Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Sept. 14, 2018


CO Brett DeLonge was checking a boat access site at a state-owned campground in Marquette County when he received a complaint of a verbal altercation taking place between campers over noise violations. DeLonge responded to the suspect campsites along with local township police officers and contacted the multiple large parties involved. After several interviews with both parties the problem was resolved, and the suspect campers eventually decided to leave the campground.

CO Brett DeLonge received a complaint of numerous high-speed boaters on Little Shag Lake in the Gwinn area. DeLonge patrolled the lake and only observed several pontoon boats operating slowly around the lake.

CO Josh Boudreaux was contacted by DNR Wildlife Division employees about a collared wolf that was believed to be deceased due to a mortality signal being emitted from its collar. Boudreaux responded to the location along with DNR Wildlife personnel. Upon locating the wolf, it was determined that the wolf had likely been shot at a separate location and then dumped. A weeklong investigation ensued with assistance from DNR Wildlife Division, DNR Law Enforcement Special Investigations Unit, acting Sgt. Mark Leadman and Delta County CO Stephen Butzin. Using information gathered in the investigation, the COs were able to locate the suspect and obtain a confession. Charges are pending with the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Cody Smith was on patrol when he passed two ORVs operating on the shoulder of the roadway. The first ORV had two occupants, one of which was not wearing a helmet. As Smith turned around to stop the two he noticed that neither ORV had ORV permits displayed. After stopping the ORVs, Smith discussed the violations of no helmet or goggles, no ORV permits, and riding double. Citations were issued.


CO Bobby Watson responded to a complaint of a resident shooting multiple deer that have been munching on the landowner’s garden. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Robert Freeborn investigated a complaint of a nuisance beaver that was damaging a subject’s property. Upon further investigation, it was determined the beaver had fallen several trees onto the subject’s residence as well as a woodshed and log splitter. A permit was issued for the landowner to trap the beaver.

CO Stephen Butzin encountered a vehicle traveling down a roadway without a license plate. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. Further investigation found that the vehicle did not have a valid registration nor valid insurance. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Stephen Butzin and Chris Lynch were patrolling Garden Township when they observed a vehicle traveling down a highway without any headlights. The COs also observed that the occupants were not wearing seat belts and had open containers of alcohol in their hands. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle and the COs discovered that the vehicle did not have a Michigan registration. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Stephen Butzin and Chris Lynch were patrolling through Gladstone when they observed a vehicle swerving back and forth on a city street. The vehicle almost hit a parked car and was driving left of the center line multiple times. As the COs initiated a traffic stop, the vehicle came to a stop in the oncoming lane. Further investigation found that the operator was driving while under the influence of intoxicants. The driver was currently on bond for a previous operate while intoxicated charge and part of his bond conditions was not to consume alcohol. The driver was placed under arrest for another OWI charge and for violating his bond conditions from his previous OWI and was lodged at the Delta County Jail.

CO Mark Zitnik was on M-28 patrolling to Munising when he noticed an Alger County ambulance running with lights and sirens towards him. The CO noticed a car would not yield to the emergency vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted and enforcement action was taken.


CO Andrea Erratt reports that the 2016 case against the sailor who abandoned his 32- foot sailboat on the shore of Lake Michigan south of Good Hart is finally closed. At a 90th Emmet County District Court restitution hearing and sentencing, the boat owner was ordered to pay fines and costs of $21,035 which includes restitution to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) who organized and funded the removal of the sailboat from the bottom of a steep bluff.

COs Andrea Albert and Steve Butzin reported that a subject was charged with using false information to obtain free military hunting and fishing licenses since 2013 pleaded guilty to the charges. The subject had been obtaining the free licenses under false pretenses that he was a full-time active duty military member. The court ordered $543 in reimbursement to the state for the illegally obtained licenses for the past five years.

CO William Webster patrolled the Avery Lake ORV Trail in Montmorency County. Webster made numerous contacts with ORV riders. Several warnings and tickets were given for various ORV violations.

CO Jon Sklba responded to a roadkill bear in Presque Isle County. The bear was taken to a local shop to be processed and donated to the Salvation Army.

CO Jon Sklba investigated a complaint of drones harassing wildlife in Presque Isle County. The area the complaint occurred near has had a large bull elk frequenting it. The caller felt the elk were being harassed by a subject flying the drone. Sklba spoke with several individuals who reside in the area and spend considerable time outside. None of the individuals has seen a drone in the area, and the incident appears to be an isolated one. Conservation officers will continue to patrol the area.

CO Jon Sklba investigated a complaint of a charter captain in Presque Isle County who was reported to be dumping fish carcasses on private property. The charter captain was contacted, and a confession obtained. Enforcement action was taken.


CO William Haskin was patrolling the Manistee River for boating and kayaking patrol when he encountered a powered vessel without a current registration. Upon contact, it was also discovered that none of the passengers on the vessel had PFDs. The purpose of registering a vessel was explained and enforcement action was taken.

CO William Haskin was patrolling areas that were closed to ORVs and all motor vehicles. While patrolling, he encountered five dirt bikes operating in one of those closed areas. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Rebecca Hubers responded to another early morning bear complaint at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Platte River Campground, where a woman and child reported they were trapped in their tent while a bear broke into their on-site food containers. The bear was scared away from the scene prior to Hubers arrival.

COs Rebecca Hubers and Amanda McCurdy responded to a complaint of a possible gunshot northern pike at Dubonnet Trail Dam in Grand Traverse County. The COs recovered the wounded 28-inch northern pike flailing near shore and several bullet casings from the scene. There are no immediate suspects.

Leelanau central dispatch received a parking complaint at the DNR access site in Leland. COs Patrick McManus and Amanda McCurdy responded to the area and observed three vehicles parked at the launch without trailers. Citations were issued to all three of the registered owners.


CO Mike Hearn located an early bear bait in a Kalkaska County swamp that had been set three weeks prior to the start of the legal baiting period. The bait material consisted of items that had been used by a group of houndsmen known to Hearn. Early morning surveillance was conducted on the site. Hearn was able to observe a houndsman unload dogs from his truck and go directly to the bait. When contacted, the individual justified the activity by stating that everyone with dogs has bait out early. The houndsman was issued a citation and advised that if the group continues baiting early, they could be lodged in the county jail on future violations.

CO Charlie Jones and Sgt. Brian Olsen were patrolling Reedsburg Dam in Missaukee County when the COs observed two individuals fishing at the dam. Upon contact, Jones asked the individuals for fishing licenses. One angler was able to provide his license and the other stated she did not have one. Olsen also located a short largemouth bass on a stringer nearby. The anglers advised the bass was theirs, but it had been given to them by another angler. Education and enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Brian Olsen observed two anglers carrying fish from the other side of Reedsburg Dam as CO Charlie Jones was finishing up a contact with two anglers. Olsen asked the anglers for their fishing licenses. Both anglers stated they had purchased their licenses earlier in the year but were unable to locate them. The COs ran a license check and determined neither angler had a valid fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Charlie Jones was dispatched to a car/ bear accident on M-72 in Kalkaska County. A witness advised Jones that the bear took off into the swamp. Jones searched for the bear but could not locate it. The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to Munson Medical Center for precautionary evaluation.


CO Joe Myers was following up on a recreational trespass complaint and possible taking of a group of illegal deer. Myers contacted the suspect who was trespassing and shooting on another’s property. After an interview the suspect confessed to trespassing and shooting deer. Enforcement action was taken.

CO John Byars was called to assist a sheriff’s deputy on an ORV accident when he observed an ORV pass in front of him with the operator not wearing a helmet. Byars conducted a stop and determined the driver of the ORV did not have a valid driver’s license. Byars also noticed the ORV did not have an ORV license. A citation was issued for operating an ORV while license suspended and for operating an ORV without a helmet. A warning was given for the missing ORV license.

COs Will Brickel and Quincy Gowenlock took part in Saginaw Township Police Department’s National Night Out. The COs talked to children and adults about recreational safety and displayed a patrol boat and Polaris RZR UTV, which was a hit with the kids. Approximately 150 kids came through their station, all wanting to sit in the equipment. Moreover, several adults came by interested in a career as a Michigan conservation officer.


While patrolling an inland lake in Cass County, CO Micah Hintze checked a single fisherman possessing only a few panfish at the time but was seemingly using more than three poles. Hintze continued to the other side of the lake and observed the angler for over two hours, monitoring his catch and number of poles used. When the angler began to return to the boat ramp Hintze contacted the individual. The fish were counted, showing the angler was in possession of more panfish than his legal daily limit. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Jeremy Cantrell and Kyle McQueer were patrolling Three Rivers Township on a Saturday at approximately 11:44 pm. Before crossing the Sweitzer Road Bridge, the COs noticed a vehicle parked on the side of the road. After observing the anglers, the COs contacted three individuals. It was discovered that two out of the three fishing did not have fishing licenses. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Greg Patten assisted PJ Hoffmaster State Park staff and Norton Shores Police with a search for a missing woman. The woman left her campsite in the early morning to take a walk with her dog and failed to return to meet her husband for breakfast at 10 a.m. The woman turned up on her own at another location in the park.

Thirty conservation officers from every district in the Lower Peninsula assisted Parks and Recreation Division staff at Grand Haven State Park during the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven. Thirteen citations were written for possessing alcohol in the state park, along with two citations for minor in possession of alcohol.


CO Brandon Hartleben was patrolling along the Huron River by ORV when he observed an unregistered vessel with a trolling motor on it. Hartleben entered the river and contacted the vessel. The occupants on board the vessel admitted the vessel was not registered and had never been registered. They also commented they had been using it on the river for almost 10 years and had never been stopped. Hartleben educated them on the requirements for vessel registration in Michigan. Enforcement action taken.

CO Troy Ludwig was patrolling the Grand River when he contacted two anglers fishing in Lansing. When the CO requested to see their fishing licenses, the anglers stated they had just moved back from Florida and had valid Florida fishing licenses. Ludwig explained that a Florida fishing license was not a valid license to fish in the state of Michigan. The CO further inquired as to where they had purchased their minnows and the anglers informed him at a local bait shop. When asked why they had not purchased a license there, the anglers stated they didn’t know they sold them. A check with dispatch showed that both anglers had purchased Michigan fishing licenses in previous years. Enforcement action taken.

CO Troy Ludwig received a condemnation order of a hunter’s rifle, compound bow and spotlights stemming from a case in which the hunter had taken a deer illegally and also attempted to take a trophy buck from a motor vehicle with the assistance of a minor at night. The hunter was convicted of possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, reckless use of a firearm, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of taking deer illegally, and possessing a deer without a valid kill tag attached. The hunter was sentenced to probation and required to pay reimbursement for the deer and additional fines.

CO Nick Wellman assisted MSP by taking a call from central dispatch of a larceny of a trail camera on private property. Upon making contact with the complainant, he walked the property with her and listened to the issues she’s been having with the neighbors. Shortly after contact was made, Nick Wellman located the lost trail camera, in the tree next to where she thought she had placed the camera.

CO Jason McCullough completed an investigation into an illegal turkey from early 2018. The subject purchased a license for one of the early turkey hunting seasons and shot his bird during the last 10 days of the May hunt. After a brief interview the subject confessed to shooting the turkey during the wrong season. Enforcement action was taken.


While on patrol CO John Kamps came to standstill traffic on the freeway. While stopped, a large cloud of smoke came from the neighboring car and the CO got the distinct smell of marijuana. Kamps pulled up next to the vehicle and signaled for him to pull over. Upon interview and investigation, it was determined that the individual was in possession of marijuana and was traveling down the freeway while smoking marijuana. Additionally, the suspect’s 11-year-old daughter was traveling in the back seat. The suspect was taken into the COs custody and lodged in the county jail. The child was released to a guardian.

While on marine patrol on Lake St. Clair, CO Joseph Deppen was heading back to the dock when he noticed a small white light out in the center of the lake. Deppen drove his patrol boat to the location and met with a small fishing vessel with a Coleman lantern hanging from a fishing net. The vessel captain said his navigation lights went out a few hours ago and he wanted to keep fishing. Deppen noticed multiple alcoholic beverages in the vessel and the captain had no GPS or navigational lights. Deppen escorted the vessel to calmer waters and enforcement action was taken.

While on marine patrol on Lake St. Clair, CO Joseph Deppen was checking multiple anglers into the evening. Deppen noticed a vessel trolling 20 minutes after sunset without any navigation lights on. Contact was made with the vessel owner. More checks revealed that the vessel owner did not have a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Raymond Gardner contacted two subjects about a trespassing complaint in Lapeer County. The subjects informed Gardner about what they were told the property line was during a land survey that was completed 20 years ago. They also informed Gardner that if the complainant wanted to have them charged with trespassing, they would like to charge the complainant with trespassing as well. Reports will be sent to the Lapeer County prosecutor’s office for review.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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