Michigan Cuffs & Collars – November 6th, 2015

DISTRICT 1

CO David Miller responded to a car vs. moose accident near King Lake in Baraga County. A small SUV occupied by five college students struck an adult bull moose. The moose went through the windshield and took off part of the roof. Every air bag in the vehicle worked as designed, with no injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. The moose was salvaged and distributed to families in need.

CO David Miller received a complaint of a group of bear hunters dragging the road near Tapiola. The purpose of dragging the dirt roads is to make the dirt soft and smooth so tracks can be easily seen in the freshly disturbed dirt when the animals cross the road. The act of dragging the road causes erosion issues which can lead to damage to the road surface. CO Miller located the bear houndsmen and their drags and advised them of the legalities of their actions.

CO Brian Lasanen assisted the Porcupine Mountain State Park Rangers in a search for a family that had been reported as missing/overdue hikers. After a 10-hour search involving multiple agencies the family was located safe and sound. The family got disoriented on one of the trails and left the trail to head cross country to get back quicker when they became lost.

CO Doug Hermanson responded to a complaint of duck hunters shooting after hours on Portage Lake. Shots were heard one-half hour after hunting hours had closed. CO Hermanson located the boat and two hunters and after a brief interview the hunters admitted to shooting one hen mallard after legal hunting hours. Also during the contact CO Hermanson determined that the watercraft the hunters were using had no marine safety equipment on board. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

CO Robert Freeborn and Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon were on patrol when they came across a subject looking for firewood. When the COs pulled alongside the subject’s truck, the subject became nervous. During the conversation with the subject, CO Freeborn asked if he had any loaded guns in the vehicle. The subject stated that he had two shotguns but they were unloaded and asked if the CO wanted to look at them. As CO Freeborn said yes and made his way to the rear passenger side of the truck to look at the guns, the subject uttered an obscenity and pointed to a shotgun that was lying in the back seat of the truck without a case. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint from Alger County Dispatch regarding four lost teenagers in the Munising area. CO Freeborn teamed up with Alger County Search and Rescue to join the search. After an hour and a half search, the teenagers were located. One of the teenagers had suffered a sprained ankle.

CO John Wenzel received a complaint of a woman having “pet” raccoons in her home in Escanaba. An investigation revealed that she had baby raccoons this spring but had released them months ago when they became “too much to handle.” A warning was given with a reminder to leave nature where it belongs.

CO John Wenzel and Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon taught hunter safety classes at the Escanaba office and certified 13 students.

Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon and PCO Calvin Smith taught two hunter safety sessions for “Internet course” students at the Escanaba office. Nine students were certified.

CO Kevin Postma issued a ticket to a bear houndsman for hunting with no participation license. The hunter advised that he usually draws a third season kill tag but didn’t this year and it didn’t even cross his mind that he needed a participation license. The houndsman was also given a verbal warning for having several dogs not licensed properly.

COs Kevin Postma, Bobby Watson and Jeff Panich, as well as PCO’s Pat Hartzig and Mark Zitnik, put on a Hunter Education class certifying 55 new hunters.

DISTRICT 3

CO Andrea Albert and PCO Adam LeClerc assisted with patrolling the salmon spawning run on the Manistee River near Tippy Dam and other Manistee County streams. Officers made several arrests for snagging, retaining foul hooked fish, possession of marijuana, and use of treble hooks. Numerous warnings were also issued for various fishing and drug violations.

While working the salmon spawning run in Manistee County, CO Andrea Albert and PCO Adam LeClerc observed two subjects at 3 a.m. on the Pine River taking salmon on a closed stream with their hands. The subjects would scoop the salmon up with their hands and throw them onto the bank. Officers overheard the subjects commenting on how they should come back again tomorrow night and get more fish. The two subjects then walked back along the stream and picked up the salmon and put them on stringers. Upon contact, both subjects were ticketed for taking salmon from a closed stream. Seven salmon were seized and $600 in restitution will be charged in addition to fines and court costs.

CO Steve Speigl received information of an archery hunter who violated the antler point restriction in Antrim County. CO Speigl investigated the complaint and found a 4-point buck had been taken. The deer was seized and donated to a needy family and enforcement action was taken.

COs Matt Theunick and Eric Bottorff investigated a complaint of a bird hunter who believed a bowhunter had shot arrows over his head, apparently because he and his dog got too close to his hunting location. Possible suspects were identified and interviewed, denying any involvement. The complaint continues to be investigated.

CO Matt Theunick and PCO Chad Baldwin took a complaint that involved a person who was deer hunting when a man approached him and stated that this was his hunting area and that he’d better be gone soon, brandishing a knife. The investigation continues.

DISTRICT 4

CO Kyle Publiski responded to a snagging complaint on the Big Manistee River and was able to locate two subjects who had been snagging and retaining foul hooked fish. They were using illegal gear, and both anglers said that they “knew better.” When run through DNR priors, it was discovered that at least one had been ticketed in the past for retaining foul hooked fish. The fish were seized and tickets were issued.

COs Brian Brosky and Kyle Publiski worked an area where there has been a historic issue of trespass and found a vehicle parked in between two “No Trespassing” signs. The occupant of the illegally parked vehicle had exited and walked into the posted property, crossing a wire-strand fence, to access the South Branch of the Pere Marquette. When the COs asked the subject why he was trespassing, he said that he didn’t see any signs and had no idea that the property was private. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Josiah Killingbeck was patrolling along the Pere Marquette River on a posted portion of private land when he observed a subject wade across the river and walk directly past “No Trespassing” signs. The subject told CO Killingbeck that he should not receive a ticket because he comes to Michigan once a year to fish and donates money to the economy by coming here. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Josiah Killingbeck was talking with a deputy when a vehicle passed them on the roadway whose occupants were not wearing seatbelts. The officers stopped the vehicle and found that the subject in the back seat was holding an uncased bow. The hunter said that he had shot a spike horn earlier in the morning and was just getting out of the woods, but was unable to find his deer. CO Killingbeck then asked the subject if he was aware of the antler point restrictions. The subject claimed he had no knowledge of the APRs. CO Killingbeck and the deputy escorted the subject back to his deer stand to locate the deer and it was also determined that the hunter didn’t have a name or address on his tree stand, had an overlimit of bait, and did not have his hunting license in his possession. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Josiah Killingbeck observed an ORV operating in a closed area just after dark. CO Killingbeck stopped the ORV and found that the subject had no helmet and had failed to license his ORV. The operator also had a loaded crossbow on his lap with the buttstock of the crossbow on the subject’s leg while the bolt was almost pressing up against the subject’s face. CO Killingbeck asked the subject if he had thought about his personal safety when he decided to carry a loaded crossbow with the bolt directly in line with his head and he replied he had not. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Steve Lockwood received an anonymous complaint the day before the archery opener about a possible gun-shot deer that had been illegally harvested. The officer made contact with the suspect and his adult son at their residence. Both subjects denied any wrongdoing, even though one had multiple drops of blood on his clothing. After getting nowhere, CO Lockwood left the residence and drove a short distance away where he could watch the suspect residence. After only five minutes, the officer observed one of the suspects hustling from the residence over to the pole barn. The suspect had a surprised look on his face when he saw that CO Lockwood was standing at the barn waiting for him. The suspect, realizing he had been caught, went back into the barn and brought out an untagged, gun-shot antlerless deer. The deer was seized and enforcement action was taken.

COs Brian Olsen, Kyle Bader, Josh Russell, Kyle Bucholtz, Jason Smith, and Sgt. Brandon Kieft investigated a case involving a subject who had taken a bear out of season in Ogemaw County. Information was received that the hunter had shot the bear near Little Au Sable Lake and was travelling back to a residence in the Huron County area. CO Olsen was able to obtain a license plate number for the vehicle and information was relayed down to Huron County CO Kyle Bucholtz. The COs were able to locate the subject with the dead black bear and obtain a confession. Warrants were sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office and the subject is awaiting court dates.

COs Kyle Bader and Josh Wright received a complaint regarding gun shots during bow season at the end of hunting hours. They made contact with the residents at the property and began their investigation. The COs asked to see the blinds to determine if they could find any blood, shell casings, or other evidence. After finding a rifle in one of the blinds with a spent shell casing still in the gun, the COs narrowed down a suspect and interviewed him. Eventually, he confessed that he had shot at an antlerless deer the night before but couldn’t find her. They were able to find a starting point for a blood trail and eventually located the deer in the edge of the tree line. Charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

DISTRICT 6

CO Joel Lundberg and PCO Mike Haas were checking duck hunters coming in from the afternoon hunt on the opening day in the Shiawassee River State Game Area. The COs made contact with a group of eight hunters, each of whom had their limit of six, 48 total. One of the hunters appeared to be very nervous. After the COs conducted interviews it was determined that all eight of the hunters went duck hunting in the morning at the Maple River SGA, and all shot additional ducks. After following one of the hunters back to his residence, the COs found an additional 24 ducks at the one residence. The hunters ended up with 72 ducks between the eight of them on the opening day of the duck season. The ducks were seized and tickets were issued.

While patrolling a private lake for waterfowl activity, CO Ken Lowell and PCO Dan Robinson received a complaint of hunters shooting out of a boat. As the COs walked between two water areas they walked past three subjects fishing out of a pontoon boat. The subjects waved and asked if the officers wanted to see their licenses. When asked if they were fishing, one of the subjects responded that he was duck hunting so the COs asked them to come to shore. The COs checked the subject’s semi-auto shotgun, which was still loaded and found that they could not eject the shell. The subject advised that he had purchased 3.5-inch shells instead of the 3-inch shells his firearm was chambered for. He advised that the only way they were unloading it was to shoot it because the firearm would not cycle the longer shells. The COs could see that it was the first time they had tried waterfowl hunting and used the opportunity to educate the subjects on waterfowl regulations and firearm safety. Warnings were given and the subjects headed in for the day.

CO Josh Wright and PCO Justin Muehlhauser checked waterfowl hunters north of Fish Point. The COs watched a group of hunters shoot at a flock of birds; two of the birds fell. The COs watched for about 30 minutes while the hunters failed to make any attempt to retrieve the second bird. The COs made contact with the group and questioned them about the birds, although the hunters claimed that they didn’t see them come down. The COs also discovered that the subjects were in possession of an overlimit of redhead ducks. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

CO Cary Foster received a complaint of a subject who recently posted a nice 8-point buck on social media. A license check revealed he purchased his license 10 minutes prior to posting the picture. Contact was made with the subject, who admitted to hunting and killing the deer before purchasing the license. Enforcement action taken.

CO David Rodgers patrolled a local lake for the south zone waterfowl opener. One group checked had a severely overloaded boat with five hunters, causing the boat to be unstable as it was just barely above the water line. All subjects within the boat had loaded firearms while under way. Enforcement action was taken for the firearms violations and a warning was given for having an overloaded boat.

CO David Rodgers made contact with a group of waterfowl hunters during the south zone opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken with one hunter for using buckshot and a warning given to one subject for not having a state waterfowl license and to another subject who did not have their license in possession after proof was provided that they had purchased it.

CO Matt Page responded to a trespass complaint where a doe had been shot on the complainant’s land. The complainant texted the other people with permission to hunt the area and found that none of them were hunting that evening. A doe was located and an arrow was located inside the carcass. This investigation is ongoing.

COs Saykham Keophalychanh and Andy Bauer were called to a complaint where a deer had been shot with a gun and had been found in the yard of a summer cottage. When the officers responded they determined that the deer had been shot by a bow and arrow. The deer was seized and contacts were made in the area to attempt to locate the hunter. The next day the hunter was located and the deer was given to him. The hunter was extremely happy as it was the “biggest buck he had ever shot with a bow!”

DISTRICT 8

Sgt. Dan Bigger and PCO Brandon Hartleben patrolled a local chain of lakes for waterfowl activity. While checking a hunter, Sgt. Bigger observed small pieces of water grass floating down the cut in the stream. Thinking this may be due to activity farther upstream, the officers sat and waited as waterfowl were moving in. After the legal shooting hours closed, Sgt. Bigger and PCO Hartleben heard three more shots. Contact was made with the group of hunters and after checking their gear and licenses, found that one of the hunters did not possess a waterfowl stamp. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mike Drexler and PCO Brandon Hartleben received a tip from a park ranger the day before the archery season opener of over-baiting on state land in the Pinckney Recreation Area. With the assistance of the ranger, the COs located the stand on opening morning and contacted the hunter. There were five separate bait piles near the hunter’s stand, with at least three gallons of bait in each pile. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Todd Thorn and PCO Matt Neterer responded to a RAP complaint where a man claimed that two men had stolen his 14-year-old grandson’s 12-point deer head and antlers. The COs were shown the carcass of the deer, which clearly had its head cut off. The grandfather also informed the COs that he knew who had taken the antlers – a neighboring farmer. The COs contacted the subject and his friend, and obtained confessions that the friend had cut the head off and taken the deer to a taxidermist. The case became more interesting as the friend was someone who had been charged by CO Thorn two years prior for having untagged deer in the bed of his pickup truck. Furthermore, the COs were able to locate and seize the untagged antlers from a taxidermist who was unlicensed and operating illegally. Enforcement action is being taken against the taxidermist and the man who possessed the head illegally.

CO Todd Thorn and PCO Matt Neterer received a complaint of a tree stand on state land in the CWD management zone that had bait placed in front of it and had no name/address on it. The COs were able to locate the site and tracked a path back to private property where they found a bag of deer corn matching what was placed in front of the tree stand. The COs then found another tree stand nearby with bait in front of it. After a couple of return trips to the location, CO Thorn contacted two men in a raised blind who were hunting over the bait pile. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Todd Thorn and PCO Matt Neterer interviewed two men accused of violating deer damage permits that they received from the DNR. The case resulted from a complaint of an untagged deer found left in a cooler for nearly a month. Confessions were attained and charges are being sought.

DISTRICT 9

CO David Schaumburger worked a joint patrol with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer on the Detroit River during the waterfowl opener. Both officers made many positive contacts; however, one particular hunter was hunting with an unplugged shotgun. When CO Schaumburger asked him why there was no plug, he stated it was his grandpa’s, who said it was good to go. Enforcement action was taken.

CO David Schaumburger made a few contacts with hunters in the managed areas at Pointe Mouillee to check their weapons, bag limits, and shell count. CO Schaumburger encountered two hunters who were in possession of more than the 18-shell limit for the managed hunt. Both hunters stated they forgot they had the extra shells in their possession. Enforcement action was taken and the hunters were reminded to double-check their gear before coming afield.

CO Jason Becker responded to a RAP complaint of hunters trespassing on the complainant’s land. This has been an ongoing problem for years. CO Becker met two subjects in the complainant’s field. They stated that they were just using the neighboring field to get back to their hunting location in the woods. One subject stated that he knew the complainant and that he was sure the landowner would be OK with them using the field. CO Becker contacted the complainant and both landowners had never heard of the subject. Enforcement action taken.

While on foot patrol at St. Johns Marsh, CO Kris Kiel and PCO Jake Griffin conducted a waterfowl check with multiple subjects. PCO Griffin discovered two subjects had unsigned federal waterfowl stamps. Enforcement action was taken.

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