Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 31, 2017


COs David Miller and Ethen Mapes assisted the Great Lakes Enforcement Unit and the Special Investigations Unit with the execution of a search warrant on an individual’s residence and place of business in Chassell. The suspect was selling smelt as bait, which had been brought in from Canada that had not been inspected or certified to be disease free for invasive organisms. Law enforcement action was taken and approximately 150 pounds of smelt were seized.

CO Doug Hermanson is investigating a complaint from a local timber company where someone has been cutting standing trees in Baraga County. Over 20 trees have been taken.

CO Ethen Mapes reported that an illegally taken bear case that occurred in 2016 has been adjudicated. Two Ontonagon County men were sentenced on the charges of taking a black bear without a license and out of season. One individual was ordered to pay $2,939.78 and the other $3,070. Both had three-day jail sentences suspended so long as they comply with all terms of their probation.

CO Ethen Mapes is investigating a complaint of three turkeys being taken out of season in Ontonagon County.

CO Mark Leadman was notified by an ambulance driver that a raccoon was wandering in the state highway just outside of Marquette. The ambulance driver had attempted to drive the raccoon off the highway when he noticed that it was not acting normally and was possibly suffering from distemper. Leadman located the animal just as it wandered back into the highway nearly causing a three-car collision. The raccoon was removed and will be referred over to wildlife for testing.

CO Mark Leadman and Corporal Marvin Gerlach conducted a minnow dealer/minnow catcher inspection at a local bait shop. The owner had failed to submit the proper monthly catch reports and had been reminded two times over the past two months. This time, the owner was ticketed for failing to submit the required monthly reports and instructed to submit the late paperwork within the next week to avoid further legal action.


CO Pat Hartsig was patrolling Little Bays de Noc when he noticed a tip-up near shore with its flag up. After waiting over half an hour, two men riding on one ORV came from a nearby residence. Contact was made and enforcement action was taken for fishing with lines not in immediate control, riding double on an ORV and not wearing helmets on the ORV.

CO Pat Hartsig, along with members of the Great Lakes Enforcement Unit, spoke to a local sport fishing club about regulations as they pertain to state licensed commercial fishermen.

CO Pat Hartsig spoke to a conservation class at Escanaba High School. Many questions about the day-to-day actions of a CO and the requirements of the job were answered to the eager high school students.

COs Robert Freeborn and Michael Evink conducted a snowmobile sound meter patrol in a very busy snowmobile area. The COs made contact with several snowmobilers who were out enjoying the nice weather and trails. The COs were able to test several snowmobiles for loud exhaust. Seven citations were issued for snowmobiles with loud exhausts with the loudest being 97 decibels which is nearly ten times louder than the legal limit of 88 decibels.

COs Bobby Watson and Calvin Smith received a tip of a trap being left out on state land after the closure of trapping season. The complainant informed the COs the trap had no sign of any recent activity, and had a fisher caught in it which appeared to have been dead for quite some time. The COs hiked into the woods and located the trap and the fisher. The investigation is ongoing.

As CO Calvin Smith approached a group of three fishermen on Big Manistique Lake, he observed two fishermen exit their ice shack and remove two tip-ups. Unfortunately for the fishermen, Smith had already counted 11 lines as he was approaching on his snowmobile. When Smith made contact with the group, one angler stated,” I will take the ticket. I had extra tip-ups set out.” Enforcement action was taken.


CO Steve Speigl was contacted by a landowner who had placed a trail camera to capture pictures of snowmobiles trespassing on their property. Several snowmobiles were caught on camera and using the registrations Speigl and CO Chad Baldwin followed up with the owners of the snowmobiles. Several tickets were issued for the violations.

CO Paul Fox was at his residence in Presque Isle County when he noticed something out of the ordinary lying on the river bank across from his home. Fox looked closer with the aid of binoculars and discovered that it appeared to be a person who had fallen through the ice on the river. He quickly responded to the location, which was near a small cabin in a remote area on the opposite bank. Fox’s patrol truck became stuck in deep snow as he approached the area. He then continued on foot and came upon a set of footprints that left the cabin and went toward the river. Fox followed the tracks and found a female subject lying on the edge of the river. Closer inspection revealed the female was suffering from a stab wound to her chest. Fox was able to carry the subject up from the river as additional units arrived. The victim was transported to the area hospital with severe hypothermia, frostbite and a stab wound. Further investigation uncovered that the female had been in an argument with her husband the previous evening and had stabbed herself in the chest after he had left the residence. She then wandered down to the river and had fallen in the water. The victim then spent the night on the water’s edge after falling through the ice.

CO Bill Webster was patrolling Grand Lake in Presque Isle County. As he was approaching a portable ice shack, he noticed the angler had the door open and was reeling up a jig pole. The angler then threw the jig pole into the back of the ice shack in attempts to hide it. Webster counted three tip-ups set up around the shack. When he questioned the angler about the jig pole, the angler was surprised Webster had noticed it. Enforcement action was taken for using too many lines.


CO William Kinney was contacted by CO Steve Converse in regards to a discrepancy in a deer tag that was discovered at the local meat processor in Wexford County. Kinney contacted the hunter to question him about the deer tag. The hunter had shot a 7-point buck and neglected to purchase a kill tag prior to hunting because he didn’t think he was going to see a deer and had limited time to hunt. Since the hunter had been successful, he went a purchased his kill tag the following day. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Josiah Killingbeck and CO Ryan Andrews were driving by a local hardware/sporting goods store when a 911 call went out that the store they were in front of had shoplifters inside. The COs stopped and detained the suspects until deputies arrived. The COs assisted in the investigation and interviews. After watching video footage, the COs obtained a confession from a suspect that had stolen fishing bobbers by putting them down his pants and then putting them in a vehicle before re-entering the store. Two of the three suspects had warrants and were arrested and lodged in the Lake County Jail. One suspect had told Killingbeck that they were planning on fishing in Newaygo County, but did not have fishing licenses. CO Killingbeck advised the subjects that it was in their best interest to get fishing licenses before getting themselves into more trouble.

While on patrol in Lake County, CO Ryan Andrews received information that someone was illegally baiting deer near hunting blinds on vacant property. During the investigation, Andrews found several old bait sites that had some residual feed on the ground. The landowner was contacted and he admitted to feeding wildlife to help them through the cold winter. A warning was issued and the landowner was educated on the laws pertaining to baiting and feeding.

CO Ryan Andrews and CO Casey Varriale were on patrol on the Pere Marquette River in Lake County when they witnessed three individuals standing on a river bank that was posted as private property. Varriale and Andrews made contact with the individuals and asked why they were stopped on the river bank. One of the kayakers said that his friend had capsized into the 38 degree water. Because of the frigid water and 20 degree weather conditions, Varriale and Andrews escorted the individual to his personal truck to retrieve dry clothes and warm him up. The individual was observed for signs of hypothermia, and was thankful that the COs were able to help him before hypothermia had set in.


COs John Huspen and Chuck McPherson were patrolling on snowmobiles in the Frederic area of Crawford County. The COs encountered numerous violations for operating within a railroad right-of-way, failing to stop before crossing a public highway and driving while license suspended. Two of the subjects that were contacted also had outstanding warrants for their arrest; one of the subjects was lodged on a felony warrant.

CO Sam Schluckbier responded to a snowmobile accident in Kalkaska County. Schluckbier observed CPR being performed on the victim upon his arrival. He took over from the first person on scene who was conducting CPR and continued until additional emergency medical personnel arrived. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. The investigation is still on-going; however, alcohol, drugs, and speed may have been contributing factors to the crash.

CO Casey Pullum conducted a taxidermy inspection in Ogemaw County and located two sets of white-tailed deer antlers from Kansas. Both sets of antlers still contained brain matter in the skull cap. Kansas is a known chronic wasting disease (CWD) state. Both sets of antlers were seized for violating importation bans in Michigan restricting the movement of cervids and associated parts from states confirmed to have CWD. The owners of the antlers were interviewed and charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Kyle Bader participated in a presentation to 125 whitetail enthusiasts who are working on setting up a Whitetail Deer Management Association co-op in Ogemaw County. Other speakers at the meeting included a representative from Quality Deer Management Association, a representative from Ogemaw Conservation District, Ashley Autenreith from the DNR Wildlife Division, and food plot expert Ed Spinazzola.


While on foot patrol on public land, CO John Byars noticed an area heavily used for target practice where many trees were used for the back stop. The area was littered with target paper and other items of litter. Byars conducted an investigation of the area, collected evidence and cleaned up the litter. The investigation is pending.

The annual boat show took place at the Birch Run Expo Center where COs Will Brickel, Bob Hobkirk, Jill Miller, Joe Myers, Sgt. Scott Brown, Sgt. Ron Kimmerly and Sgt. Tony Soave took various shifts to answer questions from the public regarding hunting and fishing regulations and marine safety. The COs also operated the hunter education program laser shot trailer which was enjoyed by many youths.

Numerous perch fishermen have been fishing in the marinas, cuts, rivers and ditches on the west side of Huron County. CO Robert Hobkirk reports high compliance with fishing regulations with numerous fishermen asking about the new perch limit in Saginaw Bay and how it applies to where they are fishing. In all of his contacts, Hobkirk encountered one fisherman who was fishing with no license. The fisherman was issued a citation for the violation.

CO Robert Hobkirk received a call from an individual who owns a privately owned cervid facility in Huron County. The individual was upset because coyote hunters had been hunting close to his facility with hounds and as a result some of his deer had gotten seriously injured within the pens. Hobkirk met with the deer facility owner and determined that no hunting laws had been broken by the hound hunters. The facility owner informed Hobkirk that he may seek civil action against the hunters for his lost and injured deer.


CO Chuck Towns assisted Allegan County Sheriff, Michigan State Police, and other agencies on a fugitive search of a breaking and entering suspect who lead a deputy on a pursuit then fled into a wooded area. The suspect was eventually apprehended with the assistance of local residents, who called in the location of the suspect as they were watching from inside their homes.

CO Zach Bauer was on patrol working a dam in his area when he noticed a vessel with three anglers fishing in a restricted area, within the buoys below the dam. Contact was made with the anglers. Further investigation revealed that one of the anglers was fishing without a license. Citations were issued for operate a vessel in a restricted area, as well as, fishing without a license.

CO Zach Bauer was on patrol when he was contacted by Station 20 of a possible illegal deer that was just taken. Bauer arrived on scene and made contact with the complainant, who stated that he saw three or four subjects drive back in a field in a truck, shoot a deer and then load it up in the back of the truck and take off. Contact was made with the suspect who said the deer was hit by a car and they went and dispatched it. The deer was located and it was discovered that the deer was hit by a car; however, no law enforcement agency was notified about the subjects dispatching the deer, nor did they have a road kill permit. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Matt Page cited a subject for fishing a closed stream and seized two steelhead that were caught out of the closed stream. The subject who was fishing stated he didn’t know the stream was closed because he was not local. His friend was local and was not fishing. Page made a comment to the friend “Let me guess, you don’t have a pole because you knew that the stream is closed” and he nodded his head in agreement. The fisherman then admitted that his friend told him that the stream was closed. A citation was issued.


CO Jason McCullough completed an investigation that started in January 2016. McCullough received a complaint of deer carcasses being dumped at a local business just after the New Year. McCullough located evidence in the carcass pile that led to a business where the suspect and suspect vehicle were observed on security camera images. McCullough recognized the suspect vehicle from another trespassing complaint in the same area. In early October 2016 the suspect vehicle returned to the same area of the trespass and the suspect fled from CO Goss and McCullough on foot and was picked up by another vehicle. From the vehicle that was abandoned at the scene of the trespass Goss and McCullough were able to obtain the identity of the suspect, who was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants. The suspect was picked-up by the local fugitive team several days later. McCullough interviewed the suspect in county jail. The resulting interview revealed the suspect had not only dumped the deer carcasses in January but also shot one of the deer without a license in October of 2015. Additionally, McCullough was able to obtain a confession on another deer taken without a license in 2013. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Reynolds, while on patrol, heard a “be on the lookout” for an ORV operating at high rates of speed on a local roadway. Reynolds and CO Carter Woodwyk responded and observed the ORV with the operator wearing no helmet. Upon stopping the ORV other violations were observed. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Carter Woodwyk and Chris Reynolds conducted multiple interviews related to possible illegal deer cases in Hillsdale County. During one interview, a suspect admitted to hunting on Nov.  15, 2016 without a deer license, and stated that he shot a 9-point deer on the morning of Nov. 16, 2016. After the COs confronted the suspect about not purchasing his deer tags until late in the afternoon on16th, he attempted to revise his story saying he might have shot it in the evening. After further questioning the suspect admitted that “he was caught.” Charges are being sought through the Hillsdale County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Todd Thorn received a complaint of two subjects shooting over-limits of bucks and borrowing tags from other family members. The investigation led Thorn and CO Troy Ludwig to a deer processor who has intentionally been manipulating his records to avoid paying federal income taxes. The investigation revealed all five of the illegal deer were taken to the processor and never recorded. Thorn and CO Rich Nickols conducted follow-up interviews of the subjects involved in the loaning of kill tags and confessions were obtained. The subjects who killed the deer were not buying proper licenses, in addition to the over limit of bucks. Charges are being sought on multiple individuals through the local prosecutor’s office.


While conducting a taxidermy inspection in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen found an antlered deer rack, which had three points on either side tagged with a restricted tag. When the hunter was contacted, he claimed that he did not know he tagged the deer improperly. The hunter was educated and enforcement action was taken.

CO Brad Silorey received a text-to-RAP complaint from dispatch of an individual who posted video of himself intentionally running over a coyote. Upon contact with the subject he immediately denied that it was intentional. Once Silorey informed the subject that he has the video footage of the incident, the subject changed his story. The video shows the subject driving to the left side of the roadway and hitting the coyote. The subject admitted to intentionally striking the coyote with his vehicle. Enforcement action was taken, and a report will be submitted to the county prosecutor in which the incident occurred.

CO Travis Dragomer located an individual fishing on the downstream side of Holloway Dam in Genesee County. Dragomer made contact with the individual and located four walleye on the stringer. The individual stated that one of the walleye may have been small. Dragomer measured the walleye and located two undersized walleye. One walleye measured 14 inches and one walleye measured 14.5 inches. Enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol in Oakland County, CO Christopher Knights got a call from a ranger at Bald Mountain State Park. He stated they found a vehicle that was stuck in the game area and looked like it had been there for a day or so. The park ranger wanted assistance with finding and interviewing the individual. Knights ran the plate and got a possible match who lived in Troy. Knights went to the residence of the individual, and interviewed him. He stated it was his truck and he drove back in the game area to reach a fishing spot he heard about from a friend. Knights advised him it was illegal and at no time are motorized vehicles allowed in the state game area. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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