Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Jan. 4, 2019

DISTRICT 1

CO Jared Ferguson was following up on complaints in Iron County when he located an ORV trail leading to a treestand on state land. Ferguson contacted the hunter who stated he had hunted there for over 50 years and the same guy keeps driving by his stand at prime time. Ferguson followed the truck tracks in the snow to the suspect’s stand and found he had no name and address on his blind, operated an ORV in a closed area, was cutting trees on state land, and had no hunting license in possession. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeremy Sergey and Michigan State Police troopers responded to an incident in which a hunter on private property had shot at a buck with a 30-06 and the bullet penetrated his neighbor’s truck door. When the officers arrived on scene, they discovered the bullet had gone through the back door of a truck and became embedded in the truck’s back seat. The officers also discovered another bullet had gone through a very large metal fuel tank next to a barn. There were several children at the residence when the shooting occurred. After conducting several interviews, the hunter confessed to riding on a four-wheeler with a loaded firearm, shooting from the four-wheeler several times, hunting within a safety zone and hunting without a license. Law enforcement action was taken.

COs Josh Boudreaux and Cody Smith participated in the 10th annual Shop with a Cop event in Marquette County. COs joined officers from different agencies around Marquette County to bring at-risk foster children to shop for Christmas gifts at Walmart. Around 50 kids participated and both officers and kids thoroughly enjoyed the event.

DISTRICT 2

CO Mark Zitnik was dispatched to Traunik late one night for a shining and trespass complaint. The CO patrolled the area and observed a vehicle at a residence matching the description of the suspected vehicle. A skinned deer was seen hanging in the garage. After a brief discussion the CO realized this was not the person he was looking for. The officer took a minute to check out a deer that was hanging in the garage. When the two were looking at the deer, the CO noticed there was no tag on the spike horn buck. The owner advised his father shot it and must have forgotten to tag the deer. Upon further investigation it was found the subject had also shot the deer with a .22 caliber rifle. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint of a subject driving a quad behind a locked Grouse Enhanced Management Site gate. Freeborn and CO Michael Evink went out the following day and located a quad trail on the wood line and followed the trail locating a parked quad. The COs followed a foot trail to a tower blind built on state land and a hunter, hunting over more than two gallons of bait. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chris Lynch received a complaint about an untagged deer hanging at a camp. Lynch and CO Stephen Butzin went to the camp and located the deer hanging. Upon closer inspection the deer had a 2017 deer tag attached to it. Contact was made with a hunter at the camp who stated it was his buddy’s deer. The COs contacted the responsible hunter who was walking back to camp from his hunting blind. Upon checking the hunter, he didn’t have a deer license in his possession. After a short investigation it was discovered the hunter had current unused 2018 deer licenses. The hunter received a citation for improperly tagging the deer.

CO Calvin Smith was patrolling a very secluded two-track when he came across a vehicle and began to converse with the driver. Smith observed an uncased firearm in the passenger seat. When Smith checked the firearm, he found it was loaded with four rounds of ammunition. Smith asked the driver of the vehicle why he was driving around with a loaded firearm. The driver replied, “I didn’t think I would run into anybody way back here.” Law enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. Mark Leadman and Cpl. Trey Luce patrolled an area south of Newberry and located a fresh deer gut pile. Upon further checking, the COs located the hunting blind where the deer had been killed. Numerous violations were encountered including litter at the site where the deer was cleaned and an illegal blind with over two gallons of bait. A suspect was identified and was contacted that evening as he was returning to the blind with more bait. The suspect still possessed both his kill-tags and after a short interview confessed to having killed a 6-point buck and not tagging it. The untagged deer was located in a friend’s garage and was seized. Enforcement action was taken, and the litter was cleaned up.

DISTRICT 3

Sgt. William Webster received a complaint of a dead spike-horn deer that was found in Antrim County. Webster responded to the location and met with the caller who explained how he found the deer. Webster started investigating the scene and recovered a bullet from the deer. A bait pile was located a short distance away that had blood in it. Webster followed footprints through the snow and right back to where the caller’s vehicle was parked. After a short interview the caller admitted to shooting the spike thinking it was a doe. Enforcement action was taken.

Sgt. William Webster investigated a Hunter Access Program (HAP) land issue in Antrim County. One of the neighboring property owners took it upon himself to post his property against trespass but he also posted the land way onto the HAP land property trying to extend his own property lines. Webster met with the suspect and he admitted to posting the property to keep people out of the swamp and his land. The suspected agreed to move the signs and post only his property.

Sgt. Mark DePew was contacted by a trapper who advised he had caught a badger in a foothold trap in Otsego County. The trapping season was closed for badger and the law requires a trapper to release any animals that cannot be legally possessed. The trapper said he had no idea how to release such an aggressive animal and asked DePew for help. DePew and trapper arrived a short time later and located a very upset badger. After some finagling, the badger was released unharmed.

CO Jessie Curtis received a complaint of a possible sick or injured bear that had been sitting on top of a deer carcass for a week. The complainant said they had gotten five feet from the bear and it never moved, so it was obviously injured. Curtis found the deer carcass, and upon further investigation saw that the bear had pulled the deer carcass right in front of its den. The bear was inside its den and was just eating food preparing for hibernation.

DISTRICT 4

CO Rebecca Hubers responded to a stolen trap complaint from private property. Hubers and the landowner followed foot tracks back to a neighboring property and contacted the owners. It was discovered that the neighbor’s dog had run loose the previous night gotten caught in the trap. The owners found the dog after dark and did not know the best course of action, except to take the dog and the trap back to their residence. The dog appeared uninjured and the trap was returned to the complainant.

CO Rebecca Hubers submitted an extensive report and obtained approved charges from the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s office for case that involved a subject who allegedly took a 10-point antlered deer from a business park area in September using a crossbow and artificial light.

CO Troy Ludwig responded to a ‘shots fired’ complaint of a hunter trespassing and taking a deer on private property. The CO responded to the area and located the hunter a short distance from scene at a friend’s residence, along with a deer. The hunter had taken an antlerless deer without a valid license, admitted to trespassing, failed to tag the deer, and had two loaded firearms in his vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.

While on patrol in Manistee County, CO Steve Converse encountered a subject driving slowly on the two-track roads. Converse contacted the driver and discovered the subject had an uncased and loaded rifle lying across his lap. The subject admitted that he was driving around looking to shoot a deer. Converse discovered that the subject did not have a hunting license, no gun case in the vehicle, and no hunter orange. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 5

CO Mike Hearn received a complaint from Camp Grayling Range Control regarding fresh foot-tracks in the snow where someone had climbed a fence and entered their tank range. Hearn responded and set out on foot following the foot tracks. After nearly a mile, the trespasser was located seated in full camo under a pine tree with a rifle in hand. The hunter was arrested and transported off the government property.

During an evening patrol, CO Jon Warner was working areas known for shining deer in Iosco County. He saw a light sweep across the sky and started closing in to locate the origin of the light. Warner found the vehicle that cast the light and watched it shine several more fields. Upon stopping the vehicle and further investigation, Warner located three firearms, two of which were loaded. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brad Bellville was conducting a commercial deer processor inspection when he located an 8-point buck with a kill tag that was purchased after dark on Nov. 18 and validated that same day. After a short interview with the hunter, a full confession was obtained. The man admitted to taking a deer without a license and buying a tag later that night. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Lockwood received a tip about a subject that had possibly killed a bobcat. A check in RSS showed the subject had purchased a fur harvester license Nov. 17 after shooting hours. Lockwood, along with CO Joe Myers, contacted the subject at his residence. After a lengthy interview, he admitted to having shot a bobcat without a license. Warrants are being sought against the hunter for the illegal killing of a bobcat, as well as an unlicensed taxidermist who had taken possession of the illegal bobcat.

DISTRICT 6

CO Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint through the Report All Poaching Hotline of a suspect hunting deer without a license and shooting two bucks. During the investigation, Gowenlock located social media posts with pictures and a video of one 5-point buck and one 7-point buck being shot. When the suspect was questioned, he denied hunting without a license. When asked if he used social media, the suspect put his head down in shame. The CO told the suspect that he had seen his posts, pictures and the video on Facebook. The CO advised that they were all time stamped with a date of two days prior to the suspect purchasing a license. Knowing that he was caught, the suspect finally admitted to shooting the two bucks prior to having a license. The antlers were seized, and warrants are being sought in Bay County for the suspect’s violations.

CO Joshua Wright received a complaint that a person was putting pictures on social media of 10-point deer they shot and for which they did not have a license. Wright met with the suspect and he was more than happy to show Wright pictures of the deer. Wright learned the deer was at the processor and the suspect said that it was tagged properly. Wright went to the processor and found the 10-point with the suspect’s girlfriend’s tag on it. Wright returned to the suspect’s house and the suspect explained the he lost his deer license and when he found it that it was unreadable, so he used his girlfriend’s tag. Wright looked at the suspects “old” tag and it was unreadable. When Wright asked the suspect if he were to check the suspect’s license history, if he would see that it was bought before the deer was shot. The suspect admitted the he went and bought the license when Wright went to the processor and destroyed it. The deer, destroyed license, and the firearm used to take the deer were seized. Wright will be requesting charges through the Tuscola County Prosecutor’s office.

DISTRICT 7

CO Sam Schluckbier received a complaint of an individual who had shot three large bucks during archery season and was still hunting deer with a firearm. The hunter also posted two of the deer on Facebook, indicating at least two deer were harvested this season. Schluckbier interviewed the subject at his residence and located a third set of antlers. During the interview the subject admitted to shooting a young 5-point and a large 8-point in October. Further investigation revealed that in early November he shot an additional 12-point buck with his crossbow. The subject claimed that he didn’t tag them because he wanted to continue hunting with his father. The deer antlers and meat were confiscated, along with the crossbow used. Charges are being sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s office.

CO Matt Page responded to a complaint of a subject shooting two bucks, one of which did not appear to meet the restricted tag requirements. Upon contact, it was found that the hunter was in possession of one untagged buck at his residence and the other buck was tagged with his mom’s tag. When asked why his mom’s tag was on his deer, he responded “because that’s how we work.” Both deer were seized, and charges are being sought through the Prosecutor’s office.

CO Travis Dragomer and Sgt. Stephen Mooney contacted a subject in a pickup truck with waterfowl in the bed in Berrien Springs. The COs found two geese and two ducks. It was determined the driver did not have a waterfowl license and had been given the waterfowl from an unknown person. The waterfowl were not properly labeled with the hunter’s information. The individual was in possession of marijuana, had an expired driver’s license, and an improper plate on the vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 8

CO Katie Stawara received a complaint from DNR dispatch regarding a suspect who posted on social media that she shot her first deer. The suspect did not have any 2018 deer licenses. An interview with the suspect resulted in her saying she posted the pictures as a joke to make her ex-husband jealous. She stated it was her boyfriend who had shot and tagged the deer. Not sold on her explanation, Stawara contacted Sanilac County officers to conduct an interview with the boyfriend. CO Seth Rhodea later interviewed the boyfriend where he was able to gain a full confession that his girlfriend shot the deer and used his kill-tag to tag it to drop it off at the processor. The suspect was re-contacted where she too admitted to shooting the deer. A warrant is being requested by Rhodea in Sanilac County with the assistance of Stawara.

CO Katie Stawara was parked on a street in Ovid when she observed a vehicle pass her at a high rate of speed and turn into a residence just down the street. She watched as a male passenger exited the driver’s side of the vehicle and rushed into the house. Shortly after, Stawara was contacted by a Clinton County sheriff’s deputy who was looking for the subject she watched exit the vehicle. Stawara assisted the deputy in contacting the individual to conduct an interview regarding a theft case. Once the interview was complete, the deputy issued the subject a citation for operating an unregistered and uninsured vehicle based on Stawara’s observations.

Sgt. Rich Nickols received a RAP complaint about a turkey that had been shot in Ingham County. The complainant heard three shots nearby and then drove around his property to locate the source of the shots. The complainant found two subjects on his property, one of which was holding a dead turkey. When the suspect was confronted, she reportedly said “it’s Thanksgiving.” Nickols responded and located evidence of two turkeys being shot and followed a trail of turkey feathers to a nearby residence. No one was home at the time. Nickols returned the next day and spoke with a female at the residence that matched the description of the suspect provided by the complainant. The female subject and a male living at the residence continue to deny any involvement in the illegal taking of the turkeys. The investigation is continuing.

DISTRICT 9

CO Joseph Deppen received a call from Macomb County Dispatch about goose hunters discharging their firearms in the north end of the county. Deppen arrived and found a group of hunters hunting just outside the safety zone of a local fire station/police substation. Macomb County sheriff’s deputies and Deppen conducted a joint investigation relating to the hunting activities. The hunters had been hunting in the field and during the hunt, multiple shots were in the direction of the fire station/police substation. There was vehicle damage to many of the vehicles on scene, including patrol car windshields. Deppen and sheriff deputies conducted interviews with the hunters and started an on-scene investigation of the field. Multiple shell casings were located, and the evidence pointed to a reckless discharge of a firearm by one or multiple hunters. Multiple pieces of evidence were recovered, and the firearms were confiscated. An investigation is pending, and reimbursement will be sought for damages.

While on marine/waterfowl patrol on Lake St. Clair in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen and Sgt. Todd Szyska observed a single hunter in a rowboat close to shore, well within the safety zone. The COs contacted the hunter and he immediately confessed, “I don’t have a waterfowl license.” Further checks revealed the hunter had not purchased a license for the past five years. The hunter informed the COs he was a member of the Audubon Society and could not stand to see crippled diver ducks, so he was simply trying to clean up the cripples. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Raymond Gardner responded to a complaint about a house being hit by a bullet. Upon arrival, Gardner met with Dryden Township police officers and the suspect shooter. After interviewing the subject, Gardner confirmed that the hunter shot a deer. He also found out that the hunter was trespassing on Dryden School property and had an illegal bait site. It was confirmed the bullet that was fired hit the neighbor’s house. Enforcement action was taken.

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