Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Feb. 14, 2020

DISTRICT 1

CO Shannon Kritz received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint from a subject who found a deceased deer on his property. Kritz arrived at the complaint location and found that the blood trail from the deceased deer led back to a neighboring property. While patrolling the area, Kritz and the complainant located a new, fresh blood trail that also started at the neighboring property. Kritz interviewed the landowner who denied knowing anything about deer being shot from his property. Kritz then interviewed the landowner’s son who admitted to shooting three deer for nuisance purposes despite not having a deer damage permit. A report has been submitted to the Menominee County Prosecutor’s Office for charges.

While patrolling with Sgt. Brian Bacon, CO Anna Viau received a call about a dog stuck in a large body-gripping bobcat trap in Iron County. The officers rushed to the scene, while talking on the phone to the dog owners, explaining how to open the trap. By the time the officers arrived, the owners were able to cut the dog out of the trap with a hacksaw, after which they rushed the dog to the vet. Thankfully, the dog survived with only minor injuries. The trap had been set illegally on the ground but was properly tagged with the owner’s information. The officers contacted the trap owner at his residence and received a confession to setting the trap illegally. Charges are pending with the Iron County Prosecutor’s Officer.

CO Jeffrey Dell encountered multiple Off-road Vehicle (ORV) riders riding down a county road at a high rate of speed. None of the riders were wearing helmets. The riders were stopped and citations were issued.

DISTRICT 2

COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten patrolled northern Luce County for snowmobile activity. The two COs observed an individual take a turn at a high rate of speed and lose control. While attempting to stop the operator, Vinson observed the man operate on both sides of the trail. A stop was conducted, and the man received a citation for careless operation of a snowmobile.

CO Chris Lynch located a suspicious record from a taxidermy inspection in Delta County. Lynch and CO Steve Butzin followed up interviewing the hunter. The hunter confessed to shooting an 8-point buck without a license. The crossbow used to kill the deer was seized and a report will be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Chris Lynch successfully served an arrest warrant on a suspect who shot an illegal deer second offense, discharged a firearm within the safety zone of five residences without permission, and trespassing.

CO Chris Lynch conducted a taxidermy inspection and located a suspicious record about a fisher. Lynch interviewed the trapper and received a confession that the fisher was trapped out of season, not tagged and was never sealed. The fisher was seized, and a report will be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin conducted a meat processor inspection and located a suspicious record about a 4-point buck. The COs interviewed the hunter who confessed to not shooting the 4-point buck but loaning his deer license to another. The second suspect was interviewed who confessed to borrowing a deer license of another. He borrowed a deer license because he had a deer combination license and was in violation of the antler point restrictions. A report will be submitted to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s office for review.

DISTRICT 3

While on patrol in Montmorency County, CO Jon Sheppard received a trespassing complaint near Atlanta. Sheppard went to the property and met the landowner who showed fresh footprints that appeared to be following elk prints and a blood trail. Sheppard made several phone calls to find out if any hunters had wounded an elk in the area. There was one hunter with a guide tracking an elk in the area. After noticing that the property was not posted properly, Sheppard contacted the guide who admitted that he had tracked the elk through the property. Sheppard then warned the guide against trespassing on any property he did not have permission to be on. Sheppard spoke to the landowner and advised him of the proper ways to post his property.

While on patrol in Montmorency County, CO Sheppard stopped in at the Atlanta check station where he received a complaint of a suspicious deer carcass next to a gut pile from an elk. The complainant was not sure of the exact location due to the lack of cell signal in the area but gave Sheppard a description of an area near Tomahawk Lake. After several hours of searching the area, Sheppard found the carcass and gut pile in a clear cut. After a short investigation, Sheppard determined that the carcass and gut pile were being used as coyote bait.

CO Kyle Cherry responded to the scene of a snowmobile injury accident on an Otsego County trail. Cherry arrived on scene shortly after an MSP trooper to find a man lying in the trail. The man had hit a bump in the trail, lost control, and rolled his snowmobile. The man was experiencing head and knee pain. Cherry and the trooper secured the scene until Otsego County EMS arrived and the man was safely transported to the hospital.

DISTRICT 4

CO Richard Stowe encountered a vehicle wedged between two sand banks in a dry creek bed while on patrol in Grand Traverse County. The driver informed Stowe that he was just out for a ride and slid off the bank and became stuck. Stowe pointed out that they were approximately 75 yards off the state forest road/snowmobile trail and not on a road at all and had driven through the wash out at least once to get where they were stuck. A citation was issued to the driver for operating a motor vehicle where prohibited.

CO Josiah Killingbeck, along with a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy, was sitting at an ORV trail crossing checking ORVs when a subject rode up and asked for help as a member in his group had just hit a tree. The officers responded to the scene after requesting EMS be dispatched. Killingbeck assessed the victim’s injuries and bandaged and splinted the subject’s injuries and transported the subject out of the rural area he was in to a nearby road where care was turned over to EMS.

Sgt. Dan Bigger and CO Amanda McCurdy had bench trials in Benzie County for arrests made during the fall fish runs on the Betsie River. After both the prosecution and defense gave their testimony, the judge found all the defendants guilty of their charges. One defendant received 60 days in jail for committing recreation trespass in addition to several hundred dollars in fines and costs.

DISTRICT 5

COs Jeremy Cantrell and Josh Wright witnessed a vehicle driving erratically on the shoulder of the road in Clare County. By the time the COs were able to turn around, the vehicle had made it to a major roadway. The COs observed the vehicle operating almost completely in the other lane. Wright and Cantrell initiated a traffic stop. Through the investigation it was determined the suspect was on probation and required to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) upon request of an officer. SFSTs were conducted and a PBT was administered. The suspect was placed into custody and lodged in the Clare County Jail. Charges were submitted for the suspect’s fourth operating while impaired charge.

CO Ethan Gainforth assisted the Clare County Sheriff’s Department on a domestic violence complaint. The suspect had run out the back door when officers arrived. Gainforth drove around the block and located the subject and was able to detain the suspect for the sheriff’s department. The suspect was lodged in Clare County Jail for domestic violence.

CO Josh Russell responded to a suspicious person complaint at a local storage unit business in Gladwin County. Russell assisted the local deputies with locating the suspect who claimed he was paying for his unit. The suspect was homeless and had several outstanding arrest warrants out of Gladwin County. The subject was taken into custody by the Gladwin County Sheriff’s Department.

DISTRICT 6

Late in the evening, CO Adam Schiller received a complaint from the RAP line. The complainant stated that someone was shooting at deer from the roadway in northern Isabella County. Schiller contacted CO Mike Haas who was at his residence, done working for the day. The two COs met up and headed to the complaint area. After checking the area, the COs located a freshly cut cornfield with fresh truck and boot tracks in the roadway near the field but did not locate the suspects or suspect truck. Eventually the COs located a truck driving down a nearby road that matched the complainant’s description of the suspect vehicle. Two untagged deer were visible in the back of the truck and a traffic stop was carried out. Multiple citations and warnings were issued to the subjects in the vehicle to address transporting untagged deer, failing to attach and validate kill tags, taking deer after legal hunting hours, taking deer from a motor vehicle, and for recreational trespassing.

COs Jill Miller and Chad Foerster, along with a trooper and a sheriff’s deputy, responded to a call of an extremely large deer caught in a window at a Bay City home. The officers used plywood, a mattress, and a dog catch pole to remove the large buck from the window without harm.

In Sanilac County, CO Mark Siemen received a complaint that a subject was firing a gun from a vehicle while coyote hunting. The caller stated the hunter had stopped him on the road and would not let him continue until the hunter had retrieved his hunting dog. The two argued for a while and the caller stated he told the coyote hunter that he was reporting him for shooting from his vehicle. Siemen was able to locate the vehicle. Before contact with the driver, Siemen could see him moving erratically in the vehicle. Siemen quickly approached the vehicle and could tell the hunter had just unloaded his gun which was uncased. Siemen spoke with the hunter about the information received and he became upset. He was issued a citation for the uncased firearm and additional charges are pending for discharging a firearm from a vehicle, impeding traffic, and fail to wear a safety belt.

DISTRICT 7

CO Matt Page followed up on an illegal deer case involving an individual who allegedly shot two bucks on opening day of firearm deer season and did not have a license. After checking the suspect’s license purchase history, it was found that he had purchased a license the following day. An interview was conducted and, in addition to shooting the bucks without a license, the individual, when asked about hunting without a license, stated that his father’s tags were used on the bucks that he had shot. When asked why, he stated that his father was going to Florida and would not need them. The deer were seized along with the unused kill tags and a warrant request is being sent to the prosecutor’s office for review.

CO Anna Cullen interviewed an individual suspected of illegally harvesting two antlered deer. Evidence gathered through the investigation showed the suspect had taken an 8- and a 9-point. As a result of the interview, a confession was received for the illegal harvesting of the two antlered deer. Charges are being sought in the respective counties.

COs Chris Holmes and Jason McCullough had just cleared an interview of a suspect who was involved with a tree stand and game camera theft case. Holmes heard the Kalamazoo County Dispatch put out a shots fired call approximately four miles to the south of their location. As the COs were responding, an updated dispatch stated there was a man down in a restaurant parking lot. The officers assisted with securing the scene and then joined the perimeter units, looking for the suspect. A 52-year-old Kalamazoo man was shot and killed. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is investigating the homicide.

DISTRICT 8

CO Nick Wellman finished an investigation regarding a possible over-limit of bucks taken in Branch County. Wellman was assisted throughout the investigation by COs Jeff Goss and Jim Nason. After several interviews, it was found that the subject had killed a 6-point in bow season, then a 7-point on opening day of firearm season. After he had killed his two bucks, he then returned to the woods the evening of Nov. 15 and killed a 10-point for his third buck. He then had the landowner go purchase a license for the deer. Charges are being sought through Branch County.

CO Nick Wellman was called into service to handle a hunter casualty incident that took place in Branch County. The hunter was getting back into his vehicle when he left his hammer cocked on his muzzleloader and the primer cap still in place. He placed the muzzleloader into his passenger seat, and it went off, striking his hand and his leg. Upon investigating, two additional loaded guns were in the vehicle. The man will make a full recovery and was cited for having loaded/uncased firearms in the vehicle.

CO Nick Wellman responded to a concerned farmer’s call of six deer all dead in one of his fields. Wellman investigated and was able to determine that several weeks earlier, a nearby tree had fallen, taken down the powerline, and electrocuted the deer that came near it. Interviews with Consumers Energy and local residence helped determine the matter.

COs Nick Wellman and Jeff Goss went to interview a subject who was a suspect in an illegal deer case. The man had never purchased a buck tag for the 2019 season but rather had purchased five antlerless tags. The buck he brought to his taxidermist had someone else’s tag on it. Upon interviewing the subject and getting consent to search his cell phone, Wellman started going through the 2019 photos and adding up deer that were killed by the subject. In all, the COs confirmed that man had killed nine deer this past season, seven does, a large 8-point, and a large 11-point. All deer were killed between Oct. 28 and Jan. 1 with several different weapons. In all, out of the nine deer that were killed, four of them were taken unlawfully. The two bucks were seized, and charges are being sought through the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office.

DISTRICT 9

CO Bobby Watson was on patrol at a local shooting range located within a state game area. Watson observed two individuals shooting multiple different firearms and firing at a large cardboard target. Watson observed the shooters finish target shooting, pack up their firearms and begin returning to their vehicle. Watson contacted the shooters to question them as to why they didn’t pick up any of their shell casings or their shot-up targets. Watson issued a citation for littering.

COs Breanna Reed and Brad Silorey were checking several ice fishing anglers in Macomb County. Reed contacted an angler who told her that he had about 10 to 12 panfish. Upon counting the fish, it was determined that the angler had 22 panfish. Reed told the angler that it is important to keep track of the fish he keeps so he does not catch an over-limit. Later that day, Reed noticed that the angler was still fishing in the same marina. She contacted him and  asked if he was able to catch the rest of his limit. Reed counted the pan fish and this time it was determined that the angler had an over-limit. A citation was written for taking an over-limit.

CO Bob Watson was greeting people and answering questions at the DNR booth at the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi when the show manager approached Watson and requested assistance in removing a man from the show. Watson confronted the man who was very intoxicated and was refusing the leave. Watson dealt with the man for a short time before the Novi Police Department arrived and escorted the man off the property.

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