Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 17, 2017


CO Ethen Mapes responded to a complaint of a lost hiker in the Porcupine Mountains. The hiker was reported to be overdue from his family members at a rental cabin in the park. Instead of entering the park from the east side, he attempted to drive his vehicle down South Boundary Road from the west end, which is closed this time of year and groomed as a snowmobile trail. The driver moved the barricades closing the road and drove down the snowmobile trail approximately five miles before getting his vehicle stuck. After becoming stuck, he loaded his gear onto his sled and walked another 6.5 miles before being located by officers. With the excessive snow falling during the time in which the subject was walking, Mapes said he looked like a ghost, covered in snow. The subject was transported to the rented cabin with no injuries and reunited with his family members.

COs Jason Wicklund and Shannon Kritz gave a presentation at the Iron County predator hunt registration. The COs went over the laws associated with hunting predators and stayed around during the registration and dinner to answer questions.

CO Jared Ferguson patrolled the local backwaters for an annual fishing tournament that takes place every year. Ferguson found high compliance of the fish and game laws. The participants were in good spirits even with the high winds and white out conditions.

CO Jared Ferguson was working a local water impoundment when he came upon a gentlemen who had drifted off the path and was stuck coming off the ice. Ferguson assisted the fisherman with his shovel and was able to get him out of the slush. Upon returning to his vehicle, Ferguson found he left his driver’s side door open and had a ride along. The man’s dog was sitting contently on his driver’s seat. Both parties had a good laugh and the subject was thankful for the assistance provided by Ferguson.

CO Mark Leadman assisted Michigan State Police troopers with several untagged fisher that were found in a subject’s freezer during the execution of a search warrant. Leadman seized the untagged fisher and charges are pending.


CO Michael Evink assisted the Michigan State Police with a possible domestic assault in a rural area of Schoolcraft County. The call was at a location where a domestic had occurred just two days earlier. The situation was resolved without incident this time.

COs Michael Evink and Pat Hartsig conducted a fishing and snowmobile patrol on Big Bay de Noc. While investigating a complaint of unattended tip-ups, the COs noticed a sled coming off shore and met the individual at one of the tip-ups which he claimed. He told the COs he had not been gone long, an hour or so to go home and have lunch. When asked about the loaded rifle he was sitting on, he indicated it was in case he saw a coyote. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Michael Evink and Pat Hartsig patrolled Big Bay de Noc when they received a complaint of unattended tip-ups set out. While investigating the area, Hartsig checked a fisherman to get some information on the location of the tip-ups. While speaking with the fisherman, it was found he has never purchased a Michigan fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Pat Hartsig patrolled Little Bay de Noc and found two ice shanties that were unoccupied and had lines down in the water. Two anglers were contacted in a nearby ice shanty and it was found the lines belonged to them. They had gone to a larger ice shanty to eat lunch. The younger anglers were educated about fishing with lines not in immediate control.

CO Mark Zitnik was dispatched to an ice climber who was hanging from an ice cliff. Once on scene, Zitnik, U.S. Park Ranger Bill Smith and Alger County EMS Services assisted the professional ice climbing instructors in the rescue of the individual who had been hanging upside down by his feet for over 13 minutes. Zitnik escorted the ice climber down the cliff and to the ambulance for medical treatment. As a result of his trauma, he suffered a tension pneumothorax and shoulder injury.


CO Nick Torsky followed up on a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint, where a subject had sent photographs of a vehicle parked at a closed trout lake in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Torsky was able to locate the owner of the suspect vehicle and obtain a confession for fishing during the closed season. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark DePew responded to a complaint from snowmobilers who had found an elk that appeared unhealthy near the snowmobile trail in Vanderbilt. It was determined that the elk had contracted brain worm, which is a terminal disease. DePew safely dispatched the animal and transferred the head to the DNR wildlife lab for testing.

COs Chad Baldwin and Andrea Erratt participated in a Quality Deer Management Association-sponsored trapping weigh-in event in Emmet County. There were over 30 coyotes, bobcats and foxes entered in the contest. The COs made many contacts in the trapping community and were able to speak with trappers one on one about progress and issues concerning the sport.

CO Andrea Erratt observed a snowmobiler run through a stop sign without slowing down or looking either way. Erratt stopped the snowmobiler who said he thought it was a yield sign. Then he said he thought the stop sign (on the snowmobile trail) only applied to cars. Erratt issued a ticket for careless operation of a snowmobile and warned him for failing to stop before crossing a roadway.

CO Duane Budreau gave a talk to the local Cub Scouts in Emmet County at their annual Blue and Gold Banquet. It was about an hour talk about the history and career of a CO as well as fur displays, traps and a vintage Norlund’s Fish Grabber.


CO Colton Gelinas was on patrol in Leelanau County when he was dispatched to assist U.S. Parks Service (Sleeping Bear Dunes) for suspicious activity. Gelinas along with two rangers made contact with a group of six individuals who were filming a war movie. The group had two air rifles that replicated M4s and  an air handgun that replicated a Sig Sauer. The group was filming a movie for a school project. The rangers issued the group a citation, under federal law, pertaining to filming without a permit.

CO Sean Kehoe received a call from a subject who noticed fishing equipment on the ice but observed no fishermen for approximately two days. He also reported that some of the flags on the tip-ups were up. Knowing the location and people that live in the area, Kehoe made a few phone calls and found out that the fishermen were renting a nearby cabin. Kehoe responded to the cabin and was able to account for all the fishermen. During the interview, Kehoe determined by admission and lack of foot tracks in the recent snow, that the lines had not been checked for quite some time and were not visible from the cabin. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines.

CO Patrick McManus and CO Colton Gelinas were patrolling multiple lakes over “Free Fishing Weekend” and contacted numerous first-time anglers taking advantage of the opportunity. After checking participants involved in a perch fishing tournament on one of the local lakes in Leelanau County, the COs found numerous fishing and recreational safety equipment violations among several groups. After numerous warnings, enforcement action was taken.

CO Patrick McManus and CO Colton Gelinas were on patrol in Leelanau County when they observed a vehicle parked on the side of the road near a small area of state land. After exiting their vehicle, the COs noticed a subject walking out of the woods to their location. Upon making contact, the subject said he was scouting for deer and quickly left the area after being identified. When the COs tracked the subject’s footprints into the woods, they located several untagged traps. The subject returned to the area when the COs were exciting the woodlot and admitted to not only setting untagged traps, but failing to check them within 24 hours. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Casey Varriale was patrolling Center Lake in Osceola County when an individual approached his patrol vehicle with a map in hand. The individual was hiking while on a retreat at the Kettunen Center about two miles away. The hiker admitted he was lost and asked for assistance from Varriale. The hiker was returned to his destination and suffered no injuries during his adventure.


COs Matt Liestenfeltz and Craig Neal were returning from a Kalkaska County snowmobile patrol when they came across an overturned Polaris RZR on the side of the road. The driver was able to extract himself from the wreck but the passenger was still trapped inside. The COs were able to assist the passenger out of the overturned vehicle. Upon making contact with the driver, it was discovered that he was highly intoxicated. After conducting field sobriety tests, the driver was placed under arrest for operating while intoxicated (OWI).

CO Ben McAteer was advised by Crawford County Dispatch of a car stuck in the snow at Jones Lake State Forest Campground in Crawford County. McAteer located the campers attempting to dig out their car with an ice scraper and machete. After talking with them, McAteer learned that the couple’s car got stuck two days prior and they had run out of propane, food, and water early that morning. After helping the couple dig and push their vehicle out, the happy campers went into town to get a hot meal.

CO Jon Warner and the United States Coast Guard received a complaint of a truck which had fallen through the ice on Tawas Bay in Iosco County. Further investigation revealed the truck had broken through the ice but was sitting on sand in very shallow water. The owner was identified and able to remove the truck safely.

CO Kyle Bader served arrest warrants on two subjects in regards to shooting a deer with a firearm out of season at the end of December in Ogemaw County. Bond was collected and both subjects were issued a court date.

CO Mark Papineau assisted Gladwin County Sheriff’s Department on a felonious assault incident. They were dispatched to a shots fired complaint which stemmed from an altercation between a 25-year-old and his mother-in-law. The incident occurred when the subjects began fighting over the 25-year-old’s lack of a job and motivation to make an honest living. At some point during the verbal argument, the man pulled a handgun and fired several times at his mother-in-law. The responding law enforcement officers were able to set up a perimeter on residence and negotiate the shooter from the dwelling. He was taken into custody without incident and subsequently arrested for felonious assault.


CO Joe Myers conducted interviews regarding deer taken this past deer season. One hunter confessed to hunting without a license and was convicted of the offense. The suspect was fined $1,400.

COs Joe Myers and Will Brickel conducted interviews regarding suspiciously purchased deer tags during this past deer season. After conducting the interviews, both suspects confessed to taking a deer without a license and using kill tags of another. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Joe Myers was investigating a complaint in Elwell about a deer killed when a large trough of poison was discovered by the CO. After interviewing the suspect about the deer and poison, the suspect confessed to placing the poison in order to kill wildlife and not tagging a deer he had harvested. The suspect was convicted of both counts. The suspect was charged $2,635 for the crimes.

CO Josh Russell conducted a follow up interview with a subject who left his deer blind up for well over a year in Kalkaska County. Russell obtained a full confession and sent the information back to a Kalkaska County CO. Charges are pending.

CO Quincy Gowenlock received a call from the Saginaw Bay U.S. Coast Guard station requesting assistance regarding a complaint of a submerged object in the Saginaw River near the Zilwaukee boat launch. Several boaters called in stating they had run into an unknown object and sustained substantial damage to their boats. Gowenlock with the assistance of CO Joe Myers launched the jet boat and conducted an extensive search of the area. The COs located the remains of an old electrical tower just below the water line. The COs marked the location with a GPS and dropped a temporary hazard marker until the USCG is able to get out and mark with a permanent marker. The GPS coordinates were relayed to the USCG for an immediate broadcast through sector station Detroit.


CO Zach Bauer was on patrol in Three Rivers State Game Area when he came across a vehicle parked in a parking lot. Bauer pulled up to the vehicle to see if he could see any firearms in the vehicle. After looking into the vehicle, CO Bauer observed that the driver had a shotgun between his legs. The driver was discovered deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Michigan State Police was contacted and investigated the incident.

CO Matt Page checked several anglers out targeting steelhead in the Black River. One angler, when asked for his date of birth, hesitated and acted as if he forgot his birthday. The angler stated that he was born in 2002. After a few minutes, Page again asked the angler what his date of birth was and this time the angler stated 2000. After further questioning, the subject fessed up to fishing without a license and being 17 years old. Page made arrangements for the angler to purchase a fishing license and educated the subject on the importance of buying fishing licenses and being honest.

CO Matt Page assisted an Ohio wildlife officer in serving several citations from a case that involved two Michigan residents hunting in Ohio without licenses, shooting a large buck and trespassing. The subjects could face several thousand dollars in fines and costs and potentially have their hunting rights revoked in both states due to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

COs Andy Bauer and Zach Bauer were on a local highway in Berrien County on President’s Day and were off duty, when they came upon an accident that had just occurred. An ambulance had left the road and rolled in the median and had come to rest on its roof. Both COs assisted one of the attendants, who had broken bones in her face, a broken arm, and was pinned under the gurney, which still held the patient that the ambulance had been transporting. The COs provided first aid and subsequently assisted with the removal of the patient, who had been trapped upside down. All of the injured subjects were transported to a local hospital by emergency services.


CO Mike Drexler checked a vehicle at a state game area that appeared to have occupants sleeping in the rear compartment. After several knocks on the window, a young man and women exited the vehicle stating they slept there the night before after a family argument. Drexler made them aware of the laws for camping on state land and enforcement action was taken.

CO Brandon Hartleben was patrolling the Sharonville State Game Area when he was flagged down by a man in one of the parking areas. The man had been shed hunting with his young coonhound a few hours earlier and had lost the dog. Hartleben had not seen the dog, but took down the owner’s name and contact information. Two hours later Hartleben observed the hound sitting in the woods 15 yards off the road. Hartleben approached the dog and noted the blue harness and leash the owner had described earlier. The leash had become entangled around trees and bushes. Hartleben was able to secure the dog in his patrol truck and contacted the owner. The dog was reunited with his family.

CO Brandon Hartleben assisted Island Lake State Recreation Area staff with an incident involving a dog getting caught in a foothold trap near one of the hiking trails. After a lengthy investigation and multiple interviews, it was determined that the trapper was legally trapping on public land using legal methods. Both of the tagged traps removed by the dog owner were recovered and returned to the trapper. The dog owner was warned about trespassing on private property adjacent to the recreation area and for allowing his dogs to roam off leash. The dog did not suffer any injuries from its brief encounter with the foothold.

COs Robert Slick and Jason King received a complaint of a subject that dumped two deer carcasses along a roadway. Slick performed a necropsy on the deer and determined they had been killed with a firearm. A day later the local sheriff’s department received a similar complaint of a suspect vehicle observed in the area on camera. King located the vehicle and contacted the suspect a couple of days later at his residence. The investigation revealed the deer had been taken during the firearm deer season and allowed to rot in a barn. The suspect admitted to dumping the deer carcasses. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Joseph Deppen conducted a couple taxidermy inspections in Macomb County. During one inspection, questions arose due to a lack of proper paperwork and documentation by the taxidermist. One deer rack that grabbed Deppen’s attention was a 6-point with three antler points on either side and was tagged with a restricted tag. Photographs were taken and the rack was seized. The hunter in question will be contacted and prosecution will be sought.

While checking anglers in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen came across a group of juvenile anglers. They were excited about a northern pike that they had caught in the Clinton River which was on a stringer in the water. When questioned about the size of the northern pike, the angler who had caught it said it measured 21 inches. Deppen informed him that the legal length of northern pike is 24 inches. The pike was released back into the river and the anglers were given a warning about keeping short fish.

CO Justin Muehlhauser observed a man fishing at the south end of Lake Fenton. The man was the only person on the ice and appeared to be fishing three tip-ups and another line next to him. When the CO encountered the man, he had two lines propped up next to him, two tip-ups, and a homemade wooden fishing pole all with lines in the water. The man claimed that the third tip-up did not belong to him. He said that he was fishing with his kids who were just picked up approximately 30 minutes prior. The CO instructed the man to gather his gear and meet him back at the patrol vehicle. While checking the third tip-up, the CO spoke to a lake resident. The man informed the CO that the subject had been fishing since 7 a.m. and had been by himself for the past couple of hours. The man did not know who the third tip-up belonged to. All of the tip-ups were unmarked. Enforcement action taken.

CO Dan Walzak, while conducting a taxidermy inspection, found a deer mount with a kill tag that was not validated. Contacting the hunter, Walzak explained the reason for the visit. The subject explained that he knew that he was required to validate the tag but forgot to do so. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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