Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 8, 2019
While fishing a lake in Marquette County on his day off, CO Josh Boudreaux observed a boat containing two anglers catching numerous fish and not returning any to the lake. The lake contained a large quantity of rainbow trout with a size limit of 12 inches and Boudreaux had been catching many undersized fish. Seeing that the two anglers hadn’t appeared to have thrown back a single fish, Boudreaux suspected they had undersized fish and contacted CO John Kamps to see if he was available. Kamps was an hour away but said he would start heading that way. Shortly after, the anglers headed into shore and began cleaning their fish on the dock. Boudreaux contacted the anglers and found them to be over the limit and have in possession multiple undersized rainbow trout. Kamps arrived on scene and a citation was issued for possessing an over-limit of rainbow trout.
CO Cody Smith was on patrol when a call came in of a structure fire with multiple explosions and ammunition popping and landing on the nearby roadway. Smith responded to the area securing the scene and contacting the power company and emergency medical services for the occupant of the dwelling. The occupant was attempting to start his cooktop when it ignited from an apparent propane leak in his residence blowing him through two walls of his house. Luckily the occupant sustained minor injuries. Smith collected firearms that survived the blast and put them in safe storage at the sheriff’s department until the owner could retrieve them.
COs Breanna Reed and Steve Butzin received a suspicious shots complaint. The COs patrolled the area for several weeks in attempt to locate the illegal hunting activity. While conducting a stationary patrol, one subject came out at the end of legal hunting hours and began hunting within 30 feet of the COs. The COs observed the individual for a short while before making contact. The subject was found to be in violation of his crop damage permit by hunting outside of legal hunting hours. The subject was also found to be in possession of a loaded and uncased firearm in or upon a motor vehicle, as well as possession of a firearm while intoxicated. The subject’s blood alcohol content was nearly double the legal limit. The subject was arrested and lodged at the Delta County Jail.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin were serving one of two suspects a two-count arrest warrant for illegally shooting sandhill cranes. The warrant was served without incident. After serving the warrant, the COs interviewed the suspect about suspected illegally taken deer Lynch had information about. The suspect confessed to shooting an illegal 8-point in 2017 and an illegal 10-point in 2018. Both sets of antlers were seized, and the rifle used to kill the deer was already seized from the suspect shooting a sandhill crane with it. A report will be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review. Lynch later served the second suspect a three-count arrest warrant without incident for illegally shooting sandhill cranes.
CO Chris Lynch concluded an extensive investigation, with the assistance of COs Steve Butzin, Breanna Reed, and Justin Ulberg, and a Wisconsin conservation warden of a complaint of deer being taken illegally. After numerous interviews, three suspects were developed, and it was discovered they were shooting deer utilizing deer damage control permits. All three confessed to multiple violations. The illegal deer and weapons used to kill the deer were documented with one weapon being seized. A report is being submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Mark Zitnik received a complaint of two waterfowl hunters in a closed refuge in Alger County. Zitnik responded to the boat launch just after first light. The CO located the hunters in the closed section of the refuge via canoe. The CO asked the hunters if they thought it was strange that they were the only ones in the area. They responded that it was odd, oblivious to the fact they were in the refuge. The two hunters were issued citations for hunting in the refuge and two geese and three ducks were seized.
CO Ethen Mapes was patrolling the Boyne River and witnessed an angler foul hook a salmon. The angler landed the fish that was hooked just behind the gills and proceeded to put the fish on his stringer. Upon contact, Mapes asked the subject where the fish was hooked. The angler stated that the fish was hooked “by the mouth.” After clarification, the man admitted that he meant “by the mouth” as in “near the mouth” not “in the mouth.” The man was ticketed for possessing a foul hooked fish.
CO Adam LeClerc was working the Boyne River salmon run with CO Ethen Mapes. LeClerc observed a pair of anglers using gear that was illegal for the gear restricted river. The anglers were observed attempting to illegally hook multiple salmon in the body of the fish. The one angler was also observed using his rod to harass the fish as they tried hiding under a log. The anglers were contacted, and both were issued tickets for using illegal gear on the gear restricted stream. They were educated on the other violations that the COs observed.
CO Adam LeClerc met with the Emmet County prosecutor regarding a live capture bear trap found on state land during the dog training season. While working with neighboring law enforcement agencies, information was given to LeClerc about a live capture bear trap placed on state land. Through interviews, trail camera pictures and numerous search warrants, a suspect was found who was the owner of the trap. The trap was seized, along with other live capture traps typically used for raccoons and skunks, that were also set illegally on state land. The prosecutor’s office authorized charges on the suspect and an arrest warrant was issued. The case is pending.
Sgt. Mike Mshar was off duty in Montmorency County when he located a large bait pile with a game camera set up at the site. After further investigation, it was determined the bait and camera were placed by a local elk guide. An interview was conducted, and the guide admitted to placing the bait in order to have his client shoot an elk from it. Charges are being sought for the violation.
CO Patrick McManus responded to a complaint of subjects possibly snagging and netting fish along the Platte River. When McManus arrived, he located the group but did not see any activity as described by the complainant. McManus observed the suspects for over an hour as they relocated away from the other anglers downstream. It was at that time that McManus observed one of the suspects net a fish out of the river and another retain a foul hooked salmon. Citations were issued for the illegal use of gear.
CO Justin Vanderlinde located four anglers who were fishing the closed waters of the Betsie River at different locations. This was the third time that one of the anglers had been written for the same offense. All anglers were cited for fishing in a closed trout stream.
While on patrol, COs Ryan Andrews and Brian Brosky followed up on a tip that a hunter would be hunting over a large bait pile in Mason County. The two COs located the bait location and contacted two individuals that were hunting in a blind overlooking the bait. One of the individuals had been previously charged by each CO for previous DNR violations and was currently revoked from being eligible to obtain a hunting license for violations from last year’s deer season. Both men in the blind had archery equipment with them and were charged with hunting over bait and one was arrested for hunting deer while his hunting license privileges were revoked.
CO Ben Shively was working a creek in northern Oceana County when he observed four subjects walking along the creek. Shively watched as two male subjects jumped into the creek in their shoes and shorts and began chasing the king salmon that were spawning. Shively observed one subject attempt to take a salmon by hand, while the other subject kicked one towards shore and then grabbed it by hand. Shively contacted the two subjects as they were walking back to their vehicle with the fish. Both subjects were issued citations for taking a fish by an illegal method. The subject that had taken the salmon by hand was also placed under arrest and lodged at the Oceana County Jail on three outstanding warrants. Reimbursement of $170 will be sought for the 17-pound king salmon.
CO John Huspen contacted a subject that had been operating his ORV cross country to set up his hunting location on state land. Upon contact, the subject was found to be hunting over a bait pile. During an interview, the subject stated that he put the bait out to get an advantage over other hunters. The subject stated that without the bait, he wouldn’t be able to shoot deer in this location. Then the subject told Huspen that deer hunting would be easier if the state outlawed baiting all together. A citation was issued for the violations.
CO Mike Hearn was contacted by a local bear hunter that believed he was the victim of hunter harassment in Kalkaska County. After hunting for a week at his private property bear blind, the complainant became suspicious of the lack of all animal activity in the area. He started looking around his hunt site and found two hidden glass jars with an unknown white substance inside. Hearn met with the complainant and located additional signs of trespass on the property. The jar has been sent in for laboratory analysis to check for possible poison and fingerprints. The case remains under investigation.
CO Brad Bellville encountered two waterfowl hunters on the edge of a lake. While checking the hunters, one of them stated his semi-automatic shotgun was jammed and he ejected four shells from the gun. No other violations were observed, and Bellville drove away. What the hunters did not realize was that Bellville only drove out of sight and returned through the woods on foot with the suspicion that the hunter was “floating a fourth shell” and the gun was not actually jammed. After settling in close to listen and watch, it was only a matter of minutes before the hunters started talking about getting away with floating the fourth shell. Contact with the hunters was made again and Bellville obtained a confession from the hunter that he was knowingly hunting waterfowl with more than three shells. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Dan Robinson was working an area known for shining activity where several deer have been found shot in years past. While sitting stationary, Robinson witnessed a van pass him while shining a light on the opposite side of the road. The van continued down the road and shined the open field several times. The van was also operating on the wrong side of the roadway. A traffic stop was initiated, and two subjects admitted to shining the fields. Robinson advised them that it was legal hours to shine, but also noticed a rifle case between the two front seats. When asked about firearms, the pair stated that they had a .22 rifle in the van between the seats. The rifle, magazine and ammunition were all easily accessible to the passenger of the van, who claimed he owned the rifle. A citation was issued to the passenger for shining while in possession of a firearm.
CO Mike Haas received a complaint of an injured bald eagle seen in a farm field in central Isabella County. Haas was able to respond quickly to the area and secure the eagle which appeared to have an injured wing. Haas and CO Dan Robinson then transported the eagle and turned it over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
While checking Edmore State Game Area in Montcalm County, COs Mike Haas and Dan Robinson located a gate that had been cut open allowing access to an area closed to motor vehicles. The COs located a truck operating through the closed area and contacted the driver. The man stated that he was retrieving items left in the woods from a party that had taken place the prior night. In the bed of the truck were numerous empty alcohol containers, a large wooden platform/stage with attached spotlights, and a large metal pole. The gentleman received a citation for operating in the closed area.
CO Justin Ulberg checked an angler while he was concluding fishing on one of the bayous along the Grand River. Ulberg discovered the angler was eight fish over the legal limit. Further investigation revealed the subject also had two outstanding warrants. The subject was issued a citation for the fishing violation and lodged at the county jail for the warrants.
While on patrol in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg checked on a vehicle in a popular hunting spot. Contents inside the vehicle suggested the owner was out hunting. Ulberg observed the vehicle until two subjects emerged from the woods. One of the subjects was carrying a crossbow while the other hunter had no archery equipment. Ulberg contacted the subjects and the subject without the hunting equipment advised that he didn’t have a hunting license, but he was not hunting. Ulberg questioned the subjects about the empty bow case in the back of the vehicle. The subjects stated that the bow was back at their residence. It appeared that the hunters were not being truthful, and Ulberg stated he would follow the subjects back to their residence to view the bow. The hunters then changed their story and the hunter without the license walked into the woods and retrieved a bow. The subject was issued a citation for possessing a bow afield with no hunting license.
CO Casey Varriale received a tip from CO Justin Ulberg that there may be illegal hunting activity in the commercial forest property off Division Street and Ducoma in Kent County. Varriale arrived on scene and saw a car sitting on the side of the road. Shortly after arriving, two men wearing camouflage and carrying bows walked out of the woods towards the vehicle. The first man saw Varriale and threw his crossbow into the drainage ditch and continued walking. Varriale contacted the individuals and a short investigation revealed neither men had hunting licenses. Citations were issued for hunting deer without a license.
CO Pete Purdy assisted an MSP trooper responding to a 911 call of four subjects in the parking lot of Hartland Creekside Elementary School. One of the individuals was seen carrying a long gun. The schools in the area went into lock-down procedures and all Livingston County law enforcement agencies began active school shooter response. The school principal attempted to contact the individuals and they ran into a wooded area on school property. When Purdy and the trooper arrived on scene, it was discovered that the four suspects were juveniles that had skipped school and were carrying a BB gun to target shoot in the wooded area on school property. The BB gun resembled a lever action rifle. The school was very thankful for the quick response.
COs Shane Webster and Chris Maher responded to assist a DNR Parks employee who had been asked to check on a subject sleeping in a vehicle in the Waterloo Recreation Area. The Parks employees had been informed that subject was doing drugs in the vehicle and had been staying the night in the recreation area. COs Webster and Maher contacted the occupants of the vehicle, a male and a female. Webster recognized the male subject as one whom he had cited earlier in the year for trespassing and had arrested on a second contact for a warrant. During the contact, Webster noted evidence of drugs within the vehicle and a search was performed. The COs located suspected illegal narcotics and glass pipes. Charges are pending through the prosecutor’s office.
While working a late-night weekend patrol, CO Todd Thorn was contacted by DNR Dispatch stating that it had received a call from a blood tracker stating that he was tracking a buck for a customer. The dispatchers checked license purchases for the hunter and found that he had only purchased two antlerless deer tags. Thorn responded and was able to locate the vehicles. After sitting and watching the vehicles and waiting for the individuals to emerge, the blood tracker appeared and left and then contacted the dispatchers stating that the customer had found the deer but didn’t have a buck tag. Thorn waited for the hunter and contacted him and found the untagged antlered deer. The deer was seized, and a ticket was issued.
COs Kris Kiel and Joseph Deppen responded to complaint from Macomb County Dispatch of goose hunters in a safety zone. Although the hunters were outside the safety zone, one hunter was found to have an unplugged gun and no federal waterfowl stamp. The subject received a citation for the license violation.
COs Joseph Deppen and Kris Kiel were patrolling state land when they encountered a goose hunter alone in a field. COs were checking his licenses and equipment and discovered the hunter had a firearm capable of holding more than three shells. COs checked with the hunter and he said he had a homemade plug in his shotgun. The plug was not long enough, and the hunter was new to the sport. The hunter was given a verbal warning and was told to make a new plug before hunting the following day.
COs Brad Silorey and Joe Deppen conducted a deer processor inspection and found several deer that required further investigation. Contact was made with a hunter who validated her tag for Oct. 1 and had purchased her tags that same day 20 minutes prior to the end of shooting hours. The hunter stated that she bought her tags and got out to her treestand and shot the deer right after dark. After further questioning, it was evident that the suspect was not being truthful, and Silorey was finally able to get the suspect to admit that the deer was shot prior to having purchased any hunting license. While walking the property, Deppen discovered that the property was discreetly baited with corn that was scattered throughout multiple food plots on the property. It was discovered through the investigation that a male subject was responsible for the baiting, and charges for taking a deer without a license will be sought on the female subject through the local prosecutor’s office.
CO Keven Luther assisted CO Brandon Vacek with a fisheries complaint in Monroe County. The two COs contacted a group of catfish anglers and cited two individuals for 20 over-limit and one undersized channel catfish. One of the men had a felony domestic violence warrant out of Detroit and Luther transported him to the Detroit Detention Center for lodging.
COs Brandon Vacek and Nick Ingersoll responded to a complaint of recreational trespassing in Monroe County. When the suspect was contacted, she admitted to the trespass and hunting over bait. She also failed to immediately validate and tag the deer. Ingersoll is seeking charges through the prosecutor’s office.