Illinois Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 29, 2017

Northwest Zone – Capt Laura Petreikis

CPO Posateri located a hunter in a deer blind on a farm trailer only 53 yards away from the neighboring residence, and he did not have permission from that resident. Without permission, a hunter with slugs must be a minimum of 300 yards away from a dwelling. The Colona hunter was cited for the violation, and he immediately removed the blind from the property

While on patrol during the second firearm deer season, CPO Teas located a hunter walking through the woods with a loaded shotgun. It was discovered he had filled both of his permits but continued hunting. The hunter was issued a citation for no valid permit.

CPOs Teas and Palumbo, along with Sgt. Petreikis, were checking pheasant hunters at Green River State Wildlife Area when one hunter was discovered to be in possession of three pheasants over his limit. The extra pheasants had been tagged with the check station tags. When asked about the pheasants, the hunter told the CPOs another person gave him the pheasants. Upon further investigation, it was determined that no person or vehicle matching his description had been hunting or checked out that day. The hunter was also found to be in possession of extra tags used to tag the birds by the site staff at the check station. The hunter had also been hunting with lead shot in a nontoxic only area. All five pheasants and the extra check station tags were seized. The hunter received two citations and two written warnings.

CPO Alt responded to an anonymous tip during the second firearm deer season regarding unlawful hunting in Jane Adams Memorial Park in Buena Vista. CPO Alt located the Wisconsin deer hunter in the Park who was hunting without permission and hunting after legal shooting time. This hunter was also found hunting with an unplugged shotgun, hunting without a habitat stamp, hunting without hunting license or deer permits in possession, unsigned deer permits, and hunting with an insufficient amount of blaze orange clothing. Appropriate enforcement action was taken.

CPOs Elliott and Thompson located a hunter in a tree stand adjacent to a mineral block. The Williamsfield man admitted to placing multiple mineral blocks to attract deer to his hunting locations. In addition, a feeder was located and determined to not have been used for several years. The CPOs seized mineral blocks from the property and issued two citations for unlawful feeding of deer and hunting by use/aid of bait. Written warnings were issued for improper blaze orange and additional counts of feeding deer.

While on patrol during the second firearm season, CPO Teas located hunters in a blind. During the check, it was discovered the hunters had taken their orange off when they got in the blind. When asked to see their permits, one hunter stated they left them in the vehicle. The CPO returned to the vehicle with the hunters to retrieve the permits. The hunter handed the CPO their license and a 2016 firearm permit but did not have a valid 2017 permit. While speaking with the other hunter, it was discovered he had killed a doe during archery season but never tagged or checked it in. Both hunters received a citation and warnings for their offenses.

CPO Francisko received a call regarding a great horned owl that was tangled in fishing line, attached to a tree in a pond. The CPO responded and observed a very difficult situation. The fishing line was attached to a tree, away from the shore of the pond. The owl was standing on the thin ice of the pond and appeared to have been there for quite a while. The CPO used resources at the location to reach out and grab the fishing line, and the owl was pulled to shore. Once on shore a tedious process of removing a treble hook frog fishing lure from the inside of the owl’s wing took place. Fishing line was also wrapped around the wing. Once the owl was stabilized, it was transferred to Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation to continue its recovery. The owl is expected to eventually return to the wild.

CPOs Filipiak and Kaufman issued citations for hunting with the aid of bait and unlawful take of white-tailed deer to three hunters during the second firearm deer season. The CPOs found several baited stands on the property prior to the firearm season. The hunters and area are well known to the CPOs. Over the last 20 years, numerous citations have been issued, and three firearms have been awarded to the Department from hunters on the property.

CPO Kaufman issued citations for hunting with the aid of bait and unlawful take of white-tailed deer to an archery hunter the day prior to the opening day of firearm season. CPO Kaufman had checked the baited stand several times since finding a salt block 15 yards from the deer stand. The hunter told CPO Kaufman it was only the second time he had hunted that deer stand this year.

CPO Thompson received information regarding illegal deer hunting activities. Upon investigation, CPO Thompson located a 55-gallon drum loaded with cracked corn. The drum was enclosed in a weatherproof housing and fed corn to ports in the bottom by gravity feed. Grain was distributed in a basin below.  This was placed adjacent to two homemade deer blinds. CPOs Thompson and Elliott made an arrest of two Ellisville men for unlawful hunting of deer by the use or aid of bait at this location. Upon further investigation, the CPOs uncovered additional violations including unlawful hunting without license and permits, improper blaze orange, multiple counts of fraudulent harvest reporting, and use of another’s permits. Six citations and six written warnings were issued, and a ten-point rack was seized. Both men have a future court date.

Northeast Zone – Capt. Brett Scroggins

While conducting waterfowl enforcement, CPO Knop observed a group of hunters that were waterfowl hunting from a boat. Though a large portion of the lake is owned by a private landowner, the portion of the lake they were hunting on is owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. The hunters were informed about water law and how it relates to hunting.  The complaint was passed on to staff at the Lake County Forest Preserve District.

CPO Stanbary located a fisherman who was perch fishing at DuSable Harbor. The CPO noticed the fisherman’s bucket full of perch and asked how many he had caught. The fisherman shrugged his shoulders and replied he did not know. The CPO inspected the fisherman’s bucket and counted 42 perch. The daily limit for perch is 15. The fisherman was cited for over limit of perch, and the CPO released the fish back into Lake Michigan.

CPOs Stanbary and Thornley conducted a joint fish enforcement patrol along the Lake Michigan waterfront. One written warning was issued to a fisherman who did not have his license in possession. The CPOs helped a fisherman along Navy Pier land a trophy lake trout. The fisherman had been fishing for perch but had inadvertently hooked into the large trout. The CPOs retrieved a landing net from their patrol vehicle, and with the aid of another fisherman, the lake trout was landed. The fisherman was grateful for the help.

CPO Reeves and Sgt. Williamson responded to an anonymous complaint of a subject hunting deer from his Polaris side-by-side ATV. This subject had been stopped by Sgt. Williamson and CPO Graden in 2016, and written multiple citations and warnings for hunting related violations were issued. During the 2016 encounter, the subject was warned that hunting by use or aid of the ATV could result in the seizure and subsequent forfeiture of the ATV and firearm being used to hunt unlawfully. CPO Reeves and Sgt. Williamson caught the subject driving his ATV alongside a standing cornfield with the front window propped open. His loaded, uncased shotgun was sticking out the front, ready to shoot a deer if he encountered one. Earlier, CPO Reeves had observed the subject hunting outside of the ATV without wearing the required blaze orange clothing. The subject was issued multiple citations, including hunting by the aid or use of a motor vehicle. The Polaris Ranger and his shotgun were subsequently seized as they were directly used in the unlawful hunting acts.

CPO Graden responded to a complaint of fishing in a restricted area at Clinton Lake. A husband and wife were found inside a waterfowl rest area fishing from the bank. A fishing compliance check determined they were in possession of six undersized crappie. Two written warnings were issued for unlawful entry in a restricted area, and the crappie were seized as evidence.

CPO Graden completed an investigation into the unlawful purchase of a watercraft. The investigation determined that a Clinton man purchased a 26-foot Rinker cabin cruiser in 2015.  Despite repeated warnings by Conservation Police, the subject failed to transfer the watercraft registration/title into his name and undertook measures to evade the recreational use tax due for the purchase. The subject was charged with failure to make application for a watercraft identification number, failure to transfer the watercraft certificate of number, and failure to file a watercraft sale and use tax return.

South Zone – Capt. Jim Mayes

CPO Ausmus conducted a hunting compliance check on two deer hunters. One hunter was found to be hunting without a hunting license and habitat stamp. The Arcola man gave no excuse for not having a hunting license. He stated he thought he was exempt from the habitat stamp because he has a service connected disability. The hunter was advised that he must have a VA disability rating of 10 percent or greater and have an affidavit card from the VA to be exempt from the license and stamp. The hunter was issued a written warning for both violations and was told to go buy a license. Approximately 45 minutes later, CPO Ausmus received a text from the hunter showing a photo of his newly purchased and signed hunting license and habitat stamp.

CPO Liebl was contacted by the superintendent of a local golf course about an illegal stand on the golf course property. The stand was located in the woods, approximately 25 yards from the course. A walk through the remaining small wooded area was done, and another illegal tree stand was found. The location of the second stand was approximately 15 yards off the course. Both stands were seized, and seizure tags were left at each tree stand site. No one has called about the seized tree stands to date.  The investigation is ongoing.

CPO Sieves received a complaint that a waterfowl hunter was hunting in the waterfowl rest at Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area. CPO Sievers located a father and young boy waterfowl hunting in waterfowl rest area.  The father was issued a citation for hunting a posted designated waterfowl rest area, and he was issued written warnings for allowing his son to hunt without a hunting license and no sounding device in his boat. The nine ducks were seized.

CPO Schachner completed a boat title investigation involving a boat dealership failing to complete the proper paperwork and taxes to ensure the boat buyer received his title and registration. The victim tried to contact the dealership for nearly a year, but he was not able to get the paperwork that he needed. This is not the first time this dealership has failed to complete title/registration paperwork for its customers. CPO Schachner obtained the appropriate paperwork and completed it for the boat owner to ensure the boat owner could legally operate his boat. The owner of the company received a mandatory court appearance on the Class A misdemeanor charge of failure to deliver/transfer title within 15 days of purchase.

CPOs Vasicek and Somers investigated two white-tailed deer that were harvested. After a brief interview, it was determined that both deer were harvested by the same individual; but one was tagged by a friend so the first subject would not be out of tags and could continue to hunt. The deer was falsely reported to the DNR. The subject who shot the two deer hunted the next day with a tag that should have been used on the deer from the previous day. Multiple citations were issued.  The deer were seized and donated to local food pantry.

During the second firearm deer season, CPO D. Taylor received a complaint of hunting without permission. The two hunters had already left the area 20 minutes prior to CPO Taylor’s arrival. The complainant stated that they headed south in a yellow car. The car was found parked at a residence five miles away. CPO Taylor spoke with one of the hunters, and he advised the CPO that he was bow hunting by himself.  He did not have deer permits or a hunting license, and he was not wearing any orange while hunting. Another vehicle pulled in the driveway, and that driver was the other bow hunter.  He also did not have deer permits or hunting license, and he was not wearing blaze orange while hunting. Three deer racks were found in the backseat of the car, along with an uncased crossbow and a loaded, uncased 22-mag rifle. The subject did not have a valid FOID card. The two subjects were issued citations for Richland County for unlawful hunting deer with no deer permits and not wearing blaze orange during firearm deer season.

CPO Smith is investigating a complaint of deer being dumped off a bridge. Multiple deer were dumped off the bridge into the water. There were no tags left on the carcasses, and there was nothing to indicate who was responsible. CPO Smith contacted the Effingham Daily News and met with a reporter at the scene. CPO Smith, his nephew, and two county highway department men cleaned the creek of the deer carcasses.

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