Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Jan. 3, 2020
CO Josh Boudreaux responded to a complaint of a loaded firearm being left near a residence in Sands Township. The property owner, who has two children who regularly play outside, discovered the firearm while walking near his driveway and suspected that it was his neighbor’s who accesses the nearby state land through his property. Upon following up with the neighbor, it was discovered that he had shot and tagged a spike buck with a combination tag. A citation was issued for the tagging violation and the deer was seized. The suspect stated he had left his firearm on his neighbor’s property because he didn’t want to be seen walking through the neighborhood with a firearm.
CO Dave Miller used a deer decoy along a road where road hunting has been a problem for many years. Miller only had the deer decoy set up for approximately 30 seconds before an individual pulled up in a truck and placed his loaded gun out the window. The subject was stopped prior to shooting the decoy. The subject was ticketed for possessing a loaded and uncased firearm inside a motor vehicle.
CO Jeremy Sergey received a complaint that an individual was hunting very close to their house. The complainant was concerned because he had his wife and child at home. When Sergey arrived at the house, he could see the hunting blind was indeed close to the house. Sergey used a range finder and determined the blind was 103 yards from the house, well within the 150-yard safety zone. A citation was issued for hunting with a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied residence without permission from the homeowner.
CO Chris Lynch was on patrol when he was dispatched to a hunter harassment/ possible assault complaint. The victim hunters of the complaint were scared to leave due to the physical threats made by the suspect. Lynch located the victims and escorted them out of the area. Lynch, and COs Steve Butzin and Breanna Reed went back to the scene for further investigation. A possible suspect was developed, and the COs went to his house. While interviewing the suspect, an illegal deer was discovered that the suspect had shot. The suspect shot a spike horn buck while trespassing and tagged it with his combination deer license, which is a violation of the antler point restrictions (APR). The suspect also shot the deer within the safety zone of five houses, which he didn’t have permission to do. The suspect has had multiple violations with the department and just received his hunting privileges back after shooting a deer with a firearm out of season. The illegal deer and rifle used to shoot the deer were seized. A report will be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for charges of taking an illegal deer subsequent offense, trespassing, and hunting/discharging within the safety zone.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin were on patrol when a truck pulled out in front of them with a deer in the bed of the truck. It was apparent the driver wanted the COs to pass him. The COs followed the subject home to find the buck was a 10-point that the hunter just shot and didn’t even gut it. The hunter was asked where the tag was for the deer and he pulled it out of his wallet. The hunter was asked why he didn’t tag it, and he stated because he didn’t have a knife. It was pointed out to the hunter that he had a knife in his back-right pocket. The hunter was then asked where his gun was located. The hunter said behind his seat. Upon locating the rifle, it was uncased and still loaded, with two live bullets in the magazine and the empty cartridge was still in the muzzle. The hunter received a citation for failing to immediately validate and attach the kill tag to the deer and having a loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
COs Colton Gelinas, Todd Sumbera, Michael Olesen, Cole VanOosten, Justin Vinson and Sgt. Calvin Smith conducted a group patrol along US-2 in Mackinac County. A stop was made on a vehicle for defective equipment. The truck was pulling a trailer with Christmas trees. Underneath those Christmas trees were three illegal deer. Olesen and Sumbera interviewed the driver, who stated that he did not shoot any of the deer, but some of his family members did who were traveling back out of state. Gelinas contacted the remaining family members at a McDonald’s parking lot. Gelinas was able to obtain detailed confessions. The COs seized three illegal deer and three weapons in this case. A report has been submitted to the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor.
CO Duane Budreau flew with pilot Kevin Jacobs and they located a possible bait site in Antrim County where deer had dug up fresh snow in a clearing in front of a blind. The pilot passed on a picture and information about the location to CO Andrea Erratt, who checked a man hunting with his 15-year-old grandson in the blind baited with apples and corn. The grandfather admitted he had been baiting the blind every day and said he had put out about four gallons of bait that day. He said he thought the legislature was going to pass a law allowing deer baiting. Erratt ticketed the grandfather for baiting deer and warned his grandson.
COs Andrea Albert and Andrea Erratt ran a deer decoy patrol in a remote area in Antrim County targeting road hunters shooting from motor vehicles from the roadway. A pickup truck traveled by once and returned a short time later. The driver stopped in front of the decoy and put his rifle out the truck’s driver side window and shot. Albert could hear him racking in another shell. At the same time, Erratt was driving up behind the subject with her patrol truck emergency lights activated. Erratt observed the rifle barrel sticking out of the truck window. Albert contacted the shooter who finally realized what he was shooting at was not a real deer. When asked what he was thinking when he shot and the deer did not move, he replied that he had not sighted in his rifle and he thought he missed. A ticket was issued for the violation and the rifle was seized.
Sgt. William Webster responded to a hunter harassment complaint concerning duck hunters in Charlevoix County. When Webster arrived with the complainants, they advised him that every time they call to the ducks, the man across the lake loads his rifle and shoots. Webster found a good observation point and watched with binoculars as the duck hunters went back to hunting. The suspect would watch the duck hunters, not shoulder the gun and fire into the woods. Webster watched this conduct happen two times in a 30-minute time frame and then contacted the suspect who stated he was sighting in his rifle for deer season. After a brief interview, Webster was able to get the man to confess to being upset with the duck hunters waking him up and he wanted them to feel his pain. The hunters didn’t want to press charges, but a warning was given for hunter harassment.
COs William Haskin and Troy Ludwig had been working a carcass dumping complaint for most of deer season. The COs received a tip of who might be dumping the carcasses and a vehicle description. After several weeks of investigation, the COs were able to locate a suspect and learned that the suspect had trespassed and shot six deer at night with a spotlight. Other charges included tagging violations, baiting, uncased gun in a vehicle, and taking an over-limit of deer. Charges are being sought through the Wexford County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Justin Vanderlinde assisted the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department with investigating a hunter involved shooting. The incident occurred while putting the firearm in a vehicle which resulted in one hunter shooting his hunting partner in the buttocks. The gunshot wound was non-fatal, and the victim is expected to make a full recovery.
CO Josiah Killingbeck received an anonymous tip of shots fired after dark at a residence in Lake County. With the assistance of COs Ryan Andrews and Brian Brosky, contact was made at the residence in question. After several stories, the truth was obtained from both hunters. The COs learned that an 8-point had been shot with a .22 the day before firearm deer season opened over the bait pile. A second buck had been shot by another hunter at 1 a.m. over the lighted bait pile with a crossbow. The COs seized the deer, the .22, and the crossbow. A report is being sent to the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office for numerous charges related to the illegal taking of both deer.
CO Josiah Killingbeck observed a vehicle after dark driving slowly down a back road in rural Lake County. Killingbeck stopped the vehicle for several motor vehicle violations and discovered that the passenger was holding a loaded uncased rifle in his lap. The passenger told Killingbeck he had “forgotten” to case his gun after hunting and was cold, so he just jumped in the vehicle and took off. A citation was issued to the subject for possessing a loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
While following up on baiting complaints, CO Mike Hearn contacted a landowner in Fife Lake and gave him a warning for unlawfully baiting deer on his property. A week later, Hearn returned, and found a hunter hunting over bait on the property. Through interviews, Hearn learned the hunter was told by the property owner that the bait needed to be cleaned up. The hunter chose to ignore the order. A citation was issued to the hunter for illegal baiting.
CO Craig Neal was patrolling Arenac County when he received a RAP complaint from a landowner in reference to a man trespassing in his field. Neal arrived on scene to find the suspect’s vehicle stuck on the edge of the field. He contacted the operator of the vehicle and asked what happened. The suspect stated that he was driving by the field, saw a deer, got out of his vehicle, shot it, and tried to drive into the field to retrieve it. Neal asked the suspect if he knew who owned the land and if he had permission to be on the property. The man stated that he didn’t see any “no trespassing” signs so he thought it was OK. Neal explained to the man that farmland is not required to be posted. Neal was able to locate the dead antlerless deer still laying in the field. The suspect only had a combination license and did not have a proper tag for the antlerless deer. A wrecker was called to get the vehicle out of the farm field. The suspect was issued a citation for recreational trespass and for taking an antlerless deer without a license. He also had to pay an expensive tow bill.
CO Josh Russell was contacted by the Gladwin County Sheriff’s Department about a hunter that had reported shooting a large black bear in self-defense the previous day. The hunter was now hoping to get a permit to keep the bear. Russell and CO Ethan Gainforth responded to the hunter’s residence to investigate. Upon investigation, the hunter’s story changed from one of self-defense to simply shooting the bear as it walked through his hunting location. The hunter admitted that the bear never approached him and was shot over 60 yards away broadside, indicating that the bear never appeared to be a threat. The bear was seized, and charges will be sought through the Gladwin County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Chad Foerster checked a hunter after legal hunting hours as the hunter was exiting the woods with a loaded firearm. During the conversation with the hunter, it was determined that he had shot a 6-point buck during the bow season. After a license check, the hunter was found to be in possession of his deer kill-tag, which is only good for the taking of a single antlered deer. The hunter ultimately confessed to shooting the deer with his crossbow over bait, processed it with his father, and failed to tag it. A warrant request is pending for the illegal deer and warnings were given on scene for the loaded after hours and hunting over bait.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol on the Saginaw River checking anglers when he observed a vessel with three individuals fishing. When the CO made contact, he asked everyone for fishing licenses. One of the anglers advised the CO that he didn’t have his on him but had purchased it. After checking with dispatch, it was discovered that the individual did not have a fishing license for 2019. The angler was issued a citation for fishing without a license.
While patrolling western Isabella County, CO Mike Haas witnessed a hunter sitting in a rifle stand who was not wearing a required hunter orange garment. Haas contacted the man in his blind and addressed the violation. The man had an orange knit cap in his blind but stated he had taken it off when he became too warm. The hunter had two loaded rifles in his possession in the blind and was unable to produce a deer license. After checking the hunter’s DNR purchase history, it was determined that the man had failed to buy a deer license for the 2019 season. A citation was issued to address the violations.
CO Anna Cullen interviewed an individual suspected of purchasing his tags after harvesting a 10-point buck. A confession was obtained, and charges will be submitted to the Muskegon County Prosecutor for the violations.
While following up on a complaint of a felon in possession of a firearm, CO Sam Schluckbier came upon a subject hunting private property. The hunter was sitting over a bait pile of corn when confronted. Schluckbier asked the hunter about the bait pile while checking her license. She claimed that she knew the law prohibited baiting deer, but that did not stop her from placing over 15 gallons of shelled corn near her stand. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Sam Schluckbier received a complaint of two subjects trespassing in Allegan County. The witness stated that he watched a vehicle stop on the roadway while the driver grabbed his shotgun and jumped into the bed of his four-wheel drive truck. The passenger then became the driver as they sped across the farm field in the direction of several deer. The suspect in the bed of the truck fired once at the deer before scaring them off. Schluckbier was able to locate the subject’s vehicle at a nearby residence. The suspect attempted to lie about the incident when Schluckbier interviewed him; however, he became honest when Schluckbier advised him of the severity of the violations. The suspect admitted to shooting at the deer so his girlfriend could gut it. Charges will be sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Andrew Monnich received a tip from an off-duty police officer about a guy sitting in a treestand just off a busy road without hunter orange. Monnich went to the area and spotted the hunter who tried to hide once Monnich got out of the patrol truck. Monnich had to yell up to the hunter multiple times before the hunter acknowledged him. When Monnich asked what he was doing not wearing hunter orange, the hunter replied, “I am hunting. It’s prime time. You’re going to ruin my hunt so you can leave now.” Monnich advised the hunter to get down out of the tree which he did. Enforcement action was taken for the no hunter orange, a warning for recreational trespassing was given, and the hunter was escorted off the property.
CO Nick Wellman received a complaint referencing a 12-point buck that had been killed by a non-resident who never purchased a 2019 deer license. Wellman began investigating and worked closely with a CO from Tennessee as well as COs from Wayne County, COs Dave Schaumburger and Keven Luther, to do simultaneous interviews. Due to hard work by the Wayne County COs, full confessions were received that the man from Tennessee came up and shot a large 12-point without hunting licenses, then used a family member’s kill tags. The buck and the firearm were seized by the Wayne County COs and charges are being sought through the Branch County Prosecutor.
COs Nicholas Ingersoll and Keven Luther conducted an interview on a hunter who confessed to shooting an 8-point whitetail without a license. The COs confiscated the antlers and advised the hunter they were going to be submitting charges to the Monroe County Prosecutor.
CO Keven Luther checked on an active baiting case he’d been working on since the beginning of the 2019 deer season. Luther contacted the suspect while he was actively hunting over bait with an invalid 2019 hunting license. Luther contacted CO Brandon Vacek to assist in the investigation after discovering three fully processed deer carcasses near the suspect’s vehicle. The two COs interviewed the suspect uncovering five deer all taken over bait in two different counties. The COs also determined that one of the deer was taken by a nonresident without a valid Michigan 2019 hunting license. A case report will be turned over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for formal charges.
CO David Schaumburger and Cpt. David Malloch were checking anglers fishing for bluegill when they came across an angler who stated to the COs that he had 25 bluegills. The COs counted the fish twice and counted 26 bluegills. The angler was continuing to fish as the COs walked up and the COs suspected the angler was giving fish away to his fishing partners. A citation was issued for possessing over the limit of bluegill.
CO David Schaumburger and Cpt. David Malloch began checking anglers at Lake Erie Metroparks Marina when one of the anglers stated to Malloch, “You should have been here a few minutes ago; I think the guys in the white trucks that just left were over the limit.” The COs made haste and caught up to the anglers, who had stopped in a parking lot. Consent was given to search the vehicles and, after counting the two buckets of fish for the two anglers, 61 bluegills were found. A citation was issued for possessing over the limit of bluegill.
CO Brandon Vacek received a tip that a hunter was possibly in possession of an over-limit of ducks at Pointe Mouillee SGA. The CO contacted two hunters who showed him six drake mallards and one hen mallard. After a check of the hunters’ licenses and gear, the CO located an additional two hen mallards hidden inside a gear bag. The subject was issued a citation for an over-limit of mallard ducks. Reimbursement is being sought.
CO Casey Varriale received a complaint in Ottawa County regarding the dumping of deer carcasses on private property. Varriale located the two deer carcasses, and an investigation led to a suspect who lived down the road. Varriale contacted the suspect and the suspect claimed he did not think it was illegal to leave deer carcasses on the side of the road. The suspect was issued a citation for littering.