Michigan Cuffs & Collars – December 4th, 2015

DISTRICT 1

CO Denny Gast responded to a RAP complaint about a bear caught in a trapper’s coyote trap in Baraga County. After the original complaint, a passerby called about the bear in the trap. By the time CO Gast arrived on location, someone had driven by and shot the bear. The investigation into the illegal shooting of the bear is ongoing.

CO Doug Hermanson received an anonymous complaint that three turkeys had been illegally taken, photographed, and shared through a social media page. CO Hermanson investigated the complaint and identified a suspect. Upon interviewing the suspect, CO Hermanson received a full confession, and evidence was seized. Law enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Bacon and CO Shannon Kritz handled a trapping trespass complaint. A subject was walking his dog near his camp when the dog was caught in a leg-hold trap. The COs met with the landowner, who advised of a possible suspect who lived nearby. The suspect was interviewed, with enforcement action being taken for the trespass issue and untagged traps.

CO Jarrod Ferguson responded to a complaint about a dog that was killed in an illegal Conibear trap set. CO Ferguson developed a suspect and interviewed the individual. The suspect admitted to setting the trap in an attempt to catch a skunk that had been in his yard. Enforcement action was taken for the illegal trap.

CO Mark Leadman and PCO Calvin Smith located an archery hunter hunting over an illegal deer bait. The hunter also was using screw-in tree steps on state land and had no name and address attached to his treestand. All violations observed were addressed in an appropriate manner.

DISTRICT 2

CO John Wenzel was on a recent “Ask the DNR” TV program. Callers are able to phone in questions to a panel of DNR employees and obtain answers on live TV.

COs John Wenzel and Mike Evink contacted a trio that were cutting boughs on federal lands without a proper permit. Information was taken and turned over to Forest Service law enforcement.

CO Kevin Postma and DNR biologist Kristi Sitar assisted two trappers with releasing a 125-pound black bear from a beaver trap. The bear was walking the edge of a marsh when it was accidentally caught by the trap. The release was exciting and successful.

COs Pat Hartsig and Calvin Smith received a complaint from a local landowner who found an ORV on his property. It was later discovered the ORV was stolen from a local camp the night before and was likely “left” at the scene. The information was turned over to the local sheriff’s department, which was already investigating the stolen property.

COs Mark Zitnik and Calvin Smith patrolled north Alger County and encountered a group of hunters. One of the subjects was about to shoot a grouse but was not wearing required hunter orange. Education was given regarding the matter.

While checking the Forest Lake Basin for waterfowl hunters, CO Calvin Smith contacted a group returning from its hunt with a loaded shotgun in the vessel. CO Smith checked the hunters’ licenses and discovered that one individual also had failed to purchase a license. Enforcement action was taken.

While working waterfowl hunters on Little Bay de Noc, CO Pat Hartsig watched a group of five duck hunters actively calling ducks for 20 minutes past the legal shooting hours. CO Hartsig contacted the group as they walked back to their trucks. The group of high school boys had unplugged guns, no waterfowl stamps, and were hunting after hours.

While driving back to his residence, CO Pat Hartsig was passed by a vehicle exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 mph. When the driver was stopped, he stated he didn’t think conservation officers could pull people over. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 3

CO Andrea Albert and CO Adam LeClerc checked a bowhunter coming out of the woods who had stated he shot a 4-point buck the previous day. The hunter claimed to have no knowledge of the antler point restriction that has been in place for the last three years in 12 counties in the northwestern part of the state. The sub-legal deer was seized, along with the hunter’s tag.

CO Carl Vanderwall is investigating a complaint about a subject who was cutting down a number of large oak trees along the roadway and removing the saw logs.

CO Eric Bottorff and CO Chris Lynch worked an area where shining and shooting complaints were received. The officers observed a vehicle occupant shining and made a traffic stop. The individuals were cited for shining in November. No weapons were in the vehicle.

CO Eric Bottorff and CO Chris Lynch checked a couple of hunters coming out of the woods at dusk. One did not have his deer tag in possession, one had an excessive amount of bait at his hunting location, neither immediately told the COs they had CPLs and had loaded pistols in the vehicle, and neither had names/addresses on their treestands. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Bill Webster and James Zellinger investigated a deer photograph from a social media website that did not have a kill tag on it and the hunter had not purchased a hunting license yet this year. When the officers made contact with the hunter in the photograph, his father initially took credit for shooting the deer, then admitted his son shot it. When he found out that his son did not have a license, the father put his license on the deer so they could get it processed. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office for taking a deer without a license and lending a kill tag to another.

COs Bill Webster and James Zellinger investigated a complaint about feeding deer behind a residence. While talking with the homeowners, they admitted to feeding deer to draw them in so they would be safe and would not be shot. They went on to say they did not want hunters to shoot them but said they shoot two each year for meat. A citation was issued for feeding deer in a prohibited county.

CO Jon Sklba was patrolling state land when he located an unregistered camp. While talking with one individual at the camp, he saw a large amount of marijuana unsecured in one of the tents. CO Sklba waited for the owner of the tent to come back and cited him for violations regarding the medical marijuana law.

DISTRICT 4

CO Ethan Gainforth and CO Jeff Ginn were working around midnight when they observed a vehicle occupant shining in Newaygo County. CO Gainforth conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and located four subjects inside. The suspects were found to be in possession of a .22-caliber rifle and a compound bow. The two suspects responsible for working the light and having the weapons in possession were later determined to be convicted felons, as well. The evidence was seized, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Gainforth and CO Jeff Ginn were working Newaygo County when they observed a vehicle parked along a closed trout stream. Upon further investigation, they located a male suspect fishing. He later was found to have an outstanding warrant and was in possession of marijuana. The suspect admitted to driving to the area on a suspended driver’s license in a vehicle without insurance and an expired registration plate. The suspect was transported and lodged at the Newaygo County jail, and the vehicle was impounded.

COs Brian Lebel and Angela Greenaway received information about a subject who had shot his fourth buck the previous night. The officers made contact the following day and spoke with the subject. The large 10-point from the previous evening was in his garage. The interview revealed that the subject indeed shot three other large bucks in previous weeks. Two of the deer were tagged with other people’s tags. The heads and capes were seized from other locations. In the end, all four deer were seized and the subject was charged with taking the overlimit of bucks.

COs Sam Koscinski and Bill Haskin were working a complaint in Wexford County of ORVs being operated illegally. When they neared the complaint area, they found several ORVers running on a state highway. Several operator were riding towards them from federal land without helmets and riding with passengers. Numerous violations were noted, and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Mark Papineau investigated a tip from an informant involving a subject who had shot an 8-point buck in Gladwin County without a license. CO Papineau was able to interview several subjects and determine the piece of private property where the deer was reportedly shot. While checking the property several days later, CO Papineau was able to make contact with the suspect. During questioning, the suspect fully confessed to the illegally killing the deer. Prosecution is being sought.

COs Mark Papineau, Kyle Bader, and Brian Olsen assisted the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Department with a fight in progress at a bar in Ogemaw County. According to Ogemaw Central Dispatch, a disagreement inside had escalated and resulted in a “bar-emptying” brawl in the parking lot. There were at least 15 people involved in the altercation. CO Papineau, Bader, and Olsen quickly responded and assisted the deputies in securing the scene and dissipating the crowd.

CO Matt Liestenfeltz was investigating the Facebook posting of a Wexford County resident who had pictures and information on Facebook of harvesting a 10-point buck in Missaukee County without a license. CO Liestenfeltz contacted the suspect, and through a lengthy interview obtained a confession of harvesting the buck without a license and borrowing tags. It further was found that the suspect had harvested a doe without a license earlier in the archery season. Warrants are pending from the Missaukee County prosecutor.

CO Josh Russell and Sgt. Brandon Kieft were on foot patrol toward the end of hunting hours during archery season when they heard a single gunshot. When the officers returned to their vehicles and travelled about a mile west, they noticed a vehicle still parked after legal hunting hours. The COs waited for the hunter to return to his vehicle to check his deer license. When the man came walking up, he was dressed in full camouflage but didn’t have a bow or crossbow in his possession. As the COs began to question the subject further, things didn’t add up. Despite telling the officers he was unarmed, Sgt. Kieft eventually located a loaded handgun in his pocket. CO Russell examined the firearm and determined that it recently had been fired. The subject finally confessed to being a CPL holder and using his handgun to shoot at a deer, which was the shot heard by the officers. Two additional hunting violations were discovered. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

While working a shining patrol, COs Mike Haas and Dan Robinson made a traffic stop of a vehicle that was driving left of center and at a high rate of speed. The driver did not have a current driver’s license. Enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol, COs Dan Robinson and Mike Haas noticed a long fence at the edge of a field. The fence was constructed to 8 feet tall and almost a half-mile long. It had none of the required breaks to allow the passage of wildlife. While walking the length of the fence, the COs found an antlerless deer entangled in the fence that appeared to have been there for some time. The deer was dispatched, and the investigation is ongoing.

CO Mike Haas responded to a call regarding a bowhunter who fell from his treestand. Local EMS and an MSP trooper had already secured the hunter by the time CO Haas arrived on the scene. The hunter was carried from the woods to a nearby soybean field, where he was then transported via helicopter to a hospital. After the scene was cleared, CO Haas assisted the hunter’s family in recovering the whitetail buck the hunter had shot prior to falling.

COs Seth Rhodea and Bob Hobkirk worked waterfowl hunters on a small lake in Huron County. The first party checked by the COs was observed prior to contact throwing the remains of duck carcasses in the weeds. They were found to have other violations that included rallying ducks, failing to have a license plate on their boat trailer, and being in possession of lead shot. Another party was checked who did not have any PFDs on his boat, and a third party was checked with the COs discovering that all people on board had loaded firearms while the boat was under power, and the boat had not been registered. Numerous citations were issued to address the violations.

DISTRICT 7

CO Justin Ulberg, while patrolling some small streams in Kent County, checked an angler who had four king salmon in his possession. While speaking with the angler, CO Ulberg noticed the angler was fishing with illegal tackle consisting of a weight suspended below two hooks. Enforcement action was taken, and the fish were seized.

CO Matt Page received a complaint from a subject advising that while hunting he witnessed a subject drive a tractor into a field and dump a very large pile of apples. After meeting with the complainant and getting a good location of the bait, CO Page drove to the area and witnessed a hunter walking down a two-track. CO Page advised the subject that a complaint was called in regarding the bait and it needed to be checked. The subject showed CO Page a heaping pile of apples. The subject stated he figured he had about 30 gallons. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Mooney received a complaint about a subject hunting in the city of Paw Paw. CO Mooney investigated and subsequently located a subject in a treestand. When the subject saw CO Mooney, he threw his arrows to the ground. Upon contact, CO Mooney observed a small amount of fresh blood on the subject’s fanny pack, and the discovery led to the subject admitting to taking a deer earlier and failing to tag the deer. The subject led CO Mooney to where he had hid the untagged deer. CO Mooney was familiar with the subject, who had received a couple of citations for fishing without licenses from him in the past. CO Mooney cited the subject for the untagged deer.

CO Robert Crisp responded to a RAP complaint involving a person taking a deer without a license in Barry County. CO Crisp responded to the suspect’s residence and made contact with the subject’s mother, who was immediately defensive, uncooperative, and provided false information. CO Crisp made contact with people in the community and determined the suspect was driving a white pickup in the area. CO Crisp patrolled the area and located the suspect on a two-track. The suspect confessed to taking a 10-point buck without a license.

DISTRICT 8

While conducting a deer-processor inspection, CO Rich Nickols located an 8-point buck that was tagged with a muskellunge harvest tag. The tag had been validated with the date and notched out for a 53-inch muskie. Follow-up was conducted with the owner of the tag, and it was found that the subject did possess a valid combo deer license but did not possess his glasses when he tagged the deer. The deer had 5 points on one side and 3 on the other and the date was correctly validated, so it appeared the subject was trying to legally tag the deer. CO Nickols had the subject validate the right tag and attach it to the deer.

Sgt. Dan Bigger and CO Andrew Monnich responded to a shots-fired complaint by the Sharonville State Game Area in Grass Lake. Upon investigation, numerous people were found taking advantage of the nice fall weather and utilizing the game area by deer hunting and small-game hunting. No violations were found.

CO Chris Maher and CO Jason McCullough followed up on a complaint about a subject shooting a turkey during the fall turkey hunt without a license. Upon contact, CO Maher observed a couple of other turkey parts and pieces that appeared to have come from a different bird. CO Maher discovered the subject actually had shot two turkeys in 2015 – one during the spring hunt and one during the fall hunt (both without licenses). Charges are pending, and the case has been turned over to the local county prosecutor.

CO Jason McCullough completed an investigation of a subject who was continually trespassing on a piece of private property. The subject was caught on a trail camera several times with his son, who was carrying a crossbow. Through the course of the investigation, CO McCullough found out the subject never had permission to hunt the property as he claimed. Additionally, on the youth hunt weekend they were not only trespassing but were hunting without a license of any type. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

While patrolling parts of Pointe Mouillee SGA, COs Dan Walzak and Raymond Gardner made contact with a man, woman, and a small child coming out of a field approximately 45 minutes after the end of hunting hours for small game. The man was hunting for squirrels and took his family along for the experience. A lot of planning appeared to go into his afternoon, as he made sure that his son and his wife were wearing blaze orange vests as he was. The man also brought along a shotgun for close shots and a .22 rimfire rifle for longer shots. The ammunition for his shotgun was steel shot as required, and his licenses were in order. For whatever reason, however, the hunter asked his wife to carry the .22 rifle for him while she also was taking care of the young boy. There was a problem in that the wife did not have a hunting license, and the rifle was still loaded after hunting hours. Enforcement action was taken.

While patrolling the Detroit River, COs Raymond Gardner, David Schaumburger, and James Zellinger made contact with a waterfowl hunter on Humbug Island. The hunter had taken four bufflehead ducks that day. Upon checking his license, it was discovered the hunter did not have a federal duck stamp. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Kris Kiel caught up with a suspect who trespassed and took a 9-point buck on private property. The CO kept checking the neighboring property and finally made contact with a subject who matched the description given by the complainant. The subject first denied being there, but when CO Kiel told him that he was going to show the complainant a picture of him, he gave a full confession. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor for recreational trespass, and reimbursement will be sought for the illegally taken deer.

While working the end of hunting hours on Lake Saint Clair, CO Brad Silorey observed several hunters with their decoys still in the water after hours and could hear them actively calling for ducks. After several minutes of surveillance, CO Silorey observed three ducks flying into the suspects’ decoys. The suspects then took multiple shots, killing two ducks. CO Silorey noted the time of the shots and then made contact with the subjects. Upon his arrival at the scene, two subjects were retrieving the ducks from their decoys. CO Silorey questioned the suspects about if they knew what time it was and if they knew when hunting hours ended. The subjects were unsure of end hours and had no clue that they had shot 20 minutes late. Enforcement action was taken.

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