Michigan Cuffs & Collars – September 11th, 2015

DISTRICT 1

COs Mark Leadman and Mark Zitnik encountered a subject camping in a state forest campground who had failed to appropriately register his campsite. Enforcement action was taken.

COs David Painter and William Haskin were on patrol and observed two dirt bikes parked alongside the highway with no ORV sticker on one and a misplaced ORV sticker on the other. The COs pulled up to the dirt bikes and asked the owners why they didn’t have their bikes properly registered. The suspects failed to provide a valid answer. During the stop, another individual pulled up on his dirt bike that also was not properly registered. Enforcement action was taken.

CO David Painter and CO William Haskin assisted local officers with a complaint about a domestic disturbance in progress. The suspect was uncooperative but the COs were able to persuade the suspect to cooperate. The suspect also was found to have a warrant and was taken into custody.

COs Jason Wicklund and Isaac Tyson spent an afternoon checking anglers on Lake Gogebic. One angler told the COs he hadn’t had any luck, but when he opened his coolers a walleye was discovered. The angler stated the walleye was only 141⁄2 inches, but luckily for him, when the COs measured the walleye on the fish board, and it was 15 inches. The angler was educated on fish measuring and honesty.

DISTRICT 2

COs Robert Freeborn and Bobby Watson responded to a complaint about a charter dive boat removing artifacts from a local shipwreck. The COs located the boat and contacted the crew. A search of the boat was conducted, but no artifacts were recovered. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Michael Evink conducted a patrol of Big Bay de Noc on a personal watercraft. CO Evink was able to check a large number of anglers and other boaters. During one of his contacts, he was conversing with two anglers and, while doing so, another vessel came within 75 yards of the officer without noticing his presence. This “sportsman” thought he would have a better chance of catching fish with an additional line. Once the individual noticed the CO, he left the helm of his vessel, went to the port side, and attempted to sit low enough that the officer might not notice him reeling in the additional line. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jon Busken patrolled South Manistique Lake and observed a boat with two anglers fishing. When the CO approached the boat, the female angler was no longer fishing. When asked for her fishing license, she indicated she was not fishing. The officer told the pair that he had seen both of them reeling in poles. The male angler said he thought she would not need a fishing license if she reeled in poles that he had cast. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Jeff Panich and Jacob Griffin were patrolling the St. Mary’s River when they observed a boat being operated at a high rate of speed with two youth and one adult riding on the bow of the boat. PCO Griffin made contact with the operator, who was not happy about the stop. PCO Griffin inspected the boat for proper safety equipment and explained the safety concerns associated with bow riding, especially at high rates of speed in rough waters. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Jeff Panich and Jacob Griffin were patrolling Lake Huron between Cedarville and Hessel when they observed a large sailboat bearing a name on the transom, but no registration decal displayed. When contacted, the owner of the vessel stated it was a documented vessel and handed over his papers. The owner did not have a Michigan registration. After further questioning, the owner admitted to docking the vessel in Michigan for over a year, and he never had it registered. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

COs Andrea Albert and Jill Berry were on their way to a complaint when an oncoming vehicle that was passing traffic ran them and the car in front of them off the road. The vehicle was stopped, and enforcement action was taken.

COs Andrea Albert and Jill Berry got a complaint about someone poisoning wildlife and domestic animals. The complainant thought it was his neighbor who had bragged in the past about doing so. The complaint was investigated, but no illegal activity was discovered.

While patrolling the Jordan River, COs Steve Speigl and Josh Wright observed two subjects hiking toward Pinney Bridge with a backpack containing fishing rods. Upon making contact with the suspects, a strong odor of marijuana was detected. After questioning the suspects, a confession was obtained and an 8-ounce bag of marijuana was seized. In addition, it was learned that one of the subjects was not in possession of a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Matt Theunick received a complaint about an abandoned ORV near a trail intersection. Upon investigation, CO Theunick discovered the owner had lost the machine from the back of his vehicle and was appreciative for its return.

CO Mark DePew received a complaint about unwanted subjects who had entered a private campground by boat. During the course of the investigation, marine and fishing violations were discovered in addition to the trespass. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Nick Torsky conducted an inspection of a privately owned cervid facility for the Wildlife Division.

COs Paul Fox and Jon Sklba were patrolling Lake Huron when they observed a single angler in a boat with six lines. Upon contacting the subject, he stated he knew the legal limit was three lines per angler but he normally had his daughter with him and usually used six lines. A ticket was issued for fishing with too many lines.

COs Kelly Ross and Robert Slick were patrolling on Fletcher Pond when they contacted two anglers in a boat who had a good catch of panfish and bass. Upon measuring the bass, two of them were undersized, and tickets were issued.

DISTRICT 4

While patrolling in Grand Traverse County, COs Sean Kehoe and Rich Stowe followed ORV tracks to an area near the Boardman River. The COs located the ORVs and contacted the operators. The individuals were operating in a closed area, not wearing helmets, riding double, and lacked one ORV registration. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Rich Stowe responded to a complaint about a dead bear in Leelanau County. An investigation revealed that injuries to the bear were consistent with it having been hit by a vehicle on the roadway. A salvage permit was issued to the property owners.

CO Rich Stowe investigated a complaint about a dead loon on Silver Lake in Grand Traverse County. Initially, the loon was believed to have been accidentally hit by a boat; however, injuries to the immature loon as well as witness accounts point toward a possible attack by other loons causing the death. The recovered loon has been submitted to a lab for a necropsy.

COs Josiah Killingbeck, Brian Brosky, and Chad Baldwin assisted local deputies and the MSP in searching for an elderly woman with dementia who had been last seen several hours before 911 was called. CO Killingbeck, using an ORV, began searching wooded areas, two-tracks, and fields for the missing person. After searching for over an hour, CO Killingbeck located the woman unharmed with her very tired dog in a remote wooded area. CO Killingbeck was able to direct other units to his location, where the missing person was reunited with her family.

CO Sam Koscinski, of Manistee County, investigated a dog attacked by a bear. DNR Wildlife Division personnel assisted in setting traps in an attempt to trap the animal.

CO Angela Greenway of Mecosta County received a complaint about two men sneaking across a road and shooting two sandhill cranes. CO Greenway conducted a follow-up investigation and received information on possible suspects. CO Greenway responded to the suspect residence and noticed the sandhill cranes outside, placed on a cement pad by the house. The subject at the house stated they belonged to his brother. CO Greenway contacted the brother and received a full written confession. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

While recently working a late-night marine patrol on a local Gladwin County lake, CO Steve Lockwood and Sgt. Jon Wood stopped a vessel that was being operated without working navigational lights. In addition to the equipment violation, the operator was in violation of the medical marijuana laws. If that was not bad enough, the subject had several outstanding warrants for his arrest. The officers arrested the operator and transported him to shore, where a sheriff’s deputy picked him up and transported him to the county jail.

CO Matt Liestenfeltz received a complaint about a large party on state land that originated from a “Facebook” invitation where several “hosts” were found to be responsible for planning the unpermitted event. Assisted by Missaukee County sheriff’s deputies and the MSP, the officers contacted 150 party-goers and were able to shut the event down without incident. One subject was arrested for resisting/obstructing and was lodged in the Missaukee County jail.

COs Chuck McPherson and Casey Pullum investigated a conflict between subjects training bear dogs and a property owner. Interviews were conducted, and a warrant is being sought for hunter harassment.

COs Kyle Bader and Brad Silorey observed smoke coming from behind a barn and all sorts of material scattered around a house to indicate a remodeling project. The resident allowed the COs to check the fire behind the barn, where they found things like insulation and drywall being burned. The contractor who started but was no longer attending the fire was ticketed for illegal disposal of solid waste.

COs Jonathan Warner, Brian Olsen, Shannon Kritz, and Sgt. Brandon Kieft assisted the MSP, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and local sheriff’s deputies on a proposed large party that was scheduled to take place on public land and was organized via social media. The organizers had not obtained a permit for the event, and many law enforcement violations were expected. The COs issued a number of tickets for traffic-control issues and assisted local enforcement agencies with drug and alcohol violations.

DISTRICT 6

While on ORV patrol, CO Kyle Bucholtz stopped a golf cart being operated on a two-lane state highway. The driver and passenger both had children between them or on their laps, and the driver was without a driver’s license and identification. The occupants were not wearing helmets or seatbelts. Enforcement action was taken.

While patrolling the Six Lakes area in Montcalm County, PCO Adam LeClerc and CO Ken Lowell located an angler fishing. The COs watched the angler for a while and then decided to make contact with him. The angler spotted the COs walking his way and got out of the water and put down his fishing pole, hoping the COs did not see him fishing. Upon contact, it was determined that the angler was fishing without a license. The angler claimed to be from Tennessee and did not know the rules. When he was informed that he would be going to jail if he did not have bond money, he then admitted he was from Michigan. Enforcement action was taken.

While conducting a night patrol on the Saginaw River, PCO Craig Neal and COs Quincy Gowenlock and Will Brickel were up on plane, approaching Ojibway Island. While traveling on plane, the COs observed a dark object crossing their path. Evasive action was taken in order to avoid a collision. When the COs powered down and turned around, they found a small, 14-foot swamp boat with two subjects on board and no navigation lights. An enforcement stop was conducted, and when questioned, the operator said he had just bought the boat and wanted to take it for a test ride. He was working all day and this was his first opportunity to do so. As the COs conducted a safety check, it was determined that the subjects also did not have any PFDs onboard. The COs followed the small boat back to the boat launch, and tickets were issued.

While patrolling state land, COs Joel Lundberg and PCO Benjamin Weber made a traffic stop of a vehicle for a loud muffler. The driver had open alcohol, while the passenger claimed to not have any. Approximately 40 feet behind the vehicle, PCO Weber discovered a freshly discarded can of beer with the same printed information as the driver’s can. The passenger confessed to discarding the can of beer when he saw their patrol vehicle approaching. It also was discovered that both occupants had multiple warrants for their arrest. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

CO Andy Bauer spoke to approximately 20 students and parents at a hunter safety class held at the Berrien County Sportsman Club about the role of a conservation officer and hunting regulations and ethics.

CO Steve Mooney attended the bench trial of a subject who had been issued a ticket for an overlimit of sunfish. The subject stated that he had given some of his fish to the partner in his boat who also was over his limit, but that they shouldn’t count against his limit. The subject was found guilty.

CO Ivan Perez and PCO Hugh McMath conducted routine fishing license checks in Holland. The first check resulted in a subject from Detroit who did not have a fishing license. A records check revealed he had an outstanding warrant out of Detroit. Enforcement action was taken for the fishing license violation and he was advised and released on the warrant. The second check occurred at a local park where, after they watched two subjects fishing, a check was made as they exited the fishing pier. Both subjects denied fishing. One of the subjects was hiding a small object in his shirt, which was removed and turned out to be a large can of beer. The individual was intoxicated and told the officers after he finally admitted to fishing that he was homeless and was just trying to feed himself and didn’t have any money. The officers informed him he should have used the money he spent on alcohol to buy food instead of fishing illegally. A records check revealed the subject had an outstanding warrant. He was advised and released on the warrant, and enforcement action was taken on the fishing incident.

CO Ivan Perez contacted a local subject fishing with five lines on Belle Isle. When asked about having too many lines, he stated that two of them belonged to his son, who had just left the area. When the fish he caught were inspected, it was determined that the subject had an undersized largemouth bass that his son had caught. An inspection of the live bait he had been using revealed he was in possession of live round gobies, an aquatic invasive species that is illegal to use and possess. CO Perez assisted the angler with releasing the bass and spent a considerable amount of time educating the angler. Numerous warnings were given, and the subject was advised that his day of fishing was over.

CO Mike Mshar received a complaint from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department regarding subjects who were goose hunting out of season. CO Mshar was traveling back to the area after just finishing a night shift on Belle Isle. CO Mshar responded to the complaint and contacted the complainant, who was positive the subjects were shooting geese. CO Mshar located the group of hunters and observed them for a period of time before making contact, at which time it was discovered that the subjects were crow hunting.

CO Chuck Towns and Sgt. Kevin Hackworth assisted the MSP on a flight to search for illegal marijuana-growing operations. One illegal operation was investigated by the officers after two large plants growing in pots on a back deck were spotted by the helicopter crew. After the COs located the plants on the deck, they observed a number of large sunflowers in a garden. A check of the garden led to the discovery of several more marijuana plants growing alongside the sunflowers and beside fruit trees. Several legal grows also were investigated.

DISTRICT 8

CO Rich Nickols and PCO Mark Siemen were checking anglers along the Grand River in Lansing. Two subjects were encountered fishing on the back side of a cemetery. One subject possessed a mutilated fish, which was a catfish that may have been undersized. The other subject possessed an undersized smallmouth bass. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

CO Kris Kiel and PCO Dan Robinson made contact with a subject who had taken a 7-point buck in 2014, on the morning prior to purchasing a license. After interviewing the subject, the COs determined that he had shot the deer before purchasing a license. A statement was obtained, the antlers were seized, and enforcement action was taken.

While in Genesee County, CO Jeremy Beavers conducted a patrol along the Flint River in order to check anglers. During one check, CO Beavers made contact with two subjects who were fishing below the Oak Road Bridge in Richfield Township. CO Beavers observed the area from the top of a bridge and saw both subjects fishing along the south side of the river. CO Beavers walked down to the subject’s location and made contact while both were in the process of fishing. CO Beavers asked if they had any luck, and both stated no. After checking the area for fish and equipment CO Beavers requested to see both anglers’ licenses. Both stated they did not have fishing licenses. When asked why, one stated he did not have the money and the other said he had no excuse and just did not purchase a license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ken Kovach and PCO Matthew Neterer received a complaint about a captive fawn at a farm in Lapeer County. The two attempted to locate the farm at the address given, but it was not a correct address. They observed a man at a nearby residence cutting the grass. In an attempt to locate the fawn, the officers pulled into the residence to ask for directions. The man cutting the grass indicated that he worked for the farmer and knew where the fawn was. He was very cooperative and agreed to take the officers to the barn where the fawn was located. Upon arrival at the barn, a small fawn was located running toward the officers from a nearby bean field. The fawn did not seem to be bothered by the three farm dogs that greeted it. The man stated that they had located the fawn a few months earlier while cutting hay and that his father had become attached to the fawn. The man agreed to give the fawn to a local wildlife rehabilitator who would properly release the fawn into the wild.

CO David Schaumburger was out checking anglers when he came upon two young men fishing. The young men stated it was their first time fishing and they had no idea they needed a fishing license. CO Schaumburger, with the aid of dispatch, was able to confirm that each angler had purchased three fishing licenses in the past. Enforcement action was taken.

BELLE ISLE

CO Jason A. Smith and PCO Christopher Lynch conducted three patrols on Belle Isle. With the weather being nice, several people were out enjoying the park. Many stated they were glad to see the DNR on the Island and appreciated their efforts. Several stated the park is starting to bring back good memories of when they used to enjoy it as kids. The COs conducted numerous fish checks, land-use checks, and vehicle checks, and overall compliance was good. 

CO Rich Nickols worked a busy shift on Belle Isle that included traffic crashes, a complaint of threats being made, a lost child at the beach, a homeless woman threatening people with a knife, and a group of canoers who had become stranded.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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