Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 24, 2019
CO Jeremy Sergey received a report that an individual had a pile of trash in their backyard so enormous that the trash is blowing into several neighboring yards due to the wind. Neighbors have stated they can no longer keep their pigs outside due to the high volume of accumulating plastic, which the pigs eat. The individual stated they are going to clean up their garbage when the snow melts, but they are not going to pick up the garbage that blew onto their neighbors’ property. Litter charges have been filed with the court.
CO Brian Lasanen had a jury trial in Ontonagon County regarding a man who had shot an 8-point buck during the 2018 firearm deer season and had failed to purchase a deer license. The defendant stated he did not believe he should be required to buy a deer license to hunt on his own land. After a short deliberation, the jury found the defendant guilty of the charges.
COs Jenni Hanson and Zach Painter taught hunter safety education courses at Ironwood and Wakefield Middle Schools.
CO Jared Ferguson and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Anna Viau participated in mock interviews held at Bay College, in Iron Mountain, for area high school students. Many young kids took part in the day, with several expressing their interest in a natural resources career.
CO Steve Butzin was following up with an individual who burnt several campers on Little Bay de Noc. The individual was instructed to clean up the litter from burning the campers. The individual failed to clean up the litter before the ice became unsafe. Butzin contacted a local towing service to remove the debris from the bay. Another citation was issued to the individual, this time for littering. Butzin also submitted a request for restitution to be paid to the tow service for cleaning up the litter.
CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of an individual trespassing onto another’s land to hunt turkeys out of season. Upon further investigation, Butzin found that the individual who trespassed onto the property was a tribal member and that the tribal season for turkey was open. However, the land was private, not open to tribal hunting, and he did not have permission to hunt on the land. Furthermore, the landowner had specifically told the individual and his partner they could not hunt on his land, which was well posted. Shortly after this the landowner heard a shot and found the subject with a turkey on his property directly behind two no trespassing signs. Butzin submitted a report to the Delta County Prosecutors Office requesting charges.
CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of an individual who was thought to be spearing fish out of season. Butzin went to the location and observed an individual wading in the water. Butzin made contact and found the individual to be spearing walleye. The individual was cited for possession of a walleye out of season, possession of an illegally taken fish, and using an unlawful method. The walleye and the spear were seized.
CO Michael Evink conducted a night fish patrol looking for smelting activity. While it was the most activity the CO has seen in years, there were not enough smelt to cause worry of over-limits. Evink checked licenses after watching the activity for some time.
CO Calvin Smith and PCO VanOosten responded to a complaint of a deer that had no fear of humans. The deer had been reportedly trying to steal a couple’s doormat and attacking their dog when it was let out of the house. The officers located the deer and determined that it looked healthy as it ran away with other deer in the area. The officers educated the landowner that the deer may have had a tough winter, which has been known to result in such behavior.
CO Calvin Smith and PCO VanOosten responded to a complaint of a three-legged bear that had been knocking down bird feeders and getting into garbage. The officers instructed the landowners to remove their bird feeders and keep their trash covered in the garage.
While on patrol, CO Duane Budreau and PCO Jon Sheppard received a complaint that a person had taken an illegal badger. The subject posted a picture on Facebook of the badger saying that it would look good in his man cave. After checking to see if the subject had purchased a fur harvesters license and determining that he hadn’t, the COs went to the subject’s residence to ask about the badger. He invited the COs into his home to show them the badger in his freezer. The subject was able to show text messages trying to see if it was legal for him to take a badger that was hit by a vehicle. He called the Department of Natural Resources Gaylord Customer Service Center to ask if it was legal and was told that it was not. At that point, he was already at work and the badger in his freezer. The COs seized the badger and issued a warning for illegal possession of a badger.
CO Andrea Erratt received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint about a man tapping sugar maple trees on state land across the road from his house. Erratt talked to the man who said he had tapped the trees for years. Erratt warned the man for damaging trees on state land and he took down his buckets the next day.
CO LeClerc received a RAP complaint after his shift one evening. The complainant had witnessed an individual catching and keeping multiple short brown trout at the mouth of the Bear River. LeClerc responded to the area, only to find the suspect had left. An interview was conducted on scene with the complainant and they were asked to call the RAP hotline if he returned. Minutes later, LeClerc was contacted by the RAP hotline informing him that the suspect was back and was fishing again. LeClerc returned to the scene and witnessed one individual fishing at the mouth of the river. The vehicle and plates matched the description from the complainant. When approaching the suspect, LeClerc nearly stepped on a trout that was thrown on the sidewalk. LeClerc announced himself and talked with the suspect. The suspect claimed that he did not know the size limits, daily limit or species of fish he was catching. The suspect had caught and kept five brown trout that were too small. LeClerc explained it is the angler’s responsibility to know the rules presented in the fishing digest. LeClerc gave the suspect a 2019 fishing digest and a ticket for taking undersize trout. A warning was given for an over-limit of brown trout.
CO William Haskin was observing an individual fishing in what appeared to be an attempt to take walleye. Haskin watched for some time and the angler kept looking around and talking on his phone. The individual eventually hooked a fish and reeled it close to shore without taking it out of the water. The angler called someone on his phone, who showed up a few minutes later with a bucket. The angler retrieved a walleye from the water, attached to his line and put it in the bucket, and then hid the bucket. Haskin contacted the two suspects who initially denied catching any fish. After an interview and explaining the situation, the two anglers confessed, and a citation was written for take walleye closed season and attempt to take walleye closed season.
CO Amanda Lake was on patrol in Leelanau County when a call came through central dispatch of four teenage boys who had gone missing during a volunteer beach cleanup day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Lake responded along with two federal park rangers who each took a section of beach to patrol on foot. During the search, the boys were safely located by one of the park rangers. They were cold but in otherwise good condition and glad to be reunited with their families.
PCO Timothy Barboza and CO Sam Koscinski received a call from Manistee County Central Dispatch that they were on the line with a man claiming he was being attacked by a cougar and still was being chased. Barboza and Koscinski responded to the call. While heading to the location of the caller, the COs were informed by dispatch that the caller was not physically attacked but was charged and had fired at the animal multiple times. Upon arriving on scene, the COs found the individual running along the road. Upon further investigation, it was determined the animal the man had seen was a sow bear protecting its cubs. Barboza and Koscinski searched the area and found no sign that the bear had been injured.
CO Ben McAteer was on patrol in Crawford County when he observed a large plume of black smoke. McAteer arrived at a private residence and observed a shed and two cars engulfed in flames. McAteer utilized his fire extinguisher and prevented the fire from reaching the home and propane tank that were only inches away. As McAteer extinguished the fire, two neighbors came and helped. After McAteer’s fire extinguisher was empty, he returned to the residence where the neighbors had contacted the 91-year-old homeowner. McAteer and the neighbors assisted the owner and his dog out of the home to a safe location as several propane tanks in the shed began to ignite. After conducting multiple interviews, McAteer discovered that a family member had left a fire unattended in a burn barrel which escaped and caused the fire. The case is pending review by the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Casey Pullum and PCO Anna Cullen were patrolling state land two-tracks in Oscoda County and located a suspicious vehicle parked. Two passengers were identified, an elderly male and younger female. A consent search of the vehicle was conducted, and multiple narcotic pills were located with a pill crusher. A powder residue was located on the female’s nostril. Both were taken into custody for possession of Schedule 2 and 4 narcotics and transported to the Oscoda County jail. Subsequent interviews were conducted at the jail, and a confession was obtained regarding delivery of the controlled substance as well as prostitution. Charges are pending with the Oscoda County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Brad Bellville and Sgt. Bobbi Lively conducted a plainclothes patrol targeting fishing activity on closed trout streams in Iosco and Ogemaw Counties. They located and ticketed several individuals for fishing on the closed portions of streams.
CO John Person and PCO Adam Schiller were checking on a vehicle left on the side of the roadway when they noticed a large recreational vehicle blocking the roadway approximately a half of a mile in front of them. The COs approached the RV and were told by the owner that he was trying to back out of his driveway when he backed partially into the ditch. The COs assisted the tow company by blocking the roadway so the RV could be removed from the ditch. The RV was removed and parked back at the owner’s residence.
CO Dan Robinson assisted other law enforcement units in Isabella County during a mid-April snowstorm. Robinson was the first law enforcement officer at a personal injury accident involving two badly damaged pick-up trucks and assisted as needed. He also was dispatched to a slide-off on US-127, where a driver had run off the highway and was stuck in the snow. In addition to the accidents he also backed-up MSP on an unknown/domestic situation.
CO Dan Robinson presented to a group of Central Michigan University students who were traveling through Isabella County as part of a geological studies course. The students were studying the Chippewa River and natural water flow occurrences. Robinson discussed the role of conservation officers and the everyday tasks and experiences they might encounter. There were many good questions about the job and how the Department of Natural Resources works together to manage Michigan’s natural resources.
COs Mike Haas and Josh Russell were speaking with numerous anglers on the Saginaw River when they noticed two others in a small cove away from everyone else. The Saginaw River had gear restrictions in effect due to the walleye spawning season. The COs found that the two anglers were using illegal, artificial lures. The anglers stated that they were planning on throwing back any walleye that were caught. Citations were issued for fishing with restricted gear.
CO Carter Woodwyk stopped an ORV operating on a snowmobile trail that was closed to ORV use in the Allegan SGA. Throughout the contact, the suspect stated approximately 10 times that he knew he was not allowed to take his ORV on the snowmobile trail. Additionally, the suspect was not wearing a helmet while operating the ORV. A citation was issued for operating an ORV in a closed area.
While on patrol in Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers checked angler activity in the Flat River. Beavers checked anglers fishing in the river where it crosses Long Lake Road. During his check, Beavers made contact with a subject who was sitting in a chair near the riverbank. The subject had a pole between his legs, sitting on a holder and next to him was a bag of tackle. Beavers asked to see licenses, and the subject stated he was just watching the pole, not fishing. Beavers asked who he was watching the pole for, since everyone in the area had one in their hand. Beavers then asked if the bag belonged to him and he stated yes. Beavers then asked once again if the pole, sitting between his legs with a line in the water, was his. The subject then admitted to fishing and not having a license. The subject was issued a ticket for fishing without a license.
Sgt. Stephen Mooney and CO Kyle McQueer were patrolling St. Joseph County when they observed an individual standing next to a bucket, taking a fish off his hook. As McQueer stopped his patrol truck, Mooney observed three other individuals fishing in the river next to the bridge. Mooney and McQueer contacted the four anglers and counted 61 bluegills and a 16-inch bass inside the bucket. Three of the anglers could not produce the current year’s fishing license and the last individual was 16 years old and was not required to have a fishing license. Three citations were issued, and 25 bluegills were returned to the 16-year-old since he was the only one allowed to legally possess the fish.
CO Nick Wellman received a report of trespassing on a local landowner’s property after the landowner had checked his trail cameras and noticed several pictures of an individual hunting on the property. Wellman looked at the photos and asked around to see if anyone knew who the suspect was. Meanwhile, the landowner posted the pictures to social media asking for help in identifying the suspect. After a short time, the suspect called the Lansing CSC and explained that he had seen his pictures on Facebook and wanted to turn himself in. Wellman interviewed the suspect and identified several other misdemeanor violations along with recreational trespass. The man admitted to all the violations and a report will be sent to the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
While patrolling the Maple River at the Maple River SGA, CO Larn R. Strawn observed a person operating a 14-foot aluminum fishing boat after dark with no navigation lights. Strawn waited and watched the boat pull into the boat launch. He contacted two people after they got out of the boat and were walking to their truck and trailer. He asked if they were fishing and one said “yes” and the other responded saying “no” they weren’t. Strawn explained the marine violations he observed and as he spoke with the operator it became apparent the subject was highly intoxicated. Strawn conducted a series of sobriety tests with the operator and ultimately arrested him for operating the vessel while intoxicated. The intoxicated operator was taken to the Clinton County jail and lodged for the offense.
CO Todd Thorn and PCO Nathan Beelman received a complaint about a video posted to YouTube involving an individual killing a mourning dove and eating it. The suspect found the injured dove outside of his home and brought it inside where he made a YouTube video that showed the dead bird after he used a knife to kill it. The subject then cooked the dove. The subject was interviewed, and a full confession was obtained. The video generated many complaints online and was eventually taken down from YouTube. The case is being reviewed by the Ingham County Prosecutor.
CO Joseph Deppen received a complaint of a man shooting a turkey off his porch in Macomb County. Deppen contacted the complainant on his way to the north end of the county. Deppen pulled into the subject’s address and found a male matching the description of the shooter sitting in the garage. Next to the man was a 20-gauge shotgun. Deppen interviewed the subject and secured the firearm in his patrol vehicle. The subject gave Deppen permission to search his property. Deppen found a large pile of turkey feathers and blood with tracks leading up to the residence. Deppen confronted the man about the evidence, and the subject said, “No, no there is no turkey here.” Deppen continued his search and found a hen turkey stuffed in a cardboard box outside the garage. The firearm, ammunition, and turkey were seized, and Deppen is seeking multiple charges including taking turkey in a closed season, shooting a non-bearded turkey during the spring hunt and safety zone violations.
CO Kris Kiel and PCO Jesse Grzechowski worked two launches on the Detroit River. The COs checked well over 70 vessels on Easter Sunday. Two citations were written for taking an over-limit of walleye and one for possession of undersized walleye. Multiple verbal warnings were given.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking anglers at Hellenberg Park in the city of Monroe when he contacted an angler who advised Ingersoll that he had left his fishing license at home. After checking the angler’s license history, it was determined that the angler did not purchase a fishing license for 2019, and it was also determined that the individual had three outstanding traffic warrants. The angler was cited for fishing without a license, and arrested for his warrants.
While checking vessels in the mouth of the Detroit River, CO Kris Kiel and PCO Jesse Grzechowski checked a three man limit of walleye. One of the subjects failed to purchase a fishing license. His five walleyes were seized, and he received a citation for possession of fish without a license. Reimbursement will be sought.