Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 15, 2019


CO Zach Painter received reports of a snowmobiler who was separated from his group and could not be located. They lost contact with the 70-year old subject earlier in the morning on Lake Gogebic. Painter was notified early in the afternoon and responded to Bergland where the subject had been seen earlier in the day. Painter located the man uninjured at a local bar looking for his group.

CO Jared Ferguson and PCO Noah Thompson responded to a snowmobile fatal accident in Felch Township of Dickinson County. When they arrived, they transported MSP troopers, other EMS and first responders to the crash scene. It appears that the snowmobiles were traveling at a high rate of speed when the operators lost control resulting in the two snowmobiles crashing. A 19-year old Wisconsin man died from injuries sustained in the crash.

COs Cody Smith, Johnathan Kamps and Josh Boudreaux were leaving training in Ontonagon County when a call came from central dispatch of a stabbing in Mass City. The COs responded to the call, being first on scene with an Ontonagon County deputy. The suspect was taken into custody at the local gas station. The victim of the stabbing drove to the nearest hospital where his injuries were addressed.

Conservation Officer Zach Painter and USFS LEO Josh Lopac responded to a snowmobile accident in Ontonagon County involving a female operator who failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree. The officers provided medical attention to the subject and directed other first responders to the scene. The operator suffered life-threatening injuries and was air lifted for medical attention.


CO Mark Zitnik was patrolling Munising Bay on snowmobile, checking ice anglers, when he was dispatched to the scene of a fire in the town of Munising. A garage downtown was engulfed in flames. When the CO responded and reached the scene, the fire had spread to a nearby motel. Munising and AuTrain fire departments quickly extinguished the flames. No one was harmed during the blaze.

CO Chris Lynch recently had a case adjudicated in court where subject pleaded guilty to four charges stemming from a two-month investigation. The subject pleaded guilty to taking deer with firearm closed season, two counts of taking deer without a license, and loaning a deer tag to another. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail, hunting privileges revoked for five years, fined $1,650, ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution, and the firearm used in the poaching was forfeited. In total, 16 charges were brought on three different suspects, for 10 deer that were in violation over a three-year period as a result of the investigation. The other two subjects each plead guilty to two lesser charges.

CO Chris Lynch recently had a case adjudicated in court where a subject pleaded guilty to four charges including taking two illegal deer and borrowing two deer licenses from another person. The charges stem from the 2017 and 2018 firearm deer seasons. The subject was sentenced to 10 days in jail, hunting privileges revoked for five years, fined $1,400, ordered to pay $12,500 in restitution, one year of probation, and the firearm used in the poaching was forfeited. This is a result from a trespassing complaint that Lynch and CO Steve Butzin investigated. The hunter illegally shot a deer and then was confronted by hunters who were leasing the property. After a verbal altercation ensued, the hunters leasing the property made a complaint.

CO Chris Lynch was checking bear registration forms when he noticed a suspicious form. A hunter from Newaygo County had killed the bear in Marquette County on the same day he bought the license. However, the license wasn’t purchased until after dark that evening. Lynch passed the information on to CO Jeff Ginn and PCO Tim Barboza who interviewed the hunter. The hunter confessed to shooting the bear without a license. The bear and rifle used to kill the bear were seized. A report will be submitted to the Marquette County prosecutor’s office.

CO Robert Freeborn and PCO Michael Olesen were on routine patrol when a tip was received regarding illegal snares set on Commercial Forest Act (CFA) land. Following the information provided from the tip, two illegal snares and other traps were found. The next day, the COs were able to find the trapper attending his line. After a brief interview, the trapper admitted to placing the snares on CFA land. The snares were seized and a citation was issued.


CO Adam LeClerc and PCO Anna Viau received a complaint about a possible poached deer. Upon arrival to the area, blood was observed in the road and a drag trail was observed coming out of a field. The COs followed the trail and discovered clumps of coyote hair and several sets of canine prints, leading to the conclusion that it was the scene of a successful coyote hunt which included the use of hounds, not a poached deer.

After a detailed investigation, CO Andrea Albert and PCO Andrea Dani served an arrest warrant on a subject who had obtained numerous free military licenses over the past six years while not eligible. Full-time federal active duty military members who are called-up to service can obtain free hunting and fishing licenses under state law. This individual was obtaining the free licenses while not in active duty status. The state will be seeking reimbursement for over $600 in fraudulent license purchases.

CO Matt Theunick and PCO Cole VanOosten responded to a complaint of a large boat dumped on state land with various trash inside. The COs were able to locate identification numbers on the vessel which led them to the registered owner who had given the boat away. The boat had changed hands several times, and the COs were able to track the possession of the boat to the last known owner. An interview was conducted, and a confession was obtained. Enforcement action was taken to ensure the boat was cleared from state land.

COs Sidney Collins, Paul Fox, and several others executed a search warrant for a felon in possession of a firearm. The subject was found in possession of four firearms in the home as well as other wildlife violations. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Sidney Collins assisted the DNR Wildlife Division and Michigan State University in recovering elk collars that were being utilized as part of a joint research project on elk movement in the Pigeon River forest area. On a set date the collars are designed to fall off. The collars are then recovered by staff utilizing GPS tracking equipment.


CO Bill Haskin patrolled lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, as well as local snowmobile trails for the North American Snow Festival. During patrol, over 500 contacts were made with several warnings given and three citations for careless operation on a snowmobile.

CO Bill Haskin received a complaint of a hunter harvesting a 10-point deer in early bow season in Wexford County near Yuma. After several interviews and an investigation, an arrest warrant was issued and served for borrowing a deer license and taking deer without a license.

CO Rebecca Hubers assisted the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office as the closest available officer to a neighbor dispute with threats, a false 911 call of a barn fire, and assisted with traffic when a semi-truck became stuck half-way up a hill.

CO Josiah Killingbeck, while patrolling Lake Cadillac in Wexford County during a fishing tournament, checked an ice fishing shanty where he found a subject frantically trying to reel in a fourth line before Killingbeck saw him. The subject told Killingbeck that he was fishing the tournament contest and was just trying another lure on a fourth line to see if the fish would bite that lure better. The subject was educated on fishing regulations and enforcement action was taken.

CO Josiah Killingbeck reported that a subject who had illegally shot a spike horn deer and blamed his wife as an excuse for shooting the illegal deer, was ordered to pay $2,000 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next three years. The subject was also sentenced to five days in jail at the court’s discretion.

CO Josiah Killingbeck reported that a subject who had shot an antlerless deer in Lake County and put a Kent County antlerless deer tag on the deer was ordered to pay $1,000 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next three years.


CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jesse Grzechowski received a call from Kalkaska Central Dispatch about a snowmobiler who had struck a deer. The collision disabled the snowmobile and killed the deer, luckily the rider was uninjured. With one of the snowmobiles being completely disabled, the COs assisted the family by driving the two juvenile riders back to the snowmobile staging area.

CO Micah Hintze followed up on a complaint of an individual trespassing and trapping on private lands in Missaukee County. During the investigation, multiple snares that did not have “stops” to render the snare incapable of closing completely were located on both private and the adjoining public land. The snares were seized and after working through local tips, a suspect was interviewed. The trapper admitted to placing the snares on both pieces of property and claimed to be unaware of the requirements that existed for a legal cable restraint. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Papineau investigated an ongoing trespassing complaint involving hound hunters in Gladwin County. According to the complaint, the landowner was cutting wood when several gunshots rang out from nearby on his property. The landowner went to investigate and contacted several hunters attempting to flee in vehicles. After checking the area, several suspects were identified and eventually interviewed. The suspects confessed that while hunting for coyotes, they observed a bobcat run across the road onto the complainant’s posted property. Despite the “No Trespassing” signs, the hound hunters stated that their dogs were let out and treed the bobcat after a short pursuit. Immediately after shooting the bobcat, the suspects indicated they attempted to flee when they were contacted by the landowner. Further investigation revealed that the bobcat was shot without a license and a subsequent kill-tag was borrowed. Numerous warrants are being sought for recreational trespass, taking a bobcat without a license, and borrowing a kill-tag.


CO John Byars received a RAP complaint about a possible illegally harvested bobcat. The CO conducted an investigation and made contact with the suspect. During the interview with the suspect, he admitted to illegally harvesting the bobcat. It was determined that the bobcat was taken out of season and was also not sealed. The suspect surrendered the bobcat and apologized. Byars issued a citation for possessing the unsealed bobcat.

CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol checking ice anglers on the Saginaw River when he contacted two subjects coming off the river. After checking the angler’s fishing licenses, the CO asked how the fishing was. Only one of the two anglers claimed to have caught any fish. When Beuthin asked to see the fish, he noticed one of the fish was noticeably undersized. When measuring the fish, it was measured to be one inch under the size limit. A citation was issued for possessing an undersized walleye.

CO Quincy Gowenlock was heading to the Shiawassee River SGA for patrol when he passed by a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. The CO turned around to check on the vehicle and found an elderly couple that had run out of gas. With assistance coming, the CO remained until the elderly couple were on their way.

While on patrol in Huron County, CO Kyle Bucholtz was notified of a lost hunting dog. The caller was very distraught and thought maybe the dog had drowned. Bucholtz responded to the area to assist searching for the dog, unfortunately the dog was not located during Bucholtz’s search.

CO Robert Hobkirk contacted two coyote hunters in the Verona SGA in Huron County. Upon contact, one of the hunters disclosed to Hobkirk that he had a concealed pistol license but that he had mistakenly left it in his hotel room. The hunter had the pistol in his glove box. Hobkirk had the subject empty the firearm and put it in a case. He was given a warning for not having his permit with him.

CO Robert Hobkirk responded to a complaint of a hawk caught in a leghold trap. On arrival it was determined the hawk was caught by both legs in two separate leghold traps. Hobkirk was able to release the hawk and it flew away unharmed. Upon checking the traps, it was found that the trap set up and the trapper were legal.


CO Sam Schluckbier located several anglers on a remote lake in Allegan County. From a distance he watched as five anglers tended more than 15 tip-ups and jigging lines. Schluckbier watched the group catch several fish before eventually confronting them. During the license check, two individuals did not have fishing licenses and were from out of state. The group claimed they didn’t know the Michigan laws and requirements for ice fishing. A total of 17 fishing lines were in use all at once. Further investigation found an undersized northern pike was kept by one of the anglers. multiple citations were issued for the various fishing violations.

CO Sam Schluckbier was checking Swan Lake in Allegan County when he observed several individuals fall through the ice on their way in from fishing. The sunshine warmed the shoreline enough to thaw the access site. After the initial subjects were safely pulled onto shore, Schluckbier stood by and assisted until all the remaining anglers were off the ice.

COs Zach Bauer and Tyler Cole conducted a patrol targeting ice fishing activity. Multiple contacts were made on various lakes. While the COs were on patrol, they noticed a car stuck in the snow at an access site. The COs were able to push the car out of the snow.

While patrolling Van Buren County, CO Matt Page and PCO Anna Cullen had contact with two individuals ice fishing on Keeler Lake. Neither subject had a fishing license, were in possession of three undersized northern pike, and were fishing with too many lines. Citations were issued for fishing without a license and possessing an undersized pike.

While patrolling inland lakes in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg noted that good numbers of panfish were being caught on one of the lakes. Ulberg checked the lake over the course of the next couple of days as anglers were coming off. Three anglers were checked and had over limits of panfish. Citations were issued for taking over limits.


CO Daniel Prince attended a pretrial hearing at the 53rd District Court in Howell for a subject who killed a 9-point white-tailed buck without a deer license. The man pleaded guilty to the crime and paid $6,675 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next six years. The firearm used was also condemned.

CO Jeff Goss and PCO Nathan Beelman received a complaint about a video that had been posted to social media. The video showed two suspects beating an opossum to death with a metal baseball bat in the basement of a house. Goss and Beelman contacted the suspects at the house where the incident occurred. Both suspects admitted to killing the opossum. Written confessions were taken, and charges are being sought for animal cruelty.

COs Chris Maher, Shane Webster and PCO Jim Nason responded to multiple citizen complaints regarding two wild boars that were seen running through yards in Columbia Township. The COs responded on foot near Jefferson Street and M-50. They located and pursued the hogs with catch poles. The boars are still at large.

CO Larn R. Strawn was contacted by CO Michael Haas with a request to assist with an investigation into the illegal killing of two red fox. Haas discovered two fox at a local taxidermist that were submitted by a subject without a license. Strawn located the person who submitted the foxes as well as an additional suspect who killed both foxes. Strawn conducted two interviews and was able to obtain confessions detailing the illegal take as well as the rifle used.

CO Todd Thorn was patrolling Eaton County during a snowstorm looking for snowmobile activity when an SUV drove up quickly behind him with its high beam lights on and then passed Thorn at a high rate of speed. Thorn caught up with the vehicle and made contact. Thorn found that the driver was intoxicated, had open intoxicants in the vehicle, had no identification, his operator’s license was suspended, and had no insurance or valid registration for the vehicle. A passenger had three warrants for his arrest and further investigation revealed that the driver had six prior OWI convictions, including two felony OWIs. Both were lodged at the Eaton County jail and the driver was charged with his third felony OWI.


CO Joseph Deppen followed up with the prosecutor’s office about an illegal deer case. The subject has felony charges on his record and has never applied for his firearm rights to be reinstated. The prosecutor’s office is adding additional charges of felon in possession of a firearm to the charges.

CO Robert Watson was checking a local SGA known for target shooting when he observed two young shooters. Watson watched the shooters for some time, witnessing them using incendiary targets multiple times, using their firearms to shoot standing trees down, and eventually leaving all their empty casings and hulls behind as litter. Watson contacted the shooters and a citation was issued for the litter, along with having the shooters pick up all their trash left behind.

CO Ben Lasher contacted an ice angler who claimed to have bought his license but did not have it with him. Further investigation found the subject did not have a fishing license and a ticket was issued.

CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson conducted fisheries patrols throughout the week. During these patrols they came across many violations including fishing with no license, failing to register an ORV, and using marijuana in public.

CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson were on a foot patrol checking ice anglers on Lake St. Clair when they came across a group of individuals spearing perch. The one individual holding the spear did not possess a valid fishing license. Citations were issued for spearing yellow perch without a fishing license.

CO Brad Silorey and PCO Jaime Salisbury received a tip from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department of a local pet store that was suspected to be selling native species of turtles. The COs met up with CO Kris Kiel and conducted an inspection at the pet store. Upon investigation, the COs discovered the store was in possession of a snapping turtle, multiple painted turtles and several red-eared sliders listed for sale. The case is pending further investigation.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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