Michigan Cuffs & Collars – April 25th, 2014
CO Doug Hermanson investigated an incident involving the dumping of livestock on CFA lands. A complaint was reported that two cows had been dumped in the area of a logging job. CO Hermanson was able to retrieve tag information from the animals and locate the owners. Enforcement action was taken against the livestock owners for littering.
CO Marvin Gerlach received a complaint about several near-miss car/deer incidents near a residence in Menominee County. It seems with the long winter, the residents of one house felt sorry for the local deer and decided to start putting out some feed for recreational viewing. Unfortunately for the deer, the residents placed it next to their mailbox along a high-traffic county road. CO Gerlach talked to the “deer feeders,” explaining that although they were not in violation of the recreational feeding rules, they were certainly putting motorists and the deer in harm’s way by locating the deer feed so close to the road. The subjects agreed that their activities were causing a hazard and decided to relocate the feed site.
CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy were checking local lakes that still had ice-fishing activity. While most anglers had removed their shacks, a few shacks were still found to be active. One shack the COs were familiar with had the identification on the shack removed, but the subjects failed to cover their tracks in the snow. The tracks led from the shack to a nearby residence where a suspect was developed. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Marvin Gerlach received the disposition on an illegal turkey case in Menominee County from the fall of 2013. The subject pleaded guilty to the illegal turkey charge and paid $1,525 in restitution, court costs, and fines. He also lost all hunting privileges until 2016. A second subject from the same complaint pleaded guilty to recreational trespass and paid $375 in court costs and fines.
CO Kevin Postma contacted an ice angler at the mouth of Pendills Creek. The subject advised CO Postma that he didn’t have a license and had tried to buy one earlier in the day but the internet was down, and in turn the license machine was down. CO Postma followed up and confirmed the angler’s story. In this case, discretion was used and arrangements were made to make sure the individual purchased a fishing license.
While on fish patrol on Brevort Lake, CO Kyle Publiski was dispatched to a snowmobile on fire just a few miles from his location. Arriving on the scene, CO Publiski contacted the owner of the snowmobile, who stated it was too late; the snowmobile had already burned up. CO Publiski was shocked to see that the fire was so hot it burned through two feet of snow and ice on the snowmobile trail, and all that was left of the snowmobile were a few small burned parts and a motor.
COs Mike Hammill and Brett Gustafson stopped a snowmobile operator who didn’t have valid registration or trail permit. The operator claimed he was unaware that he needed to have a registration on a snowmobile. CO Hammill file-checked the individual, which revealed a misdemeanor warrant for the same violation two years earlier. Bond was taken, ensuring the nonresident snowmobiler would respond to his ticket.
CO Mike Hammill contacted an individual lying on the ice next to his fishing pole. The angler jumped up when he noticed the law enforcement shield on the snowmobile and quickly walked away from the fishing pole. When asked for his fishing license, the angler patted his pockets and replied, “I forgot it at home.” CO Hammill ran a file check for license purchases and found the angler hadn’t purchased a fishing license since 2006. Enforcement action was taken.
After completing a group patrol of Munising Bay, CO Michael Evink became aware of a snowmobile injury accident that was located in the Hiawatha National Forest. CO Evink contacted the Manistique Emergency Medical Services and directed them to the closest access to the accident. Officer Evink located the victim, and when EMS arrived he also transported personnel to the scene. Working with the EMS services, the CO assisted with transporting the patient off the trail on an enclosed rescue sled.
For several months, CO Jon Sklba has been attempting to contact individuals responsible for the construction of a rough cabin built on state land. CO Sklba found the cabin had received recent use. While leaving, he observed a subject driving a truck into the area, with a snowmobile in the bed. Considering the cabin as a potential meth lab, CO Sklba returned with a local deputy and contacted the subject. No evidence of narcotics was found, and it turned out the young downstate man had built the cabin to live like a “mountain man” off and on. Enforcement action was taken, and he was ordered to tear down and remove the cabin.
CO Matt Theunick ticketed a subject for littering after the man attempted to pull his iced-in shanty off Mullett Lake with a chain and destroyed it, leaving all the debris on the ice. The debris will be removed.
CO Angela Greenway contacted two subjects fishing the closed waters of the Little Manistee River. One of the anglers lacked a fishing license, and the other only possessed a restricted fishing license. Tickets were issued to each subject, one for fishing a closed trout stream and the other for fishing without a license.
Lt. David Shaw responded to a complaint from a snowmobile operator who encountered a truck on the snowmobile trail. The truck had a load of freshly cut wood and a deer in the bed. Lt. Shaw patrolled the complaint area, and being unsuccessful in locating the suspect vehicle, returned to the district office to inspect wood-cutting permits for possible information in identifying the suspect. CO Steve Converse continued to patrol the complaint area in a search for the suspect, and, while not locating the original suspect, was able to contact a different individual he had been investigating for timber theft. This person was leaving the Manistee National Forest with freshly cut firewood. Further investigation revealed excessive U S Forest Service wood-cutting permits and illegal amounts of wood that had been taken. Additional questioning led to information concerning the illegal selling of firewood from a state forest as well as an illegal deer that was taken during the past firearms season. A report was submitted to the prosecutor’s office for the state charges, and the illegal wood information was turned over to the USFS for prosecution.
Sgt. Michael Bomay and CO Brian Brosky were in the location of a recreational trespass complaint that was in progress. CO Brosky immediately contacted the complainant and was able to gather additional information, including that the hunters also violated his safety zone while hunting rabbits. The complainant stated the subjects had just left the area, but he was unable to provide a vehicle description. The COs continued patrolling in the direction of the complaint when Bomay observed a vehicle with two subjects dressed in orange traveling on the opposite side of the roadway, staring into the brush and appearing to be road-hunting. CO Brosky stopped the vehicle, and it was determined that the two hunters were in fact the suspects from the trespassing complaint. Interviews were conducted, and both subjects admitted to the trespass but not the safety zone violation. A report will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office.
CO Jeff Ginn was conducting a taxidermy inspection when he located a black bear missing paperwork and an untagged turkey with a 10-inch beard; both were taken by the same subject. CO Ginn contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources of Ontario and was provided detailed information on the black bear. CO Ginn conducted a follow-up investigation with the subject and was able to confirm a legally harvested bear from Ontario. When CO Ginn inquired about the wild turkey, the subject lowered his head and admitted to taking it out of season. The subject was ticketed, and enforcement action was taken against the taxidermist for improper records.
CO Brian Lebel was conducting surveillance of Muskegon River ice anglers for a long period of time before he walked onto the ice. As he approached, CO Lebel observed one subject immediately go over to a fishing shanty and let them know the officer was coming. CO Lebel contacted occupants of that shanty and located a subject who did not have a fishing license in his possession. The subject stated he did have a license but had left it in his vehicle. The subject rudely told CO Lebel to just look it up on the computer. CO Lebel confirmed through the retail sales system the subject had not purchased a fishing license, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Troy Mueller responded to a complaint about a subject taking deer during the closed season, and at the residence located the remains of eight deer, three raccoons, a squirrel, and a wild turkey, all taken during the closed season or with no licenses. During the interview, the subject admitted to shooting most of the deer out of season. A check with the retail sales system confirmed the suspect had not purchased any hunting licenses for several years. Enforcement action was taken, including seizing a firearm for condemnation.
While patrolling on snowmobile, CO Mike Hearn observed three snowmobilers operating on private property that had been a source for multiple complaints regarding vehicle trespass. CO Hearn was able to catch up to and stop the out-of-state group. Upon contact, the lead snowmobiler was ticketed for the trespass violation.
CO Mike Hearn observed a plume of thick black smoke several miles away and located the source on Twin Lake Road near US-131. Upon investigation, the CO learned that the property owner was burning stumps in a large, open pit. Aside from the stumps, there also were several bags of trash containing household rubbish, plastic children’s toys, a couch, stereo equipment, etc. The property owner was ordered to extinguish the fire, and an arrest warrant is being sought for the unlawful disposal of solid waste.
COs Steve Lockwood and Jason McCullough conducted an investigation into a group of individuals they ticketed for shooting rabbits and grouse from a motor vehicle. The COs conducted multiple interviews and eventually obtained confessions and additional evidence on numerous other animals killed during the closed season. The group of individuals had been shooting rabbits, deer, grouse, and squirrels from inside a vehicle as well as during the closed season. The group had killed six deer in one day in a section of remote state land during the month of February. The kill sites were located, and evidence was seized. Numerous charges have been authorized by prosecutors in three separate counties.
With the melting snow, CO Bob Hobkirk has been able to patrol on the ice around the islands located along the west side of Huron County. A number of waterfowl blinds were located that had not been removed. CO Hobkirk has issued four tickets to individuals for failing to remove their hunting blinds.
While checking local fishing spots in Sanilac County, CO Seth Rhodea walked out to an ice shanty and attempted to contact the angler. Upon reaching the shanty, the CO was unable to locate anyone inside, but there were three lines in the water inside the shanty and three tip-ups set up around the shanty. After a short time, the CO was able to contact two anglers returning to the fishing gear who had left all their lines in the water while they went out to lunch. Tickets were issued for unattended lines.
CO Seth Rhodea received a Report-All-Poaching (RAP) complaint that involved subjects shooting a goose and then leaving it alive after it was injured from the gunshots. After several phone calls were made, a possible suspect was identified. CO Rhodea then contacted the suspect, who agreed to meet with him. Upon meeting with him, CO Rhodea immediately received a confession from the hunter, who was then ticketed for taking a goose out of season.
CO Ken Lowell received a complaint regarding a local lake in Montcalm County and a man burning down his ice shanty. The CO made contact with the complainant, which led him to a residence on the lake not far from the burned-down shanty. After talking with the owner at the suspect’s residence, it was discovered that a friend of the owner had attempted to cut the shanty out of the ice, but it became too much of a headache so he decided it was easier to burn it down. The CO met with the suspect and received a confession. Tickets were issued for littering and failing to remove the ice shanty before March 1.
CO Jeremy Payne worked with the Michigan State Police on a road-hunting complaint in Isabella County where three suspects were driving around Isabella and Montcalm counties, poaching squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons from their vehicle. The MSP located and stopped the suspects and found the driver to be highly intoxicated and in possession of an uncased and loaded rifle. There also were numerous CPL violations. The subjects were arrested, and warrants are being requested for recreational trespass, taking game during the closed season, possession of game with no license, and 16 other game violations.
Last fall, CO Quincy Gowenlock charged a suspect who shot a deer in August. The investigation started when the deer’s head was found in a wooded area in Bay County. The suspect recently was sentenced and paid over $2,000 in fines and restitution and also lost his hunting privileges until the year 2017.
CO Gary Raak reported watching a UTV being operated carelessly over state land closed to ORV use. The operator was in the process of jumping a snowbank when he noticed the CO watching him and fled the area. CO Raak was able to follow his tracks back to a residence where contact was made with the subject’s father, who stated his son was the one out on the UTV but had left. A file check revealed the subject had an outstanding warrant. Contact was made with the subject the following day, and enforcement action was initiated for the illegal operation of the UTV, and bond was taken for the outstanding warrant.
Sgt. Jeff Rabbers contacted three subjects operating one ORV in the Allegan State Game Area. A discussion ensued regarding laws pertaining to ORV use, and the operator was informed that they were operating in a closed area, illegally operating on state roads, riding with more people than legally allowed, not wearing helmets, and had failed to transfer the title of the ORV. Enforcement action was taken for the violations.
CO Michael Mshar conducted surveillance in the Allegan SGA in response to complaints about subjects illegally cutting wood on state land. Contact was made with two subjects who had illegally taken two large truck loads. The subjects both were ticketed for the violation and ordered to return the wood to SGA staff.
CO Michael Mshar located a parked car near a closed trout stream in Allegan County. A foot patrol along the closed stream resulted in the location of a subject fishing illegally and in possession of a brown trout. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brad Brewer and Sgt. Zachary Doss followed up on information about a deer without a tag. A short investigation led to the subject admitting that the deer was a road kill where the subject had not obtained a permit. Enforcement action was taken.
While working on Belle Isle, COs Michael Drexler and Rich Nickols assisted the MSP on a traffic stop. There were four occupants in the vehicle. Violations included open intoxicants, marijuana possession, driving while licenses were suspended, improper plate, and three out of the four occupants had warrants. One of the passengers was arrested on a warrant.
CO Damon Owens and Sgt. Troy Bahlau closed a waterfowl case in which the nonresident subject was hunting without a small-game license, state stamp, or federal stamp. The subject was found guilty on all violations and ordered to pay fines and costs totaling $700.
CO Todd Thorn issued one ticket to a man hunting small game without a license. When questioned, the man said he didn’t have time to go get one. CO Thorn pointed out that his hunting partner produced a small-game license purchased that morning.
CO Todd Thorn assisted MSP and local deputies with a foot chase of two men who fled from a breaking-and-entering incident in progress. A K-9 was dispatched to the area and tracked the individuals. After a lengthy pursuit, the two men were located and arrested as they attempted to cross a road. The men had felony warrants, fled with electronics from the residence, and also were charged with fleeing and eluding and other offenses.
CO Jeff Goss received reports of subjects taking overlimits of panfish on Graham Lake. Upon checking the lake the next day, CO Goss observed several anglers on the ice. While watching through his spotting scope, CO Goss recognized one of the anglers as someone he had arrested several times in the past. A file check revealed the subject had three warrants for his arrest. When CO Goss made contact, it was discovered that the man was 19 fish over his limit. The subject was lodged on the warrants and was ticketed for the overlimit.
CO Mark Ennett responded to a RAP complaint regarding the illegal shooting of a Canada goose on a small private pond in Monroe County. After speaking to the homeowner and his guest, full confessions were obtained and the goose carcass was retrieved. The guest used the homeowner’s rifle with a scope to shoot the goose from the house. The two had breasted the goose out and were preparing to eat it for dinner that night. CO Ennett ticketed the shooter for killing a goose out of season, gave numerous warnings, and seized the rifle from the resident for condemnation.
CO Jason Smith made several traffic stops addressing vehicle-related violations while patrolling Belle Isle. These traffic stops resulted in enforcement action being taken for people operating without driver’s licenses, no operator’s license on person, possessing/transporting open intoxicants, and 19 warrants for wanted persons.
CO Jason Smith and Lt. Sherry Chandler conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle that had swerved into the COs’ lane, almost striking their patrol vehicle. CO Smith made contact with the three occupants and discovered that two of them had outstanding warrants. CO Smith also located marijuana and open intoxicants in the vehicle. Tickets were issued, and one of the passengers was lodged.
While checking ice anglers at the Fair Haven access site, CO Ben Lasher observed an older angler who was parked near the end of the ramp who looked a little confused. After dealing with some other anglers, CO Lasher approached the gentleman, who explained that he had lost his car keys and was trying to retrace his steps to find them. CO Lasher offered to help, and after a few minutes he found the keys in the bottom of a bucket. The man was very grateful, since he was about to call his wife to come with the extra keys.
While patrolling on Belle Isle, CO Ben Lasher was passed by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. CO Lasher caught up to and stopped the vehicle, which was occupied by six subjects. The driver was suspended, and the front seat passenger had two warrants out of Oakland County. Enforcement action was taken, the vehicle was turned over to a valid backseat passenger, and a MSP trooper transported the passenger to Oakland County.
CO Brandon Kieft responded to a complaint about an ice-fishing shanty left on an inland lake in Highland Township. Although there was no name or address on the shanty as required by law, CO Kieft was able to find information that provided the necessary clue. Using the dispatch center, CO Kieft traced the information to a subject in the Milford Township area. After interviewing that individual, he was able to track down the owner. The subject was ticketed for failure to remove the shanty by the March 1 deadline, and verbal warnings were issued for no name and address on the shanty and two additional ORV violations.