Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – September 23rd, 2016
Conservation Officer Ethen Mapes was working an evening patrol when he pulled into the Ontonagon Village Marina. When Mapes drove towards the fishing docks, he witnessed a man bend over and throw something off the dock. Upon contact, the angler and his son denied throwing back any fish. CO Brian Lasanen arrived on scene and began to question the son. Upon further questioning, the angler admitted to catching a sturgeon and keeping it in hopes of showing his wife when he got home. Law enforcement action was taken for possessing a sturgeon in closed season.
CO Ethen Mapes was called to assist the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park rangers with a rescue in Lake Superior. Seven kayakers had been blown away from shore and could not paddle back. Two of the kayakers had tipped over and were clinging to the other kayaks. All kayakers returned to shore safely.
CO Brian Lasanen paced an ATV at 55 mph on an Ontonagon County road and made a traffic stop on the ATV. The operator advised he was speeding because he was looking for his fishing gear. The operator advised Lasanen when he left the lake he had his tackle box, fishing pole and minnow bucket, but when he returned home he was missing everything. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Shannon Kritz was patrolling forest service roads in Gogebic County when she came across three anglers loading their gear back into their vehicle. Kritz asked how their day of fishing had gone and they answered they each had caught a limit of smallmouth bass. A check of the catch found one bass to be under the 14-inch size limit. The short fish was seized and enforcement action was taken.
CO Jared Ferguson received a complaint regarding the loss of livestock in northern Dickinson County. Ferguson contacted the farmer and he stated that a black bear had ripped his pig fence down and killed two of his pigs. The farmer also stated he had numerous free ranging chickens that were killed. The farmer was happy with the quick response time and the helpful advice that was given.
CO Jared Ferguson was patrolling in southern Dickinson County for marine safety when he came upon an elderly subject at a Menominee River boat landing. The man had a flat tire when removing his pontoon boat from the jagged rocks in the water next to the boat landing. The citizen was unable to lift the trailer with his jack high enough to remove the tire. Utilizing equipment in his patrol truck, Ferguson was able to assist the man in fixing the tire and loading the boat onto the trailer. The subject was very appreciative of the help rendered by Ferguson.
COs Pat Hartsig and Calvin Smith and Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon were patrolling the AuTrain River. One group of canoers stopped at a popular rope swing to smoke some marijuana. Contact was made and the subjects were ticketed for using marijuana. It was not their first time being cited.
Hartsig, Smith and Fitzgibbon also watched a group of kayakers shoot bottle rockets and roman candles at each other. They also threw empty cans of beer on the bank of the river. When the group was contacted, one subject failed to stop as instructed. The unruly kayaker was removed from his vessel. The fireworks were confiscated from the group due to being illegal in the national forest. In addition, the group did not have the required life jackets in their boats. Enforcement was taken on the multitude of infractions by the party.
CO Brett Gustafson and PCO Nathan Sink were on patrol when they were contacted by CO Jon Busken to help assist him get an ORV unstuck on state land. After several hours trying to get the ORV unstuck, the individual contacted a towing company to pull him out. Enforcement action was taken.
Sgt. Hammill, CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nathan Sink were on marine patrol on Lake George. After contacting three anglers, the COs asked for their fishing licenses. All three individuals stated they had their fishing licenses for 2016; however, one of the individuals did not have a fishing license in possession. After further investigation, it was determined the individual did not purchase a fishing license for 2016. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Adam LeClerc responded to a call from Alpena County dispatch of a possible abandoned bear cub. The complainant could hear the cries of the cub somewhere on his property. Once on scene, LeClerc and the complainant found the source of the sound that was a young blue jay recently kicked out of the nest.
CO Fox responded to a complaint of a subject who got his truck stuck in a wetland. The subject tried to remove the stuck vehicle with a tractor, which he also got stuck. Enforcement action was taken for operating in a wetland.
CO Sklba responded to a possible stolen truck in a retired gravel pit. The truck looked as though it spent the night mudding, and possibly broke down as it was stripped of the rims and tires. Deputies contacted the registered owner who had the truck towed back to their residence. The investigation was turned over to the county.
CO Sklba responded to a forest fire in the Millersburg area. Local fire crews were on scene and had done a great job containing the fire in a fairly remote area. The fire was determined to have started from a lightning strike a week before.
CO Kelly Ross and Probationary CO Colton Gelinas were on general patrol in Montmorency County when an ORV operator was observed to have no helmet on. A stop was made on the ORV. Numerous violations were present at the time of the stop. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Ross and PCO Colton Gelinas were on ORV patrol in Montmorency County. COs have been getting reports of ORVs operating in a prohibited area on state land. COs made contact with an ORV rider who stated he and his family have been going through the area that is prohibited for years. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Matt Theunick was busy during the dry conditions in Cheboygan County, responding to numerous fires. One of the fires was a result of an individual who was pulling a trailer on I-75 when one of the trailer tires came off, resulting in the trailer being pulled on the axel hub on one side. The driver continued for a substantial distance causing the hub to heat up and sparked a fire alongside the expressway.
CO Mike Wells and PCO Tom Oberg where involved in the stop of ORVs when the COs observed a side-by-side ORV approaching their location. When the operator of the side-by-side observed the COs he turned the machine around and began to drive away. Wells jumped into the patrol truck and caught up with the ORV. Wells was unable to observe any type of ORV license on the machine. The side-by-side was contacted and escorted back to the location of the other ORVs the COs were currently dealing with. The operator of the side-by-side admitted that he observed the officers and turned around because he did not know what was going on. He explained that he recently purchased the ORV from a neighbor and failed to obtain and ORV license. Citation was issued for the licensing violation.
CO Van Gelderen policed a PWC accident where a juvenile ran over a kayaker and knocked him out. Van Gelderen discovered that the youth was not allowed to operate the PWC because it was rented by an older friend. The rental agreement states that operator shall be trained and at least 18 years old. The youth also had never taken boaters safety. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Van Gelderen was checking fishermen on the shoreline of Hart Lake. It was discovered that one subject did not have a fishing license. A file check revealed that the fisherman also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest out of Oceana County. When the suspect was advised that he was being arrested, his mother began to have a panic attack, and it was discovered that she had high blood pressure and was epileptic, so Van Gelderen called for EMS to check her status before the suspect went to jail.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was patrolling an area where multiple trespassing complaints of hound hunters training their dogs on bears on private property have been received. Killingbeck watched two subjects on M-37 near the Wexford/Lake County take their vehicles and attempting to block traffic because their dogs were close to the road. Killingbeck made contact with both subjects and explained that it was illegal to interfere with the flow of traffic. Both subjects knew better but said their dogs are more important. Both subjects were cited for impeding traffic.
CO Warren MacNeill responded to a domestic violence complaint at Harrisville State Park. Two brothers got into an altercation where their wives also became involved. The tempers were fueled by alcohol and disputes over a wedding that was set to take place the next morning. One brother, the groom, and the other brother, the ordained minister, were separated before officers arrived. MacNeill interviewed both parties after locating the minister “skinny dipping” with his wife in Lake Huron. The wedding was still held the following day, but the service was performed by a different ordained minister.
CO Ben McAteer was dispatched to a wildfire in Lovells Township, Crawford County. After interviewing the property owner at the fire origin, McAteer learned that an individual was mowing a path to his hunting blind with his garden tractor on an extremely high fire hazard day. While mowing the path, the property owner’s tractor backfired and a fire immediately ignited around the tractor. The property owner attempted to stomp out the fire, but was unsuccessful. Fire units from around the county and neighboring counties were called in and were able to contain the fire after 15 acres had burned. Because of the fast response from the fire officers, no structures were lost in the fire.
COs Craig Neal and Ben McAteer were on patrol at Bud Bash on Houghton Lake. The two COs were contacted by some individuals on a report that another boat crashed into theirs and about five other boats as well. Upon making contact, Neal noticed that one of the individuals had a pipe in his hand which is typically used for smoking marijuana. The individual quickly admitted that he had marijuana in his possession. Law enforcement action was taken.
COs Casey Pullum, Bobbi Lively, Kyle Bader, Jeff Panich, and Sgt. Brandon Kieft conducted a joint marine enforcement patrol with MSP (STING), Oscoda County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Forest Service on the Au Sable River near Mio. Although the weather wasn’t ideal, the officers contacted over 800 people on the river. Three subjects were arrested and lodged in the Oscoda County Jail and numerous others were issued citations for the following: possession of marijuana, use of marijuana, minor in possession of alcohol, littering, and no PFDs.
While dropping citations off at the Midland County court house, CO Quincy Gowenlock was advised that a subject he had a warrant for felony resist and obstruct was taken into custody the previous month and was sentenced to four months in jail along with approximately $2,000 in fines.
While on patrol in Saginaw County, CO Will Brickel observed a group of anglers along the Tittabawassee River. After watching each person fishing in the group for 10 minutes, Brickel made contact. During the contact, one individual said they didn’t have a license but that they were not fishing. After explaining that he had been watching them for several minutes, the individual admitted to fishing and enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Bucholtz assisted the Huron County Sheriff’s Office with locating a missing disabled subject. Bucholtz arrived in the area and located the missing subject.
PCO Casey Varriale and CO Josh Wright observed a farmer operating his ORV on a road and spraying his crops without wearing a helmet. The farmer was advised if he is operating on a road that is not privately owned he must wear a helmet.
PCO Casey Varriale and CO Josh Wright responded to a trespassing complaint in Tuscola County. The complainant complained of a duck blind being built on their private property. Upon investigation, it was determined that the duck blind was built on the bottom land of a privately-owned section of the lake. Wright and Varriale went to the residence of the builders. The builders agreed to remove the duck blind off of the private property. While talking with the builders, Wright and Varriale noticed a pool containing three turtles. One of the turtles was an Eastern box turtle. The homeowner was advised that particular species of turtle cannot be possessed. He was cited for possession of a protected species.
While out on marine patrol in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg observed a subject fishing off the back of a pontoon boat. When the subject noticed the CO, he quickly reeled in his pole and the operator of the boat started to drive away. Ulberg was able to make contact with the three subjects on the boat. None of the subjects had fishing licenses and a short bass was located in a minnow bucket. Further investigation revealed that two of the subjects had outstanding warrants. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Richard Cardenas and CO Justin Ulberg were patrolling the Lowell State Game Area when they observed two ORVs coming at them on the roadway. One of the drivers went speeding past the other, fishtailed, and nearly struck the second ORV. The COs stopped both ORVs and discovered that one of the operators was not wearing a helmet and did not have an ORV sticker. Enforcement action was taken.
CO David Rodgers and PCO Kyle Cherry responded to a complaint in Barry County of a subject who posted pictures on social media of a muskie taken on Thornapple Lake that appeared to be under the legal size limit for possession. A records check indicated that the subject had no record of ever purchasing a fishing license or the tag needed to possess the fish. Contact was made with the subject, who claimed a friend had caught the fish while fishing with him. The COs were able to retrieve the fish from the subject’s freezer. The muskie was 52 inches and 35 pounds. Enforcement action was taken.
Grand Haven State Park has escalated problems with drugs, alcohol, and gang related activity during Coast Guard Festival. In response, 22 conservation officers from three different districts stepped up enforcement efforts. Over 2,000 contacts were made with park visitors, 12 arrests were made for alcohol related illegal activity, and 41 warnings were given for attempting to bring alcohol into the park. Numerous lost children were located and first aid was given to many individuals as well.
CO Matt Page responded to a complaint of a buck that had been shot on a crop damage permit that only allowed antlerless deer. A 16-year-old shooter had shot a small buck. Because of the shooter’s honesty and calling in his mistake to the RAP hotline, a warning was issued. The deer was seized and the meat was donated.
CO Jason McCullough completed an investigation involving a subject who killed a turkey and a deer without a license during the 2015 seasons. McCullough was sent photos of the subject posing with both. After a short interview, the suspect stated they were just learning how to hunt. McCullough explained the importance of purchasing hunting licenses before going hunting. Further investigation revealed the suspect was actually told by the photographer to purchase a hunting license before going hunting but neglected to do so. The turkey mount was confiscated and a warrant was obtained through the prosecutor’s office.
COs Carter Woodwyk and Jason McCullough located a truck in a local Calhoun County access site well after midnight. The COs waited for several hours for the boat and its occupants to return to the launch. While they were waiting the COs observed the subjects floating around the edges of the lake spearing fish. The fishermen did not know the COs could also hear them talking about spearing bass. When the subjects returned to the launch Woodwyk located 12 bass that had been speared, ranging in size from 8 to 18 inches. The COs also noted the boat was unregistered and did not have navigation lights or life jackets. Tickets were issued.
While patrolling the Lakeland trail in Jackson County near Stockbridge, CO Todd Thorn contacted two men pulling a cart on the trail. The cart contained 5 two-gallon pails of deer bait, which they were planning to dump at their hunting location in preparation for hunting season. Thorn informed the men that there was a date when baiting is legal for deer and it was not yet currently legal. Thorn also informed them that they would be over the limit of bait as well had they dumped all of the bait they had with them. The men stated that they were unaware of the laws and had been doing this for 30 years. The men took the bait back to their vehicles and promised to study up on their hunting laws.
CO Daniel Prince and a Michigan State Trooper from the Brighton Post responded to a complaint on Woodruff Lake in Brighton of a subject shooting at a great blue heron with a gun. Through the investigation they were able to make contact with a resident who was trying to scare Canada geese off the lawn with bottle rockets. There was no firearm involved and no animals injured.
CO Jacob Griffin was on patrol in Oakland County when he received a complaint that a deer had an inner tube around its neck and looked very sick. Griffin responded to the location of the complaint to find a doe with two fawns lying in a field at the rear of the property. When the doe stood up Griffin noticed a plastic ring around the doe’s neck. The ring was very loose, it was not an inter-tube, the doe and the two fawns were extremely healthy and the ring could easily fall off the deer at any time. Due to the great health of the deer and it being in a safe location, Griffin notified the DNR Wildlife Division to make them aware in case the deer is in danger in the future.
CO Kris Kiel and PCO Zachary Bauer were on a nighttime fish patrol checking anglers in vessels coming off the water in Port Huron. The COs made contact with two anglers in a vessel in possession of fresh fish fillets. Upon closer inspection, the COs determined that there were 22 very small walleye fillets. The anglers stated they had cleaned their fish at a fish cleaning station along the river prior to coming into the launch. Enforcement action was taken.
COs James Zellinger and Mark Ennett conducted a marine patrol on Lake Erie during which a couple of dozen contacts were made with fishermen. One angler was determined to be fishing without a valid fishing license. One of the vessels checked was unable to provide a type IV personal floatation device, a fire extinguisher, an audible signaling device and a paper registration. Enforcement action was taken in both instances.
CO David Schaumburger was traveling down I-75 in a 70 mph zone when a vehicle passed him doing approximately 100 mph. The CO paced the vehicle traveling at 95 mph and initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, the driver disclosed that he had a pistol in the vehicle and he did not have a CPL. Schaumburger had the driver exit the vehicle and he located a loaded 9mm pistol under the driver’s seat. When asked why he had the gun in the vehicle, the driver stated that he was in Detroit and needed it for protection. The driver was placed under arrest and charges are pending.