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Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 20, 2019


CO Cody Smith received a complaint of an individual tracking a wounded deer on private property. A vehicle description and license plate were given by the complainant and the plate returned to a suspect in L’Anse. Both Smith and CO Dave Miller headed toward the suspect’s residence. Miller located the vehicle on the road and made a traffic stop on the suspect. Smith arrived moments later. An untagged buck was located in the bed of the vehicle as well as a loaded and uncased firearm in the passenger seat of the truck. The subject did not possess a valid deer license. The deer was seized, and the subject received tickets for the illegal deer and the loaded/uncased firearm.

CO Zach Painter was on patrol in Gogebic County and conducted a processor inspection. Painter located an 8-point buck with a tag from Ontario, Canada. Painter contacted the individual who had harvested the deer and confirmed that he had shot the deer in Canada and transported the entire carcass back to Michigan. Painter issued a citation for possessing a deer carcass from out of state and seized the deer.

Cpl. Dave Painter had received a complaint of a hunter who had taken a 10-pointer in 2018 but had never purchased a license. The complainant also stated the other people the man hunted with may not have purchased licenses. Painter, Lt. Jason Wicklund, and CO Anna Viau patrolled the location where the group hunts and contacted several hunters at once. Two hunters were cited for hunting without a license, including the one who had shot the 10-pointer last year. Charges will be filed with the Iron County prosecutor for the illegal deer in 2018. Several verbal warnings were also issued, including failure to wear hunter orange and fail to carry hunting license.


Cpl. Mike Hammill and CO Mark Zitnik were working a complaint in Stonington. A Wisconsin man has been coming up for the last 10 years hunting and shooting several deer a year without a license. Once at the camp, Hammill went on foot to locate the hunter and Zitnik went to the cabin to speak with the girlfriend. Several minutes later, Hammill located the rifle hunter without a license and obtained a full confession for shooting a 6-point buck with his crossbow and putting his girlfriend’s tag on it. Further questioning resulted in a confession of a doe the hunter had shot the year prior without a license. The rifle, crossbow and meat were seized, and a report is being sent to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Colton Gelinas received a call from CO Katie Stawara in reference to an illegal deer killed in Shiawassee County; however, the suspect resides in Mackinac County. Gelinas contacted the suspect who stated that he shot a big 6-point in Shiawassee. When confronted about buying a license after killing the deer, the suspect confessed. Gelinas advised Stawara of the confession and charges are being sought in Shiawassee County.

CO Mike Olesen and Cpl. Kevin Postma contacted multiple hunters and hunting camps around the Hiawatha National Forest in Chippewa County. During the patrol, the COs responded to a call of a deer being shot on private property. Upon arrival, it was discovered that an individual had been road hunting and shot a deer on private property. An investigation and interviews were performed, and it was determined that the deer was taken illegally. COs seized the deer and the rifle used by the suspect and a report is being submitted to the Chippewa County prosecutor for review.


While working illegal baits and blinds in Emmet County, CO Duane Budreau contacted a subject hunting from a permanent blind on state land. The blind had been left out all year. Budreau recognized the individual as someone he had ticketed for the same violation several years ago. The hunter acted as if he did not know the blinds could not be left out on state land throughout the year. Budreau reminded the hunter of their previous encounter for the same violation. The hunter then admitted guilt and took responsibility for his actions. The hunter was ticketed for hunting from an illegal blind.

Sgt. Mark DePew contacted a deer hunter hunting in Otsego County. Upon contact, the sergeant noticed a large-capacity magazine located in the gun. Eighteen rounds of ammunition were recovered from the magazine. The legal limit allows six rounds of ammunition in a semi-automatic rifle. A ticket was issued.

COs Paul Fox and Jon Sklba investigated a baiting complaint near Millersburg in Presque Isle County. The COs were able to locate multiple hunters who were hunting in large tower blinds hidden in wildlife openings. Large amounts of bait were located at each site. In addition, two deer were located at camp that were suspiciously tagged. Upon investigation, it was found that two bucks had been shot without licenses. The responsible parties confessed to shooting the deer without licenses, then buying licenses after the fact. Tag lending and borrowing also occurred. Two deer were seized, and a report will be sent to the prosecutor’s office for review.


While conducting an aerial group patrol, CO Bill Haskin located three men dragging several deer from an orchard, one of which appeared to be in violation of Leelanau County’s APR. Haskin guided CO Amanda McCurdy who was on the ground to the location where she contacted the individuals. The property owner was in possession of numerous Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAPs), which are separate licenses offered to farmers who are experiencing deer damage on their crops. These permits allowed the individual to harvest the number of deer he had taken. However, none of the deer were tagged at that time and approximately three hours had passed since the individual admitted to shooting the deer. Citations were issued for failing to immediately validate deer licenses.

CO Troy Ludwig received a call from MSP troopers who had performed a traffic stop on an individual who was found with a loaded firearm in his vehicle along with a spotlight. The troopers determined that the suspect had taken an 8-point deer earlier that night after hunting hours had ended. After retrieving the deer from the home of a relative of the suspect, the CO and troopers went to the suspect’s residence to examine the deer the suspect had shot legally on opening day. Through the course of the interview, it was discovered the suspect had taken an 8-point and 6-point deer during archery season and then used his relative’s kill tags to attach to the deer instead of using his kill tags. Charges will be sought with the Wexford County Prosecutor’s Office.


While on patrol in Alcona County, COs Jeff Panich and Jesse Grzechowski followed up on a complaint at a large hunting camp on private property. Numerous violations were found including no hunter orange, hunting without licenses, hunting over bait, and hunting with semi-automatic rifles capable of holding more than six rounds. There were 16 citations issued throughout the camp.

CO Josh Russell and Sgt. Jon Wood were patrolling Gladwin County after dark when they were blinded by a UTV operating down the road with an LED light bar on top. While attempting to initiate a traffic stop, the operator continued to slow roll and hesitated several times before coming to a complete stop. At that time, the COs noticed deer hooves barely sticking above the box sides of the UTV. While Russell contacted the driver, Wood checked the small yearling antlerless deer in the back of the UTV. In addition to the untagged antlerless deer, a loaded Bushmaster 450 semi-automatic rifle was discovered in the back seat. The driver was issued citations for possession of an untagged deer and possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.


CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol in the Shiawassee River State Game Area (SGA) checking duck hunters when he contacted a group of hunters coming in from the afternoon hunt. When Beuthin asked how they did, one of the subjects told the CO that he shot a hen mallard and an American coot. Upon further inspection, the CO advised the subject he had a Pied-billed grebe in his possession. Enforcement action was taken, and the subject was issued a ticket for having a non-game species in possession.

CO Adam Beuthin was checking a baiting complaint in Saginaw County when he observed a bait pile with blood in the fresh snow around it. Beuthin tracked the blood to a gut pile where he found tracks leading him right to the residence on the property. At the residence, Beuthin contacted the son of the property owner who had been out hunting. The CO obtained a verbal confession from the son, stating he shot the deer over the bait. An arrest warrant for the illegal deer is being submitted for the individual through the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Quincy Gowenlock responded to a trespass complaint where a deer was shot on the opening day of firearm season. While speaking with the complainant, the CO could see the wounded buck laying down by the creek and the suspect still in his hunting stand. As the complainant was showing the CO the video footage, the suspect shot the buck a second time, killing it. Gowenlock drove around to the neighbor’s property and contacted the suspect. The suspect denied being on or shooting onto the complainant’s property; however, when the CO used the OnX App and showed the suspect where he was, the suspect realized he was trespassing. The subject was issued a citation for his violation.

CO Mike Haas received a complaint from Isabella County Central Dispatch. A couple was sitting in their house when they heard a loud crash outside. They noticed their truck windows had been broken by what they thought was a bullet. Haas investigated the area and located the path of the bullet. A bullet had hit the truck’s driver side window, the driver’s seat headrest, the rear passenger window, the door frame of another car, and into a carport wall. Haas then followed the bullet’s path to a nearby farm field and was able to determine where the hunter was standing when they had shot the bullet. It was discovered that a juvenile had fired the bullet. The adult chaperoning the hunt was held responsible for not properly supervising the juvenile and charges are pending to address the negligent discharging of a firearm and damage to private property.


CO Casey Varriale located a buck in Kent County that had a 2018 deer tag attached to the antlers. Varriale and CO Justin Ulberg contacted the owner of the tag and he claimed he put the wrong one on it. The suspect said he had a 2019 deer tag, but it was an antlerless tag. Further investigation revealed the suspect tagged the deer with an old tag for his son-in-law, so the son-in-law did not have to use his final buck tag for the season and could continue hunting. The individual was cited for the violation.

CO Matt Page and Sgt. Steve Mooney received a call of hunter harassment involving an individual yelling and riding his 4-wheeler onto a lawful hunter’s property. The suspect did this for nearly an hour before the hunter and an adjacent hunter decided to move locations. Statements were taken and an interview was conducted with the suspect who argued that the hunters shouldn’t be that close to the line. A report is being sent to the prosecutor for possible hunter harassment and ORV trespass charges.


COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither received a call from Lenawee Central Dispatch about a trespassing incident that just occurred where a guy shot a deer and trespassed on the property to get the deer. The COs arrived and contacted the suspect who stated, “I know why you’re here, just take the deer now; I did go on my neighbor’s property.” The deer was seized, and charges are being filed with the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office.

COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither were donating seized animals to a local processor when an individual flagged Smither down to ask questions and talk about deer hunting. Through the conversation, Smither discovered that the hunter had shot a buck that morning. A quick glance at the tag revealed that he had bought the tag 10 minutes before arriving to the processor and talking with the COs. He also had shot a doe on opening morning and after asking him about it, he confessed to not having a tag for that either. Charges are being sought with the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Jeff Goss received information from CO Troy Ludwig about a possible illegal deer case developed through social media. After interviewing the suspect, it was determined that the deer was shot prior to the tag being purchased. The suspect claimed that the 10-point buck had been causing property damage and eating the food for their cattle, so his dad captured the buck in their barn and the suspect shot it because it was a nuisance. The suspect’s and father’s recollection of the event were drastically different. Videos and photos seized from the suspect’s phone prove that he was out in the woods hunting when the deer was shot. Charges are being sought through the Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Shane Webster responded to a complaint of a stolen 8-point buck. The hunter stated he had seen the deer come behind him and shot it, and then left to get his son to assist in tracking and dragging it. When he returned, the deer was gone and there were drag marks leading to the neighbor’s property. The neighbors were in possession of the deer were contacted. The neighbor had initially shot the deer, with poor shot placement, and then tracked it, trespassing onto the complainant’s property. The complainant had not known the deer was injured but ultimately put the killing shot on the deer. Once the evidence was presented of multiple wounds to the deer, with the clear difference in the calibers being used presenting the original complainant as the one who put the mortal shot on the deer, it was agreed to return the deer to him. No trespassing charges were requested, but a mutual agreement to contact each other in the future was reached prior to going over property lines.


While on patrol in Oakland County, CO Christopher Knights noticed some fresh tracks going in the American Aggregates property off Oakwood Road. Knights walked in about a half mile and noticed a Chevy Blazer parked and footprints that led into the woods. Knights followed the prints and noticed a hunter in a treestand. Knights advised him to come down. On his way down Knights noticed he was trying to take his hat out of his pocket that had hunter orange on it. The hunter followed Knights to his vehicle where Knights advised him where he was, and that he was currently trespassing. Knights showed him where the state land was and where he was. The hunter was issued two citations, one for recreational trespassing and one for failure to wear hunter orange.

A bait flight was planned with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. During the flight several baiting locations were marked. CO Danielle Zubek and Sgt. Jason Becker checked on one of the locations. A hunter was in a treestand near the bait pile, with his hunter orange hat covered by a sweatshirt hoodie. The COs contacted the hunter. When asked for identification and hunting licenses, the hunter stated they were at his house. A citation and several warnings were issued to the hunter.

CO Raymond Gardner received a complaint about a subject who harvested a 13-point buck and then bought a deer license after. Gardner contacted the subject and interviewed him. The subject told Gardner that he shot the deer on the day after purchasing his license. Gardner asked the suspect if he had pictures of the deer on his phone. The subject told Gardner that he had pictures and showed them to him. After Gardner showed the suspect that the time/date stamp on the pictures were before he had purchased a license, the subject confessed. Gardner seized the head and antlers as evidence and donated the meat. A report will be submitted to the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office.

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