Michigan Cuffs & Collars – October 23rd, 2015

DISTRICT 1

CO Brian Lasanen contacted two grouse hunters on opening day after watching them from a distance; one subject shot twice. CO Lasanen asked if they got the birds they shot at. They advised, “Nope, missed!” One hunter was not wearing hunter orange and told the officer that he left it in his truck. CO Lasanen also noticed the vehicle they were driving was not registered. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Lasanen watched two anglers fishing on Trout Creek Pond. As CO Lasanen approached the anglers, he observed one of them trying to hide a 5-gallon bucket. When contacted, one of the anglers advised that the fishing was slow and that they hadn’t caught a fish all day. A glance in a nearby bucket revealed two undersized brook trout. When asked, the anglers replied that they must have forgotten about those two. Further discussion revealed that one of them also had neglected to purchase a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Lasanen contacted two duck hunters on opening morning and asked how their morning was going. They advised it was going well, as they had shot three ducks. CO Lasanen asked for their waterfowl licenses and proper stamps and asked to check their shotguns. The two duck hunters were using three shotguns when a hunter is only allowed to be in possession of one firearm with a shell capacity of only three shells. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Mark Leadman, Elton Luce, and PCOs Calvin Smith and Shannon Kritz worked a grouse decoy patrol. Several violations were witnessed, including an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle and hunting with no hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Leadman and PCO Calvin Smith observed several violations on the opening day of waterfowl season. Many groups were checked, and many violations were encountered. Violations included hunting with an unplugged firearm, hunting waterfowl with no waterfowl license, unsigned federal waterfowl stamps, hunting waterfowl with lead shot, and hunting waterfowl with no federal waterfowl stamp. Enforcement action was taken with each group.

DISTRICT 2

CO Rob Freeborn and a U.S. Forest Service officer were advised of a possible meth dump site at a popular camping location. The officers responded, along with members of UPSET. Once on the scene, it was determined that the bottle was that of a “one pot” gas generator used for the making of meth. The components were disposed of, and the investigation is ongoing.

PCO Pat Hartsig and CO Brett Gustafson responded to a complaint about a 26-year-old man who was bitten and scratched by a bear while hunting in the Seney area. When the subject was interviewed, it was found that the bear hound hunters had shot and wounded a 400-pound bear; the bear then grabbed one of the hounds. The houndsman reached to pull the dog from the bear’s mouth when the bear bit his hand and scratched his arm. The patient received eight stitches and a rabies shot.

While patrolling the morning of the Upper Peninsula waterfowl opener, PCO Pat Hartsig and CO Brett Gustafson checked numerous parties in the Green Island area. While checking a group of six hunters, one individual was hesitant to make eye contact or answer questions. It turned out that he possessed an unplugged shotgun. A ticket was issued, and a makeshift plug was given to the hunter so he could continue hunting with his group.

CO Bobby Watson and Sgt. Mike Hammill were patrolling the waterfowl opener on a local river when they rounded a corner and were greeted by the strong odor of marijuana. Two hunters were found, and a short conversation led to the admission of smoking marijuana just moments before the COs arrived. Two flasks of liquor were found, along with a container and pipe with marijuana residue. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Bobby Watson was checking a local GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management Site) area when he observed three ORVs approaching a main highway closed to ORV traffic. A quick check of the hunting party revealed that they had traveled along the highway in order to access the hunting location. A conversation took place on the safety issues regarding ORV traffic along a busy highway, and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau was patrolling the Boyne River for salmon-fishing activity when he observed a subject hook a salmon in the tail. The subject reeled the salmon to shore and placed it on his stringer and went back to fishing. While CO Budreau was walking to the subject’s location, he was noticed by the subject, who then quickly released the fish from his stringer. Contact was made, and the subject was advised that any fish not properly hooked  needs to be immediately released, not just when you see the game warden coming.

While working the elk hunt, CO Matt Theunick and PCO Chad Baldwin assisted in the retrieval of a 6×6 bull elk in a restricted motor vehicle access area. The hunters were grateful for their help.

CO Nick Torsky and Sgt. Greg Drogowski patrolled Bois Blanc Island for the north zone waterfowl opening weekend. On Friday evening, the COs checked an area where complaints had been received about hunting woodcock after legal hunting hours. The complaint had been received several years earlier, and had been worked several times without success. This time, three subjects were observed standing in the roadway, awaiting the evening flight. Officers got into position and watched them shooting at woodcock 25 minutes after legal hours. None were wearing hunter orange. After contact, three woodcock were seized and tickets issued for hunting woodcock after hours and failure to wear hunter orange.

CO Bill Webster received a complaint about recreational trespass during the youth hunt. Upon arriving on the scene, CO Webster located a blood trail on the private property near a hunting blind and a bait pile on the neighboring property. CO Webster contacted the landowner, who admitted to putting the illegal bait out for his two sons. Both sons shot deer, one of which was on the neighbor’s property when it was shot. The father was issued a ticket for baiting deer in a closed county. A few hours later, CO Bill Webster and PCO Christopher Lynch received another complaint about a dead 5-point buck found on the same property from the earlier complaint. The officers saw hunters in the blind who had been dealt with earlier. The COs contacted the dad and his two children in the blind and found no one was wearing hunter orange and no one had a license to continue hunting. The officers also detected the odor of marijuana, and the dad admitted to smoking it in the blind. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.

DISTRICT 4

CO Josiah Killingbeck was waiting near an illegal bear bait that had been placed prior to the legal start of baiting season. The bait was full of plastic wrappers and also included a large amount of foliage taken from the surrounding area. There was no name or address on the treestands that were associated with it. As CO Killingbeck continued to wait, a vehicle pulled in with two subjects who CO Killingbeck recognized from the previous night. CO Killingbeck followed the two individuals to the illegal bear bait and made contact with the subjects. They were identified as the same men that he had issued a ticket to the night prior for an early bait at another illegal site. The men told the CO that they were hoping he had not found this bait. But he did, and enforcement action was taken again.

COs Josiah Killingbeck and Rich Stowe, along with Sgt. Carla Soper, were on patrol at Tippy Dam where they observed two subjects snagging with illegal gear. After observing the subjects for an hour, the COs made contact with the subjects, who attempted to cut their lines when approached. The COs were quicker than the suspects and were able to ascertain that the gear they were using was made of lead, had treble hooks on it, and also was over 2 ounces. One angler began argumentatively pleading his case that he was “not using illegal gear” and “not a snagger.” When the COs ran the subjects for prior violations, it was determined that the subject had been issued a ticket for snagging in 2011 by Sgt. Soper. Tickets were issued for second-offense snagging, as well as the use of illegal fishing gear.

CO Sam Koscinski was having breakfast at his residence when he spotted an unfamiliar vehicle being driven up his property line. CO Koscinski got in his patrol vehicle and followed the suspicious vehicle to an oil well site on an adjacent parcel. CO Koscinski contacted the driver about the trespass and found that he was given permission to hunt at this site, but had used the CO’s property as an easy means to access it. While CO Koscinski spoke to the driver, he realized that there was an uncased gun on the seat and also discovered the hunter had greater than 2 gallons of bait set out. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

COs Steve Lockwood and Nick Atkin were patrolling state land during the youth deer-hunting season when they checked a vehicle parked along a two-track. The officers observed blood on the tailgate of the vehicle and waited for the hunters to return. When the two hunters walked out of the woods, they were not wearing the required hunter orange. While talking with the father and son, it was learned that the child had already killed a deer during the morning hunt. The father said the duo decided to recycle the kill tag and were looking for a second deer. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Brian Olsen and Bobbi Lively, and PCOs Matthew Zultak and Sam Schluckbier investigated a complaint about a family who had taken a deer illegally during the youth hunt. While responding to the area, COs Lively and Schluckbier observed the family’s vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. A search of the vehicle located deer parts and processed venison for two deer. The family was only able to produce one hunting license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Olsen and PCO Matthew Zultak assisted an Arenac County sheriff’s deputy on a complaint involving an untagged antlerless deer. The deputy initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle for failing to stop at a stop sign and while talking with the driver, noticed a dead antlerless deer in the backseat area. 

CO Warren MacNeill and PCO Ben McAteer investigated a complaint about a subject who had illegally harvested a 9-point buck. The officers contacted the subject, who claimed the deer was shot under a disease control permit. However, there was no license affixed to the deer and the subject was unable to provide one at that time. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

CO Ken Lowell and PCO Dan Robinson were contacted by a local farmer who found a dead 8-point buck in his field. He was concerned that the buck had been killed by poachers and not retrieved. The animal looked healthy and showed no signs of trauma or disease from the outside. The COs performed a necropsy of the animal and found some bruising, but nothing that led them to believe that the animal had been shot or poached.

COs Ken Lowell, Kris Kiel, and Dave Schaumburger, along with PCOs Dan Robinson and Jacob Griffin, executed a search warrant of a house in connection with two deer and one turkey taken illegally. The animals were seized along with the firearms used to take those animals. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Quincy Gowenlock and PCO Robert Slick stopped an ORVer with an expired registration sticker. The driver had no helmet and also had open intoxicants in the vehicle. While the COs wrote out a ticket, they looked up and saw the passenger flick her cigarette onto the shoulder of the road. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Josh Wright and PCO Justin Muehlhauser worked game areas in Tuscola County for the youth hunt. Several hunters were contacted. The COs observed a group of hunters attempting to locate a deer in a private field. Only one of the hunters (the youth) was wearing hunter orange. When the COs made contact with the group, the father admitted that he was taking part in the early antlerless season and did not bring any hunter orange with him. Enforcement action was taken, and the COs assisted in attempting to locate the youth’s first buck.

CO Joel Lundberg and PCO Michael Haas assisted COs from another district on a weekend-long group patrol at Tippy Dam. The pair alone wrote 21 tickets for various violations, including snagging/attempt to snag salmon, taking/possessing illegally taken deer, possessing illegal fishing gear, littering, possession of marijuana, and retaining foul-hooked fish. Several warnings also were given.

DISTRICT 7

CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint about a subject who shot a deer without a license in 2013. The subject had posted a photo of the deer on social media a day prior to having purchased his license. CO Ulberg interviewed the subject, who at first claimed that he always tags his deer after shooting them. After CO Ulberg showed the subject the evidence, the subject stated that he might have made a mistake and forgot to purchase his license that year. Enforcement action was taken.

While working in Kent County, COs Dave Rodgers and Justin Ulberg spoke with four anglers who had just finished fishing at Millennium Park. A check of the anglers’ coolers revealed that the four anglers were in possession of 230 bluegills (130 bluegills over their limit). The fish were seized, and enforcement action was taken.

While working in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg contacted four subjects fishing on the Thornapple River. CO Ulberg discovered that none of the anglers had a valid fishing license and the anglers were in possession of an undersized walleye and an undersized smallmouth. Enforcement action was taken.

While working the early teal season, CO BJ Goulette and PCO Ethan Gainforth observed a subject shoot at five wood ducks, shoot before legal shooting hours, and flagrantly toss an empty cigarette pack in a nearby marsh along the Grand River. Contact was made with the hunter after his hunt was over. It was discovered that the subject had been warned last season about shooting ducks during the closed season and for littering. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brad Brewer and PCO Isaac Tyson worked an area of private property directly adjacent to the Three Rivers SGA. The landowner had been having problems with ORV operators trespassing on his property and also illegally operating in the game area. The officers contacted two ORVs being driven on the road in front of the property, and the subjects had trespassed on the private property. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Chris Reynolds observed two hunters along a field edge; neither were wearing hunter orange. When contact was made, the hunters said that they had dropped the ball this year because they had forgotten their hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Reynolds responded to a RAP complaint involving an overlimit of deer during the youth season. During the investigation, it was found that the subject had taken two antlered deer. An interview was conducted, and a full confession was given for taking the overlimit. Enforcement action was taken, and the deer was seized.

CO Shane Webster and Sgt. Troy Bahlau met up with the Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors group in the Sharonville SGA and looked over the new Pierce Road Hunt Area. The COs met with several disabled hunters participating in the hunt. Six track chairs were on the site, along with custom blinds built for their use. Opening morning saw three successful hunters who were excited about their experience.

After receiving a complaint about an illegally taken deer in August, CO Shane Webster, PCO Josh Jackson, and Sgt. Troy Bahlau made contact with the subject. When presented with the evidence, the subject confessed to shooting the deer with his new .17-caliber rifle and also turned over the venison from his freezer. The subject also brought the officers to the location of the deer carcass. A written report will be submitted to the prosecutor.

While returning from training, CO Todd Thorn and PCO Matt Neterer received an anonymous RAP complaint about an untagged deer found lying in a walk-in freezer on Michigan State University campus property. The COs responded to the complaint immediately and were able to locate the deer, as well as possible suspects. The deer was untagged and had been field-dressed. Furthermore, the deer was found in the CWD core zone and the head had not been submitted for analysis, as required. According to witnesses, the deer had been in the freezer for nearly three weeks.

CO Mike Drexler and PCO Brandon Hartleben checked a group of waterfowl hunters as they were coming off the water. Two of the hunters they checked were in compliance with all laws, outside of a verbal warning for having an unsigned federal waterfowl stamp. A third hunter in the boat first had a problem when he forgot his hunting licenses and driver’s license at home. The COs then learned that he had been hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun. After a computer check revealed he did purchase hunting licenses, enforcement action was taken, along with several verbal warnings.

DISTRICT 9

CO Ken Kovach and PCO Brad Silorey were patrolling the Port Huron SGA, looking for a permanent camp set up on state land. The camp’s rough location was given through a complainant. After traveling on foot for about an hour, the two COs spotted a young man attempting to build a lean-to shelter. The officers asked the subject if he had seen the camp nearby. The young man stated that he had seen the camp and was willing to guide the COs directly to it. Upon arriving at the camp, it was clear that a lot of time had been put into building the camp and it had been at that location for quite some time. The investigation continues in the search for the owners of the camp.

On the opening day of small-game season, CO Jason Becker received a RAP complaint that a hunter shot another hunter’s dog in the Holly Recreation Area. CO Becker met CO Chris Knights at the scene. The hunter stated that he thought the dog was a rabbit. CO Becker reminded the hunter that he needed to be sure of his target before firing. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Mark Ennett and David Schaumburger attended a special youth event that took place at the Point Mouillee SGA.

CO Ennett attended a hunter safety class at the Temperance Sportsmen’s Club, in Temperance. Fifty-seven students were present, from children all the way to adults. CO Ennett was able to show several pieces of equipment that he uses to patrol for hunting activity. A night-vision scope, camouflage gear, optics, and a thermal-imaging device were among the items shown. Also demonstrated was a simple pump-action air rifle that was used many years ago to unlawfully take waterfowl by a subject in Monroe. It was used to show that it is capable of being used as a hunting device. It was also shown to be capable of firing while the action is open and the pump handle is loose – displaying that “every gun is always loaded” and can fire when unexpected.

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