Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 21, 2019
Conservation Officer Brett DeLonge assisted with multiple presentations at Northern Michigan University for several local high school career days. DeLonge presented with other local law enforcement representatives including Michigan State Police, Marquette County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Forsyth Township Police Department. The presentation provided students with insight on the responsibilities of law enforcement officers from different agencies, how each department works together and recruitment efforts. Approximately 100 students attended the presentations, several of which were interested in pursuing the career as a conservation officer.
COs Josh Boudreaux and John Kamps were returning home from a late-night patrol in Negaunee Township when they detected the odor of burning rubber or plastic. Due to the darkness, the COs had to follow the odor to find the source which was a pile of shingles, tar paper and other assorted debris. The fire on the property was unattended and the COs took note of the newly shingled roof on the property. The next morning the COs followed up with the landowner who stated there were just a couple of shingles in the pile which was still smoldering with fresh particle board added to the fire. The owner said they could check the other burn piles on his property as he assured them that they only contained wood and yard debris. Further examination revealed all burn piles contained various plastics, shingles and tar paper. The individual had been burning his roofing material at night to hide the black smoke and was cited for unlawful disposal of solid waste.
CO Mike Evink received a complaint of two dirt bikes driving in a careless manner on a state highway. The caller stated the bikes were pulling wheelies on the shoulder of the highway. The caller also gave a good description of the bikes and the drivers’ clothes. The description matched a case from the previous year where two bikes fled from and eventually caught by Evink. Evink was able to locate and contact the bike riders and obtain a confession. A report is being submitted to the prosecutor for appropriate charges.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin recently had three different illegal deer cases adjudicated in court. Combined, the cases resulted in $29,500 in fines and restitution, with each subject getting sentenced to five days in jail, having all hunting privileges revoked until 2025, and each being sentenced to 12 months of probation. Violations included taking one nine-point buck, four 8-point bucks, one 7-point buck without a license, and seven counts of borrowing/loaning kill tags.
CO Chris Lynch was on patrol when a call came out for a suicidal subject that was going to a local river to drown himself. The call further reported the subject was just involved in a domestic violence incident, left the residence where the incident occurred, and was armed with two long guns. Lynch and a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the river where the subject was reported to frequent. The officers spotted the subject in a boat on the river. The officers maintained surveillance on the subject until Butzin responded to the scene with a boat and another sheriff’s deputy. The officers drove out to the subject on the river and made contact. The subject was going through some rough times and was offered the help he needed.
COs Calvin Smith and Cole VanOosten were checking anglers near Dunbar Park in Chippewa County when central dispatch reported a subject in cardiac arrest nearby. The officers stopped what they were doing and responded to the scene to assist first responders in providing medical treatment to the individual, among the first responders was DNR Fire Officer Rob Shields. The subject had a pulse and was again breathing when he was transported by ambulance from the scene.
CO Andrea Albert recently testified in a jury trial regarding an investigation from last fall of a turkey hunter who shot a turkey with the aid of bait. During the trial, the hunter stated he put the bait out for deer and not turkeys. He claimed he never intended to attract turkeys with his bait; therefore, it was legal for him to shoot a turkey near the bait. The jury found the subject guilty of taking a turkey with the aid of bait and was sentenced to three days jail, four days community service in lieu of eight days in jail, one year probation, $1,625 in fines and costs, $2,000 reimbursement for the bearded turkey, and revocation of all hunting privileges for the current year and an additional five years.
CO Tim Rosochacki participated in a group event with the Sturgeon for Tomorrow Black Lake Chapter. Rosochacki discussed the critical working relationship between the public and Law Enforcement Division in protecting sturgeon in the unique local water system as well as other locations in the state.
Sgt. Mark DePew was working the sturgeon spawning closure portion of Black River in Cheboygan County when he observed two individuals fishing in the closure. After watching the subjects fishing and witnessing them catch two large walleye, contact was made with the anglers. When advised of the closure, they both stated they had no idea that portion of the river was closed. However, they admitted to walking past three DNR signs posting the closure. In addition to the two walleye observed being caught, three additional large walleye were also located that both anglers admitted to catching. The subjects were ticketed for fishing in a spawning closure, and the fish were seized as evidence.
CO Jon Sklba was on patrol in Presque Isle County when a call came out to any law enforcement in the area. The complaint was that a vehicle was following two kids that were walking down the roadway. Sklba was able to respond and contact the responsible party. The kids had recently been kicked off the school bus for poor behavior and dad was showing the kids what walking home from school was going to feel like if the kids continued their bad behavior.
COs Patrick McManus and Dan Liestenfeltz were contacted by the Leelanau County Central Dispatch regarding an early morning road hunting complaint. The COs contacted the complainant, who was not only able to obtain a license plate number off the suspect’s vehicle, but witnessed a suspect exit their vehicle with a shotgun and shoot a large tom turkey on property owned by the complainant. After contacting the suspect, the COs gained a full confession and seized the turkey, along with the shotgun they used to take it. Charges have been submitted to the Leelanau County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
While responding to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of a turkey being shot off a bird feeder, COs Steven Converse and Noah Thompson found that the turkey was not actually shot off the bird feeder. A neighbor had called the turkey from the bird feeder to his own backyard and that was where the bird was killed. He was, however, well within the safety zone and charges are being sought through the Manistee County Prosecutor.
COs Andrea Dani, Jeff Ginn and Troy Mueller assisted the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, along with additional conservation officers, in the search for a drowning victim from this past winter who had fallen through the ice on the Muskegon River. Ginn, Dani and Mueller later assisted in transporting the medical examiner to the scene where the MSP K-9 had located the drowning victim. The victim was later transported to a nearby boating access site.
COs Josh Reed and Jeff Ginn assisted Osceola County Sheriff’s Department with a drowning incident. The COs used side and down scanning SONAR to locate the victim in waters that had near zero visibility. Divers from the Mecosta County Sherriff’s Department were able to recover the victim from the water.
CO Charlie Jones responded to a medical call of an unconscious male subject in Garfield Township of Kalkaska County. When he arrived, the victim’s wife was providing chest compressions. Jones could not locate a pulse or detect any breathing. He took over compressions and soon gained a pulse and some labored breathing from the victim. EMS arrived a short time later and administered NARCAN. The victim began to gain consciousness within a few minutes after receiving NARCAN. He was transported to the hospital for further treatment.
CO Josh Wright was patrolling Clare County when he noticed a vehicle that had an improper license plate. Wright was able to catch up to the subject and his passenger and make contact. During the interview, it was revealed that the operator’s driving privileges were administratively denied and revoked. In addition, he was operating without vehicle insurance as well as the improper plate. The subject was already on probation for other criminal offenses and stated that he was “trying to get his life back together.” The female passenger also had a suspended driver’s license.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol in Saginaw County when he was following a school bus when it activated its flashing lights. The CO observed a black pickup truck behind him accelerate at a high rate of speed passing him and the school bus. The CO immediately activated his emergency lights and sirens and conducted a traffic stop. The CO explained how dangerous it is to pass a school bus at a high rate of speed while it is picking up and dropping off children from school. The driver was issued citations for careless driving and failing to stop for a school bus.
Sgt. Ron Kimmerly observed a very small flat bottom boat heading down the Bad River in St. Charles. The boat was sitting very low in the water. Kimmerly yelled from shore, “Are you all set with life jackets?” The operator yelled back, “We are all set.” The sergeant yelled back, “Hold them up.” It turns out they had no personal floating devices (PFDs) and the boat’s registration had expired in 2008. The sergeant met the occupants back at the access site where a ticket was issued for not having PFDs and a verbal warning for the registration that had been expired for 11 years.
COs Dan Robinson, Josh Russell and Mike Haas were called to Isabella County for a possible lost person. The elderly man had gotten his car stuck in a mud puddle attempting to locate an alternate route around a detour. The man left his vehicle and was walking through the state land to find the next road. The COs arrived on scene and located the car and tracked the man and located him. The man thought he was walking back towards his car but was in fact walking in the opposite direction. The COs transported the man back to the main road and met with the family so they could give him a ride back home. The car was removed from state land.
COs Travis Dragomer and Jeff Robinette responded to a belated complaint of an individual who shot two geese with a .22 rifle in Niles Township, Berrien County. Dragomer and Robinette interviewed the suspect at the location of the complaint. The COs received a confession that the he had shot two geese with a .22 rifle. The COs were unable to locate any remains of the geese or evidence of the crime. The COs located a loaded and uncased .22 rifle in the front seat of the suspect’s vehicle. A citation was written for the loaded and uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Jeff Robinette picked up three arrest warrants from the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office stemming from an incident during the 2018 archery deer season. Robinette had received a complaint from a RAP dispatcher that had photos from an internet forum showing an individual with an untagged 8-point deer. The RAP dispatcher had confirmed in the RSS that the individual did not have a deer license for 2018. Robinette and CO Jackie Miskovich had interviewed the individual and obtained a confession that he had shot the deer without a license. The individual further confessed to borrowing his friend’s kill tag to eventually place on the deer. The individual identified his friend, who was the same individual that had made the internet post showing the illegally taken deer, and that subject was interviewed. That subject confessed to borrowing his kill tag to the individual seen in the internet post. A two-count warrant was issued to the individual in the internet photo with the deer for taking a deer without a license and borrowing a kill tag. A single count warrant was issued for the individual that had posted the photo for loaning a kill tag. The individuals were both notified regarding the arrest warrants and were instructed to turn themselves in at the Cass County jail.
COs Robinette and Matt Page closed a case involving a deer poaching incident in Berrien County during the 2017 archery deer season. A RAP dispatcher had located a picture of a juvenile individual with an untagged 10-point deer. The RAP dispatcher had confirmed through the RSS that the juvenile did not have a 2017 deer license. The juvenile was interviewed and insisted that he had purchased a 2017 deer license. The juvenile’s father also stated that the juvenile had a 2017 deer license. When asked where the antlers for the deer were, the juvenile stated he had taken the antlers to a taxidermist. Robinette and Page contacted the taxidermist and discovered that the antlers had been picked up from the taxidermist only a few days after they had been dropped off. The taxidermy specimen tag for the antlers contained the license number for the juvenile’s father. Robinette and Page contacted the juvenile and his father again and interviewed them regarding the antlers. The juvenile stated that the antlers had been stolen out of his truck at an outdoor show days after picking them up from the taxidermist. During the interviews there were several discrepancies in the details of the incident. A warrant request for the juvenile was submitted to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office for taking/possessing a deer without a license and borrowing a kill tag, as well as another warrant request for the father for loaning a kill tag. All the charges were authorized by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office. Due to the legality of the incident involving a juvenile, the plea process took some time to be completed. Ultimately, the charge against the juvenile’s father was dismissed. The juvenile, who is now an adult, plead to taking/possessing a deer without a license and the charge for borrowing the kill tag was dropped. He was sentenced to probation until October 2019 and received a court order for license revocation for four years. Per the court order, failure to abide by the court ordered license revocation will result in the individual being arrested and brought before the Berrien County Judge for contempt of court.
CO Nick Wellman received a call of a hunting accident. The victim was hunting turkeys with a 30.06 bolt action rifle and, when he shot at a turkey, the barrel split causing minor injuries to his hand. The investigation is ongoing.
COs James Nason and Matthew Neterer were checking anglers in the Holt area when they were dispatched to a golf cart crash that occurred a few miles from their location. Witnesses stated they saw a golf cart exit the roadway where it crashed through their mailbox and became stuck in the ditch. The operator appeared to be intoxicated and left on foot. Nason and Neterer were able to determine the suspect’s identity and the man was located at his residence where he admitted to drinking and operating the golf cart. The man was taken into custody and a search warrant was obtained for a blood draw. He was later lodged at the Ingham County jail where he was found to have a 0.15 blood alcohol content. A report requesting charges was forwarded to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office
COs Keven Luther and Brandon Vacek met with a sixth-grade class from Brownstown Middle School to release 127 salmon that they raised as a class project. The two conservation officers spoke with approximately 12 students answering questions. After clearing the sixth-grade school group, Luther conducted a traffic stop where the subject was operating his vehicle erratically. The operator was issued a citation for careless operation.
With the use of surveillance cameras, CO Dave Schaumburger observed an angler go out fishing, return from fishing, then go back out fishing again. The CO drove to the location and setup surveillance as CO Brad Silorey assisted him. The angler was a suspect that the CO had been receiving complaints about for over four years but was never able to catch him in any violations. Schaumburger watched the angler return for a third time and contacted the subject at his residence. The angler was in possession of 17 walleye. The angler admitted to taking 12 walleye in the morning and the other five walleye were from the morning before. When Schaumburger met the suspect for the first time over four years ago, the CO told the angler he would eventually catch him. The poacher admitted to the CO that he had finally caught him. The angler was given a citation for possessing an over limit of walleye.
COs Kris Kiel and Brad Silorey received information that a subject living in Macomb County had killed two wild turkeys this spring. The COs interviewed the subject and received a confession and a written statement that the information was correct and that the turkeys were killed in St. Clair County. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor for taking an over-limit of wild turkeys.
CO Joseph Deppen responded to a complaint about a mallard being shot along a local condominium complex in Macomb County. Deppen responded to the scene and found a dead mallard directly behind the subject’s residence and a pellet rifle laying in plain view. Deppen attempted to make contact, but the subject had left the area. The next day Deppen contacted the subject and obtained a confession of sorts. The subject claimed he shot in the direction of the mallard in hopes to scare it but had no intent of hitting or killing it. The subject claimed, “The mallard must have jumped in front of the bullet at the exact moment I fired.” Deppen had the subject voluntarily write and sign a statement to officer form. Multiple charges are being sought through the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.