CO David Miller conducted a patrol on Keweenaw Bay and encountered an angler with several unattended lines. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Lasanen conducted a patrol on Lake Gogebic and contacted several anglers. One subject stated that he had not caught any fish. As CO Lasanen spoke with the angler, he heard what sounded like a fish flopping around in the angler’s shack. The subject then stated that he forgot about catching the fish that was identified as an undersized walleye. Enforcement action was taken.
CO David Miller interviewed and obtained a confession from a subject who used a crossbow to take an antlerless deer inside the village of L’Anse. CO Miller located and seized the crossbow, and enforcement action was taken.
COs Elton Luce and Mark Leadman found a number of trapping violations while walking to sets in a remote area in Marquette County. The next day, CO Leadman was able to make contact with the trapper near the same location. In addition to addressing the trapping violations, CO Leadman addressed the violation of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Grant Emery worked snowmobiling activity along the Michigan/Wisconsin border near Ironwood. Heavy snowmobile activity was reported. A total of 117 contacts were made, with nine tickets and 23 verbal warnings issued.
Following up on complaints from the community, COs Robert Crisp, acting Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon, and Rob Freeborn conducted a group snowmobile patrol in the Alger County area. During the patrol, COs Crisp and Freeborn were watching a stop sign and observed a group of snowmobiles approaching and beginning to slow down when the rear sled accelerated and passed the entire group, running the stop sign at approximately 60 mph. COs pursued the sled at speeds in excess of 80 mph in a posted 30-mph zone. The snowmobiler was stopped at the next intersection, and enforcement action was taken.
Conservation officers Rob Freeborn, Mike Evink, Jared Ferguson, John Wenzel, and Jerrold Fitzgibbon worked a group patrol on the waters of Lake Michigan. Two officers worked Big Bay de Noc, and the other three worked Little Bay de Noc. Almost 200 anglers were contacted, with several violations encountered. Tickets were issued for fishing without licenses, fishing with too many lines, unregistered snowmobiles, no ORV license, and using illegal devices to fish.
Several hundred people attended a public hearing in Newberry regarding the proposed Graymont Limestone Mine project in the Rexton area. Conservation officers, along with representatives from the other DNR divisions were on hand to answer any questions about the proposed project.
CO Jon Busken received a complaint about an individual keeping a deer as a pet. CO Busken made contact with the landowner, who had recently purchased the home. When he moved in, he found his front door open and a yearling deer in his living room. The deer had returned several times but he had not let it inside.
CO Kevin Postma contacted an angler as the man pulled up to his fishing shanty for the afternoon bite. CO Postma checked the angler’s license and then asked to look in his fishing shanty for unattended lines. The subject advised CO Postma that he had forgotten his key and his wife would be out shortly with it. CO Postma advised the angler that he didn’t mind waiting with him for his wife to show up. CO Postma then asked if there would be a set line in the shanty when his wife arrived with the key. The subject advised there would be, and then proceeded to open the shanty. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Postma contacted two anglers as they were arriving at their ice shanty for the afternoon bite. Licenses were checked along with the shanty, to check for set lines. Both anglers assured the CO that there were no set lines in the shanty. CO Postma checked three lines that were down only 6 inches. A fourth line 4.5 feet down with a baited hook was pulled up by CO Postma. The owner of the line advised that he thought it was up far enough. CO Postma explained to the angler that a baited line 4.5 feet down in 5 feet of water was fishing. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Robert Watson responded to a complaint about an individual harassing anglers on Big Manistique Lake. CO Watson made contact with the complainants, who stated they thought they were fishing near a friend’s permanent shanty when an individual approached them aggressively and began harassing them about fishing too close to his shanty. The two fishing parties shared a heated exchange. The complainant’s fishing party gathered their equipment and left the area after the owner of the shanty claimed that he would take care of them and entered his shanty. Statements were gathered from both parties, and evidence will be presented to the prosecutor for further action.
CO Steve Speigl responded to a 911 call that a motorist intentionally swerved to run over a flock of turkeys in Antrim County. Once on the scene, CO Speigl was taking photographs when an eyewitness neighbor came forward to offer information. With a good vehicle description, CO Speigl checked nearby houses and contacts. The truck and driver were found within 20 minutes with help from local contacts. A confession was obtained from the driver who, without remorse, told CO Speigl, “I don’t have a reason for doing it, I just did it.” Enforcement action was taken.
CO Andrea Albert checked an angler who stated he hadn’t caught a thing. Upon checking, CO Albert found a bucket with 55 perch in it. The overlimit of perch was seized, and a ticket was issued.
COs Nick Torsky, Kelly Ross, and detective Jason Niemi interviewed and obtained two confessions from individuals who shot and butchered a bull elk in Otsego County during the firearms deer season.
COs Brad Bellville and Mark DePew, along with MSP and local deputies, received a complaint about a scared horse running loose in downtown Gaylord. The officers were able to corner the horse next to a house where CO Bellville was able to calm the horse down and capture it unharmed. The horse was turned over to animal control and was reunited with its owners.
CO Mark DePew led officers in conducting a search warrant of a subject who was suspected of illegally shooting deer in Otsego County. During the search they found evidence and obtained confessions on illegally shooting two deer and were found to be in possession of illegal drugs. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Kyle Publiski responded to a complaint about subjects taking overlimits of fish on Hamlin Lake. The first angler checked by CO Publiski had 17 bluegills in his possession, but had failed to purchase a license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Ginn rechecked a lake where he had observed several tip-up anglers the previous evening. Early the next morning, CO Ginn observed the same tip-ups still set out in front of the cottage. CO Ginn walked out to check on the lines and found them to be frozen in solid. CO Ginn tripped the flags and waited for the angler to check on his lines. The subject eventually made it out to check on his lines, and CO Ginn made contact again. The subject admitted to leaving the lines out all night and was ticketed for unattended lines.
CO Mike Wells received a complaint regarding a subject who was alleged to have illegally taken a black bear out of season in Newaygo County two years earlier. It also was alleged that the bear was wearing a tracking collar. Upon researching the subjects through the retail sales system and social media, it was discovered that the girlfriend of the suspect had taken an 8-point buck a few years earlier. The female had no record of ever purchasing a deer license. Sgt. Mike Bomay and CO Wells were able to make contact and interview both subjects. Admissions were received regarding the illegal taking of the bear by the suspect and also the taking of the buck without a license by the girlfriend. It was determined that the female shot the buck during the youth hunt when she was 19 years of age. The suspect admitted to taking the bear in self-defense, but stated that he had harvested a 3-point buck a short time after shooting the bear from the same stand. The suspect did admit that he left the bear due to the fact it had a tracking collar on it, but he did track and recover the deer. A check with Wildlife Division personnel determined that the collar was recovered a few weeks later lying in the badly decomposed remains of the bear at the location where the suspect admitted to shooting the bear. Warrants are being requested through the prosecutor’s office regarding both suspects.
Sgt. Jon Wood and CO Phil Hudson were checking a group of anglers at the annual Tip-Up-Town festival on Houghton Lake when an angler admitted to catching several large crappies and one walleye. Sgt. Wood did not notice the walleye lying on the ice with the rest of the catch. A little further investigation led to the walleye, which turned out to be undersized, tucked inside the shanty and hidden from view behind the angler’s feet.
While responding to an unrelated complaint, CO McCullough observed several traps that had been set in and around a nearby residence. Several days later, CO McCullough drove back through the area to check the traps and discovered a dead animal in one of the traps. Upon further investigation, and a follow-up interview, it was discovered that the suspect was not checking his traps every 24 hours. CO McCullough took enforcement action for not checking traps as required by law.
CO Kyle Bader got a call from CO Kelley Ross about a deer that was possibly poached near West Branch. After a few interviews, CO Bader developed a person of interest. When he showed up to interview the subject, the man stated the deer had just died next to his garage. When he showed CO Bader the carcass in the woods, CO Bader told him it was unlikely the deer died with its skin removed and half butchered. After a few more tales about how he came to possess the deer, the man finally admitted to shooting it from his house window. Further investigation also revealed that it was killed after the season closed, with a .22-caliber rifle, and never tagged. The deer and firearm were seized, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Hearn was checking nighttime ice-fishing activity on Manistee Lake in Kalkaska County when he contacted an angler reporting no success. During the contact, CO Hearn observed that the angler had a smallmouth bass in the sled of his flip-over ice shanty. The angler was issued a ticket for possession of bass during the closed season.
CO Nick Atkin received a complaint about a possible poaching violation from last September. The information received led the CO to believe there may have been deer violations by an adult that occurred during the youth deer season. CO Atkin located and interviewed the suspect in the case who was 23 years old. The CO was able to obtain a full written confession about the illegal killing, possession, and transportation of a 12-point buck. Enforcement action is being sought in this case.
While checking anglers coming in from fishing at a state launch at the mouth of the Saginaw River, CO Quincy Gowenlock was contacted by a subject and questioned as to why people were not paying for the Recreational Passport, which is required for entry at the access site. After speaking with the CO for several minutes, he conveyed that he was not the only one who was upset with this. He didn’t think it was fair that they paid for their permit and others did not. The CO explained that the nine vehicles in the parking lot that did not have Recreational Passports were all ticketed. The subject said, “Oh, thanks,” and walked away.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly received a complaint about a taxidermist in Montcalm County who was operating illegally. The officer contacted the suspect and conducted an inspection and found 17 sets of deer antlers that had no taxidermy tags. When the officer asked to see his records, the subject advised that he had none. The taxidermist was issued a ticket for failing to maintain records. A number of antlers were seized.
While patrolling near Sebewaing, CO Bob Hobkirk observed a vehicle drive through an intersection without stopping or slowing down for a stop sign. When he stopped the vehicle, the driver explained that she didn’t stop for the stop sign because she was upset that her dog had run away and just wanted to get home. The driver was issued a ticket for failing to stop for a stop sign.
CO Andy Bauer checked a group of waterfowl hunters on the St. Joseph River and discovered a number of marine violations, including failing to register a watercraft. A ticket for operating an unregistered watercraft was issued, and warnings were given for the other violations.
CO Steve Mooney patrolled inland lakes for ice-fishing activity and observed a person ice fishing. When the subject saw CO Mooney, he left his fishing gear lying on the ice and returned to the parking lot. CO Mooney made contact with the subject and discovered that the subject did not have a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Robinette received a complaint about several unattended tip-ups on a Cass County lake. CO Robinette responded and began surveillance. After a short time, a subject arrived in a vehicle and began to check the tip-ups. Contact was made, and it was discovered that the subject, who has a long DNR conviction history, had placed eight tip-ups out in the morning and had left them until lunchtime. Five of the tip-ups did not have names on them. The subject was ticketed for both fishing with too many lines and no names on his tip-ups. The subject claimed to not know how many lines are allowed, even though he is the charter boat captain of a Great Lakes boat.
CO Cary Foster continued to gather evidence and photographs relating to three different illegal deer kills during the firearms season in Ionia County. He recently concluded his investigation and obtained confessions from three people for taking deer without licenses or purchasing licenses after harvesting deer. Charges will be sought in all cases.
CO Chris Reynolds was checking a lake for ice-fishing activity, observing all anglers before making contact. When the CO walked onto the ice and started making contact, he noticed a few anglers in a hurry to pack up and try to get off the ice. CO Reynolds immediately walked to the anglers and discovered that one of the anglers didn’t have a fishing license. The individual stated that it was his first time out for the year and he didn’t plan on doing any more fishing the rest of the year. The CO told the subject that it doesn’t matter how many times you fish – you still need a license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Reynolds interviewed a subject who was trapping on a railroad right of way. The subject admitted to using the right of way to trap and access some of his traps. The subject was advised that the railroad doesn’t allow any access on its right of way. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Reynolds had a very busy patrol checking several ice anglers. All anglers had everything in order throughout the day except a few of them had forgotten their fishing licenses. A quick check of the computer license system confirmed that the anglers had valid fishing licenses. The CO advised the anglers of the penalties for not having a fishing license in possession. Verbal warnings were given.
CO Shane Webster followed up on information he had received about illegal deer-hunting activity that occurred during the 2014 season. An interview with a subject led to a confession for taking an antlerless deer and an 8-point buck during the archery season prior to purchasing deer licenses. The shoulder mount of the 8-point was seized, along with venison from the subject’s freezer. A warrant request is being filed with the prosecutor’s office.
CO Rich Nickols investigated a tip from the past deer season that a subject had possibly purchased his deer license after shooting a large buck. CO Nickols interviewed the subject, who recounted his story by saying that he shot the buck in the early morning. When asked how this was possible when a license was not purchased until almost noon, the subject admitted to the wrongdoing.
CO Mike Drexler responded to an Oakland County complaint in which anglers were fishing with too many lines and tip-ups. When CO Drexler arrived, his first concern was a three-wheel ORVer speeding by and the operator not wearing a helmet. After the CO contacted the operator and found the ORV had not been licensed in 10 years, a ticket was issued for the safety violation. No fishing violations were encountered.
COs David Schaumburger and Chris Knights worked a group patrol, checking anglers on Lake St. Clair. The majority of violations encountered while making over 200 contacts were ORV operators not wearing helmets. A few operators seemed shocked they were required to wear helmets, while many others had either left it at home or packed away in their gear. Enforcement action was taken.
Sgt. Todd Szyska responded to a complaint in Ira Township, St. Clair County, regarding two whitetail bucks in a field that were locked together by their antlers. Upon arrival, the complainant and another individual who used to own a POC facility had handled the deer and were able to cut the antlers off by using a reciprocating saw, thus freeing the animals so they could run off. There was no way to physically separate the two animals, as they had locked their antlers locked together in such a way that it was impossible to manually separate them. Due to the hard work of these two individuals, the 9-and 10-point bucks were able to run free, back into the wild.
CO Daniel Prince and CO Jason Smith responded to a trapping trespass complaint in the Brighton area. The business owner was walking his dog on his business property and noticed that his dog was missing. He found the dog caught in a snare and was able to safely release it. COs Prince and Smith located four illegal snares with a deer carcass in the middle as a lure. There are no suspects at this time, and the property was not posted.
CO Daniel Prince investigated a trapping complaint in Livingston County in which the complainant’s dog was trapped in a leg-hold trap. The dog was freed and had minor injuries. CO Prince learned the trapper who was trapping coyotes was licensed and had permission to trap the property. CO Prince was able to follow a foot trail to the trapper’s home. A verbal warning was given to the trapper for not having his traps marked with his identification.
While on patrol in Genesee County, CO Jeremy Beavers checked anglers on the ice at the Mound ORV Park. While checking a group of anglers, CO Beavers observed a largemouth bass on the ice. CO Beavers asked the group if the bass belonged to them, and one subject stated that it was his. CO Beavers informed the subject that the season was closed and asked if he was aware of this. The subject stated that he saw anglers keep bass on a previous date so he thought it was OK. CO Beavers told the subject that the season closed Dec. 31, and he should have released the bass. The subject was ticketed for taking bass during the closed season.
CO Mike Drexler responded to a Belle Isle complaint about a light pole that was arcing at its base. CO Drexler located the light pole and found it had a high-voltage line that was exposed and arcing, as well as catching on fire. Lt. Arthur Green and Sgt. Todd Szyska arrived on the scene and stood by until the Detroit Fire Department and public lighting folks arrived.
During a Belle Isle patrol, COs Richard Cardenas and Rich Nickols stopped a vehicle operator for disregarding a stop sign. The subject’s vehicle also had a taillight burned out. A ticket was issued to the driver .
CO Rich Nickols worked a third shift on Belle Isle and had several traffic stops and contacts. Violations included speeding, disregarding stop signs and no proof of insurance. CO Nickols received a complaint about a car that was driven around the barricade to enter the island after hours. The car was located, and the driver was contacted. He stated he was a cab driver dropping passengers off at the Detroit Yacht Club and was confused by the barricaded entrance.