Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — April 14, 2017

DISTRICT 1

COs Ethen Mapes and Nathan Sink were attempting to locate an injured bald eagle when they came across a large amount of smoke near Bruce Crossing. Upon investigating, a large pile of trash was found to be burning in a resident’s yard. The large burn pile consisted of couches, televisions, trash bags, construction materials and brush. Enforcement action was taken for burning unlawful materials.

CO Ethen Mapes attended a Wildlife Coalition meeting in Bergland where bear regulations, moose populations, waterfowl updates and other topics related to the area were discussed. Many good questions were answered. The Wildlife Coalition meetings are open to all sportsmen’s groups as well as the public. Attendance is encouraged for anyone interested in our local natural resources.

COs Jason Wicklund and Shannon Kritz had just finished with a prisoner transport when they were dispatched to a one-car vehicle accident with injuries and entrapment. The COs were the closest vehicle and responded immediately where they located the vehicle off the roadway and against a tree. The driver complained of shoulder and neck injuries, so the COs administered first aid until medical personnel arrived.

While patrolling Lac View Desert Lake, CO Shannon Kritz observed two subjects fishing. Contact was made with the subjects and four jig poles were observed being used. The older subject told Kritz he was with his future son-in-law and was just teaching him how to ice fish, since he was from down south. He stated that his son-in-law had not been fishing and that all four lines were his. The father-in-law was cited for fishing with too many lines and the son-in-law purchased his fishing license through the mobile app so he could fish legally.

CO Jeremy Sergey conducted an investigation which led to an individual being charged with license fraud. The individual had purchased numerous Michigan resident hunting and fishing licenses over several years while the individual was a Wisconsin resident.

CO Brett Delonge attended a job fair at NMU and another one at the Ontonagon High School. Numerous individuals approached Delonge inquiring about a career as a Michigan Conservation Officer and how to apply.

DISTRICT 2

CO Pat Hartsig was patrolling Little Bays de Noc on snowmobile when he noticed tip-ups set up outside of an ice shanty and one of the tip-ups had a flag up. Upon close inspection, nobody was inside the shanty. After waiting 30 minutes, an ORV drove to his location. After asking the operator why he had neglected to tend to his tip-up, he stated he was only gone 20 minutes. The ORV operator was also not wearing a helmet, and had a passenger on his ORV when it was only designed for one person. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Chis Lynch and Pat Hartsig conducted a patrol on Little Bays de Noc on the last day of the walleye season. A couple of tickets were issued for fishing with too many lines and for unattended lines. A very good fishing day was had, with most fishermen having caught walleye.

CO Chris Lynch was doing follow-up from meat processor inspections from the 2016 deer season. Lynch contacted a family of hunters due to a suspicious license purchase. Upon talking to the wife of the family, she stated she never got a deer this past deer season. Lynch asked why her deer tag was on a buck at the meat processor then. The husband stated he shot the deer and used his wife’s deer tag. The husband was issued a ticket for using a deer tag of another.

CO Kevin Postma contacted a young individual fishing on a closed stream. The subject advised that he wasn’t from the area and read somewhere that this was a good spot. Postma informed the fisherman that it was a good spot and even better when it is open to fishing. Postma showed the young angler how to look up which trout streams are open and which ones are closed. A warning was given on this day.

CO Tom Oberg was patrolling Raber Bay when he approached a couple of individuals fishing in an ice shanty. Oberg checked their fishing licenses and the fish they caught. Oberg was advised they were both tribal members and noticed a walleye in a five gallon bucket. The individual that caught the walleye did not have a subsistence license. Oberg explained that the St. Mary’s River is part of the Great Lakes and he has to follow state of Michigan fishing season closures and regulations, without a subsistence fishing license. The subject was cited in tribal court for the violation.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau investigated a safety zone violation involving two subjects using a road killed deer carcass as bait in a residential neighborhood. The hunters stated they did not think they were in violation, because no one was home at the time. They thought the term “occupied dwelling” meant someone had to be in the home at the time. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Adam LeClerc assisted the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department and county fire with the search and rescue of a missing 2-year-old and her dog. After a search of the area, the toddler was located approximately a third of a mile away from her residence. The child was checked by medical personnel and returned to her parents.

CO Adam LeClerc attended an 811 Miss Dig community meeting in Alpena. A plan was set up between the multiple agencies for mutual response for pipeline emergencies. After the meeting had adjourned, LeClerc answered questions from the public regarding fish and game laws, and the hiring process to become a Michigan Conservation officer.

CO Kelly Ross obtained warrants for two cases from this past gun deer season. In one case, two subjects had a confrontation over hunting spots on state land in Montmorency County. During the argument, one of the subjects fired three shots over the head of the other. Enforcement action was taken. In the second case, a private landowner had a confrontation with three hunters on public land who he thought were hunting too close to his property. The landowner shot six times over the heads of the other hunters. Additionally, the landowner was driving an ORV on state land, as well as baiting in a non-baiting area. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Mark DePew was patrolling on state land in southern Otsego County when, from a distance, he observed an individual walking, carrying a firearm but not wearing hunter orange. Contact was made with the subject who stated he was predator hunting and was aware he was in violation for not wearing hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 4

CO William Kinney received a complaint of a treestand that appeared to have been left up year round, located on state land in Wexford County. Kinney was able to obtain the owner’s information off the treestand. Kinney later made contact with the owner to inquire about the treestand. The owner told Kinney he has not removed that particular treestand for a number of years and believed that it had been up for 15 years. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Steve Converse and Scott MacNeill were on patrol along a Manistee County trout stream when they discovered a snare that was set along the stream in an area being heavily used by beavers. The snare did not have identification on it and was set on dry land placed on state property. Further inspection of the area revealed several other traps that were legally set and tagged. The COs went to the trapper’s residence and received a confession for the illegally set snare, as well as several additional snares that were set on the trapper’s property. Enforcement action was taken.

While patrolling near the Green Cottage access site of the Pere Marquette River, CO Ryan Andrews contacted a pair of anglers in a drift boat and had a discussion about recreational trespass laws of Michigan. Later in the day, and several miles downstream, the same anglers were observed leaving their boat and walking on posted private property. Contact was made and enforcement action was taken

CO Josiah Killingbeck received a Report All Poaching complaint from a subject who said he had located a treestand left in the woods after the March 1 removal deadline on public land. Killingbeck located the stand which had a name and address attached to it. Killingbeck was able to contact the owner who said he lived down state, was too busy to take down his stands, and did not seem overly concerned about removing his stand. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Lebel received a complaint of a large scale winter deer feeding operation on a property in Mecosta County. Lebel located approximately 500 gallons of turnips in several large piles. The responsible party has been contacted and enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Sam Schluckbier followed a set of vehicle tracks into an area known for predator hunting. After locating the vehicle, Schluckbier watched the hunter release several dogs, place his loaded firearm in the passenger seat, and drive down the road. Contact was made with the hunter who admitted to driving down the road with an uncased loaded firearm. Enforcement action was taken.

After conducting a taxidermy inspection in Kalkaska County, CO Sam Schluckbier interviewed a hunter who was suspected of shooting a deer before purchasing a hunting license. During the interview, the hunter confessed to shooting a 9-point buck the first morning of the firearm deer season. Then he purchased a deer license, after the fact, at a local sporting goods store. The antlers were confiscated from the taxidermist. The requested charges have been submitted to the Kalkaska County Prosecutor’s Office.

While patrolling the Rifle River in Arenac County during the annual Omer Sucker Festival, CO Phil Hudson observed a subject catch a large walleye. From across the river, Hudson watched the angler hide the walleye near his vehicle. Hudson waited until the angler started to leave from his fishing spot and made contact with him on the other side of the river. When Hudson informed the angler what he had observed, the subject retrieved the walleye from a tool box in the trunk of his vehicle. A citation was issued for taking a walleye out of season.

CO Josh Wright swore to a warrant in the Clare County Prosecutor’s Office. The case involved a subject who shot a deer during the firearm deer season without a license. Then he attempted to cover up the crime by using a kill tag that belonged to his father. The man will be arraigned on charges of taking a deer without a license and using a kill tag of another hunter.

DISTRICT 6

CO John Byars made contact with a rabbit hunter on state land. The hunter had harvested a rabbit, skinned it and left skin and guts back in the woods in an unknown location. The CO also noticed his hunting license had been photo copied. The CO educated the hunter on the issues with skinning of game in the field, where species and sex cannot be determined, and leaving the skin and guts. There was also discussion about the hunting license issue. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Joe Myers and Will Brickel were on patrol in Saginaw and Midland counties working the river systems during the walleye closure. During the patrol, the COs made contact with two fishermen who were using colored jig heads in a restricted stretch of river. Enforcement action taken.

COs Joe Myers and Will Brickel were on patrol in the Saginaw County river system when they received a complaint from Richland Township Police Department about a trapper taking muskrats out of season. The COs gathered the information from the officer and made contact with the trapper at his residence. The trapper admitted to trapping ‘nuisance mink’ in road side ditches. The trapper also lied to the COs by saying that he only had two traps set. After an interview with the trapper, Myers found more than seven traps set, five of which were not tagged. The trapper had trapped two muskrats earlier that day in an attempt to trap mink. The trapper was educated about the proper process to obtain a nuisance animal permit, and was issued a ticket for the tagging violations.

DISTRICT 7

CO Zach Bauer was checking fishing licenses on the St. Joe River in St. Joseph County and ran into a subject fishing without a license. The subject, who was from Arizona, couldn’t say he didn’t know he needed a fishing license since he had previously purchased a 24-hour fishing license a week earlier. The subject was cited for fishing without a license.

CO Matt Page is conducting a follow-up investigation into a fatal boating accident that occurred on Keeler Lake in VanBuren County. Two fishermen appear to have overturned their boat and both subjects drowned. The Michigan State Police had responded to the original call and recovered the men’s bodies.

CO Justin Ulberg monitored 6th Street Dam in Kent County due to recent complaints of snagging and anglers taking over-limits of fish. Ulberg observed one angler catch four steelhead and place the fish on different stringers. Eventually another angler left with two of the fish. Contact was made with both anglers and a confession was received that one of the anglers caught all four fish. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ivan Perez remembered a complaint from the fall regarding someone keeping a baby deer and raising it in Robinson Township of Ottawa County. Perez went to the suspect area and could not locate anything. He expanded his search a block in either direction of the complaint and located a young (buck) deer being kept with some goats in a small pen. A female at the residence stated that while walking along the power lines with her husband, they located the baby deer on the verge of death with the fawn’s dead mother nearby. She took it back to her residence and nursed it back to health. As the button buck got older, she let the deer go, but it would always return to the pen at night. She stated that she was going to call a deer farm or rehabber to see what she could do. After explaining the law, and why it’s important to inform the DNR about orphaned animals and not to move them, the deer was seized and she was given a verbal warning for the possession of live game.

CO Cary Foster received a phone call from a local resident in reference to a deer carcass being dumped on the side of a county road where there was a tag attached to a leg. Foster located the carcass and tag. The owner of the tag was located and a confession was obtained for the dumping of the carcass. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Troy Ludwig received a complaint via the Report All Poaching hotline of a duck stuck in a trap near the state secondary complex. Upon arrival, the CO was unable to locate any ducks at the location, but did notice a goose having a difficult time swimming. The CO launched his canoe and attempted to net the goose. Ludwig was unable to net the goose in the water and noted how well the goose was able to swim under water to elude him. Eventually the CO was able to corral the goose on shore and remove a foothold trap. The goose was released without any further incident.

COs Todd Thorn and Jason McCullough responded to a RAP complaint detailing a subject selling protected animals on Craigslist. A subject was contacted on a traffic stop as he left the suspect’s residence. The driver was found to be in possession of a protected species that he had just purchased from the suspect. The animal was seized and the seller was contacted a short time later at his residence. Both the buyer and seller were educated about the illegal sale of wildlife.

CO Shane Webster received a tip from CO Chris Reynolds about a buck shot during the 2016 season by a hunter without a license. Webster tracked the suspect to a residence where his adult son was contacted. The suspect and his wife were out of town for the winter. Webster contacted the suspect by telephone, and after several minutes of conversation, the suspect hung up on Webster. Webster contacted the suspect’s wife, who convinced her husband to talk with him. The suspect confessed to shooting the deer without a license and stated he couldn’t see the deer’s head when he shot. The suspect also stated he never sees bucks and was surprised when he recovered the deer. Charges are pending through the local prosecutor’s office.

CO Todd Thorn conducted an investigation into a complaint of an individual who had killed an over-limit of bucks at night, and within the Lansing city limits. The individual was borrowing tags from family members to tag the bucks. The investigation led from one family member to another and multiple interviews were conducted by COs Thorn, Nickols and Ludwig. The investigation led to search warrants being served on multiple residences by COs Thorn, Neterer, Maher, Slick, Kennedy and McCullough. Evidence was gathered and additional violations were uncovered, including an over-limit of bucks taken by another member of the family. Warrants are being pursued.

DISTRICT 9

While monitoring fishing activity at River Bank Park in Flint, CO Justin Muehlhauser observed two men fishing from the south side of the river. Both of the angler’s lines were equipped with orange Twister Tail swim baits. Both men were in violation of gear restrictions during the closed walleye season. When Muehlhauser contacted the men, it was discovered that both were fishing without a valid fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol in Macomb County, COs Brad Silorey and Kris Kiel received a RAP complaint from dispatch. The complainant described an individual who was fishing at a marina and was over-limit on yellow perch. Upon arrival at the marina, the complainant stated that the subject had just left before the COs arrived. Based on the description of the subject, Kiel had a good idea who the subject may be. The subject has been known to fish both in the morning and evening at the same marina. Knowing that the subject may return, Silorey and Kiel left the area and returned several hours later. The subject’s vehicle was spotted when the COs returned. When the subject packed up to leave for the day, the COs made contact. Silorey and Kiel questioned the individual on how many fish he had, and he stated that he did not have a limit. Silorey counted the fish, and he was found to be over the daily limit of perch by four fish. Silorey told the subject he had one opportunity to tell the truth, and then questioned the subject on how many fish he had caught in the morning. The subject stated that he had an additional 30 perch at home from fishing in the morning. The COs then followed the subject to his residence where they found an additional 47 perch on ice in the subject’s garage. The subject, in total was in possession of 101 yellow perch; over double the daily limit. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Matthew Zultak witnessed a subject unloading construction waste from their vehicle onto state land in the Lapeer State Game Area. A citation was issued and a warrant arrest was made on the vehicle operator for failure to pay child support. The subject was turned over to the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Department.

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