Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Feb. 28, 2020
CO Shannon Kritz and Sgt. Brian Bacon were on snowmobile patrol when they observed a single snowmobile track leading into a remote lake in Dickinson County. The COs contacted two anglers and noticed several largemouth bass laying on the ice near their ice fishing holes. Initially, the anglers denied catching the bass and blamed it on a separate group of anglers that had been on the lake earlier in the morning. However, once confronted with the fact that they were the only snowmobile track leading into the lake, they eventually admitted to catching the bass. Eleven bass were found at various ice fishing holes. Both anglers were cited for possessing bass out of season.
CO Jeffrey Dell and Sgt. Brian Bacon conducted a snowmobile enforcement patrol in Dickinson County. Numerous violations were observed and addressed including three unregistered snowmobiles, four snowmobiles without snow trail permits, and one snowmobile with exhausts exceeding the sound decibel limit. Enforcement action was taken for failing to purchase trail permits.
CO Dave Miller checked numerous fishermen on Keweenaw Bay. Miller observed a 7-year-old as he broke his fishing rod and was still able to land a 6-pound coho.
CO John Kamps was first on scene to a snowmobile crash causing injury. The individual was coming around a corner on the trail when he lost control of the sled and struck a tree. Kamps provided medical attention until EMS and back-up units were able to arrive. The individual was transported to the hospital where he was determined to be in stable condition but suffered a serious head injury.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin conducted a meat processor inspection and a suspicious record was located. The hunter was interviewed who confessed to shooting the 8-point buck without a license. The illegal deer and crossbow used to kill the deer was seized by CO John Kamps in Marquette County, where it was held by a family member of the hunter. A report will be submitted by the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
COs Andrea Dani and Mark Zitnik attended the Sportsman Coalition Meeting at the Cusino Wildlife Research Facility in Shingleton. Attendance was higher than expected given the poor driving conditions. DNR Wildlife Technician Don Brown led the meeting with a presentation regarding the 2019 hunting seasons. Hunter feedback was a major focus of the meeting regarding the newly implemented regulations, as well as hunter successes and concerns. Much interest was shown regarding the decline in the ruffed grouse population in recent years. Many suggestions were brought forward from the public regarding furbearer possession limits to help alleviate the decrease in ruffed grouse, as well as the potential of altering Deer Management Unit boundaries.
CO Justin Vinson, along with the Luce County Sheriff’s Department, were patrolling for snowmobile activity near Newberry when central dispatch called out a snowmobile accident with an unconscious but breathing rider on Trail 431 in western Luce County. Vinson, Luce County Sheriff’s Department and Luce County EMS responded to the scene. Upon arrival the victim was conscious, however, complaining of head and shoulder pain. First aid was rendered to keep the subject warm, and the trail was closed to secure the scene. EMS arrived shortly after and the woman was taken to Newberry Helen Joy Hospital.
CO Mike Olesen and Sgt. Calvin Smith patrolled Munuscong Bay in Chippewa County during a local tournament. The COs contacted over 300 anglers during the patrol, with many enjoying success. Fishing regulation compliance was very high with only a couple of warnings given for snowmobile registration violations.
CO Tim Rosochacki was patrolling near Mullet Lake when a report came in from a shore-based observer who believed they witnessed a snowmobile go through the ice. Rosochacki was first on scene and contacted the reporting party. Rosochacki then took his patrol snowmobile and contacted a group of anglers near the suspected location and quickly determined there was no one in the water and that the subject onshore had misinterpreted a homemade ice shanty for a snowmobile.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz responded to a single vehicle injury accident in Albert Township of Montmorency County. Upon arriving, it was determined that the subject had slid off the roadway due to icy road conditions into a ditch and struck a small tree. The subject suffered minor injuries from the impact and when the airbag deployed. The subject refused to be transported to the hospital and the scene was cleared with no further issues.
CO Sidney Collins assisted a snowmobiler who had broken down on the trail with no cell service. Collins gave the fellow snowmobiler a ride to their house so they could pick up the disabled sled.
CO Jon Sklba assisted with a call of a subject that went through the ice on Grand Lake. The subject and his two friends who were not from the area were unaware of the poor ice conditions on Grand Lake this year. While moving to a different spot on the lake, one of the snowmobiles went through the ice. Two of the subjects were able to get away from the sinking snowmobile, but the third subject was unable to get out of the hole created by the snowmobile. Due to the quick response of emergency personnel, the subject was located and able to be recovered alive, along with his two friends. The subject was transported to a local hospital and discharged later that evening.
CO Troy Ludwig patrolled the Wexford County snowmobile trail system. While patrolling, the CO observed two individuals fail to stop for a stop sign on a trail that enters onto a public roadway. The CO contacted the operators and they both admitted that they had seen the stop sign but decided not to stop. Citations were issued to both individuals for careless operation of a snowmobile.
COs Patrick McManus and Amanda McCurdy met at a gas station early in the day to discuss their patrol plans for the snowmobile trail that runs through Leelanau County. While they were meeting, a snowmobile drove into the gas station parking lot and the COs noticed it did not display a registration or valid trail permit. Upon contacting the subject, it was confirmed that they had not updated their registration after buying the machine and had not yet purchased a trail permit. The COs also learned that the subject had a misdemeanor warrant for their arrest out of Benzie County. The subject was taken into custody and transported to the Benzie County jail; they also received a citation for invalid snowmobile registration.
CO Tim Barboza heard a call from Central Dispatch of a suicidal male with a machete threatening to cut his son’s head off and kill himself. Barboza responded with Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies to the residence where the man was located. The CO and deputies cleared the house and found the man in a back room. The suspect was arrested on current warrants and was taken into custody without incident.
CO Jeff Ginn of Newaygo County was investigating a set of vehicle tracks which parked along the side of a forest road. He located sled marks in the snow and followed the trail into the woods. After almost 100 yards he located a blood trail. Ginn followed the trail back to a nearby residence and located a large bait pile behind a pole barn. Upon contacting with the homeowner, Ginn was able to obtain a confession. She explained she had shot a doe at night feeding from the bait pile. Prosecution is being sought for the violations.
CO Joshua Wright observed six tip-ups set on the ice with nobody around. One of the tip-ups had a flag up when the CO came across it. Wright contacted some nearby anglers who indicated the tip-ups belonged to a couple of subjects who had left the ice. Wright waited for over 15 more minutes before the subjects returned to the ice. The men admitted to leaving their lines unattended, one of them further admitted that he “was a greedy angler” and he didn’t want to pull his lines while he was eating his lunch inside the cabin. Further investigation revealed that the men had two more lines in the water inside the shanty that were also unattended. The men also had an expired ORV license for the machine that they were using. Wright issued a citation for leaving their lines unattended and gave them a verbal warning for an expired ORV registration.
CO Mike Hearn attended a National Wild Turkey Federation banquet in Kalkaska County. There were approximately 125 attendees.
CO Joe Myers received some information regarding a bobcat that was possibly taken illegally. The CO interviewed the man and based on the answers given to him, the CO knew it did not add up. After further interviewing, the man confessed to shooting the bobcat out of season and without a license. Warrants are being sought.
CO Joe Myers was patrolling the Au Sable State Forest in an area that has many protected wetlands when he noticed fresh damage. The CO was able to catch up with several of the snowmobiles, ORVs, and mud trucks that were operating in the area illegally. Tickets were issued for operating in these protected areas, registration issues, and safety equipment violations. This is the second group of operators that Myers has dealt with in the last few months.
CO Adam Beuthin received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint about a subject in Saginaw County who had shot a deer during archery season without a license. The CO was told the subject shot a 7-point buck during archery season and did not buy a license for the deer until Dec. 31. It was confirmed that the subject’s only license purchase for 2019 was on Dec. 31. During the interview, the subject confessed to shooting the deer without a license. A warrant was issued through Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office for the violation.
CO Travis Dragomer walked into a taxidermist and heard a saw operating. Dragomer observed a deer head that was being sawed in two, in attempt to skull cap the deer. Dragomer observed that the 13-point antlered deer head was fully intact and was tagged with an Iowa kill tag. The suspect who brought the deer in was still there and was interviewed on scene. The suspect admitted to shooting the 13-point antlered deer in Iowa and bringing the deer back to Michigan before processing it. The full unprocessed body of the deer was located and seized from a nearby residence. The deer head and body were seized and sent to the lab for disease testing. A citation was written for transporting/possessing an out-of-state deer into Michigan illegally.
CO Richard Cardenas was checking ice anglers on Clear Lake when he encountered a subject who was unable to provide a fishing license. A subsequent check did not locate any current fishing license but did locate a valid warrant for his arrest. A citation was issued for the violation and he was lodged on his warrant.
CO Sam Schluckbier investigated suspicious information regarding a set of 11-point antlers located at a local taxidermy shop. The owner of the antlers was interviewed and admitted to shooting the deer on the opening day of firearm deer season without a license. He also failed to get permission from his neighbor before tracking and retrieving the deer on the neighbor’s property. He then gutted and dragged the deer back to his house before leaving to obtain a license. The deer meat and antlers were confiscated, and a report and warrant request has been submitted to the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The subject could be facing over $7,000 in fines and reimbursement for illegally killing the deer.
CO Carter Woodwyk conducted a taxidermy inspection in Allegan County where he discovered a white-tailed deer head that was tagged with a Nebraska kill tag. The condition of the head violated Michigan’s cervidae importation law. The head and antlers were immediately seized and submitted to a laboratory for disease testing. An interview with the suspect revealed he has extensive knowledge on chronic wasting disease and Michigan’s importation law regarding cervidae. Charges are being sought through the Allegan County prosecutor for the illegal importation of an out-of-state harvested deer.
CO Nick Wellman finished an investigation that started as a suspicious tag on a set of antlers at a taxidermist’s shop. In all, the investigation yielded eight deer taken unlawfully over the course of three seasons. Violations included taking several bucks without licenses, nonresidents committing license fraud, and lending/borrowing tags. Over a dozen charges are being sought for several individuals in Michigan and Indiana.
COs Ed Rice and Christopher Reynolds attended a community engagement event in Hillsdale County hosted by Hillsdale County Commissioner Ruth Brown. The event was streamed live and allowed for Rice and Reynolds to reach out to those in the community who were unable to be in attendance. The COs provided insight into their day-to-day responsibilities, the scope of their duties as conservation officers, and addressed several law enforcement related concerns in Hillsdale County over the last few months. It was a positive and beneficial interaction for both the COs and the community.
CO Larn Strawn responded to a call of a deer trapped in a resident’s basement window well. Upon arrival, Strawn discovered an antlerless deer had fallen into the basement window well and could not get out. The homeowner had already placed a sheet of plywood behind the deer to prevent the deer from breaking the window. Strawn devised a plan for safely removing the deer, which was healthy, lively and certainly motivated to get out. Strawn placed a large archery target into the window well and gently prodded the deer with a catch pole. As hoped, the deer was able to use the target as a step and bounded out of the hole. The deer was uninjured and ran off into the woods.
CO David Schaumburger swore to two warrants for two anglers who had taken an over limit of walleye. The anglers posted a limit on Facebook live, which the CO viewed, then the CO found the pair out fishing again in the evening with another limit.
CO Ariel Young was traveling back to her residence after her shift when a car on the highway lost control, striking two vehicles before ending up in the ditch. The accident happened just in front of an MSP trooper and Young. Both officers stopped to check on the people involved and maintain a safe scene until emergency medical services could arrive to check out the driver who was in the ditch. Young helped with traffic control after it was determined everyone was OK.
CO Bob Watson was on snowmobile patrol and contacted a group of snowmobilers riding along the Wadhams to Avoca Trail, which is closed to snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles. Violations encountered were careless operation, no trail permit and fail to display a valid registration. Two of the three were cited for careless operation.
CO Luke Robare was watching anglers at the Holloway Dam when he observed an angler catch a walleye. The subject netted the fish and Robare could clearly see that the fish had been snagged in the belly. Robare waited and observed the subject put the snagged walleye, which was now bleeding from the belly, onto his stringer and continue to fish. Robare contacted the individual who retained the snagged fish. The angler initially denied that he had hooked the walleye in the belly, but eventually admitted that he knew the fish was not legally hooked. Robare issued the subject a citation for retaining a fish that was not hooked in the mouth.
CO Breanna Reed investigated an unvalidated tag found at a local taxidermist during an inspection. Reed attempted to contact the subject at his residence to clear up some questions she had. Reed left her card with an individual at the residence and requested he call her. During a phone conversation, the subject stated he shot the deer, then purchased the tag the following day. Reed later met with the subject who confessed to shooting the 8-point deer without having the proper license. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office requesting charges for take deer no license.