Michigan Cuffs & Collars – October 9th, 2015


While working the mouth of the Huron for ORV activity, CO Miller was approached by an individual who was looking for his lost wife. The husband told CO Miller that he had received a text earlier from his wife that she was going stream fishing. A few hours later, she called him, in a panic, saying she was lost and the car was stuck and on fire before the cell phone call was dropped. After searching the area for about an hour, CO Miller found her walking on a two-track. The crispy car was located behind a cable where she had gotten stuck. She had built a fire next to the car, thinking that she could put the ashes under the tire for traction. Instead the fire escaped and set the car on fire.

CO Brian Lasanen worked a catch-and-release fishing tournament on Lake Gogebic. There were about 150 anglers who participated in the tournament. Good compliance was noted with all anglers, with several positive comments about seeing CO Lasanen out on the lake.

Sgt. Grant Emery received a late-night complaint about an unlicensed bear hunter shooting a bear. While investigating this complaint, Sgt. Emery found an individual who had shot a cub bear. The subject had called and turned himself in and took full responsibility for mistaking the bear for an adult. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Grant Emery investigated a complaint of hunter harassment and larceny of hunting equipment. A bear hunter, while hunting on public land, had been confronted by another hunter about hunting too close to him – that he had been hunting that area for years. When returning to his stand the next day, the victim found his treestands and trail camera missing. Sgt. Emery was able to collect evidence left behind by the suspects at the scene where the hunting equipment was stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Jason Wicklund and PCO Isaac Tyson were dispatched to a complaint of angler harassment on a remote Iron County lake. Contact was made with the complainants who advised they were fishing near a fish crib and were yelled at by the people on shore and told to leave. When they didn’t, golf balls were hit over the boat and near them. Contact was made with the suspects, and a lesson on fishing etiquette, riparian rights, and litter was provided.

CO Mark Leadman and PCO Mark Zitnik made contact with and helped a successful bear hunter retrieve his downed bear from the woods. The hunter was appreciative of the officers’ efforts.


Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon stopped at a bear-hunting camp to talk with some nervous hunters. A bear was being unloaded from a pickup, and a proud hunter had a story to share. After a short conversation, a second bear was produced that was very small. The nervous hunter wasn’t proud of the small bear that had come in alone and was worried that he’d shot a “cub.” A check of the bear revealed it was not a cub – just very small.

CO John Wenzel, while on vacation and hiking on Isle Royale, came upon a hiker who had just fallen, striking her head on a rock and causing a laceration to her forehead. The hiker was several miles from the next campsite. The hiker had wrapped the wound with a bandana, but it was still bleeding heavily. CO Wenzel, being a first aid instructor, had come prepared for just such a medical emergency. CO Wenzel applied sterile gauze and wrapped the hiker’s head with wrap to keep the gauze in place. The hiker and her companion then continued toward the next campground.

CO Bobby Watson and Sgt. Mike Hammill were on patrol when they received a report from a local campground that a loaded rifle had been found by two young hikers who were close to the campground. The COs collected the loaded .30-06 and remaining hunting equipment that was found and attempted to locate the owner. Hours later, CO Watson received a phone call from the owner. Contact was made with the rightful owner of the rifle, and a discussion ensued on why it is dangerous to leave a loaded rifle in the woods within a few feet of a popular walking trail where kids play. The hunter was happy to recover his equipment and claimed he would no longer be leaving his rifle in the woods.


CO Nick Torsky received a RAP complaint regarding an undersized sturgeon being taken on Otsego Lake. With only partial information, CO Torsky investigated and determined a suspect and accomplice. After interviews resulted in confessions, tickets were issued for possession of an undersized sturgeon to both the angler who caught it, and the subject to whom he gave it.

Conservation officers Bill Webster and Andrew Monnich were checking an early bear bait when they encountered two individuals tending to the bait. After talking with them, they admitted to starting the bait early along with numerous other baits. They were issued tickets for establishing an early bait.

Conservation officer Andrea Albert and PCO Jill Berry responded to a road-kill bear complaint in Antrim County. The carcass was retrieved by the officers and taken to a local processor to be distributed to families in need.

CO Andrea Albert responded to a complaint from a local hospital about a person being bitten by a wild raccoon. The injured raccoon was being illegally held in captivity when the person was bitten. The raccoon was seized and will be tested for rabies.

While patrolling Lake Charlevoix, CO Andrea Erratt encountered an unregistered sailboat. The owner of the boat stated he had bought it on Craig’slist, but never registered it. A ticket was issued.

While working on Antrim County’s upper chain of lakes after dark, conservation officer Steve Speigl and PCO Josh Wright observed a boat being operated without navigation lights. The COs made contact with the boat driver, who said he was only paddling. The boat driver changed his story after the officers told him they had watched him for some time, driving by and using the motor. The subject also was fishing without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol, CO Andrea Erratt encountered a family operating several ORVs. One of the subjects was operating without a helmet and had a 2-year-old as a passenger on a machine that was not designed to carry a passenger. A ticket was issued for operating without a helmet and a warning given for riding double.


CO Rebecca Hopkins and PCO Hugh McMath were on foot patrol along the Betsie River, using binoculars to identify possible violations from a distance. At one point, the officers observed two men attempting to snag fish out of a deep hole and using treble hooks (prohibited tackle). Both subjects were observed for several minutes prior to contact. The COs issued a ticket for attempted snagging, and educated the anglers about the new regulation regarding treble hooks on the Betsie River.

CO Holly Pennoni and PCO Joshua Jackson received two separate complaints about hunters shooting wood ducks during the early teal waterfowl season. When contacted, the hunters were unsure of what kind of ducks they had shot. The COs educated the hunters on waterfowl ID and explained the importance of waterfowl identification prior to shooting. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Brosky and PCO Chad Baldwin were dispatched to a complaint about a bear being shot illegally the previous night. The suspect had allegedly killed the bear because it was hanging around his yard. When the COs arrived at the suspect’s residence, they were able to locate the 135-pound male bear and received a full confession from that individual. Charges are pending.

CO Steve Converse and PCO Patrick Hartsig went down to the Little Manistee Weir just after dark and saw lights moving around in front of the weir. As they moved to a better vantage point, they realized there was a “lookout” in a motor vehicle who was focused on a cell phone and not paying attention to the fact that they were there. The officers were able to position themselves behind the three subjects who were snagging and netting in the 300-foot closed section of the river. The COs made contact and asked why they were fishing there. The subjects claimed they were informed by a bait shop two weeks ago that the area was open to fishing. The COs advised that two weeks ago the Little Manistee River was open, but that snagging and netting are never allowed, especially in the 300-foot portion. Enforcement action was taken.


During a patrol, CO Nick Atkin checked a group of waterfowl hunters. During the check, he found that the hunters were missing some of their federal stamps, failed to sign the stamps that they did have, and were using a vessel without the required registration numbers. CO Atkin took enforcement action.

While on patrol, CO John Huspen and PCO Matt Zultak were called to a complaint about a hawk sitting on the hood of a semi-tractor. The hawk had been hit by the semi and was perched on the hood near the windshield when the officers arrived. PCO Zultak climbed a ladder and was able to place a blanket over the hawk, and then place it in a cardboard box. The hawk was transported to a rehabilitator in Roscommon County, and at last report was doing great.

Before the opener of early goose season, conservation officers received an anonymous complaint about hunters planning on rallying geese with golf carts on a local golf course near Houghton Lake. Early on the morning of the season opener, CO Chuck McPherson, PCO Casey Pullum, and Sgt. Jeremy Payne set up near the golf course to observe the activity. The COs witnessed hunters dressed in camouflage driving around the golf course with uncased shotguns, looking for geese to harvest. Upon hearing them shoot, the COs contacted the suspects, who took a total of four geese while rallying them with a motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Olsen received a complaint from Ogemaw Central Dispatch involving ORVs tearing up the area near Lake Ogemaw. While in the area, CO Olsen witnessed a side-by-side being operated on a roadway, but didn’t see an ORV license. After conducting a traffic stop of the vehicle and contacting the driver, he smelled a heavy odor of intoxicants. The driver admitted to drinking alcohol, and field sobriety tests were given. It was determined the driver did not have a valid operator’s license. He eventually was arrested for operating while intoxicated and operating on a suspended license. He was lodged in the Ogemaw County jail.


COs Craig Neal, Quincy Gowenlock, Kyle Bucholtz, and Jason Smith assisted COs from Ogemaw County with an illegal bear kill. COs Bucholtz and Smith located the suspect at a family member’s home and interviewed that suspect. A confession was obtained. The bear carcass and fur were recovered, as well as additional evidence. The case is ongoing.

CO Jason A. Smith checked a group of waterfowl hunters during youth weekend. They were unregistered and were hunting in the Fish Point managed area. They also had an extra mallard. After talking with the 21-year-old hunter, verbal warnings were given.

CO Jason A. Smith doubled up with CO Seth Rhodea and investigated a large water storage unit (about 12,000 gallons) that was buried in a state game area. Trail cameras were seized, and videos were inspected. Upon follow-up, the container was buried so hunting equipment could be stored in it rather than carried out nightly. The container is now being removed.

On the morning of the early teal season opener, COs Seth Rhodea and Bob Hobkirk observed two hunters shoot at birds 20 minutes prior to the shooting time for teal. Both subjects were ticketed for the violation.

COs Bob Hobkirk and Kyle Bucholtz assisted local deputies with a suicidal subject in the Rush Lake State Game Area. The subject was contacted and taken into protective custody without incident. Two loaded handguns were removed from his vehicle.

The first goose hunters CO Bob Hobkirk checked resulted in an individual being ticketed for hunting waterfowl with no federal waterfowl stamp. The man was warned for not having a base license or a state waterfowl license. The next goose hunters checked, who were less than two miles away, resulted in one hunter being ticketed for baiting waterfowl and warned for not having his state waterfowl license.

CO Joshua Wright was patrolling state land in Tuscola County when he discovered a closed trail that was being torn up by ORVers. CO Wright followed the tracks and located an ORV. When he made contact with the driver, he discovered that the driver also was suspended from driving. Enforcement action was taken.


COs Matt Page, Saykham Keophalychanh and Steve Mooney patrolled Lake Michigan, making more than 80 contacts during the patrol. The COs issued seven tickets, including five for fishing with too many lines, one for fishing without a license, and one for a 40-foot unregistered watercraft whose owner had never paid sales tax. One of the boats had eight fishing lines for two individuals, and one of the individuals was not licensed to fish. COs also issued two verbal warnings for minor marine safety violations.

CO Andy Bauer and Sgt. Zach Doss were checking anglers at the Berrien Springs dam when one of the anglers stated that there was a subject claiming to have a broken leg, lying by the riprap. The subject was located and found to have a minor injury from a fall and also was found to be highly intoxicated. The subject was examined by ambulance personnel and was subsequently turned over to his wife, who provided a ride home.

CO Brad Brewer and PCO Ben McAteer responded to a report of a vessel in distress on the St. Joseph River and located the boat pulled up on shore. In addition to motor problems with the boat, the subjects had thrown a large number of beer cans and bottles into the river. A subject was ticketed for littering, and the officers towed the boat back to the owner’s dock.

CO Chuck Towns assisted MSP with a fugitive search in the Allegan SGA. The subject was wanted on a charge of domestic violence and was threatening suicide by cop. The wanted subject ended up being pushed out of the woods by a K-9 unit and ultimately was tased by a deputy after failing to submit to arrest.


CO Jeff Goss assisted with tracking a man who ran from his car after being involved in a vehicle pursuit with the MSP. The subject, who was wanted on multiple warrants, led an MSP trooper on a pursuit through city streets and then through a bean field, prior to leaving his car and running across two lanes of traffic on I-94. A K-9 unit was immediately dispatched to the scene and took up the track of the fleeing subject. Due to extreme heat and thick terrain, three different K-9s ran a four-hour relay race to eventually catch up to the subject. The subject was captured and lodged on multiple charges.

CO Pete Purdy patrolled the village of Byron and contacted two anglers at the dam. One angler was in possession of 23 bluegills. CO Purdy checked a second angler, with a bucket of bluegills, nearby. The angler stated there were about 20 in the bucket. CO Purdy could tell by a quick glance inside the bucket there was more than 20 bluegills in the bucket. CO Purdy also noticed a fish basket below the dam. The second angler also claimed the fish basket, as well. The second angler was in possession of 52 bluegills total, 27 over the limit. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jason McCullough completed an investigation of three nonresidents from Illinois who had been purchasing resident hunting and fishing licenses since 2003. They were using their cabin address in Harrison as their Michigan address. The father, mother, son team ended up paying over $1,100 in restitution to the state.


CO Schaumburger asked an angler for a fishing license while checking shore anglers near Lake Erie Metro Park. The angler replied it was in her car. CO Schaumburger asked for her identification so he could check the retail sales system and confirm if a valid fishing license was purchased for the 2015 season. The subject stated that she bought it from Meijer and she remembered paying $20 for it. CO Schaumburger was unable to locate her fishing license with the aid of dispatch, and when the subject was questioned again, she stated, “I’m not going to lie; I did not buy one.” Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Damon Owens and CO David Schaumburger were patrolling Pointe Mouillee SGA during the youth waterfowl hunt when they came upon two hunters; neither had a plug in their shotgun. The older hunter stated that nobody ever made a big deal about it in Michigan, but they did in Florida when he lived there. The hunter then asked what the shell limit was for waterfowl, stating, “Five? Six?” The hunters were educated on the laws, given a waterfowl digest to read, and enforcement action was taken.


CO Paul Higashi, while working at Belle Isle, responded to a complaint about a drowning victim on the beach. CO Higashi and MSP troopers relieved citizens’ attempting to revive the victim. The officers performed CPR until EMS arrived on the scene. 

Sgt. Dan Bigger responded to a call from MSP dispatch while working Belle Isle indicating there was an individual on the MacArthur Bridge ready to jump. Sgt. Bigger responded to the location with COs Mendez, Ennett, and Keophalychanh. The subject was gone when officers arrived.

Sgt. Dan Bigger assisted a stranded motorist while working on Belle Isle. The motorist had a 4-bolt-pattern spare tire with which he was trying to replace his 5-bolt-pattern flat tire. Sgt. Bigger assisted in checking the vehicle for another spare tire, locating the 5-bolt-pattern spare, and assisted in changing the tire. The motorist was thankful for the assistance.

Sgt. Damon Owens and CO Al Mendez were patrolling Belle Isle when they responded to a 911 complaint in reference to a bicyclist/pedestrian accident. Both subjects refused EMS. Sgt. Owens administered first aid to the pedestrian for a minor scrape on his arm.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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