Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Oct. 26, 2018


CO Ethen Mapes responded to the complaint of bear hunters arguing alongside the road. When Mapes arrived, the arguing had subsided. Mapes talked with both parties and was able to clear up some misconceptions about what rights a dog owner has when it comes time to retrieve their dogs from private property.

CO Ethen Mapes investigated the report of over baiting in Ontonagon County. Mapes concluded that there was a mistake in identity and the complainant was looking at a bear bait with sweets and candy rather than deer bait with corn.

CO Zach Painter worked several planned patrols targeting bear hunters. Multiple guides and hunters were contacted with no violations observed.

COs Zach Painter, Jennifer Hanson and Josh Boudreaux patrolled Gogebic County near Watersmeet. The COs were targeting ORV and small-game activity. Multiple contacts were made by the COs and verbal warnings were given for no seat belt and for operating an ORV on a public highway.

CO Jennifer Hanson received a complaint that numerous people were using large treble hooks to snag salmon on a local river in Gogebic County. These people are also known to have harassed other anglers on the river. A subsequent investigation with the help of COs Zach Painter and Ethen Mapes led to the discovery of three individuals snagging steelhead after dark. The COs addressed violations including snagging/attempting to snag, possession of snagging equipment, possession of two foul hooked steelhead and failure to display fishing license. Further investigation of the suspect’s vehicle revealed an illegally possessed deer. The suspects claimed the deer as roadkill but failed to notify authorities before placing it in the trunk of their car. One of the individuals also had numerous misdemeanor and felony warrants. Enforcement action was taken regarding the fishing violations, the illegally possessed deer and outstanding warrants.


CO Bobby Watson was patrolling in a local hot spot for grouse hunting activity when contact was made with a pair of young hunters who were driving in their truck. Watson was able to observe through the window a shotgun lying on top of a fully open gun case in between the driver and the passenger. Watson addressed the uncased firearm and enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Zitnik was patrolling during bear season when he came across a side-by-side UTV with occupants who had open intoxicants. The two subjects were from out of state and thought it was legal to drink and drive in an ORV. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Zitnik was checking bear hunters. When Zitnik arrived at the hunter’s blind he observed no hunter orange on the hunter. When the CO was spotted by the hunter he tried to put his hunter orange on. At the end of the 15- minute conversation, the hunter decided to tell Zitnik he had a concealed weapon permit and where his weapon was. Enforcement action was taken.

Hunter safety instructor Dan Hinsa, Norm Balco, Sgt. Jerry Fitzgibbon, and CO Mark Zitnik along with help from Cody Norton and Don Brown, instructed the hunter safety class at Superior Central Schools. Twenty students attended the class and received their hunter safety certificates.

CO Colton Gelinas was working in Mackinac County when he was dispatched to a report of a wolf/dog conflict. Gelinas responded to the location and discovered that two bear hunting dogs had died from injuries they had sustained. A third dog was injured and another dog missing. Gelinas assisted the hunters getting their gear out of the woods and search for the missing dog which was located away from the area and OK that evening. Gelinas turned the information over to DNR Wildlife Division.

CO Calvin Smith located a bear hunter on national forest lands. The hunter had hung bait from a tree and had also cut numerous trees to create a shooting lane. Enforcement action was taken.


COs Adam LeClerc, Chad Baldwin and Tim Rosochacki responded to a call about a sow bear that was killed by a car, but two cubs were still in the area. When the CO arrived, they located the two cubs hanging out in the treetops of some nearby pine trees. The mother was removed from the area to allow the survival of her cubs and the safety of motorists on the roadway. The cubs were old enough to survive on their own without the assistance of their mother.

Sgt. Bill Webster, CO Andrea Erratt and CO Chad Baldwin of Charlevoix County patrolled the Boyne River for illegal fishing activity. Erratt ticketed one fisherman who had snagged three salmon in the dorsal fin. The three fish weighed 58 pounds total. The fisherman apologized and said he knew he should not have kept the foul hooked salmon.

CO Jon Sklba contacted an ORV operator who had been speeding down the roadway without a helmet. The operator stated he was unaware of the allowable speed for ORVs in the county, nor that ORVs were not allowed on the roadway. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jon Sklba attended an event at a local Meijer store that was providing free deer licenses to youth. Sklba reported that a lot of positive contacts were made.

Sgt. Michael Mshar received several complaints in Otsego County where a local elk guide was trespassing onto other people’s property and who was also interrupting other hunters during their hunts. Contact was made with the guide who stated he really didn’t know he was on someone else’s land. He further advised that he also had permission to hunt where the other hunters were and that it was all just part of hunting. Enforcement action was taken for the trespass.

Sgt. Michael Mshar and CO Paul Fox investigated an illegal bear in Presque Isle County. The person who shot the bear did not have a tag and instead used a relative’s kill tag. The bear was seized, and enforcement action was taken.


COs Justin Vanderlinde, Will Kinney, Patrick McManus, Amanda McCurdy, along with Lt. John Jurcich, Sgt. Dan Bigger and National Park Ranger Jamie Westenfelder conducted an overnight patrol on North Manitou Island. This event afforded officers the opportunity to get familiar with a portion of Leelanau County that historically has seen minimal enforcement efforts.

CO Steve Converse and Sgt. Grant Emery were on patrol when they located a vehicle hidden off the road near a small stream. A spear was found hidden along the bank along with some personal items, so the COs took up surveillance of the area. Shortly after dark, a light was observed up stream and the COs watched as a subject speared a fish with a second spear. Contact was eventually made with two subjects. A salmon that had been speared was recovered and enforcement action was taken for the illegal taking of the salmon and possession of illegal gear along a trout stream.

CO Steve Converse was on a late-night patrol at Tippy Dam when he observed a subject grab a fish by hand that had swam into shallow water. The CO listened to the subject brag to his buddy how he had just caught a fish. The subject then proceeded to tie on an illegal lure and attempted to snag fish. Converse contacted the individual and discovered that the subject had numerous warrants for his arrest, including a felony warrant. Enforcement action was taken, and the subject was lodged in the Manistee County Jail

CO Josiah Killingbeck followed up on a bear bait that had screw-in steps, no name or address and involved a large number of live cut limbs on public land. Killingbeck contacted the hunter who now had bags of marshmallows hanging in trees. The hunter told Killingbeck that his friend told him to put the bags of marshmallows in the trees and admitted to not educating himself on bear hunting regulations. The hunter also admitted to the same violations at another site. The hunter was educated on basic bear hunting regulations and enforcement action was taken.


CO Mike Hearn observed a group of ORVs operating illegally in a state gravel pit in Kalkaska County. When the group noticed his patrol vehicle, they fled in opposite directions out of the gravel pit. One operator was unable to make it up a steep hill and was forced back down to Hearn’s location. Upon contact, the operator provided information for the other riders. With assistance from the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department, the other riders were later located. Enforcement action was taken.

During a recent Jeep ride event in Crawford and Kalkaska Counties, CO Mike Hearn contacted nearly 100 people operating unlawfully in and around the Camp Grayling area. The Jeeps were climbing hills, operating unlawfully on utility right of ways, and operating cross country running over trees and vegetation. Citations were issued to address the violations.

CO Mark Papineau was contacted by DNR Wildlife Division staff regarding a subject self-reporting a game law violation at the deer check station. Upon arrival, Papineau was met by a subject who had been hunting during Gladwin County’s first early antlerless hunt. The subject, a first-time hunter, had accidentally shot a 3-point buck in velvet, thinking it was an antlerless deer. The man had tagged the buck with his regular combo tag brought the deer to the check station and surrendered himself for the violation. Papineau spent some time speaking with the subject and provided a little education and a verbal warning. The deer was seized and donated to a needy family in the community. The subject, expecting a citation for his errors, left with a positive outlook and learned that honesty was the best option.

CO Mark Papineau was dispatched to reports of a baby bobcat that had been abandoned on the caller’s property. According to the caller, the baby bobcat was abandoned days earlier and the mother had not returned. Immediately upon arrival, Papineau determined that the baby bobcat was, in fact, a domestic cat. After a half-hour of the subjects using “Google” and “YouTube” to try and prove their claim, animal control was contacted and also identified the feline as domestic. The subject still refused to accept the determination and advised they were taking their claim to a “higher power.”


CO Josh Russell and Ken Lowell were patrolling the Flat River State Game Area when they encountered a hunting group preparing for the youth waterfowl season. The COs contacted them and asked to check their licenses and firearms. One subject pulled a gun out of his vehicle that was not cased. The subject did not have a case for the firearm. A citation for uncased gun in a motor vehicle was issued.

A boat was dumped on state land in Midland County and was investigated; however, the boat owner was deceased, and no additional owner could be located. A subject who hunts the area near where the dumped boat was located contacted CO Jay Person and volunteered to remove the boat if the CO could find a place to dispose of it. Person contacted the local landfill and explained the situation. The landfill supervisor advised they would take it free of charge and dispose of it.

CO Jay Person was called to assist the Midland County Sheriff’s Office with a female subject who had attempted to overdose and ran into the woods. Person responded with his ORV in case it was needed to track the subject through the woods. Just before arrival, the female subject emerged from the woods and a deputy was able to tackle her and take her into protective custody. She was transported to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

COs Dan Robinson and Mike Haas hosted a “Coffee with the Cops” event at the Mt. Pleasant Cops and Doughnuts-Central Precinct. The event was well received, and the COs had a chance to answer questions from hunters and fishermen. Many of the questions related to the new changes regarding CWD management. Several of the attendees came with questions prepared.


While patrolling a lake in Cass County during the youth waterfowl weekend, COs Micah Hintze and Jeremy Cantrell observed multiple groups of hunters set up and actively shooting. The COs were watching a youth and their guardian both taking multiple shots at passing ducks. While they were observing a youth and guardian, both hunters shot at a single wood duck each. Contact was made with the individuals and they both admitted to each killing one of the ducks. Being the youth waterfowl weekend, no one other than youth hunters may harvest or attempt to harvest ducks, other than teal. Further it was found the guardian was in possession of and actively using toxic shot. Evidence was seized and enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Stephen Mooney and CO Jeff Robinette were patrolling in Cass County on opening day of small-game season. The COs saw a vehicle parked on a piece of commercial forest property. The COs stopped to look around and were contacted by a hunter standing just inside the woods. The hunter was not wearing any hunter orange. When the subject approached, Robinette recognized the subject from several previous encounters. Enforcement action taken.

While on patrol along the Grand River system in Ionia County, CO Cary Foster and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers located six subjects along the mouth of a small trout stream attempting to net coho salmon. After a lengthy observation period, one of the subjects was successful in netting a fish. When contacted, one subject attempted to throw a fish back but was apprehended by Foster. The investigation revealed a total of six coho salmon, all netted illegally, that were hidden nearby. None of the subjects even had a fishing pole in possession. A record check revealed that two of the subjects had been arrested by Foster two years ago for taking a deer illegally from a motor vehicle. One subject also had an outstanding warrant. Enforcement action was taken for the fishing violations and the subject with the warrant was lodged at the county jail.


CO Carter Woodwyk received a five-count arrest warrant from the Hillsdale District Court from an illegal deer case stemming in 2017. The suspect was arrested and lodged in the Hillsdale County Jail.

CO Todd Thorn patrolled an abandoned railroad on his issued dirt bike and found a couple of bait piles. He also found a deer head with a kill tag attached, which led to a confession from a local resident that the 11-point antlered deer was taken illegally. A warrant request report will be submitted to the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office in regard to the illegally taken deer.

CO Katie Stawara was on patrol when she observed a subject walking in a field with hunter orange on. She contacted the individual at his vehicle parked nearby. The suspect was carrying an unloaded .450 Bushmaster with ammunition in his pocket. He stated he was checking deer stands and merely carried the firearm for fun. While securing his firearm in the vehicle, the CO noticed an uncased bow in the backseat. A check of the individual’s history returned with two prior violations for baiting and taking deer no license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Stawara was patrolling the Rose Lake State Game Area when she came across a vehicle parked in an access site. While inspecting the vehicle, the CO heard multiple gun shots nearby. She contacted two 17-year-old squirrel hunters who both provided expired hunting licenses. The individuals believed the tags were good for a year from the date of purchase and were unaware they had expired. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Stawara responded to a self-reported complaint regarding an antlerless deer hunter who harvested an antlered 3-point whitetail. The suspect was hunting next to a cornfield and said he didn’t see the antlers. He called the DNR immediately after he realized his mistake. The hunter was new to hunting and extremely remorseful. The deer was seized, and enforcement action taken.


COs Adam Beuthin, Nick Ingersoll and Keven Luther worked the Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival held at the state game area. The COs had contact with more than 500 visitors over the course of the event while operating the hunter education laser shot trailer and answering questions form the public.

CO David Schaumburger was contacted by a homeowner concerned with a waterfowler hunting an inland waterway. The CO contacted the hunter and explained that since he was inland, and in the township of Brownstown, he could not discharge a firearm due to a local hunting control. The hunter argued with the CO that he was wrong because he was on the surface of the water. The hunter was given a choice to receive a ticket and have a judge explain it to him or take the CO’s explanation that he was in violation. The hunter chose a ticket.

CO Christopher Knights got a call from CO Jacob Griffin regarding a cormorant that was shot down near Knights’ location. Griffin stated that Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies were out with the suspect and requested DNR assistance. Knights responded to the subdivision in Clarkston and met up with the deputies. Knights received the dead bird from the deputies and proceeded to interview the suspect. The individual stated he shot the bird because the home owner’s association just spent thousands of dollars stocking the lake with fish. Knights advised the individual that it was illegal to shoot cormorants because they are not game birds. Knights also advised him of the safety zone law and that he was also well within the safety zone. Enforcement action taken.

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