Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — June 9, 2017
A long night paid off for Conservation Officer Denny Gast. The spring smelt run had been hit or miss in most locations. At 4 a.m., Gast located an area where the run was on and anglers were dipping their two-gallon limits in about five minutes. The last individual out of the hotspot was dipping way too long; when checked he had a five gallon bucket filled to the top with smelt. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Dave Miller followed up on a complaint of a subject spearing walleye. Coincidentally, as Miller was out on patrol, the suspect’s mother flagged him down with an unrelated question. After answering her question, Miller asked her if her son was around. She responded that he was inside the house and went and got him. After a brief interview with the suspect law enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Lasanen received a complaint of a turkey hunter who had just shot from a vehicle while within the safety zone of a residence. The complainant was able to identify the vehicle and also the suspect. Lasanen located the suspect and after a short interview it was determined the suspect had not shot at the turkey from in a motor vehicle. As to the safety zone violation, the suspect stated he was about 200 yards away from the complainant’s residence when he shot. Lasanen asked about the house that was behind him, which was determined to be less than 50 yards away, and he advised that doesn’t count because he was not shooting in that direction. Law enforcement action taken
CO David Miller worked smelt dipping activities on the Falls River. He ticketed a crew for taking well over their two gallon limit per person (18 gallons = 125 pounds). He worked the Falls River and Linden Creek the following night and ticketed a subject for taking and overlimit of smelt (77 gallons = 290 pounds worth.) The 415 pounds of smelt were seized and distributed to local families in need.
CO Jeffrey Dell received a complaint of an out-of-season muskie being taken at the Hattie Street Bridge. Dell made contact with the suspects. The fish, which was 49 inches long and weighed 40 pounds, was seized and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Leadman reports that a subject who shot a bear last season without a license has been fined a total of $4,500. The subject will spend five days in jail and has lost all hunting privileges until 2020.
CO Kevin Postma was reviewing photos from a hidden trail camera of individuals fishing on a closed trout stream. Postma was able to identify the fishermen because one was wearing a sweatshirt with his last name across the back of it. A report will be sent to the local prosecutor’s office.
CO Calvin Smith made contact with a fisherman who was enjoying some success on a Type D trout lake. When asked what the fisherman was using, he stated, “A black Mister Twister.” Smith then asked the fisherman if he could check his tackle box. The fisherman said “Yeah you can look in there but I probably have some stuff that I’m not supposed to have back here.” A quick search turned up a half dozen night crawlers that were hidden in a compartment. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Bobby Watson was patrolling a local Type D trophy trout lake when he observed a group of four young fishermen in a canoe and two kayaks. Watson watched the young men fish for some time before making contact when the canoe came to shore. Watson then greeted the fishermen and called for the remaining two kayaks to also come ashore. Throughout the check, Watson discovered the fishermen had been using live bait which is prohibited, they had retained an over limit of brook trout, and all the brook trout in their possession were undersized. Also, in an attempt to hide his catch, one of the young men dumped a Ziploc bag with an unknown amount of fish back into the lake before coming to shore. One of the fishermen also failed to purchase his 2017 fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Lynch received a complaint of out-of-season walleye photos on social media. The anglers were contacted and it was determined no violations had occurred; however, Lynch became suspicious of some nice deer photos. It was determined the deer were harvested before the hunter purchased his deer hunting license and the hunter had been doing this for quite some time. Lynch received a confession on four illegal trophy bucks. The deer mounts were seized and enforcement action was taken.
CO Andrea Erratt checked two fishermen by their vehicle on Horton Creek and observed their friend walking down the hill with nothing in his hands. The first two fishermen had fishing licenses but the third individual claimed he had not been fishing. He claimed he had just walked in with his friends along Horton Creek and got lost so he walked out of the property at the top of the hill. Erratt asked if he knew the owner of the heavily posted property where they were fishing and he said no. Erratt asked him what was in the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and he produced a box of worms. Erratt explained to him that it was very unusual for someone to be out walking in the rain on a designated trout stream with worms in his pocket on opening weekend and not fishing. He admitted he had been fishing on Loeb Creek earlier but claimed he had left his rod at his grandmother’s house. Erratt asked him if she would find his fishing rod when they walked up the road to where he exited the private property and he said no. Erratt walked up the hill and located a fishing rod in the grass next to the road that the individual admitted was his. Erratt ticketed the individual for fishing without a license and warned him for recreational trespass.
CO Andrea Erratt attended the Charlevoix Rod and Gun Club Youth Day event where over 200 children attended to fish for brook trout in the pond, tie flies, and shoot archery, shotguns, and .22 rifles. Erratt covered her patrol truck with hides of animals and deer antlers from past cases involving illegal bobcat, mink, beaver, muskrat, coyote and deer. Erratt talked to kids about all of the furs, how she obtained all the animals, and a conservation officer’s duties.
Sgt. Mark DePew received information about an individual illegally trapping on private property. Upon investigation, it was determined the individual was in violation of numerous trapping laws including failing to check traps within 24 hours, no identification on the traps, and trapping out of season. Charges are being pursued through the Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs William Kinney and Colton Gelinas were patrolling for ORVs in the northern part of Wexford County. The COs located a jeep parked in an area that was prohibited to motor vehicle traffic. The COs made contact with the operator to inform him of the closed area. After further questioning the driver, it was found he had several outstanding warrants for his arrest. The driver was placed under arrest and later turned over to Grand Traverse County to answer for his outstanding warrants.
CO Kyle Publiski was patrolling Lake County when he stopped a side-by-side for displaying an expired license plate. Publiski made contact with the two occupants and determined the operator had a suspended driver’s license. After issuing the driver a citation for operating on a suspended license, Publiski allowed the licensed passenger to drive the ORV from their location. A short time later, CO Josiah Killingbeck stopped the ORV for failing to stop at stop signs and for careless operation in downtown Luther. Enforcement action was again taken for the operation violations.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was on patrol in Lake County checking a campground known for problems during the trout opener. While driving through, Killingbeck observed a camp with no camp registration displayed. The campsite had beer bottles strewn everywhere and no one was around. Killingbeck knocked on the camper door and woke two subjects who said they had been in the campground for two nights and were planning on paying for their campsite at some point that weekend. Killingbeck explained the rules to the subjects who said they knew they were supposed to pay for a camp site before use. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Steve Converse assisted with a joint recovery of a vehicle and trailer that had gone into the Manistee River. The driver of the vehicle was backing his boat trailer into the water and forgot to put it in park when he got out to unload the boat. Converse and the Manistee County Sheriff’s Department, along with a towing service, were able to extract the vehicle and trailer from the river.
CO John Huspen received a complaint from Crawford County central dispatch of an angler stranded on Lake Margrethe with a boat motor that would not run. The man reported that no other boats were on the lake, and he was a few miles from the access site. The weather consisted of 20 mile per hour winds which caused breaking white caps. Huspen launched his boat, was able to reach the subject and towed the disabled vessel and its passenger back to the access site where he assisted the subject in loading the vessel.
CO Sam Schluckbier checked several anglers on the Manistee River in Kalkaska County. One angler was using a spinning rod and treble hook baited with a worm in the gear-restricted area of the river. That particular section of the river is artificial flies only when fishing for trout. After speaking with the individual, he eventually admitted he was aware of the gear restriction rule. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Nick Atkin was conducting surveillance on anglers in Arenac County when he witnessed one of the anglers appear to keep an undersized pike. Atkin continued to watch before he eventually contacted the angler. In addition to possessing an undersized northern pike, the angler was also found to be fishing with too many lines. Enforcement action was taken for the violations
CO Ethan Gainforth checked a local dam and observed two female anglers fishing. Meanwhile, Gainforth tucked in and was waiting for a vessel to come to the launch to check their catch. As he waited for the vessel, the female anglers noticed him and immediately stopped fishing. They put their fishing gear into their car and started to pull away when Gainforth made contact with them. He asked the driver how the fishing was and she stated that she had not been fishing. Gainforth advised her that he had watched her fishing a couple minutes prior. In addition to fishing without a license, the angler was also found to be operating a vehicle without a driver’s license. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Joe Myers and Quincy Gowenlock had a trial in the Gratiot County 65B District Court over a deer case from last season. The incident involved a baiting case where an excessive amount of bait was used and a number of illegal deer were shot over the bait. The COs estimated a minimum of two metric tons of bait was placed on a section of property. The COs made contact with four hunters hunting over the illegal bait including one hunter that was not wearing hunters orange. The hunter who was not wearing hunters orange was the property owner and admitted to placing the bait. The property owner was tried and convicted of his crimes. A sentencing hearing will be set in the near future.
COs Chad Foerster and Jay Person assisted the local Midland County Fire Department with a rescue on the Tittabawassee River at the Dow Dam. During the walleye opener, two anglers were in their small boat when they lost power and ended up washing into the upstream side of the dam. The boat got lodged sideways on a 45 degree angle with the anglers sitting on the port side gunnel to keep it from rolling over. Person and Foerster maneuvered their boat on the down side of the dam in case the boat let loose and the anglers went over the dam The Midland Fire Department maneuvered a boat on the top side of the dam and retrieved the anglers from the boat. Both anglers were extracted without incident and the boat later washed over the dam resulting in a total loss.
CO Joel Lundberg worked the walleye season opener and conducted nighttime surveillance from several vantage points on specific groups of anglers at midnight on the opener. Later in the day, Lundberg observed two individuals come back to the river that had already taken their limit of walleye. Lundberg seized the fish in their boat and went back to the angler’s residences and seized the other fish they had caught the night before. The individuals had entered their fish in the local walleye tournament and kept their two largest walleye alive in a livewell in one of the angler’s basement. The individuals were going to re-enter those fish in the tournament the following day with their next day’s catch of fish. Enforcement action was taken and the tournament officials were contacted in regards to the anglers’ conduct. The tournament officials are looking at banning the anglers from entering the tournament in the future.
CO Cary Foster responded to a Report All Poaching complaint that linked him to a “YouTube” video showing a subject killing two turkeys with one shotgun blast. A quick look at the suspect’s RSS purchases revealed the suspect had not purchased any 2017 turkey tags. Upon making contact with the suspect, a confession was quickly obtained. The suspect admitted he shot both turkeys with one shot and he had not purchased any tags. He advised he did not know why he put it on YouTube. Both turkey parts were seized as evidence and enforcement action was taken.
CO Greg Patten received a Report All Poaching complaint of a subject with a juvenile cottontail rabbit in possession. The complainant said that the person in possession was told that they could not possess a wild rabbit. Patten contacted the suspect and seized the rabbit. The suspect purchased a cage from a pet store for the rabbit before Patten arrived. The suspect said that she had no idea that it was illegal to possess a wild rabbit, but then said that she was going to call the DNR about it. The rabbit was in possession for at least two days. The rabbit was taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and enforcement action was taken.
CO Tyler Cole was patrolling a city-owned piece of property in Cass County when he came upon a vehicle parked well past what is allowed. Nobody was found in or near the vehicle, so Cole patrolled on foot to attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle. Cole located the owner approximately 10 minutes later mushroom hunting and questioned as to why he had parked where he did. The subject stated that he did not realize he was not allowed to park there and did not see any signs when pulling in. After talking further with the subject, it was found that he had entered the property where it was obviously marked and he decided to ignore the sign and take his chances. A citation for ORV trespass was issued.
CO Isaac Tyson contacted a fishing boat on a local lake. Tyson asked if the subjects had any fish in the boat. One of the subjects stated he had a pike in the livewell. Tyson informed the subject that pike season was closed. The subject stated they were not going to keep the fish. Tyson explained that if a fish is in their livewell then they illegally possess the fish regardless of their intentions. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Shane Webster received a Report All Poaching complaint of a subject who shot a turkey and possibly used another person’s license. Webster investigated and found the subject was still a resident of Ohio and had used his father’s resident turkey license. The subjects confessed to their actions and the turkey was seized. Charges are pending through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Todd Thorn located two vehicles parked in the Dansville State Game Area and noticed that there were firearm cases in both vehicles. Thorn ran the license plates and found that the registered owners of both vehicles had public land turkey kill tags for the hunt period beginning the next day. Thorn was able to locate two hunters who were hunting a day earlier than their licenses allowed. After conversations with both hunters, Thorn decided to educate and warn them and had them end their hunts immediately.
CO Matthew Neterer followed up on a bald eagle harassment case in Lansing where the complainant stated there were people flying drones near the eagle’s nest but did not provide any suspect information. Neterer responded to the nest and observed two healthy eaglets.
CO Robert Slick received a complaint of juveniles causing damage to a hunting blind in Shiawassee County. The owner of the blind had trail camera photos of the individuals. Slick recognized the individuals in the photos and made contact with them. During the interview, the individuals admitted being on the site, but only one time. Slick informed them about the photographs showing them on site multiple times. Enforcement action was taken.
While on a group ORV patrol in Macomb County, COs Joseph Deppen, Kris Kiel, and Brad Silorey responded to a complaint about ORVs operating on private property. Upon responding to the area, the COs contacted three individuals trespassing on private land. Two out of three of the ORVs were unregistered. The riders were also in possession of marijuana and consuming alcohol. Enforcement action was taken.
While on patrol in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen received an in-progress RAP complaint of hunters shooting turkeys out of a moving vehicle. Deppen drove to the suspected location and observed the hunters in the field. He contacted the hunters as they were leaving the field. After extensive questioning, the hunters admitted to shooting at turkeys while in a motor vehicle and possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. Deppen followed the hunters to their hunting location around the field and found four spent shotgun shells that were the same as the shotgun shells in the hunter’s pockets. When Deppen asked for the hunters’ identification and hunting licenses, one hunter did not have his turkey license on him. The other hunter had a turkey license; however, it was not valid until the following day. The hunter admitted to an error in judgment and hunting turkeys without a valid hunting license. The hunters’ firearms were documented and enforcement action was taken.
While on fisheries patrol in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen received a Report All Poaching complaint of an angler keeping largemouth bass out of season. Deppen responded to the location and spoke with the angler at his residence. The angler admitted to fishing, but swears that he threw all the largemouth bass back into the water. Deppen asked to check the angler’s house for further evidence of any fish. The angler allowed Deppen into his house to verify his fishing license and identification. Upon entering the house, Deppen noticed largemouth bass fillets out on the counter. There were also largemouth bass carcasses in the trash can. The angler finally admitted to catching fish and eating them on a daily basis. A consented search of the angler’s freezers yielded a total of 29 largemouth bass, along with another suspected 13 bags of largemouth bass and catfish fillets. There were also rock bass, perch, catfish, bowfin and sheepshead in the freezer. Upon checking the angler’s license, it was found he had not purchased a license since 2008. Enforcement action included seizing all of the illegal fish, reimbursement will be sought for the illegal fish, and possible license revocation will be sought for the angler.