lot on state land 12 miles away. The subject stated that it had to have been his young grandson, who lives with him and was supposed to prepare the trash for pickup. CO Walzak asked the man to call his grandson right away to let him know that he was being sought. Returning to the parking lot a little over an hour later, CO Walzak found the area totally cleaned up – no evidence of there ever being trash dumped. Contacting the grandson, CO Walzak found that he had gone to clean it up as soon as he got the call from his grandfather. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Ben Shively stopped a snowmobiler operating on a public roadway; the sled showed expired registration. CO Shively asked about the expired trail permit, and the subject stated it must have blown off. The subject was adamant that he purchased two trail permits and they had swiped his ID when he purchased them. CO Shively checked the retail sales system and found that the subject only showed the expired 2013 trail permit. When CO Shively informed the subject of his findings, his story changed. The subject was ticketed for having an unregistered snowmobile and was issued verbal warnings for operating on a roadway and no trail permit.

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