Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 22, 2017


CO Ethen Mapes and CO Brian Lasanen noticed a truck parked alongside a road with a bow case inside the vehicle. It was after shooting hours and the hunter had still not returned to the vehicle. The COs tracked the subject down, who was struggling to carry all of his equipment and his harvested deer. Mapes and Lasanen assisted the man in the hauling everything back to his pickup. The hunter was very happy to receive helping hands after a successful, but chilly hunt.

CO Ethen Mapes interviewed a hunter who was in possession of a deer with his wife’s tag on it. He claimed that his wife shot the deer. Mapes followed up with the spouse at their residence by asking her if she had been sitting in a plastic chair or a metal chair. She said, “The plastic chair because the metal one was too cold.” When Mapes told her that there were no chairs in the blind, she confessed that she had bought the license for her husband. Enforcement action was taken for using the tag of another.

CO Jared Ferguson, CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy were meeting up for a decoy patrol when they noticed several deer hanging behind a local hotel. Further investigation found the three deer were harvested in Wisconsin and transported to Michigan. Due to the concern of CWD and its transmission, the COs tracked the hunters down and enforcement action was taken.

CO Brian Bacon and Sgt. Marc Pomroy responded to the complaint of a dead wolf on the evening prior to the firearm deer opener. The COs located the wolf hidden under a pine tree with evidence found to suggest the animal was shot. The COs located a trap site near the location of the wolf and evidence was gathered that suggested the wolf was caught in a trap, shot and then hidden nearby. Through prior checks of trappers in the area, Pomroy and Bacon narrowed a suspect list down and conducted interviews. Two days later, the COs obtained a confession from a subject who stated he had caught the animal in his leg hold trap and shot it. Evidence was seized and warrants are being sought with the Iron County Prosecutor’s Office.


CO Bobby Watson received a text message from an informant telling him he should check the American Legion buck pole on the opening day of deer season. Upon arrival, a 4-point buck tagged with a deer combo-restricted license was discovered, making the deer illegal. Watson and CO Calvin Smith made contact with the hunter responsible for harvesting the deer and discovered the hunter was a convicted felon. Not only was the hunter a felon in possession of a firearm, but it was also discovered that the firearm used to harvest the deer was stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Bobby Watson was traveling back to his residence at the end of his patrol when he observed a deer being hung up near a storage barn. Watson made contact with the two hunters. One of the hunters claimed his wife had shot the spike buck. Watson interviewed both subjects briefly and was able to obtain a confession that the husband had actually shot the deer that morning, then had his wife purchase a single deer license to tag the buck. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Tom Oberg and Sgt. Mike Hammill patrolled Drummond Island on opening day of the firearm deer season. Despite the bad rainy weather, the COs checked several hunters on the island and issued multiple citations in regards to operating ORVs in closed areas and failing to remove deer blind at the end of each season.

CO Kevin Postma responded to a call involving two duck hunters whose boat sunk in Brimley Bay. The hunters were able to swim approximately a half-mile to shore and warm up, only after they broke into a house. The owner of the house arrived home to find the duck hunters wrapped in blankets and standing in her living room. The police and EMS were called and the two hunters were treated for minor hypothermia and given a ride back to their vehicle.

CO Chris Lynch was on patrol when he located a set of footprints leading off into the woods. Lynch followed the tracks and located an untagged 5-point buck that was gutted and dragged to where it lay. Lynch waited for the hunter to return, made contact, and addressed the untagged deer. The hunter was ticketed for failing to immediately tag the deer. Lynch helped the hunter drag the deer nearly a half-mile though a mud trail going through a swamp back to his vehicle and then load the deer into his truck.


CO Duane Budreau received a complaint of a subject that had posted his successful harvest of an 8-point buck on social media prior to purchasing a hunting license. Through social media investigation, a RAP dispatcher discovered that the subject had made several posts while hunting, as well as pictures with the deer prior to purchasing a hunting license. During the initial interview, the subject denied the allegations. Budreau then informed him that he already had enough evidence to pursue an arrest warrant on the matter. Budreau seized the deer and issued a citation for taking the deer without a license.

While patrolling the seasonal roads of northern Emmet County on opening day of Michigan’s firearm deer season, CO Duane Budreau encountered a vehicle pulled off the roadway with the driver’s side door open. Budreau stopped to talk with the hunter sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. As Budreau approached the vehicle, he observed a rifle leaning against the seat of the truck with the muzzle on the floorboard. After discovering that the firearm was loaded, Budreau advised the hunter of the law regarding firearms in a motor vehicle. It was also determined that the hunter did not have a case with him for the firearm. The hunter was cited for the firearm violation.

After doing a bait survey flight over Emmet County, CO Duane Budreau followed up on a few of the excessive bait sites on private property in northern Emmet County. Budreau contacted a subject with an estimated two tons of bait in front of his hunting blind. Upon contact, the individual told Budreau that he did not know the law. He stated that he never bothered to read it. The subject was also hunting in full camouflage, as well as without a license. After an educational moment, enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Speigl responded to a call in Antrim County of recreational trespass where a landowner confronted another hunter for being on his land. Speigl gathered the information from the victim landowner then found the suspect next door at a pole barn. During the interview, the suspect claimed he got ‘lost’ and wound up on the neighbor’s property, disregarding the well posted property lines. Speigl pointed out that the property where the suspect had permission to be on was only 100 feet wide and it would be pretty hard to get ‘lost’, especially given the posted signs every 15 to 20 feet. The case has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney for review.


While patrolling state land in Benzie County, Sgt. Dan Bigger noted a vehicle that he had passed earlier in his patrol was still parked well after legal shooting hours. Bigger set out on a foot patrol in the direction of the boot prints located near the vehicle. Within 15 minutes, Bigger observed flashlights in the woods, slowly backed away and followed as the individuals made their way back to their vehicle. Upon reaching their vehicle, Bigger made contact and found that both individuals still had loaded firearms. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Colton Gelinas and CO Casey Varriale were on patrol in Wexford County when they were dispatched to report of a 14-year-old hunter unsupervised. The COs made contact with the hunter who had not taken hunter safety, nor was under the supervision of an adult. The COs made contact with the young hunter’s father who was under the impression that his son was allowed to hunt by himself. The COs took this time to educate both father and son of the laws pertaining to the apprentice license. The father was issued a citation for allowing a minor to hunt unsupervised.

CO Brian Brosky and CO Kyle Publiski responded to the Baldwin Field Office after wildlife division employees called them to report a subject who arrived with 10 deer heads to check in at the deer check station. Upon arrival, the COs interviewed the subject and it was determined that he had shot a 4-point buck in Mason County, which is regulated under antler point restrictions. Other violations included antlered deer that were inappropriately tagged with restricted tags. The subject was cited and the COs are investigating the additional violations further.


While afield, a Kalkaska County hunter was contacted by CO Mike Hearn shortly after successfully harvesting a deer. Unfortunately, the hunter had failed to properly identify his target and had harvested the buck in violation of the region’s antler point restriction (APR). The deer was seized and enforcement action was taken.

CO John Huspen observed a subject operating an ORV while dragging a deer off state land in Crawford County. Upon contact, the subject asked Huspen if he had a spare zip tie. As the subject asked the question, he was digging in his wallet to find his hunting license. The subject stated he had forgotten a zip tie, so he could not tag the deer. An inspection of the license also showed it had not been validated yet. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Papineau discovered an illegal ORV trail through state land in rural Gladwin County. Papineau walked the trail which led him across a river to a secluded area with a large bait pile. Over the course of several days, Papineau checked the site and eventually made contact with a hunter. In addition to the bait, the hunter was using illegal screw-in tree steps and had no name on the tree stand. A citation for excessive baiting was issued and a warning was issued for the illegal ORV usage, screw-in steps, and the un-named tree stand.

CO Mark Papineau received a complaint through the Report-All-Poaching Hotline regarding a problem deer camp on private land in Gladwin County. According to the complaint, the campers were shooting guns at all hours of the night and recklessly driving around. Papineau made contact at the camp to investigate the complaint. There were two deer hanging on a buck pole. It was determined that one of the deer was tagged with an unvalidated kill tag and the other untagged deer was a result of a traffic collision. According to statements, the untagged deer was run over by a car on Nov. 15 and never reported because the vehicle was not insured and the driver did not have a valid driver’s license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Lockwood checked a vehicle with two hunters and listened as they bragged about killing a deer. When Lockwood asked if the deer was back at camp, the occupants of the vehicle hesitated. It turns out the spike-horned buck was wrapped up in a large piece of plastic in the back of the vehicle and untagged. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Kyle Bucholtz spoke with multiple hunters on state land. Bucholtz took enforcement action against one subject after he and a minor were found to be in possession of two uncased firearms. The adult subject was also found to be under the influence of marijuana and the minor was in possession of tobacco.

CO Kyle Bucholtz stopped a motor vehicle that was following too close behind. Upon initiating the stop, the suspect driver immediately exited his vehicle and ran up to Bucholtz’s patrol truck window screaming aggressively. Bucholtz ordered the subject back to his vehicle. While patting the subject down, the driver admitted he was lawfully concealing a pistol on his person. Bucholtz located the loaded pistol in the subject’s pocket before discussing the subject’s poorly thought-out actions. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Robert Hobkirk responded to a complaint of a safety zone violation. When Hobkirk contacted the deer hunter, he was hunting within 100 yards of three separate residences and within 50 yards of the complainant’s residence. The hunter was also not wearing hunter orange. A citation was issued for the safety zone violation.

CO Seth Rhodea responded to a hunter harassment complaint where the suspect threatened to beat up a hunter and mess with him while he was hunting. Contact was made with all parties and charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.

CO Seth Rhodea was patrolling on foot in the Minden State Game Area on the opening day of firearm deer season when he located a hunter in treestand not wearing hunter orange. While talking with the hunter, the CO learned the hunter had shot a doe. Upon checking the hunter’s licenses, Rhodea discovered the hunter did not have a valid license to take a doe where he was hunting. The deer was located, and with assistance from the hunter and CO Kyle Bucholtz, the deer was drug out of the game area. The deer was seized and the hunter cited for taking a deer without a license.


CO Richard Cardenas was patrolling Barry County on the opening day of firearm deer season when he observed a John Deere gator driving out of a field with three deer in the bed of it. Contact was made and it was found that none of the antlerless deer were tagged. Cardenas was informed by one of the subjects that they were on their way to purchase two additional antlerless tags, since they only had one. After further investigation, Cardenas found that one of the subjects was hunting without a hunting license, and was in possession of a family member’s license. In addition, the subject was not wearing hunter orange and had a loaded uncased firearm in the ORV. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Richard Cardenas observed a subject hunting in the Barry State Game Area with no hunter orange other than orange gloves. Cardenas informed the subject that wearing orange gloves alone does not meet the requirements for hunter orange while hunting with a firearm. It is required that hunter orange is a minimum of a hat, cap, vest or jacket and that it is the outermost garment worn. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Holmes responded to the complaint of a subject trespassing. Upon arrival, Holmes found an untagged deer in the back of the suspect’s truck; however the suspect was not located at the time. Holmes waited in the area and eventually made contact with the suspect. A citation was issued for the untagged deer.

CO Greg Patten worked the area of an ongoing trespass complaint on Muskegon County property. Patten located a grandfather and his grandson bow hunting the property. The grandson did not have his deer licenses in possession. Patten had warned the grandfather in October for trespassing on the same property. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Andrew Monnich was watching a pair of hunters walking across a field on the firearm opener heading for a truck. Both individuals stored their firearms in the vehicle and the truck pulled out on the road. Monnich made contact with the hunters and asked to see their hunting licenses. The passenger stated that he wasn’t hunting and Monnich told him that he watched him come out of the woods with a firearm. The individual got very agitated and denied even having a firearm out in the woods. A quick check of the guns in the cases showed them to be wet from the rain that had just started. A confession was given a short time later and enforcement action was taken.

CO Andrew Monnich and CO Chris Maher received a complaint of an individual shooting his third buck and using his wife’s tag. Monnich and Maher made contact with the suspect who stated that he shot one and his wife shot one, and that he couldn’t find a third deer. Maher stayed with the suspect while Monnich went to the house to interview the wife. Monnich asked her about harvesting the buck. She was unable to answer any questions regarding the hunt and stated she was just sitting with him; he shot it and used her tags. Monnich and Maher were able to gain a confession from the suspect, who also had well over the legal limit of bait. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Andrew Monnich received a call from an individual who stated he could see his neighbor’s bait pile from over 500 yards away. Monnich, CO Eric Smither and Sgt. Jason Smith went to locate the bait pile. Once the COs entered the field, they were able to spot the pile from great a distance. They made contact with the hunter in the blind next to a large, 80 yard-long pile of shelled corn. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Troy Bahlau was called out and responded to an after-hours trespass complaint in Jackson County. Bahlau was on the phone with the landowner who located and confronted two trespassers who used a canoe to get on his property. The landowner was alerted of the trespass because of his trail camera that sent a picture of them to his phone when activated. Bahlau and Blackman Township Police Department met all involved at the bridge where the suspects launched from and returned to. Bahlau found the suspects were trespassing, had no PFDs for the canoe, and it was also discovered the next day by the landowner that the two suspects removed his trail camera and smashed it, not realizing the camera was the type that sent pictures when taken. A warrant request is pending.


CO Ken Kovach has been working a group of individuals in western St. Clair County for several years, which routinely spotlight deer in the early morning hours. The group has been known to shoot multiple deer in a single night. Kovach observed the suspect vehicle traveling slowly, shining sporadically in between fields. After several miles of observing, Kovach stopped the vehicle and discovered the group had a loaded .223 rifle, and had already shot a deer earlier in the night. A confession was obtained on the illegal deer and enforcement action was taken.

While checking hunters on the opening day of the firearm deer season, CO Ken Kovach and Sgt. Todd Szyska came across a successful deer hunter. While talking with the hunter, it was discovered the subject had tagged the buck with his child’s tag, as he did not have a valid tag. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ken Kovach received a call of a subject who was believed to be hunting over a lit bait pile. Kovach interviewed the subject at his residence and obtained a full confession to the subject hunting over a lit bait pile after legal hours had ended and shot two deer. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Lasher was checking waterfowl hunters coming out of St. Johns Marsh Game Area after the evening hunt. Lasher found a subject with a loaded gun, long after legal hunting hours. The hunter also did not have a Michigan waterfowl license or a base license and failed to sign his federal stamp. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Ben Lasher used his thermal scope to watch a subject come out of the woods 45 minutes after legal hunting hours. A check at the subject’s vehicle found his gun to still be loaded. The hunter also failed to wear his hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.

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