Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 9, 2018


Conservation Officer Cody Smith checked a group of hound hunters in Baraga County. The group reported they had not seen a single track in days. Upon checking the party, the next day, they successfully harvested a mid-200-pound bear. The hunters were happy for the change in luck and continued to run their dogs in search of another bear.

CO Cody Smith patrolled the Sturgeon River Sloughs the opening morning of the North Zone duck season opener. Despite hearing many shots, hunters harvested a low number of ducks for the day. Multiple parties were checked having wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese.

CO Doug Hermanson contacted a deer hunter in Houghton County who had purchased his license online then immediately hunted and took a deer without having received his kill tags by mail. He was advised of his obligation to have kill tags in his possession before taking a deer and directed to surrender one upon receipt.

CO Cody Smith checked multiple groups of waterfowl hunters near Baraga that were seeing varying species of birds entering with the cold front. Smith observed mallards, pintail, ring-neck, black duck, wood duck, hooded mergansers, green-wing teal and bluebill being harvested.

COs Jenni Hanson and Zach Painter assisted Wildlife Division in recovering a wolf collar from a dead wolf that had traveled across from Wisconsin. The investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of death.

CO Jenni Hanson contacted numerous waterfowl hunters on Lake Gogebic. The hunters were successful and compliant with all waterfowl regulations.

COs Jared Ferguson and Brian Bacon checked a group of field hunters on the early goose opener. License checks found one subject did not purchase a base license, waterfowl license nor a federal waterfowl stamp. A second hunter in the group failed to validate their federal waterfowl stamp.


CO Stephen Butzin located a bowhunter that was baiting well over the legal two-gallon limit in Masonville Township. The hunter was issued a citation for baiting more than two gallons.

CO Stephen Butzin observed a vehicle with bird dogs parked off a forest two track road in Masonville Township. Butzin approached the vehicle and noticed one of the dogs was gone and two empty gun cases inside. He tracked the hunters and observed them shooting at several birds. Upon investigation, Butzin found one hunter without a valid base license. A citation was issued.

CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint of a moose stuck in a cow pasture that was enclosed with an electric fence. Upon arrival, it was obvious the moose was stressed from all the attention and was pacing back and forth along the fence edge. Freeborn coaxed the moose to a gate at the far end of the pasture. Freeborn was able to open the gate and the moose ran to a nearby woodline.

COs Colton Gelinas and Justin Vinson contacted a group of hound hunters in possession of a dead bear in Luce County. After further investigation, it was revealed that the bear was shot by a youth hunting under the Mentored Youth Hunt program who did not possess a bear kill tag for the 2018 bear season. The COs explained to the youth about shooting a bear without a license and the penalties associated. A report has been submitted to the Luce County Prosecuting Attorney for charges against the youth’s mentor.

Sgt. Mark Leadman located an illegal bear bait with chocolate on state land along with scent covered articles stapled into numerous trees around the site. Leadman returned for several evenings until contact was made. The hunter admitted to placing the chocolate and advised his hunting partner was just down the road with the same bait. Illegal activity was addressed with both hunters. Enforcement action was taken, and the bait sites were cleaned up.


CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint about anglers snagging and keeping foul-hooked salmon on the Boyne River. Erratt watched the group of anglers and one kept another angler’s foul-hooked fish. Erratt ticketed the fisherman for retaining a foul-hooked fish.

Sgt. William Webster responded to a RAP complaint of a male suspect spearing salmon in the Boyne River. When he arrived, the suspect was gone, but Webster did contact three anglers walking toward the river with treble hooks attached to their lines. Webster educated the anglers about the hook restriction and sent them back to their vehicle with the illegal gear.

Sgt. William Webster was contacted by an individual who was a successful hunter. When he loaded his 8-point buck onto his vehicle and drove down the road his kill tag blew off. Webster was able to verify through pictures he had taken only hours before that he did have the deer tagged, but the tag had indeed blown off while traveling on the highway. The man was educated about securing the tag better and issued a permit to keep the deer.

CO Duane Budreau responded to a wildlife complaint in northern Emmet County, backing up the MSP trooper who received the initial call. The call was a badger had fallen through the ceiling of a home and was taking over the residence. Upon arrival at the residence, the badger was confined to an enclosed porch area. Budreau blocked off the doorway with a chest freezer preventing the badger from returning to the main part of the house. Utilizing an exterior door to the porch, Budreau reached in with his catch pole and captured the badger around its midsection. Since the animal does not have much of a neck, it was quite difficult to secure it with the catch pole. The homeowner requested a complete search of his residence to make sure there were no more unwelcome homewreckers. It was determined that the badger had gained access to the home through the basement.


While patrolling the closed waters near the Platte River Fish Hatchery, Sgt. Dan Bigger located subjects well inside the posted closed area. Bigger made his way to their location and called them to shore. The anglers stated they were unaware of the closed area rule. Bigger walked them to the posted “Closed to Fishing” sign and pointed out their tackle boxes that they had set at the base of the sign. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Dan Bigger was observing the fish cleaning station from a distance when several subjects approached to clean their fish. Bigger went to congratulate them on their catch and checked licenses. Upon reaching the last group, it was found that the angler did not have a fishing license and did not realize he would be checked. Enforcement action was taken.

CO William Haskin was patrolling in Benzie County at the Homestead Dam when he noticed an individual snag a king salmon and place the fish on his stringer. The angler started walking to his vehicle when Haskin stopped him and advised him of the violation. Enforcement action was taken. Shortly after, Haskin was still patrolling in the same area when he again noticed an individual snag a fish and add it to his limit by putting it on a stinger. Contact was made, and enforcement action was taken.

While investigating a multiple shots complaint on the upper waters of the Betsie River, CO Rebecca Hubers checked a waterfowl hunter who stated his gun was plugged with the manufacturer’s plug. Checking the firearm, Hubers observed the hunter was using smaller shotgun shells and the gun was capable of holding more than three. During the license check, Hubers found the subject also failed to purchase a Michigan waterfowl license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Varriale had a jury trial for an illegal deer where the subject did not show up. The judge dismissed the jury and issued an arrest warrant for the subject. Minutes later, the subject arrived and was immediately arrested. He was in violation of his probation by not showing up to court for felonious assault and found guilty of the illegal deer. The subject is still in jail awaiting sentencing on the illegal deer.


CO Mike Hearn was checking a deer stand on state land in Rapid River Township of Kalkaska County when he observed an excessive bait pile consisting of 30 gallons of corn, sugar beets and carrots. While checking the stand, Hearn located a crossbow and gear bag at the base of the stand. On the side of the bag, Hearn observed a loaded handgun secured on an external pocket. Hearn sat on surveillance of the stand. After approximately 30 minutes, the owner returned on an ATV. The owner was issued a citation to address the baiting violation. The hunter, a valid Concealed Pistol License holder, was advised that it was not in his best interest to leave a handgun or crossbow unattended on public land.

CO Mike Hearn was contacted by a concerned hunter after he and his hunting dog came across a line of razor wire strung along the ground on state land in Kalkaska County. Hearn located the 100-foot section of razor wire and was able to determine that it had been used by the military during a training session at Camp Grayling. The wire was inadvertently left on state land after the area had been cleared. The military was contacted, and the razor wire was promptly removed.

CO Matt Zultak and Sgt. Brian Olsen contacted two hunters in Roscommon County who had constructed two large elevated stands on state land. The stands had been left on state land for multiple years, had no identification on them, and were over baited. In addition, shooting lanes had been cut through the woods and ORV trails had been made. The two hunters were cited for their violations and advised to remove the illegal elevated stands.

CO Tyler Sabuda received a call to assist in locating a lost hunter in a swamp in neighboring Alcona County. Working with the Alcona County Sheriff’s Department they were able to locate the hunter and return the young man to his family. 


COs Josh Russell and Michael Haas were patrolling Montcalm County when they received a complaint of a deer being taken illegally. The COs began an investigation into the complaint. During the investigation, Russell and Haas were able to track down the suspect and located the deer kill site. After interviewing the suspect’s girlfriend, she admitted to purchasing a deer license and giving it to her boyfriend. The suspect was later contacted and admitted to shooting a buck and placing his girlfriend’s tag on it. The deer was taken and a citation for over limit of bucks was issued.

CO Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint of excessive bait on the opening day of bow season. Gowenlock responded to the location and found a hunt site which had approximately 20 gallons of bait. The suspect was contacted and admitted to placing the bait out. He went on to say that he was told by a friend that it was too much bait and had already picked up 10 gallons. A citation was issued.

CO Robert Hobkirk received a RAP complaint alleging that a youth hunter had taken two deer during the Liberty Hunt. Upon investigating the complaint, Hobkirk found that the youth hunter had taken two deer, but one was an antlerless deer and the other was an antlered deer. Since the antlerless deer season and the youth deer hunt are on the same weekend there was no violation regarding deer numbers. However, the hunter and his parent did not validate and attach a kill tag to either deer. The youth hunter was educated about the regulations for tagging a deer and his mother was cited for possessing an untagged deer.


CO Chris Holmes received information that a subject was possibly in possession of an untagged deer in his vehicle. Holmes was able to obtain gas station surveillance footage of the subject and vehicle providing a possible suspect. A subsequent interview with the suspect the next day resulted in a confession. The deer was transported and processed at a residence in another county. Charges will be sought for taking a deer without a license and transporting an untagged deer.

Sgt. Chuck Towns received a RAP complaint of multiple subjects fishing in a trout stream during the closed season. Upon investigation, it was determined that all four subjects were fishing in the closed stream, only two had valid fishing licenses and one subject had a fugitive warrant out of Texas for drug possession and violating probation. The subject was held pending extradition back to Texas.

COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer were checking hunters on a piece of hunter access property (HAP). The COs contacted one hunter walking out of the woods who stated he didn’t have his tags on him and he left them at home. Further investigation revealed an uncased crossbow in the subject’s vehicle and the hunter didn’t sign the sign in sheet required while hunting on HAP land. While the hunter was looking for a case for his crossbow in his truck the COs noticed a flashlight mounted on the hunter’s crossbow. Enforcement action was taken.


Sgt Troy Bahlau and COs Chris Reynolds, Jeff Goss and Chris Maher conducted patrols on both Saturday and Sunday along the Ohio and Indiana borders focusing on possible illegal importation of deer into Michigan. These were conducted covering morning, midday and afternoon patrols along main entries and secondary roads entering Michigan. The COs also conducted spot checks and inspections of nearby processors. Traffic was heavy, but no violations were observed.

COs Chris Maher and Chris Reynolds stopped at a local processor in Hillsdale County for an inspection and found the head of an 8-point white-tailed deer in the freezer. Maher inspected the tag and noticed the hunter was only 3-years-old. Maher and Reynolds interviewed the father of the 3-year-old boy and determined he was not the one who shot the 8-point buck during the youth hunt earlier in the year. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Maher spent opening day of bow season contacting hunters at locations where he previously found bait on both private and state land prior to the beginning of the season. Recently there has been a ban placed on baiting to help prevent the spread of CWD. Maher contacted three different hunters that morning. In each instance the bait was cleaned up and none of the hunters were currently using bait. Each hunter stated that they were unaware of the ban at the time they placed the bait and when they found out about the ban they cleaned it up. Everything else in each instance was legal. Maher took the opportunity to educate the hunters.

CO Todd Thorn was on routine patrol on the opening day of archery deer season with a cameraman from the Wardens television show. DNR dispatch contacted Thorn and requested that he respond to a school in Okemos where deer were caught in a bathroom. Thorn and the cameraman responded to the scene to find that two deer had jumped through a window at Central Elementary School in Okemos and were trapped in a bathroom. With help from Meridian Township Police Department and Ingham County Animal Control officers, Thorn was able to remove the deer from the school without further harming the deer or anyone at the school.


CO Jessie Curtis fielded a complaint of loose swine in Lapeer County. Multiple complaints came in that a farmer had multiple pigs escape, one of which was pregnant and there were now at least 20 pigs running lose destroying farmer’s crops. Some hunters had even called the RAP hotline to ask if they could shoot feral hogs in the area. Curtis investigated the area and was informed that pigs were recaptured by the farmer. To date no farmer has come forward about any crop damage and the incident has also been forwarded to wildlife division.

While on patrol during the archery deer opener, CO Joseph Deppen was checking on hunters in a forested area. The early downpour kept most hunters out of the woods. Deppen was checking the area and found three bait piles well over the two-gallon limit. Deppen returned to the location later in the evening and contacted hunters at the bait sites. The hunters were educated on how to measure out two gallons and how to spread out their bait over a 10 x 10 area. Enforcement action was taken.

CO David Schaumburger received a call from a hunter who just signed a lease on 35 acres of property. The hunter stated he was walking the property and found numerous stands and blinds from an unknown individual. The CO reviewed the contract along with the township deed and determined that someone was trespassing on the property. The CO contacted the trespasser and advised that although the property was not posted, he was trespassing, and needed to remove his property immediately.

COs John Kamps and Justin Muehlhauser responded to a complaint of two subjects shooting at geese on a golf course. The COs contacted the suspects in the parking lot of the golf course. Upon interviewing the subjects, it was determined that the two individuals brought their shotguns onto the golf course during their game of golf. While playing golf, the subjects shot and killed geese on the course. It was also determined that one of the individuals was in possession of an unplugged shotgun. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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