CO Cody Smith was on patrol when a call came in for a snowmobile personal injury accident near Covington Township involving a high rate of speed, severe injuries, and trees. Smith expedited toward Covington as location and injury details were given by dispatch. Upon arrival to the area, Smith jumped on the back of a snowmobile and was given a ride to the victim. The individual was alert and was able to answer all questions given by Smith. First on scene, Smith was able to relay information to dispatch and responding Bay EMS. Smith assisted Bay EMS with extracting the victim from the woods to the ambulance. After missing a turn and being ejected from their snowmobile at approximately 50 mph, the victim was observed to have broken both arms and one leg. The subject had pelvis and rib injuries, as well.
COs Doug Hermanson, Brian Lasanen and Sgt. Marc Pomroy conducted a group snowmobile patrol in southern Houghton County to address sound violations. The group tested multiple snowmobiles and cited one for being above the 88-decibel limit. Other violations addressed include failing to attach trial permits, failing to register a snowmobile, and careless operation.
CO Jenni Hanson worked the annual fishing derby on Sunday Lake to raise funds for Wakefield’s volunteer firefighters. Many people attended to make the event a success.
CO Jenni Hanson was first on scene of a medical emergency where a 74-year old subject collapsed and became unconscious at the Caribou Lodge at Big Powderhorn Ski Resort. Hanson rendered first aid until Beacon Ambulance arrived.
COs Andrea Dani, Mark Zitnik and Undersheriff Steve Blank responded to Grand Island landing where two anglers were driving their snowmobile across the west channel of Munising Bay when the ice beneath them broke. The two anglers were very lucky to have gotten out of the water, but the snowmobile was lost in the 180 plus feet of water.
CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint of a possible illegal deer that was shot in the last few weeks. Freeborn located the subject’s residence and conducted an interview. It was determined the subject had shot a deer during muzzleloader season and had just finished processing it. The subject was very cooperative and showed Freeborn all the remains including the head that was still in his garage. Everything checked out with the hunter and deer who concluded that it was probably his ex-wife that called since they had just gotten divorced and has been constantly trying to get him in trouble.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin successfully served several arrest warrants without incident from three different cases. Two cases were from two illegally taken 8-point bucks that Lynch and Butzin investigated. The third case investigated by Lynch included multiple charges involving a trapper that took a fisher out of season.
CO Mike Olesen patrolled to northern Chippewa County and performed a property check of a few cabins located off a snowmobile trail as Chippewa Central Dispatch had received a call of an individual on snowshoes approaching many cabins in the area. Olesen checked cabins around the area that the activity was reported with no signs of any damage or theft from the cabins.
CO Duane Budreau was patrolling Crooked Lake in Emmet County when he came across a group of young anglers with a short walleye on the ice. When asked how big the walleye was, one of the anglers boldly stated, “Thirteen and a half inches, we measured it.” Budreau asked the two anglers in the shanty if they knew the size limit on walleye. Again, the young angler confidently stated, “Thirteen inches, I looked it up, and you can have eight.” Budreau advised the young men that walleye had to be 15 inches and the daily limit was five fish. Budreau explained that there were specific exceptions; however, Crooked Lake was not one of those. The young angler pulled out his phone and showed Budreau that he had Google searched the rule; however, did not read it in its entirety. The young angler was given a warning and Budreau showed him how to download the Michigan Fishing Guide onto his phone.
CO Eric Bottorff responded to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint regarding a camper that was backcountry camping in the Pigeon River Forest and got lost while returning to his site. The camper drove several miles down seasonal county roads that had only been traveled by snowmobiles and got his vehicle stuck for over six hours. Bottorff was able to locate the subject, drive in with his patrol vehicle, and assist with digging out the camper’s truck. After about an hour, the camper was able to get moving again and made it safely back to a paved road.
CO Eric Bottorff reports that two local men who were prosecuted for conspiring to illegally shoot a great blue heron and then dispose of the carcass in a wood-burning stove were sentenced to over $1,700 in fines, loss of hunting privileges until 2023, several days of community service and probation.
CO Sidney Collins reports a subject who was charged this past fall for illegally taking an elk pleaded guilty. The subject killed a cow elk during rifle season, thinking it was a deer. The subject turned himself in after the incident. The subject was responsible for costs and restitution over $1,500.
COs Josiah Killingbeck, Kyle Publiski, Brian Brosky, Scott MacNeill, Steve Converse and Sgt. Grant Emery conducted a joint snowmobile/ sound enforcement patrol with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. During the group patrol over 250 contacts were made. Twenty-three citations were issued for excessive noise, recreational trespass, speed, registration violations, careless operation, and driving while license suspended violations. Fifty-one additional warnings were also given for various other violations.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and Sgt. Bob Meyers of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department were on snowmobile patrol when they observed two snowmobiles drive past them without trail permits. Killingbeck stopped the snowmobiles and inquired why there were no trail permits attached. The subject told Killingbeck that the store he normally buys trail permits at told him that he no longer needs them. Killingbeck asked the subject which store this was and when he was told that a trail permit was not needed. Killingbeck and Meyers, being very familiar with the store in question, told the subject that the store he was naming had burned down in the summer of 2019. The subject realizing that he had been caught in a lie admitted that he just did not want to spend the money on snowmobile trail permits. A citation was issued for operating without a trail permit.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and Sgt. Bob Meyers of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department were on snowmobile patrol when Lake County Dispatch advised them of a snowmobile crash. Killingbeck and Meyers were first on scene of the crash and discovered that an inexperienced rider had been operating too fast for conditions, failed to negotiate a curve and left the trail striking a tree, and had been pinned under the snowmobile. Killingbeck evaluated the subject’s injuries and requested an Aero Med Helicopter due to the extent of the injuries. Killingbeck provided first aid, along with the assistance of CO Brian Brosky and CO Ryan Andrews, until EMS arrived on scene. The subject was flown to a trauma center to be treated for her injuries.
CO Charlie Jones responded to a snowmobile crash on Trail 55 north of Island Lake Road in Kalkaska Township, Kalkaska County. The driver of the snowmobile had lost control and overturned the machine. Local EMS and fire crews also assisted at the scene. The driver was transported to Munson Hospital for evaluation.
COs in District 5 Area 2, along with US Forest Service Huron Shores District Law Enforcement, conducted a special patrol to focus on excessive noise caused by snowmobiles in Iosco County. Some of the snowmobiles tested in excess of 94 decibels, considerably louder than the legal, 88 decibel limit. Citations were issued for those in violation. Additionally, during the patrol, COs took several other enforcement actions for violations of trail permits and registrations. Numerous contacts were made, and most snowmobilers were happy to see the noise enforcement taking place.
CO Joshua Wright received a complaint of household trash that was dumped at the end of a dead-end road in rural Clare County. Suspect names were gathered from the trash pile. Wright was able to contact the suspect and asked about the trash. The suspect claimed that she and her boyfriend got stuck on the dead-end road a few weeks back and, in an attempt to make the truck lighter, they unloaded the trash from the vehicle. She claimed that they intended to go back and pick the trash up. Wright issued a citation for littering and she agreed to clean the trash up by midnight of the same day.
COs Chad Foerster, Seth Rhodea and Joe Myers worked the Saginaw River while hundreds of anglers enjoyed the world-class fishery. Foerster observed a vessel earlier in the day with four anglers doing very well. Several hours later, the watched as the boat dropped off two of the anglers with all their fish and then return to fishing. Foerster stayed in the area near the boat and again watched as the two anglers boated many more walleyes. Foerster advised Myers and Rhodea that the boat was headed for the launch. The COs found the two anglers in possession of their limit of walleye. Myers and Rhodea were able to get confessions from the anglers for catching fish earlier in the day, dropping off their friends with the fish they caught, and returning to catch fish during the afternoon. Warrants are being sought on the anglers for possessing an over-limit of walleye.
While on ice fishing patrol on Rock Lake in Gratiot County, CO Adam Schiller checked an individual who started to pack up his fishing equipment while the CO was approaching him. The CO asked if the individual had any luck fishing and the individual stated that he had some luck. Schiller asked to see the fish he kept. The individual showed the CO the bucket and the couple of bluegills that were kept in there. The CO saw an additional fish in the individual’s jet sled. Upon further investigation, the CO saw the fish was a largemouth bass which is currently not in season to possess. A citation was written for keeping the fish during the closed season.
In August, COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer received a complaint of a seine net along a Type 1 Trout Stream in Berrien County. They received this complaint the same time that the skamania steelhead run was beginning. The COs began to work the area and set up surveillance. The COs checked the surveillance camera and located photographs of two individuals utilizing the seine net illegally to block the stream and take skamania steelhead with a hand net on Aug. 4. The COs investigated the photographs but were unable to locate suspects. On Nov. 20, Bauer received a complaint of a hunter shooting a deer without a license. Further investigation revealed that the suspect who shot the deer without a license is one of the suspects that utilized the seine net on Aug. 4. COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer conducted interviews with both suspects who stated that they did utilize the net, and the other suspect also confessed to shooting a deer without a license. Reports were submitted to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office where charges were approved for multiple counts of using illegal seine net, multiple counts of illegal method of taking fish, larceny, taking a deer without a license, and borrowing another’s kill-tag.
CO Jeff Robinette had just arrived back at his residence when an emergency call from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department came out over the radio regarding a man through the ice on Eagle Lake. Robinette responded to the location. The subject was approximately 50 yards from shore in chest deep water but was unable to pull himself out and onto the ice. Robinette assisted the Edwardsburg Police Department officer and an Edwardsburg firefighter in pulling the individual out of the ice using a rescue throw bag. The subject was guided safely back to shore on the ice by Robinette and the Edwardsburg police officer. The subject refused treatment from local EMS and was able to drive himself home. The temperature was approximately 50 degrees with sunshine at the time of the incident. This incident serves as a reminder of the dangerous ice conditions at this time of year.
CO Nathan Beelman investigated snowmobiles entering a county park after hours and riding on groomed ski and hiking trails. Beelman followed tracks to a nearby residence where multiple snowmobiles were observed and contacted the homeowner. Beelman checked and photographed several snowmobiles which were unregistered and had not been transferred to the current owner. Beelman ran the vehicle identification numbers and discovered one of the snowmobiles was stolen out of Eaton County. The suspect stated that he had just recently traded a car for two snowmobiles, including the stolen one. Beelman was assisted by the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department who is handling the ongoing investigation into the stolen snowmobile. The snowmobile was returned to the rightful owner.
CO Jim Nason responded to a 911 call for a plane that had crashed at the Branch County Memorial Airport. Nason assisted MSP and Branch County deputies in securing the scene of the crash and ensuring civilian safety. The six-seater plane was occupied by four subjects and the pilot lost control while trying to land. The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted, and an agent arrived on scene to conduct an official investigation of the crash. No one involved in the crash suffered any serious injuries.
Sgt. Rich Nickols received a phone call from a Wildlife Division employee who was ice fishing with a friend on Muskrat Lake and they had both broken through the ice when returning to shore. The employee stated there were four more anglers still fishing on the lake. Nickols responded and found one of the anglers up to his waist in the water. The man stated his two teenage sons were on the ice attempting to bring their equipment to shore. Nickols assisted the subjects to shore, all of whom broke through into waist deep water.
CO David Schaumburger attended an arraignment for a case where the defendant took 32 walleyes over the limit. The defendant pleaded not guilty. The Judge approved of Schaumburger’s request for one term of the bond to prohibit the defendant from fishing until the case is resolved.
COs Ariel Young and Keven Luther stopped out at the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) in Detroit to participate in the free fishing class held by staff at the OAC. The COs helped the young anglers with fish identification and later in the class with casting poles and attempting to catch fish in the Detroit River. Even with frightful temperatures and whipping wind, the young anglers had fun trying to catch all the big fish.
CO Brad Silorey was on patrol when he observed multiple vehicles parked in a local marina. The new owner of the marina had recently reached out to Silorey and CO Joseph Deppen to express their concern about people trespassing in their marina to fish. Several weeks ago, Silorey advised the owner of the marina that better signage was needed at all points of entry to advise people of no trespassing. The owner posted the property with dozens of large no trespassing signs days later. Silorey pulled into the marina and contacted multiple trespassers who were parked and fishing on the ice. The subjects parked directly in front of multiple no trespassing signs and walked past several other signs to gain access to the ice. Silorey issued recreational trespassing citations to four anglers who were in violation and parked on private property.
CO Luke Robare received a RAP complaint about two individuals snagging and keeping walleyes at the Holloway Dam. Robare responded and located the two individuals who were reportedly snagging. Robare watched both anglers fish and observed one of the individuals retain a snagged walleye and place it on his stringer. Robare contacted the two anglers and discovered that it was a father and his teenage son. Robare issued the father a citation for retaining a fish that was not hooked in the mouth and educated the teenage son about ethical fishing.