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Michigan Cuffs & Collars – September 26th, 2014


O Mark Leadman and PCO Josiah Killingbeck contacted a group of waterfowl hunters on the first day of the early teal season. Multiple violations were encountered. Violations included an unplugged shotgun, unregistered watercraft, fail to provide personal flotation device, and possession of a wood duck out of season. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jason Wicklund and PCO Joshua Russell came upon a couple anglers loading a boat at a remote access site in Iron County. The COs asked the anglers if they had any luck, and they replied no. The COs could hear the unmistakable sound of a fish flopping from inside the livewell and decided to ask the question again, to which the anglers replied they had one perch. A check of the boat and coolers produced four undersized walleyes and one undersized pike. When asked about the short fish, one of the anglers replied that his 87-year-old mother “likes the short ones.”
CO Jason Wicklund and PCO Josh Russell came upon an unregistered ORV with an individual operating without a helmet. The operator also had a scoped .22 centerfire rifle and high-capacity magazine on the front of the ORV. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jason Wicklund and PCO Josh Russell checked a vehicle coming out from behind a gate with several spin-cast deer feeders in the back. When asked about his activity, the driver stated he was putting his feeders up in anticipation of the upcoming youth hunt. The COs explained the baiting rules and removed the feeder. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Mike Evink was downstate working on a background investigation when he came upon a rollover accident in Allegan County. Officer Evink was able to contact Allegan County dispatch and get the proper personnel heading to the location.
CO Mike Hammill and PCO Chris Reynolds observed an unlicensed ORVer operating on a trail. The driver said he didn’t know he needed a permit and it wasn’t even his ORV. The COs explained to the individual that it is like driving a car without a license plate. A ticket was issued for no trail permit.
CO Mike Hammill and PCO Chris Reynolds came upon a group of men camped together in northern Luce County. The COs observed multiple live trees cut down, piles of human feces everywhere, and more than 300 beer cans scattered around. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Hammill reports ORV use in the eastern Upper Peninsula seems to be on the rise; he worked a problem area in Luce County near Lake Superior. While following fresh ORV tracks, CO Hammill noticed they were heading right for one of the closed areas. He continued to follow the ORV tracks past the “closed, no wheeled vehicles” sign and made contact with four individuals who had stopped to enjoy a beverage while watching freighters pass. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Jeff Panich, Brett Gustafson, and PCO Chris Reynolds responded to a call for backup on Drummond Island. The three COs were the closest officers in a two-county radius, and immediately went to assist. One of the officers was notified about an illegal marijuana-growing operation behind a residence. A total of 27 potted marijuana plants were located and seized. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Postma and PCO William Brickel, along with Wildlife Division personnel, were called to a local dairy farm on a complaint of suspected wolf depredation. After locating several tracks and examining the multiple wounds on an animal, it was determined that one of the farmer’s 1,400-pound dairy cows had in fact been killed by wolves.


CO Mike Feagan investigated complaints about an illegal charter boat operation on Lake Huron. CO Feagan and CO Matt Theunick made contact with the subject, who was fishing on Lake Huron with several anglers on board. The claim was made that no money had exchanged hands by the skipper and he was doing the anglers a favor. CO Nick Torsky, while on the charter the next week on his day off, noticed the boat did not appear to be licensed and checked into it when he got back to work, eventually making contact with CO Feagan. After the check written for the charter cleared the bank, CO Feagan returned and issued a ticket for operating an unlicensed charter boat.
CO Andrea Erratt contacted anglers on Walloon Lake and was advised one was a fishing guide and his two clients were repeat customers. Problem was, the repeat customers did not have fishing licenses, and a records check showed they had not purchased fishing licenses over the last 18 years. Two tickets were issued for fishing without licenses.
CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint regarding people taking several undersized bass. CO Erratt responded and contacted the anglers as they were leaving. Three undersized bass were found, and a ticket was issued.


CO Patrick McManus worked the early goose and experimental teal opener on Lake Leelanau near the Cedar River. CO McManus was able to contact 14 waterfowl hunters. The CO had observed three subjects in one group pretending to shoot at non-target ducks. Upon making contact with them, only two had the proper waterfowl-hunting licenses, with the third subject stating he was not hunting. The initial search of the area only revealed two shotguns, but after more searching, the third loaded gun was located. The subject was ticketed for hunting waterfowl without the proper licenses.
CO Sean Kehoe checked two separate groups of hunters participating in the newly established early teal season. CO Kehoe discovered that both groups had difficulty with duck ID, as each group had several non-target ducks, including wood ducks and a hen mallard. The CO addressed the violations with each group.
While working the Muskegon River Task Force detail, CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Robert Freeborn came upon four different anglers with violations. The first two were in possession of multiple undersized trout. The third angler failed to purchase a fishing license because he thought he would never get checked, as he was only in Michigan for a few days. The fourth angler couldn’t locate his fishing license and was subsequently run in LEIN by PCO Freeborn. A file check revealed two outstanding warrants for his arrest, and he was lodged in the county jail. The other three subjects received tickets.
While checking anglers on the Manistee River, CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Robert Freeborn watched as an angler lost his balance and fell into a washout near the roadside. On the way down, the subject caught his arm on a piece of guardrail and punctured a quarter-sized hole into the underside of his arm. A couple of other anglers assisted in lifting the injured person out of the washout and back on to the roadway. The injured subject felt as if he was going to faint, so CO Publiski helped him sit down while PCO Freeborn obtained a first aid kit. CO Publiski cleaned and wrapped the wound so that the angler’s friends could get him to the hospital for additional medical attention.
CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Robert Freeborn received a Report-All-Poaching (RAP) complaint about subjects snagging salmon and possibly setting a net on the Pere Marquette River. Upon arriving in the area, the COs located the five subjects and watched them attempting to snag salmon in a deep hole. At the same time CO Publiski was conducting surveillance, CO Brian Brosky contacted him by radio, informing that he had also received the same complaint and was on his way to lend a hand. CO Publiski contacted five subjects on the north side of the river and sent the subjects back to the south side where they were greeted by CO Brosky and PCO Freeborn. The subjects were written citations for multiple violations, including fishing without a license, attempting to snag salmon, and the use of illegal gear.


CO Jason McCullough and Sgt. Jon Wood were on marine patrol on Eight Point Lake in Clare County when the COs observed a subject wading out into the lake and casting a fishing lure into deep water. CO McCullough recognized the angler from the previous day when he had checked the same subject on the same lake and the angler did not have a fishing license. At that time, CO McCullough explained the legal requirements and gave the subject a verbal warning for fishing without a license. When the angler was asked for a fishing license this time, he again stated that he did not purchase one. There were no warnings this time. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Phil Hudson was patrolling Saginaw Bay when he contacted an angler fishing alone with four lines and who was in the process of setting out more. When CO Hudson contacted the angler, he said he was fishing with his buddy, who was in the cuddy cabin of the boat. CO Hudson asked the angler to have his buddy come out to show him his fishing license. The angler stated he could not do that because his buddy never showed up that morning and was actually not in the cuddy cabin. Enforcement action taken.
CO Brian Olsen and PCO Andrew Sutzko came upon an injured ORV rider at Ambrose Lake. CO Olsen and PCO Sutzko noticed blood coming from his upper arm, along with multiple injuries to his hand. When the man’s jacket was removed, PCO Sutzko noticed more blood coming from his upper shoulder. After cutting away some clothing, they discovered a large laceration to his shoulder area. The COs treated the wound and called for Emergency Medical Services. The victim was transported to a hospital.
Sgt. Jeremy Payne and CO Chuck McPherson contacted subjects cutting standing trees in Kalkaska County. Further investigation produced a loaded .22 rifle under the seat of the pickup truck and a large knife concealed in the driver’s door. CO Mike Hearn and PCO Chris Knights interviewed the subjects, and warrants are being sought for selling the firewood.
While patrolling Lake Missaukee, Sgt. Jeremy Payne observed a pontoon with two anglers onboard. When Payne approached the pontoon, one of the anglers reeled in his line and placed his fishing pole down. When asked for fishing licenses, the angler who placed his fishing pole down said he had a license but it was back at his cabin. A check of the computer license system revealed the angler had not purchased a fishing license for the 2014 season. The anglers also were in possession of an undersized largemouth bass. Enforcement action was taken.


While on a marine patrol along the west side of Huron County, COs Robert Hobkirk and Seth Rhodea observed a boat exit a canal, make a fast 90-degree turn, and then come to a stop. As the COs approached the boat, the operator was observed standing in the water next to his boat. He advised the COs that when he had turned, his 25-hp motor came off of his boat. To make the situation worse, there was a heavy rain storm just starting. The COs towed the subject into his dock. The COs learned that the man was a waterfowl guide and was headed out to pick up two clients who were in one of his blinds. Fortunately, the guide had more than one boat and was able to pick up his clients.
While patrolling Milliken State Park, COs Larn R. Strawn and Mike Drexler contacted a group of late-night partiers reveling at the lighthouse during the closed hours. After noting several violations and observing one of the partiers toss a marijuana cigarette into the water, the COs discovered one of the subjects had more than 20 individually wrapped packages of marijuana. Additionally, two of the subjects were fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants. Arrests were made, tickets were issued, and illegal drugs were seized.


CO Steve Mooney checked waterfowl hunters leaving a Cass County lake and discovered a number of marine and waterfowl violations. Tickets were issued for failing to have PFDs and possession of an unplugged shotgun, and warnings were issued for an unregistered watercraft and hunting waterfowl without a federal duck stamp.
CO Cary Foster and PCO Justin Ulberg checked the Grand River at Lyons Dam for fishing activity. CO Foster and PCO Ulberg located several subjects fishing and a 5-gallon bucket full of fish. A check of the bucket revealed three undersized channel catfish and one undersized smallmouth bass. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Greg Patten responded to a 911 call made by two groups of people who had been confronted along Muskegon Lake and the bike trail by four people who appeared intoxicated and stated they were armed. CO Patten located the group and established they had no firearms before turning them over to the Muskegon police for further investigation.
COs Dave Rodgers and Steve Orange patrolled the Grand River by boat during the early goose and teal season openers. A check of one group of five hunters led to a ticket being issued for no hunting license. A check of a group of five hunters during the late afternoon revealed two unplugged guns and one hunter with no federal waterfowl stamp. Enforcement action was taken for the violations, and another was ticketed during the patrol for fishing without a license.
CO Ivan Perez responded to a complaint in which a caller thought hunters were taking wood ducks during the early teal season. Checking the hunters at dark, a ticket was issued for hunting with an unplugged firearm.


CO Gary Raak located an illegal camp on state land where a state gate had been forced open and a swath of trees had been cut to open a trail back to the illegal camp. Officer Raak was able to locate the subject as he returned on an ORV. The subject stated that he and two of his friends had opened up the trail to make it more useful to everyone. CO Raak discussed the illegal ORV and destruction of state-owned property. Enforcement action was taken.
While conducting early teal season hunting observations, CO Michael Mshar witnessed a subject shoot a green-winged teal and a wood duck. The subject and his partner also operated their boat with loaded guns while actively pursuing birds on the water. Contact was made, and the illegally taken wood duck was seized and a warning was given for taking a protected bird out of season. Enforcement action was taken for operating a boat with a loaded firearm.
While conducting early teal season hunting observations, Sgt. Jeff Rabbers witnessed a group of two hunters and an observer shoot at and miss wood ducks. Contact was made after their hunt, where it was determined one of the hunters was improperly licensed and the group did not have any life jackets. Warnings were given to the two young hunters, and a brief lesson in bird identification was given, along with a copy of the waterfowl regulations.
CO Shane Webster and PCO Jon Busken stopped at a local access site along the Grand River to check several anglers who were night fishing. During the check, one of the anglers advised that she had left her fishing license at home. A check was made, and it was confirmed that she had a valid fishing license; however, it also was revealed that she had an outstanding warrant in Lenawee County for failure to pay child support. A meeting arrangement was made with Lenawee County, and the COs transported the subject to turn her over to a Lenawee County deputy who transported her to the Lenawee County jail.
CO Jeff Goss and PCO Matt Page were actively working a trespass complaint. Multiple subjects were identified, two of whom were interviewed, which resulted in information leading to a third subject. Meanwhile, the COs left a business card on one of the treestands, telling the hunter he was trespassing. Before the third subject could be interviewed, he went to the complainant’s house and spoke with her. The 90-year-old complainant called the next day to advise the COs that she had forgotten that she gave the man permission to hunt on her property. She apologized for wasting the COs time but thanked them for helping her to figure out who was hunting on the property.


On opening day of the early teal season, Sgt. Todd Szyska received a RAP complaint about subjects shooting mallards at St. John’s Marsh in St. Clair County. Sgt. Szyska responded and walked into the marsh to find the hunters. While traversing through the maze of phragmites, Sgt. Szyska observed the suspected party shoot a mallard hen out of the sky. When Sgt. Szyska contacted the subjects, it was determined that they had not retrieved any of their downed waterfowl. The birds were mixed in with their decoys and were lying all over the small pond over which they had been shooting. When all of the birds were retrieved, it was discovered that together the duo had shot two mallards, three hen wood ducks, and one hen green-winged teal. The hunters stated they thought that the ones with blue on their wings were teal, which turned out being the wood ducks. The hunters had a duck-identification book on their boat with them. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kris Kiel and PCO Brad Bellville were checking shore anglers at an access site in Macomb County when they came upon two anglers who quickly threw a worm container into the water. PCO Brad Bellville fished the container out of the water and found it to be filled with live gobies. Upon further investigation, PCO Brad Bellville located a man-made livewell constructed of rocks, which also contained live gobies. Action was taken.
CO Ken Kovach worked a complaint from the St. Clair County Road Commission about subjects operating on a freshly graded roadway in St. Clair County. CO Kovach was able to work the area and observed an ORVer operating on the freshly graded road, ripping it up. The ORVer was operating at a high rate of speed when CO Kovach initiated a traffic stop. It was determined that the operator of the ORV had no operator’s license and had never applied, was riding double, was operating on the roadway, had no helmet, and had no ORV license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Derek Miller conducted an investigation regarding a large amount of household trash on state land. CO Miller responded and located over a truckload of trash and materials from a house. The CO located an address in the pile that led to an interview with a homeowner who initially indicated he had no idea how the trash got to its resting place. CO Miller conducted a second interview after receiving more information, and found the homeowner knew who was responsible for the trash dumping. Two days later, the homeowner and the person responsible cleaned up the dump site, resulting in the removal of two truckloads of trash.
CO Rich Nickols and PCO Jon Busken worked a second shift on Belle Isle and issued three tickets for fishing violations. At the end of the shift, they were contacted by MSP troopers to assist with a large snake in the roadway that would not move. The COs arrived on the scene and were able to relocate the snake. The snake was an eastern fox snake, which is a threatened species in Michigan.
CO Shane Webster and PCO Jon Busken checked several anglers while patrolling Belle Isle. During the contact with one subject, PCO Busken noted two bass that appeared to be undersized in the angler’s bucket. Upon measuring the two bass, it was found that one was 11.5 inches and the other was 13 inches. The angler was educated on the legal size limit of 14 inches; enforcement action was taken.
CO Shane Webster and PCO Jon Busken encountered a couple fishing while on Belle Isle. It was discovered that the male subject did not have a fishing license. Further, the individual was not an American citizen and could not speak English. Border Patrol was called to assist on the scene, and it was discovered the individual was still residing in the country, despite an expired visa. The fishing check was continued, and five undersized bass were found to be in possession of the female angler, none over 7 inches in length, as well as 18 panfish over the legal limit. Enforcement action was taken.

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