Michigan Cuffs & Collars – January 15th, 2016

DISTRICT 1

While conducting a processor inspection in Iron County, CO Adam LeClerc and Sgt. Marc Pomroy discovered a spike buck tagged with a regular combo tag. This tag was in violation of the antler point restrictions of three or more points on one side with a regular combo license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Shannon Kritz followed up on a suspicious deer found during a processor inspection. A subject stopped at the processor’s location to drop off two deer for a friend. One of the deer had started to spoil and was not accepted. A check of the deer that was accepted found a sub-legal spike-horn tagged with an antlerless tag for the wrong management unit. The second deer was found dumped on state land a mile from the processor. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brett DeLonge was patrolling an area of private land when he observed a hunter heading into the woods for an evening hunt. After talking with the hunter, CO DeLonge learned that the hunter was a nonresident who had shot a buck the previous day. The hunter provided CO DeLonge with his base license and sports card after being asked to do so during a license check. After being asked about not having a kill tag in possession, the hunter explained that he used it on the buck he’d previously shot. He didn’t need one now, because he was going to shoot a buck for another hunter in his party who had an unused tag. The hunter explained that he was “party” hunting and thought it was legal in Michigan. CO DeLonge corrected the hunter, and law enforcement action was taken.

CO Brett DeLonge was patrolling an area of state land in Menominee County when he observed a pickup truck traveling toward him on a logging road. As the truck passed CO DeLonge’s location, the CO observed a bucket of deer legs in the bed of the truck. After contacting and asking the driver about the deer parts in the bed of the truck, CO DeLonge learned that the driver and his wife both shot bucks earlier in the week. CO DeLonge went to the residence to verify that the deer were tagged legally and found that one buck was in fact not legally tagged. Violations observed included loaning and/or borrowing a kill tag of another and improperly tagging a buck with an antlerless deer tag. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

CO Kevin Postma was patrolling back roads when he came in contact with a UTV being operated by an 8-year-old with an adult passenger. CO Postma offered his congratulations to the youngster, who had harvested a deer a couple of days earlier. After briefly talking with the youth, CO Postma noticed an uncased firearm in the UTV. CO Postma repositioned his patrol vehicle and had the adult step out to discuss the uncased firearm. It was then that CO Postma noticed why the adult was being unusually quiet: The man was highly intoxicated at 10:45 in the morning. CO Postma made it clear to the adult how inappropriate the situation was.

CO Jeff Panich was working with forester Joshua Brinks in the Pickford area and was notified about an illegal blind being used on state land. The two drove to the location on ORVs and proceeded to follow an ORV trail through the Gogomain swamp. Approximately 1 mile through the swamp, CO Panich and forester Brinks located a blind on state Land. Contact with a hunter was made, and three large, heavily over- baited piles were located. The hunter stated he had permission from one of the foresters to leave the blind on state land, and to continue to use an ORV through the swamp to gain access. CO Panich advised that it just so happened the forester he was with was the one the man claimed gave him permission last winter, and that permission from him was definitely not given. Numerous violations, including ORV operation in a closed area, no helmet, exceeding the deer bait limit, and failing to remove a stand, were all noted. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Robert Freeborn, Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon, and commercial fish specialist Larry Desloover received a complaint about a commercial fisherman netting during the closed season on Lake Superior. The COs patrolled the area where the nets were supposed to be and were able to intercept the fisherman tending his illegal nets. A Bay Mills tribal conservation officer responded to the scene, and the incident was turned over to him for prosecution in tribal court. Over 900 pounds of illegal whitefish and lake trout were seized.

DISTRICT 3

CO Stephen Speigl investigated a complaint about hunters who had trespassed and committed an assault of another property owner. CO Speigl obtained statements from the victim and has referred the case to the Antrim County prosecutor’s office.

During a deer processor inspection, CO Andrea Albert found a 6-point and 8-point buck with combo tags that were purchased the same day the deer were shot. A follow-up interview with the shooter found that he had shot both deer at almost the same time, while deer hunting without having purchased any deer tags. Both deer were seized, and tickets were issued for the violations. The restitution for both deer, for this violation, is $8,000, and hunting license revocation is for five years, with the new enhanced penalties regarding the taking of antlered deer.

CO Andrea Albert found a spike-horn deer tagged with an antlerless tag during a deer processor inspection. An interview with the shooter indicated that he believed a deer with fewer than three points on a side should be tagged as a doe. A ticket was issued, and the illegal deer was seized.

CO Mark DePew initially began questioning an individual to see if he had any information regarding an elk that was illegally killed several weeks earlier in Otsego County during the deer season. CO Mark DePew didn’t find the elk shooter, but received confessions regarding two illegally killed deer. Warrants are pending.

CO Mark DePew followed up on a complaint from opening day of the deer season regarding a doe shot from a motor vehicle. Advising local law enforcement of the vehicle description, a Gaylord City police officer made a traffic stop of a vehicle matching the description. CO DePew interviewed the driver and learned his brother had shot the doe. After interviewing the brother, a confession was obtained on the deer illegally killed from the motor vehicle, and an additional deer shot illegally also was uncovered.

CO Mark DePew worked on a bait pile the complainant described as one “you could see from outer space” because it was so large. CO DePew was able to locate the hunter, and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 4

CO Ethan Gainforth was on patrol in Osceola County when he received a complaint from dispatch that a hunter had shot a deer off a back road and walked onto a landowner’s posted private property to look for the deer. CO Gainforth arrived at the scene and found the hunter waiting. CO Gainforth located where the hunter shot from the road and found the blood trail from the deer. After they’d tracked for some time, the deer was not located. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ethan Gainforth was on patrol checking a tract of state land in Osceola County when he located a vehicle pulled off of the two-track. Upon further inspection, CO Gainforth found an 8-point deer head in the back of the truck. CO Gainforth made contact with the hunter and checked his hunting license. Upon questioning the hunter, CO Gainforth was able to determine that the deer was shot without a license, and then the hunter purchased a license and tagged the deer. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Will Kinney contacted CO Brian Lebel regarding a deer he found while conducting a deer processor inspection in Lake County. The subject shot a deer in Mecosta County. The date on the tag was not validated, and the date he had dropped the deer off was the same day he had purchased a tag. CO Lebel and CO Angela Greenway interviewed the subject at his residence in Mecosta County, where it was learned that he had shot the buck without a license, and purchased the license before dropping the deer at the processor. It also was discovered during the interview that his daughter had shot a buck that same evening, and also purchased her tag afterward. Both deer were seized, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Lebel followed up on a complaint in Mecosta County that subjects were shooting more than 20 minutes past shooting hours during the deer season. CO Lebel conducted a follow-up interview with the suspects, who ultimately admitted to taking poor-quality shots at deer they could not see very well. CO Lebel followed up by checking four deer they had shot during previous days. One subject had shot an antlerless deer and a large 8-point buck, but only had purchased one antlerless license. The buck was tagged with the subject’s son’s tag. CO Lebel seized the buck, and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Steve Lockwood was checking a camp on state land when he discovered one deer hanging. It was discovered that a second deer had been shot and for some reason had been taken out of camp and hauled to the subject’s garage downstate. CO Lockwood was able to locate the deer, and it all suddenly made sense. The deer that was smuggled out of deer camp was an antlerless buck deer with a combo tag attached. The story was that both antlers broke off while dragging it out of the woods. Further investigation revealed differently, and the hunter was cited for the violation.

CO Nick Atkin contacted a hunter on the last day of the season as the man was driving out of the woods. The subject bragged about the 8-point he shot during the archery season in October. However, a quick check of the subject’s deer tags revealed that he still had his unused combo tags in his pocket. When asked what he used to tag the buck, the hunter stated, “I must have forgot to tag it.” CO Atkin also located a loaded and uncased firearm inside the man’s vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Kyle Bader met a Michigan State Police trooper and a hunter at the West Branch field office. The hunter was walking in from a morning hunt when he came face to face with a large Rottweiler that was growling and bearing its teeth. The dog lunged at the hunter, who fired his rifle from the hip, hitting the dog in the chest. After he fired, three other large Rottweilers charged him. As he was being knocked to the ground, the hunter fired one more time into the air, scaring the dogs off. CO Bader went into the woods with additional law enforcement officers to locate the injured dog. While following the blood trail, a large dog jumped up from under a tree and barked at the officers. The large Rottweiler was standing guard over the dog that had been shot. An animal control officer was called and was able to load the injured dog into his truck, where it could receive medical attention.

CO Casey Pullum received information that a local trapper had taken an overlimit of bobcats for the past few years, and already had two bobcats this year, prior to the season starting. CO Pullum interviewed the suspect and his wife, and obtained a confession regarding the previous years’ bobcats. He also was able to obtain a confession about the two bobcats taken this year. While seizing the bobcats and searching the rest of the property, CO Pullum located an untagged deer in a pole barn. The suspect admitted to shooting the 4-point buck without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 6

While patrolling on foot on state land in Sanilac County, CO Seth Rhodea contacted several hunters after shooting hours. When asked if the hunters’ firearms were unloaded, two of the three hunters were found to still have loaded firearms. When checking hunting licenses, one of the hunters was found to be hunting without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Siemen responded to a residence in Forester Township to speak with a subject about dumping deer carcasses and large plastic bags in a creek. While at the residence, CO Siemen saw two deer hanging in the yard. CO Siemen checked the deer and found that a 7-point buck had been tagged with a 2012 antlerless tag. Further investigation led to the subject confessing about tagging the deer with the 2012 tag. CO Siemen also obtained a confession from the subject’s son about dumping the deer carcasses in the creek. Both subjects were cited, the deer was seized.

CO Mark Siemen received a trespass complaint involving multiple subjects on ATVs with guns, and shooting at deer on private property. CO Siemen was familiar with the subjects from a prior contact the previous day and was able to locate the subjects. Two of the subjects confessed to trespassing while shooting at a deer. CO Siemen issued citations to both subjects before they left for home in Florida.

CO Mark Siemen and CO Bob Hobkirk stopped a vehicle operator for having an untagged deer on the tailgate. Further investigation by the COs during the stop uncovered two more 6-point deer heads in the rear of the truck. The subject stated he did not have a tag for the deer, which was a spike, because he had given his tag to his friend to tag the one 6-point in the truck. The subject was issued a citation for the untagged deer and for loaning his tag to his friend. The subject’s friend was cited for borrowing a tag to tag a deer. The spike and the 6-point deer heads were seized as evidence.

DISTRICT 7

CO Ivan Perez responded to a complaint about an antlerless deer taken without a license. When contact was made with the subject at his residence, he claimed that he had not taken any deer this year. A spot of blood located on the subject’s garage floor indicated otherwise, as did the venison in the subject’s freezer. The subject’s story changed from the blood coming from last year’s hunting season, to taking a road-killed deer. After further discussion, the subject’s hunting licenses were seized, and he was cited for an untagged deer.

CO Ivan Perez was checking county property for hunting activity when he made contact with a subject who had hunting violations in the past. A check of his firearms resulted in locating a loaded .44-caliber handgun in the subject’s backpack in the front seat of his car. The subject did not have a CPL license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ivan Perez conducted surveillance along the Grand Haven Pier and observed a subject snagging whitefish. The subject was hiding the illegally taken whitefish in the rocks along the pier. The fish were seized, and a ticket was issued for snagging fish.

CO Justin Ulberg followed up with a deer hunter regarding a photo CO Ulberg found on a social media website. The photo showed the hunter with a deer that was taken in early October, but no tag was visible on the deer. CO Ulberg checked licensing records and discovered the hunter had not purchased a deer license until mid-November. CO Ulberg contacted the subject, who admitted that he did not have a tag when the deer was taken, and that he tagged the deer with his father’s tag. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Andy Bauer and Sgt. Zach Doss were called by an off-duty Van Buren County sheriff’s deputy who had observed a subject trespassing on the power line company’s right of way next to his parents’ house. The deputy had made contact with the subject and discovered that he had a prior felony conviction for armed robbery. The firearm was seized, with enforcement action taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Daniel Prince checked two field goose hunters who were hunting south of Howell in Livingston County. One of the waterfowl hunters did not have his hunting license on his person and also did not have his shotgun plugged. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brandon Hartleben and a Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy responded to a complaint about hunters trespassing on private property in Scio Township. Three hunters were located on the complainant’s property, along with a 5-point buck that they had shot early that morning. The subjects were escorted off of the property, and the deer was seized.

CO Chris Reynolds concluded an interview involving a suspected illegal deer. Eventually, the suspect confessed to taking the deer without a license, stating that “it is just too far to drive into town to pick up a license.” The subject was advised that the deer would be seized and a report would be submitted seeking charges for the violation.

CO Jeff Goss and CO Jason McCullough contacted a hunter who shot a 125-class buck. The hunter stated it was the biggest buck he’d ever killed. During the conversation, the hunter showed the COs the photos of the deer after he killed it. After looking at the photos, CO Goss and CO McCullough were able to determine the buck was killed without a license. The hunter admitted to killing the deer without a license because, he said, he had been too busy to buy kill tags. Enforcement action was taken, and the deer was seized.

CO Josh Jackson responded to a safety zone complaint regarding a neighbor shooting a deer from his driveway. Upon making contact with the complainant, the complainant showed CO Jackson video surveillance of the suspect shooting well within the safety zone. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 9

CO Ben Lasher received some information about a large buck (160 class) that may have been taken without a license in St. Clair County. CO Lasher found the rack at a taxidermist shop, and after interviews with the suspect and his wife, a written confession was given for taking the deer without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Lasher found a waterfowl hunter who had taken more than the permitted number of shells into the Harsens Island Management Unit. The shell limit, 18 shells per hunter, is to limit “sky-busting” at ducks that are too high and discouraging them from coming into and/or working decoys. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Lasher received a trespass complaint from an area landowner who has had trespass issues in the past. CO Lasher was able to get to the property where the suspects were hunting and waited for them to come back to the vehicle. One suspect had a loaded firearm 20 minutes past legal hunting hours and also did not have a deer-hunting license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ken Kovach was dispatched to a recreational trespass complaint in progress where the hunter had shot a deer. CO Kovach was able to contact the complainant a short time later, and while the CO was shown the location of the incident, the suspect was found hiding in a nearby hunting blind, still on the private property. CO Kovach interviewed the subject and obtained a confession from the subject for hunting on the property and shooting a deer while trespassing. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jason Becker was following up with a suspect regarding a RAP complaint that said the man was trespassing near an apartment complex to trap muskrats. CO Becker made contact with the suspect and addressed the trespassing complaint. The subject stated that after he had a confrontation with the landowner, he removed all his traps. CO Becker noticed that the subject had approximately 20 traps in his pickup that had another person’s tag or no tags at all. After a short conversation, CO Becker determined the subject had not tagged roughly 50 traps that were set in various locations. Enforcement action was taken.

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