CO Brian Lasanen attended the Gourmet Gone Wild banquet held in Houghton. Lasanen brought the hunter safety laser shot trailer to the event where 75 attendees were able to try out the system. Lasanen was promoting hunter safety and the modern equipment the department is using in teaching local hunter safety classes. Very positive feedback was received from the group.
CO David Miller responded to a complaint of a cloud of black smoke and located a piece of logging equipment fully engulfed in flames. The equipment was a total loss and the fire was kept from spreading to the nearby forest lands.
CO David Miller was working the walleye opener on Huron Bay. During one of his checks, an individual who was looking for a life jacket opened up a compartment and he had a handgun sitting right on top. At this time the individual finally decided to tell Miller that he has a concealed pistol license. Miller explained to the individual that it is the license holder’s responsibility to immediately notify a peace officer upon contact when in possession of a firearm.
CO David Miller assisted with an ORV instructor safety training session in Escanaba over the weekend. Twenty three student instructors participated in the course, and are now certified as volunteer ORV safety class instructors.
CO Denny Gast gave a law presentation to 26 hunter safety students this week.
CO Nathan Sink was on patrol when a call came across central dispatch of a man shooting a pellet gun in the direction of his neighbor’s residence. Sink responded to assist Michigan State Police and deputies with the belligerent suspect who had retreated into his residence. The local emergency response team responded and the subject refused to exit his residence. After breaching the residence, the team was met by the hatchet yielding subject who was eventually taken into custody by the team and lodged in the Gogebic County jail.
CO Nathan Sink responded to a domestic violence call to assist the deputy on scene. The incident was quickly defused and the situation handled by the sheriff’s department.
CO Jared Ferguson and CO Brian Bacon presented on the career of a conservation officer to the Iron Mountain High School outdoor class.
CO Mark Zitnik was checking salmon fishermen when one boat he contacted stated they had been out all day and had caught only three fish. Zitnik was surprised since fishing had been excellent and almost every boat had been limiting out. When he told the anglers this, they were astonished and wanted to know where they were catching them, how deep it was and what lures they were using. A quick check of the two anglers’ cooler revealed an undersized splake and 14 fish in total, four over their limit. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Zitnik had checked his last lake of the night on the walleye opener when an angler walked by and stated two guys fishing from the shore that he checked earlier had just thrown a bass under a picnic table. Zitnik made contact with the two fishermen and asked how they had been doing. They replied they had caught a bullhead. When the CO asked about the fish under the picnic table the fisherman said it’s a rock bass. Zitnik rinsed the mud off of the 18-inch smallmouth bass and advised it was not a rock bass. A ticket was issued for taking the bass out of season.
CO Tom Oberg received a complaint of a possible dead wolf lying in the ditch off of Rocky Point Road in Chippewa County. Oberg went to the area and located the wolf lying in the swamp down in the ditch. Oberg noticed it was badly decomposing and had been appeared to have been dumped there, due to a garbage bag that was lying underneath it. Oberg examined the wolf for possible bullet wounds, but nothing was found. He turned the wolf over to wildlife biologist Dave Jentoft to be sent to the lab for examination.
CO Jon Busken was on routine patrol when he spotted an ORV being operated by an individual whom Busken knew had a suspended driver’s license. Contact was made with the operator who stated that his driver’s license was still not valid. A status check reviled that the operator could only operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. The operator stated he could have an interlock put on his ORV but did not want to spend the money on it. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Andrea Erratt attended the Boyne Falls High School Career Day. She displayed tanned hides from past cases involving illegal bobcat, mink, beaver, muskrat and coyotes. She answered questions about the education required to become a conservation officer and explained how her job changes with the seasons. Then Erratt drove up to Wilderness State Park where she talked to Mackinaw City first and second graders who were camping overnight. She covered her patrol truck with antlers from illegal deer cases and hides of seized game animals including a black bear, elk, pine martin, bobcat, mink, beaver, muskrat and coyote. Erratt asked the students to identify Michigan’s natural resources and she told stories explaining how she had protected those resources throughout her career.
CO Paul Fox concluded an investigation in Montmorency County regarding a subject taking several deer with invalid tags during the previous firearm deer season. The individual was ticketed for taking deer on private lands with public land tags.
CO Bill Webster, CO Kelly Ross and CO Adam LeClerc assisted the DNR Wildlife Division with a privately owned cervidae facility inspection in Alpena County. Several fencing issues were addressed along with animal traps that were not removed and improperly set. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Adam LeClerc received numerous complaints of a nuisance bear in the city of Alpena. A bear trap was obtained from DNR Wildlife Division and placed on private property where multiple sightings have occurred. The bear is still at large.
CO Colton Gelinas, CO Richard Stowe and Sergeant Dan Bigger participated in a Mass Casualty Training Scenario held by Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department. The scenario was a massive explosion that occurred inside the Leelanau courthouse with a number of casualties and victims. The training was successful in terms of having multiple agencies work together in a time of crisis.
CO Sean Kehoe responded to a local shooting range on state land to see how a volunteer effort to clean the ranges of trash was going. Upon his arrival, it was evident that they were lacking enough volunteers. Kehoe pitched in and helped pick up trash. He picked up two to three garbage bags of pop cans and plastic bottles alone, along with other target type trash. After the range was clean, Kehoe thanked the volunteers and continued his patrol. Three hours later, Kehoe was contacted by one of the volunteers to respond to the range for a complaint. Upon his return, Kehoe found subjects shooting at various items lying on the ground. Kehoe gained a confession as to who put the trash out, pointed out the posted rules indicating what you are allowed to shoot, explained his findings from the clean-up and then cited the subjects for shooting at non-legal targets.
CO William Kinney attended a career fair at the Career Tech Center in Cadillac. Juniors and seniors from 10 different schools from around the area attended the career fair. Approximately 650 students walked the halls of the Career Tech Center learning about new and exciting job opportunities. Kinney spoke on behalf of the Law Enforcement Division educating the students on what a Michigan conservation officer does.
CO Ryan Andrews was on patrol along the Pere Marquette River in Lake County when he located an angler fishing on private property posted “no trespassing.” The angler was contacted and it was determined that he did not have the current owners’ permission to be on the property. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Wells received information that a female subject had posted a photograph of herself with a bearded turkey on a Facebook site and that the caption with the photograph gave admission that she had harvested the turkey. A check of license sales revealed that this female had not obtained a turkey license for this year. Wells made contact with this subject at her residence and a full admission was obtained regarding the taking of the turkey without a license. The firearm used was documented and the turkey was seized. The female subject was issued a citation for taking a turkey without a valid turkey license.
CO Sam Schluckbier received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of someone cutting trees and taking them without a fuelwood permit. Schluckbier patrolled the area and eventually located the vehicle described in the complaint. Upon contact, the bed of the truck was found to be filled with firewood that the subject had cut from state land. The subject admitted to taking the firewood without having a valid permit. Enforcement action was taken and the wood was confiscated.
COs Casey Pullum and Jeff Panich responded to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of a Canada goose shot along the Au Sable River in Oscoda County. Pullum met the complainant who stated he was fishing along the Au Sable just upstream from a house he recognized. While fishing he heard a gunshot come from that property and saw a Canada goose start flopping in the water. As he floated downstream he saw a man standing outside of the residence. The complainant was able to direct the COs to the house where they questioned the homeowner about the incident. The man initially lied about shooting the goose. However, after further investigation and questioning, he admitted to killing it. The man claimed it was because the goose was making a mess of his lawn. The case has been submitted to the Oscoda County Prosecutor’s Office for charges.
CO Steve Lockwood was checking anglers near Wixom Lake recently when he noticed some activity underneath a bridge. Closer observation allowed Lockwood to watch the angler that was tucked underneath the bridge out of sight from the casual observer. After watching the angler for some time, Lockwood approached the man and asked how the fishing was going. He was surprised to see Lockwood and replied that the fishing was slow and he didn’t have any fish. Unfortunately for him, Lockwood was able to locate his stringer of fish. The angler was issued a citation for possession of an undersized northern pike.
While conducting a marine patrol on the Saginaw River, COs Quincey Gowenlock and Will Brickel noted a male and female in a large speed boat that were franticly waving at the COs. Upon contacting the boaters, the COs were informed that they had hit something submerged and their lower end had ripped off and were adrift. The COs were able to tow the vessel back to Saginaw and the launch without incident.
CO Quincy Gowenlock took part in an annual fish release with the fifth graders of Freeland Elementary School at Festival Park in Freeland. Gowenlock was met by 130 students who had been raising chinook salmon from eggs to fry. The students took part in learning about the river systems in the area, fish habitat, and a lesson with the successful release of all fry.
COs Joe Myers, Will Brickel and Joel Lundberg worked a case for an illegally harvested muskie in Midland County. Lundberg received information of a couple of fishermen illegally taking a muskie at the Edenville Dam. He was able to track down the suspects based off the information provided. Brickel interviewed the first suspect and during the interview the suspect lied repeatedly to the CO and denied all involvement in the case. Myers interviewed the second suspect and the fisherman who took the muskie admitted to taking the fish and showed the CO the fish in question. However, the suspect lied to how the fish was caught and retained. Lundberg talked with the suspect and explained that the COs knew about the fish and what happened. Myers later obtained a full confession and a written statement regarding the illegal snagging and retaining of the muskie. Brickel was also able to gain a full confession from the first suspect in a follow-up interview. Evidence was seized and enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling in Huron County, CO Kyle Bucholtz located three subjects fishing from a canoe. While talking with the individuals and checking for required safety items, it was determined that all three subjects were without personal flotation devices. After instructing the operators of the requirement of the safety devices and why they are important, enforcement action was taken.
CO Zach Bauer was on patrol checking boat launches when he came across a boat with three anglers at a launch. The anglers had 30 bluegill in their possession. Further investigation revealed two of the anglers did not have current fishing licenses. Both anglers stated to have caught about 8-10 fish. Two citations were issued for fishing without a license.
CO Tyler Cole was patrolling Witco Ponds in the city of Dowagiac and came across two subjects fishing. Cole observed the two subjects until they packed up their gear and began heading to another area to fish. Contact was made with the subjects and both claimed to have not been fishing. After Cole informed them that he had observed them fishing for nearly 30 minutes, both admitted to fishing without licenses. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Justin Ulberg received information that anglers were catching good numbers of crappie on one of Kent County’s inland lakes. Ulberg checked an angler while he was leaving the lake and discovered the angler was 16 fish over his daily limit. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint of a subject who shot a turkey during the wrong season. The subject had purchased a private turkey license in which he could take a turkey from April 17 – April 30. The subject posted a photograph on a social media website indicating the turkey was shot on May 14. While speaking with the subject, Ulberg asked what season his tag was good for. The subject proceeded in taking the tag out of his wallet. The tag was never validated and never attached to the turkey. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chuck Towns attended the local Turkey Tracks Banquet and spoke to the participants about hunter safety. Turkey Tracks is a nonprofit charity devoted to getting young hunters with disabilities into the outdoors that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. The group was able to fund 15 special needs hunters and provide them with individual guides and private land to hunt.
COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither responded to a complaint of a hunter shooting an over limit of turkeys in Lenawee County. While at the suspect’s residence CO Christopher Reynolds located a set of whitetail antlers on the back porch. Monnich asked the home owner if that was his set of antlers and he proudly answered yes and told the story of shooting the deer during the firearm deer season. Monnich knew that the tag on the antlers did not belong to the homeowner and questioned him about it. The man ultimately confessed to borrowing a tag from a buddy. A report and warrant request is being submitted to the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Troy Ludwig assisted two youth anglers after they had taken on water in their canoe. While removing their gear from the boat, the CO noticed a mesh bag containing three smallmouth bass, taken out of season. After the youth’s father arrived and the canoe was loaded, Ludwig discussed the violation with the youth. The CO explained the importance of season dates and the potential effects of their actions.
CO Matthew Neterer followed up on a social media complaint where a hunter posted a selfie of herself and a friend sitting in a tree stand on opening day of the firearm deer season. Neterer recognized the hunter in the picture because he had given her a warning for a violation during the 2015 firearm deer season. A check of the RSS system showed that the hunter never purchased a hunting license for the 2016 season. When questioned, the hunter admitted to hunting without a license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Maher is looking into reports of a domesticated deer near Lake Columbia in Jackson County. Maher has received several reports from witnesses who claim a white-tailed deer has been coming up to individuals and displays no fear of human activity. The witnesses claim the deer has an orange collar around its neck and one man stated he was able to put a leash on the deer. The investigation continues as Maher has not witnessed the deer himself or determined who is raising the animal.
CO Joseph Deppen was following up on an illegal turkey case when he finally was able to find the suspect at home. Deppen conducted an interview with the subject and was able to obtain a full confession about shooting a turkey without a license as well as shooting an antlerless deer without a license last season. Charges are pending and reimbursement will be sought for the turkey and antlerless deer.
While in route to his residence after a group patrol, CO Kris Kiel responded to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of a subject taking a lake sturgeon during the closed season. Two Sturgeon for Tomorrow members observed a shore angler catch a large lake sturgeon and place it on a stringer along the bank of the St. Clair River in Marine City. When Kiel arrived, he made contact with the angler, who was also trespassing in a gravel storage facility. The subject was in possession of a 59-inch female lake sturgeon. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Matt Zultak observed and contacted a subject fishing at the Holloway Dam. The subject confessed to possessing a smallmouth bass out of season and an undersized walleye. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jacob Griffin received a complaint that a pontoon boat was anchored in a lake simply to advertise a business. Griffin made contact with the owners of the boat. The owner admitted to putting the boat in place so that drivers from a main road could see. Griffin explained to the subject that it is illegal to permanently moor a boat in public waters and that it was a navigational hazard and needs to be removed immediately. Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling Oakland County, CO Christopher Knights was checking a small lake in Oxford Township. He found five anglers out on the water and advised them to come to shore for marine and fish checks. After checking three of the kayakers, Knights noticed none of them had any life jackets on board. He issued all three citations and advised them of the law and how important it is to have them.