CO Ethen Mapes responded to a report of a pile of animal carcasses near downtown Ironwood. Mapes found a pile of animal carcasses behind an apartment building and was able to locate the owner. The young man explained to Mapes that he was teaching himself how to trap. Mapes discussed the laws, rules and regulations with the new trapper and got him back on track for his future trapping endeavors.
Sgt. Grant Emery responded to an injured bear cub in the city of Ironwood that had been hanging around for the past week. People were leaving food and milk out for it and teenagers were going up to the bear and taking selfies with their phones. Emery located the bear cub, which turned out to be about 35 pounds, under a spruce tree next to the back door of a residence. Using a catch pole, Emery was able to capture the bear and put it in a dog carrier. The cub was placed in a heated stall and given food and water that night before it was transported by Wildlife Division to a rehabilitation facility that was equipped for bears and could provide the needed care.
CO Jeremy Sergey checked several anglers along the Menominee River below the first dam. The anglers had several questions regarding fishing regulations within the boundary waters. Sergey was able to answer their questions and the anglers were found to be following the rules surrounding the boundary waters.
CO Brett DeLonge presented to an Introduction to Criminal Justice class at Gogebic Community College on the function and responsibilities of a Michigan conservation officer. DeLonge explained the important role conservation officers play in natural resource protection and how they are an integral part of the law enforcement community. DeLonge had several students interested in becoming a conservation officer and answered several DNR law-related questions.
While checking a local lake, CO Robert Freeborn contacted a couple of fishermen enjoying the balmy temps and sun. Freeborn noticed four lines on the ice and asked both fishermen for their fishing licenses. One of the fishermen immediately stated that he was not fishing and did not have a license. Freeborn then questioned the second fisherman who stated it was his extra line and that he would take responsibility. A citation was issued for fishing more than three lines.
COs Tom Oberg and Calvin Smith and Sgt. Mike Hammill patrolled local lakes in the Curtis area checking on ice fishing activity. While on South Manistique Lake, Smith came across an ice shack that was unoccupied and one of the tip-ups that was close by had its flag up. Smith located six more tip-ups in the area and waited nearly an hour before the two fishermen returned. When questioned on why they left their fishing lines unattended, the fishermen replied, “the fishing was slow, and we decided to run back to our cabin.” Smith then asked them how many lines they could fish with and the fishermen replied, “Three each.” Smith then pointed out a seventh line that was inside the ice shack and one of the fishermen replied,” Oh yeah, forgot about that one.” Law enforcement action was taken.
COs Colton Gelinas and Calvin Smith along with wildlife technician Jayne Meinard responded to a wolf collar that was giving a mortality signal. The wolf was located nearly two miles from the closest road and it was determined the wolf was killed by a rival wolf pack.
CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nick Ingersoll were leaving the Carp River when they observed a vehicle pass them at a high rate of speed. The COs were able to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. After asking the driver if there was anything in the car they needed to know about, the driver stated he had his shotgun hanging in the back. The COs were able to locate an uncased shotgun in the backseat, an open half gallon of Captain Morgan in the front seat, along with two cases of beer, two 12-packs of craft beer, and a 30-pack of beer in the back seat. Both the driver and passenger were minors and were questioned about the alcohol. They admitted to it being theirs. The COs made them dump all the alcohol out. A warning was given for possessing an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle and open intoxicants in a motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken for the minors being in possession of alcohol.
CO Nick Torsky and PCO Danielle Zubek were observing fishermen on Lake Charlevoix when they spotted an angler who appeared to be fishing with more than three tip-ups. During their observation, the angler in question pulled in a legal-sized northern pike, surrounded by a group of onlookers who did not appear to be fishing, but proceeded to take multiple pictures in various poses with the fish. Upon investigation, it was discovered the onlookers were from South America and had never seen such a fish and wanted the pictures as souvenirs. It was also discovered that the angler was in fact fishing with too many lines. A citation was issued.
CO Duane Budreau was patrolling southern Emmet County when he came across a vehicle parked down an unplowed seasonal road. Upon looking in the window of the vehicle, Budreau observed an uncased firearm on the driver’s seat. Fresh foot prints in the snow led into the nearby woods. After a moment, a voice called out from the wooded area. The owner of the vehicle was using the cover of the trees for some privacy. When the subject returned to his vehicle, Budreau addressed the firearm issue. The subject advised he was coyote hunting when he had to take emergency action in the woods. Budreau explained the dangers of leaving an uncased loaded firearm in an unlocked vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jon Sklba was contacted by a subject in Alpena County who advised he had found a dead bear on his property. Sklba was provided pictures of the “bear;” however, whatever was photographed was not identifiable because it was under snow. Sklba advised the complainant to monitor it, and report back if the item becomes identifiable. The complainant called a few warm days later to advise it was just a large frozen clump of grass.
Sgt. Michael Mshar and PCO Sidney Collins assisted the Michigan State University research staff and the DNR Wildlife Division to locate a deceased cow elk in a remote area of Montmorency County. The animal was part of a research program and had recently died of unknown causes. The animal was located and appears to have died of natural causes. The elk was submitted to MSU’s lab for testing.
CO Josiah Killingbeck made contact with a hunter he had been attempting to contact since deer season regarding a combo tag found at a local deer processor that was not validated. The subject told Killingbeck that he had killed a doe with his rifle during the 2017 firearm deer season, admitted to not validating his kill tag and using the combo tag to tag an antlerless deer. Killingbeck explained that during firearm season it is illegal to put a combo tag on an antlerless deer. The subject admitted to never attempting to educate himself on Michigan deer hunting regulations and enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Brosky, CO Kyle Publiski and CO Stephen Butzin were at a local business when Publiski noted that a person who had just left the store was operating a vehicle while his driver’s license was suspended. Brosky was able to locate the vehicle and suspect at his home based on Publiski’s information. The operator of the motor vehicle confirmed that he had not had a driver’s license since the mid-1980s. He was placed under arrest and lodged in jail by the COs for DWLS with prior convictions/suspensions.
CO Jeff Ginn and CO Angela Greenway responded to a personal injury single car accident in Newaygo County. The COs provided assistance at the scene where one subject was pronounced dead and the other was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
CO Jeff Ginn arrested a fishing guide in Newaygo County who is facing charges of illegal chumming on the Muskegon River. It is the subject’s second offense of the illegal chumming activity within one year. Ginn was able to watch the subject chum on several occasions, as well as retrieve evidence of the activity that the subject had hidden after being tipped off that he was being watched. A report submitted to the Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office resulted in the arrest warrant being issued.
CO Mike Bomay is investigating a suspicious death of a bald eagle. The investigation stemmed from a concerned citizen’s complaint who noticed the eagle dead in a tree near a roadway. Bomay retrieved the eagle from the tree and the preliminary investigation showed the eagle may have been shot. Bomay has interviewed several potential witnesses and the eagle is being necropsied at the lab. The investigation continues.
CO Mike Hearn received a complaint from the Report All Poaching dispatch center about a possible illegally taken deer during the fall of 2016. The complaint information originated from social media and showed evidence of a suspiciously harvested 7-point buck. Hearn and PCO Jeremy Cantrell obtained the evidence and conducted interviews. It was determined the suspect shot the deer without a hunting license and had the landowner purchase a license after the incident. The suspect was an out-of-state resident, so it was cheaper to have the landowner buy the deer license. A report was submitted to the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office. Charges have been authorized and the case is pending.
CO Ethan Gainforth received a complaint about a subject who was illegally trapping on private property in Clare County. Gainforth was able to locate several traps and violations during the investigation. As a strange coincidence, the suspect just happened to call Gainforth to make a complaint about some different problems he was having on his property involving treestands. Gainforth responded to the suspect’s residence and worked to solve his complaint. After addressing his complaint, Gainforth asked him about his trapping activities for the year. The suspect just hung his head and admitted his violations: trapping without a license, failing to check traps, and not having his name and address attached to his traps. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Quincy Gowenlock organized a group patrol on the Saginaw River system to target fishing violations. Twelve COs participated along with US Fish and Wildlife Officer Jeff Hunter. The officers made contact with 468 anglers and for the most part, violations were at a minimum. The violations that did occur were three over limits of walleye, six PFD tickets, a ticket for no fishing license and one for possession of marijuana. There were also many verbal warnings issued.
CO Seth Rhodea responded to a trespassing complaint where some rabbit hunters were found to be trespassing while hunting. One hunter was cited for trespassing while hunting and the rabbit he shot while trespassing was seized.
CO Mark Siemen received information that a coyote had been captured by a subject and was being held at his residence in Lexington Township. The subject called to report that he put the coyote on a dog leash and that it is now out of control and upset. Siemen responded to the location and spoke with the subject. He stated he found it on the road and that it had been injured. He stated he picked it up and brought it home with the intentions of giving it to a rehabber. He stated he contacted multiple rehabbers, but no one would take the animal. Siemen educated the subject on why he should not have brought the coyote home and why he should have not put it on a dog leash. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Joshua Wright found 40 untagged traps in a marsh in Tuscola County. At the time he was not able to identify the trapper, so a property seizure was left in place of the confiscated traps. Two days after finding the traps, Wright received a Report All Poaching complaint from a trapper that someone had stolen his traps. It was a very short discussion to realize the traps were not stolen but seized. Wright met with the trapper and returned his traps along with a citation. This same trapper was warned two years prior by Wright for having untagged traps.
CO Joel Lundberg and PCO Joshua Boudreaux received information of a trap that had not been checked in a week by the trapper. The COs gathered the trapper’s information from the trap tag and conducted an interview with the trapper. The trapper admitted he had not checked the trap and knew the trap check laws. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Travis Dragomer attended a mentored youth hunt at Crane Pond State Game Area. The CO spoke to youth hunters about safety while hunting and using firearms.
CO Matt Page swore in a six-count warrant that included five counts of illegal deer and one count of using another’s hunting license. If convicted the subject could face $18,000 in reimbursement to the state for the illegal taking of five deer. The deer consisted of two 10-points, one antlered deer less than 8-points, and two antlerless deer.
CO Justin Ulberg followed up on a complaint in Kent County of subjects fishing in a closed stream. Ulberg located the suspect and upon contact it was found that he was using illegal gear (treble hook with weight attached and not baited) to catch the fish. The angler also admitted that the fish in his possession was foul hooked. Enforcement action was taken.
While patrolling closed streams CO David Rodgers came across three subjects fishing Indian Mill Creek in Alpine Township. Upon contact with the subjects, the first statement by one of the fisherman was, “Can we fish this stream?” After running all the individuals, it was determined that one had a misdemeanor warrant out of Grand Rapids Police Department for assault. That subject was taken into custody and turned over to the Grand Rapids Police Department.
CO Mike Drexler and PCO Tyler Sabuda were pulling into a local lake to check the activity when they observed two anglers in a row boat having a difficult time getting back to the launch. The boat launch had locked up with ice and the anglers were attempting to break through using oars. The COs tossed the occupants a rope and pulled them a short distance over the ice and back to the launch.
COs Andrew Monnich and Chris Reynolds conducted an interview with an individual who had shot a buck before buying his tag. After a lengthy interview, the individual stated he didn’t shoot the deer but bought a tag for someone who did. The COs made contact with the individual who borrowed the tag and a confession was gained on that incident. During the investigation the COs learned of another buck that he had killed without a tag. Charges are being submitted to the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Jason McCullough and PCO Johnathan Kamps responded to a complaint of a vehicle that was driving down the roadway without a tire. The vehicle had a smashed front end, fender damage and was missing a tire. The COs determined that the individual drove the vehicle approximately five miles in this condition. The COs determined from their interview and investigation that the individual was intoxicated. Due to the subject’s high level of intoxication, the subject was transported to the hospital for evaluation and enforcement action was taken.
CO Carter Woodwyk conducted an interview regarding a suspicious deer documented at a deer processor. The CO asked the suspect questions regarding his hunting season and his success. The hunter told the CO that he shot two bucks this past season and had pictures to prove it. The CO asked the hunter about purchasing his license after he shot the first buck. The hunter was hesitant to admit this; however, after a short moment he confessed. The antlers were seized, and charges are being sought through the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office.
While patrolling Hillsdale County, CO Carter Woodwyk and PCO Adam Beuthin observed a Canada goose locked inside a small pen in a resident’s front yard. The COs waited for the residents to come home and asked them if they were licensed rehabbers. The subjects stated they were not. They advised the goose was given to them by a friend who found it abandoned this past spring. The COs explained to the subjects that they need to be properly trained and permitted to rehabilitate wildlife. Additionally, the COs seized the goose and gave the subjects information on how to become a wildlife rehabilitator in Michigan.
CO Rich Nickols and PCO James Garrett swore to and served a warrant to Facebook on a subject believed to be involved in the illegal taking of at least eight deer over the last several years.
CO Ben Lasher received a complaint about a tom turkey being aggressive at an office in the city of Marysville. Lasher responded and advised the business to stop feeding the birds and the turkeys will likely leave the area once the food source is gone.
With the increasing temperatures, CO Brad Silorey decided to check a local hot spot for ORV trespass in Macomb County. Before entering the property, Silorey could see that there was recent activity and observed muddy tire tracks going onto the main road. Silorey did not find any trespassers when he entered; however, only several minutes later, three vehicles came ripping in through the property. The trespassers were immediately stopped and enforcement action was taken.
CO David Schaumburger and Sgt. Damon Owens were on marine patrol checking anglers in Brest Bay when they came upon a boat that appeared to have too many lines out. Schaumburger asked the captain how many lines he had out, and the captain replied, “Too many.” The COs had the captain reel in his eight lines between two anglers and then asked the anglers for fishing licenses. The anglers looked at the COs and said, “That’s also a problem.” As it turned out, neither of the anglers had purchased a fishing license for the year. Since the anglers were from Ohio, the COs took bond from both subjects and citations were issued for fishing with more than three lines and fishing without a license.
While checking anglers, CO Danny Walzak contacted an angler who was very nervous when asked to produce his fishing license. Pulling out his license to show the CO, the subject was visibly shaking and was apologizing profusely for not obtaining his new license. The subject stated that he just couldn’t pass up the chance to go fishing on such a nice afternoon. When Walzak told the angler that his license was good until the end of the month the man couldn’t speak and started laughing out loud. Walzak left the angler with a much bigger smile than when he first encountered him.