Michigan Cuffs & Collars – April 8th, 2016

DISTRICT 1

COs Ethen Mapes and Brian Lasanen worked a late-night patrol on Lake Gogebic prior to a fishing tournament with over 1,000 registered anglers. They located a tip-up blinking just off shore at 3:30 a.m. While they waited for someone to check the tip-up, another flag with a red blinking light went up. The conservation officers waited for over half an hour before approaching the tip-ups. Upon closer inspection, there were 10 total tip-ups. While checking the grid of tip-ups, a light came on in a nearby cabin. Contact was made with two anglers with winter clothes on and two additional “anglers” wearing pajamas. The two anglers with winter clothes claimed to be checking their tip-ups every 10 to 15 minutes. Enforcement action was taken for unattended fishing lines.

CO Brian Lasanen was advised by the prosecutor’s office in Ontonagon County that the suspect who fled from CO Lasanen on an ORV this past fall was sentenced to 54 days in jail for fleeing and eluding. The suspect was operating an ORV with a suspended driver’s license.

CO David Miller checked a closed section of the Falls River and observed three teenagers getting out of their vehicle with fishing poles. CO Miller made contact with the three teens and advised them that that section of the river was closed and they avoided further enforcement action.

COs Ethen Mapes and Adam Leclerc patrolled Lake Gogebic on their ORVs, checking more than 100 anglers catching perch and walleyes. While checking a group of anglers, CO Mapes noticed an angler avoiding eye contact. When the angler was asked how the fishing was, he stated he had caught only one perch. When he was asked for his fishing license, the subject said he thought about getting one but decided not to do so. Enforcement action was taken for fishing/possessing fish without a license.

DISTRICT 2

COs Kevin Postma and Jeff Panich were dispatched to assist a fisherman who could not get off the ice. The fisherman had gone fishing early in the morning when the weather was good. The weather began to get bad with blowing snow and white-out conditions resulting in heavy drifting. The fisherman attempted to get back to his vehicle, but became stuck on his ORV. He then found his way back to his ice-fishing shanty where he called his wife, who called 911. The COs located the subject’s ORV and eventually located the fisherman and escorted him back to his vehicle.

Sgt. Mike Hammill and CO Brett Gustafson checked two fishermen on Big Manistique Lake. Both anglers were found to be fishing with too many lines – nine each. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Lynch was ice fishing on his day off when he observed an angler next to him leave out his tip-ups and go to shore. After waiting for 20 minutes, CO Lynch called Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon to come meet CO Lynch at the scene. Enforcement action was taken.

While on an ice-fishing patrol on Little Bay de Noc, COs Calvin Smith, Patrick Hartsig, and Mark Zitnik contacted more than 400 fishermen. In all, the anglers were very happy to see the COs, with minimal violations on the ice. A few citations were issued for ORV violations.

While patrolling Munising Bay late one evening, CO Mark Zitnik observed several young adults burning an ice shack on the ice. The CO had them put the fire out and explained to them why it’s illegal to burn the shack. He advised that once they got out of school the next day, they were to pick up the shack and its contents and dispose of them properly. If they did not they would be cited. The individuals had properly disposed of the shack the following day as instructed.

DISTRICT 3

COs in Antrim and Charlevoix counties, Steve Speigl and Chad Baldwin, were checking into suspicious license purchases from the previous firearms deer season. The first hunter they encountered was found to be in violation, as he purchased his license after he had taken a deer. Evidence was seized, and a ticket was issued.

COs Eric Bottorff, Matt Theunick, Mark DePew, and Sgt. Greg Drogowski did a group patrol on Burt Lake, checking about 100 ice fishermen. Nine tickets were issued for fishing, ORV, and snowmobile violations, and several warnings were issued for minor violations.

CO Matt Theunick responded to a complaint in the Cheboygan area about a subject with two freshly killed deer in his yard. Evidence and a report are being turned over to tribal officers for prosecution in tribal court.

CO Nick Torsky received a complaint about two subjects fishing during the closed season on the Pigeon River in Otsego County. Through his investigation, CO Torsky was able to determine who the subjects were and contacted them. The subjects readily admitted to fishing and were quite confused regarding where it was legal and illegal to fish. A warning was given to the 16-year-old subjects, and a thorough explanation of the regulations was provided.

COs Brad Bellville, Tim Rosochacki, and Sgt. Joe Molnar spoke at a hunter safety class at the Alpena Sportsmen’s Club and interacted with approximately 50 students.

DISTRICT 4

CO William Haskin went to speak with an elementary school class on the life cycle of a Michigan black bear. CO Haskin brought in a full-sized bear mount, a bear rug, a bear skull, and lots of items to hand out. CO Haskin spoke on the life of a bear, what bears need to survive, how they are similar to humans, and what to do if you encounter a bear.

CO William Haskin and CO Steve Converse went to a residence to investigate a deer they suspected was shot before a license was purchased. While at the residence interviewing the suspect, they also discovered that a second deer also had been shot before a license had been purchased. After the COs interviewed the suspects, the suspects admitted to buying their licenses after the fact. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Angela Greenway received a complaint in Newaygo County about a group of vehicles on state land tearing things up and going through streams and wetlands. When CO Greenway arrived on the scene, there was a vehicle still stuck at the bottom of a 60-foot steep hill with two subjects trying to get the vehicle freed. The vehicle owner stated he left his vehicle with the keys in it at the top of the hill the previous night. He stated he didn’t know how it got to the bottom of the hill. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Craig Neal pulled into the Crooked Lake access to check on fishing activity. Two anglers were watching the officer through binoculars. CO Neal decided to check them first. The two anglers had eight lines in the water. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

COs Josh Wright and Ethan Gainforth were partnered up in Clare County when they heard radio traffic about a possible breaking and entering in progress. The COs responded to the scene and assisted Clare County sheriff’s deputies with the apprehension of a suspect. The suspect was lodged in the Clare County jail.

COs Kyle Bader and Brian Olsen attended a sportsmen’s wild game dinner at a church in Ogemaw County. There were 190 people in attendance who asked the conservation officers a variety of questions about hunting and fishing laws. Gabe VanWormer from Michigan Out-of-Doors also attended the event as a guest speaker.

CO Kyle Bader received an anonymous complaint through the DNR Dispatch Center indicating a deer had been taken out of season with a firearm. He was able to locate a possible address for the suspect. CO Bader, assisted by CO Casey Pullum, arrived at the address and made contact with multiple subjects who were involved. During the interview, a man confessed to shooting a deer March 7 with a 12-gauge shotgun. He processed the deer with friends and bragged about the incident. The firearm was seized, and charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County prosecutor. 

DISTRICT 6

COs Mark Siemen, Robert Hobkirk, and Seth Rhodea conducted a joint snowmobile patrol on the MSA trail system in Sanilac County. There were several tickets issued for trail permit violations; however, most snowmobilers were found to be in compliance.

CO Mark Siemen investigated a complaint in Watertown Township in Sanilac County involving a subject who had shot a deer with a handgun. After shooting the deer, the suspect fled in a white van pulling a trailer. According to the property owner, the suspect pulled to the shoulder of the road, stepped out of his van, and shot a deer that was lying in his field. During the investigation at the scene, it was determined by CO Siemen that the deer was dead before the suspect shot it. With assistance from local law enforcement and CO Matt Zultak from Lapeer County, the suspect was later located driving the white van in Lapeer County. CO Siemen was able to respond into Lapeer County and stop the vehicle. The driver of the van stated he did kill a wounded deer that was lying in the field just off the road. The suspect stated he had a CPL and thought it was a waste of time to call a police officer to shoot the deer. The suspect was advised that he did not have the authority to shoot a wounded deer and did not have permission from the homeowner to be on the property. Enforcement action was taken, and the suspect was advised that the deer was already dead before he shot it.

CO Will Brickel was checking anglers for marine safety equipment and for walleyes at the Zilwaukee Bridge boat launch. During the patrol, several anglers were found to have walleyes under the 13-inch minimum size limit. Enforcement action was taken.

While checking anglers along the Chippewa River, CO Mike Haas encountered a fisherman who had not purchased a fishing license. After further investigation, it was confirmed that the man also had two outstanding warrants from Muskegon County. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 7

CO Richard Cardenas was patrolling the Barry State Game Area when he encountered a small-game hunter who believed that the orange gloves he was wearing met the hunter orange legal requirements. Hunters must wear a hunter orange hat, vest, or coat and it must be the outer-most garment and be visible from 360 degrees. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Mooney checked fishermen at the South Haven pier and observed a good number of trout and salmon being caught. CO Mooney also located a subject fishing without a license and cited the subject.

CO Andy Bauer was second on the scene of a reported drowning in progress near the Benton Harbor boat launch. At the scene, a deceased person was found floating near the shore of the river. An investigation revealed that the subject had been in the river for an extended length of time. The Benton Harbor Police Department will be in charge of the death investigation.

CO Chris Simpson made contact with an angler and his 3-year-old son who were coming in from walleye fishing on Muskegon Lake. The two were in possession of 11 walleyes. The father indicated that they both caught their limit while trolling and had gotten so excited from their success that they had mistakenly threw an extra walleye in their bucket. Further investigation revealed that they didn’t have life jackets on board. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Justin Ulberg assisted the Wisconsin DNR in the investigation of a smallmouth bass that was illegally taken in a lake in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR discovered a YouTube video showing a subject spearing the smallmouth bass and learned the subject lived in Michigan. CO Ulberg was able to locate the subject and obtain a full confession regarding the violation. A report was forwarded to the Wisconsin DNR for further action.

DISTRICT 8

CO Larn Strawn received a Report All Poaching complaint about a person shooting a deer during the closed season in Ingham County. CO Strawn patrolled to the complaint location and conducted an investigation. CO Strawn located a dead deer in a field and contacted several people for interviews. CO Strawn developed information and will patrol the area in future efforts to locate the suspect vehicle.

CO Christopher Maher received a complaint about a buffalo carcass on state land. CO Maher has been in contact with several local farmers but was unable to determine from where the animal came.

CO Jason King conducted a check of a fisherman on Hopkins Lake in Shiawassee County. When the officer asked to see the subject’s fishing license, he stated he did not have one and that he did not think he needed one. CO King explained the fishing rules and regulations to the subject, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Daniel Prince responded to a dumping complaint in the Oak Grove State Game Area in Livingston County. CO Prince was able to locate a possible suspect from items located at the dumping scene. The investigation is continuing.

CO Chris Reynolds assisted a local Hillsdale County sheriff’s deputy on a domestic disturbance call that had turned physical. The deputy will be submitting a report on the incident.

CO Joshua Jackson assisted local Branch County officers in a two-person search. The two suspects had stolen bottles of alcohol and other items from a local convenience store. The two suspects fled the scene and led the local officers on a short pursuit before hiding their vehicle and fleeing on foot. CO Jackson helped search nearby fields, woodlots, and out-buildings for suspicious activity. The incident is currently under investigation.

DISTRICT 9

While checking anglers at Bolles Harbor, CO James Zellinger contacted a boater coming back to the access site after fishing. CO Zellinger discovered multiple panfish in the livewell of the boat. Later it was determined the subject operating the boat did not have a valid fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

COs David Schaumburger and Raymond Gardner were checking anglers in Detroit when they came upon one particular angler who said he did not have his fishing license on him. The angler stated it was at home and he forgot it, but he definitely had one. After an RSS check, it was discovered that the angler has not had a fishing license since 2009. The angler was then recontacted and finally admitted that the bait store was not open that day and he could not buy his license. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Damon Owens spoke to approximately 120 students at Owen Intermediate School. The students were educated about the duties of a conservation officer.

CO Mark Ennett spoke at Wagar Middle School in Carleton for its annual career day. A total of 115 students revolved through five classes, learning and asking questions about the career of a Michigan conservation officer.

CO Kris Kiel inspected a suspicious bobcat brought to the Wildlife Division office in Harrison Township ibn Macomb County to get sealed. The bobcat was brought in by a taxidermist for sealing for a client. CO Kiel explained to the taxidermist the legality of the situation, and that you could not bring an animal taken by another in for sealing. CO Kiel obtained the owner information and contacted him to have him come and have the animal personally sealed. The subject did arrive at the DNR office, but it was determined by talking to the subject that he was not the successful hunter. The subject explained to CO Kiel that it was actually his 14-year-old son who had harvested the bobcat. To make matters worse, through the interview CO Kiel found that the kill tag was acquired after the animal was taken. Enforcement action was taken.

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