Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 24, 2020
Conservation Officer (CO) John Kamps responded from his residence to a personal injury vehicle crash. It was reported that the individual rolled the vehicle and was unconscious in the vehicle. CO Kamps arrived on scene to find a single passenger unconscious seated at the wheel. CO Kamps was able to get the driver back to consciousness and provide medical attention until EMS personnel arrived and took over.
CO Cody Smith checked a group of anglers on Petticoat Lake in Baraga County. CO Smith counted 14 tip-ups and one subject was using a jigging rod. Three adults and one child were present. One of the anglers admitted to the three lines over the legal limit. One of the anglers also could not produce a valid fishing license. Citations were issued for using too many lines and for fishing without a license.
CO Anna Viau checked several people fishing on Iron County lakes one Saturday. On one lake, CO Viau had been regularly checking an ice shack, which had been left out on a lake for most of the winter but did not have any identification on it. On this particular Saturday, the owner of the shack was fishing from it. CO Viau contacted the angler and advised him of the violation. He also did not have identification on one of his tip-ups. CO Viau gave the man a citation for no identification on his ice shack, and a warning for no identification on his tip-up.
CO Mark Zitnik was patrolling on M-28 near Deer Lake when he noticed a motorist stuck on the side of the road. After CO Zitnik assisted the gentleman with getting his vehicle unstuck, he asked the driver where he was from, and the driver gave CO Zitnik a funny look but would not respond. Thinking this was odd behavior, CO Zitnik then asked the driver where he was headed. The driver stated he had been fishing on Munising Bay earlier in the day but admitted that he drove up from 400 miles south of the area and currently was on his way to Marquette to purchase toilet paper due to the pandemic panic.
CO Andrea Dani received authorization from the Alger County Prosecutor to charge a subject with failing to report an accident that occurred in early January. The crash involved a single vehicle leaving the roadway, sliding into a deep ditch, and colliding into multiple trees. No injuries were sustained in the crash, but the vehicle was totaled. CO Dani happened to be patrolling through the area of the crash the next morning, when she came across the driver attempting to remove the vehicle from the ditch.
CO Steven Butzin interviewed several individuals regarding several deer that appeared to have been taken illegally. One individual was found to have taken a spike horn buck in violation of antler point restrictions. Another individual was found to have taken a 6-point buck without a license. A report is being submitted through the Dickinson County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Robert Freeborn and Michael Evink presented at their local high school, along with other DNR employees. The presentation was for careers in the DNR sponsored by the local conservation district. The COs talked about how to become a conservation officer as well as job functions. The COs opened the presentation to questions at the end.
COs Dan Liestenfeltz and Jon Sheppard interviewed a subject in reference to his 2019 otter harvest. During the interview, the subject admitted to trapping the otter then purchased the fur harvester’s license and otter tags after the fact. The otter was seized, and charges are pending with the Alpena County Prosecutor’s Office.
Acting Sgt. Paul Fox received a tip about set lines being left out on Black Lake. Acting Sgt. Fox patrolled the lake, specifically targeting set lines. He observed a single unoccupied pop-up shanty. Upon inspection, a set tip-up inside the shanty was discovered. The responsible angler was located and, when interviewed, admitted to setting the set line and running the set line throughout the winter. A ticket was issued for failing to tend lines and a warning issued for no name on shanty.
CO Tim Barboza heard central dispatch call a deputy to check on a suspicious vehicle parked on 10 Mile and M-66 that was believed to be dumping litter. CO Barboza assisted the deputy in locating the vehicle and potential dump site. CO Barboza observed the deputy initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle and witnessed the passenger jump out of the vehicle and begin yelling. CO Barboza advised the passenger to sit back down in the vehicle and calm down. CO Barboza and the deputy located an open container of alcohol in the vehicle along with narcotics and scales. The driver of the vehicle was also operating on a suspended license. The driver was a minor and charges have been submitted. The passenger with narcotics by his feet was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and the passenger in the back with the open container was cited.
CO Ben Shively located a vehicle parked along a bridge at the White River in Oceana County, which is posted no parking. As CO Shively was approaching the vehicle, he observed an angler come up from the river and past two no trespassing signs toward his vehicle. CO Shively contacted the angler, who subsequently could not produce his fishing license. The angler had been checked by CO Micah Hintze two weeks earlier and was advised to obtain a replacement license or purchase a new 2020 license. The subject was cited for recreational trespass and issued warnings for fishing with no license in possession and illegal parking.
CO Angela Greenway responded to a harassment complaint in Newaygo County. A shore angler stated that a subject in a boat came right up along the seawall by the buoys where he was fishing from shore and started fishing the same spot. He said something to the guy that he cut him off fishing and a verbal altercation ensued. The complainant then states that the subject in the boat touched his side of the body and said, “I have something for you.” The complainant took that to be a threat with a gun. A gun was never seen by the complainant. CO Greenway responded and talked to both parties. CO Greenway searched the suspect and his boat but did not locate any weapons. A report will be submitted to the Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Mike Hearn received an early morning Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint regarding angler harassment in the Fife Lake area of Kalkaska County. The complainant advised a homeowner came outside and began yelling and shouting at him while he was drilling holes in the ice. CO Hearn responded to the residence and made contact with the homeowner. The investigation determined that no threats or physical altercation took place, only a verbal disagreement. The homeowner was educated on the rights of anglers and the laws pertaining to angler harassment. He subsequently apologized and commented that he was under more stress than usual due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
CO Jeremy Cantrell received a call about a missing hunter in Missaukee County. The missing hunter had failed to return home the previous night after hunting. The hunter was last seen around 1:30 PM on March 7 at a hunt club in Kalkaska where he advised a friend he was going to hunt in northern Missaukee County near the Dead Stream Swamp. CO Cantrell, along with Kalkaska and Missaukee deputies, followed up on the complaint for several hours. At around 5:30 p.m. the search expanded to three COs, two deputies, and an MSP trooper. The search went on until dark with little information to go on other than the area where friends believed him to be hunting. A ping of the hunter’s phone was successful, but he was not located in the area of the ping. The following morning, CO Cantrell organized a much larger search including MSP troopers, Missaukee and Kalkaska County deputies, local volunteers, a DNR pilot, and numerous COs. The COs searched hunting areas in Grand Traverse, Wexford, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Clare, and Gladwin Counties. The hunter was located around 1 p.m. by the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office off Naples Road in Kalkaska County where his truck had become stuck on March 7. The individual stated that his phone died, and he had no way of charging it. Also, due to underlying health issues he did not want to risk walking out in search of help. The man and his dog were in good health and excited to be reunited with family and friends.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol when he received a call from Saginaw County Central Dispatch about a dog that was caught in a foot hold trap. CO Beuthin responded to a tree line along the edge of a cornfield to find several traps that had been set. Saginaw County Animal Control officers and another subject had released the dog which was taken to the vet and treated for minor injuries. CO Beuthin asked the subject who was standing near the traps if he had set the traps and the subject admitted he did. He was new to trapping and felt bad for accidentally catching the dog. All the traps were missing the subject’s contact information which was explained to the man as being very important for several reasons. The subject was issued a citation for not tagging traps.
CO Joe Myers was on patrol during the Kawkawlin River closure when he noticed a vehicle parked in an area where he believed anglers were trespassing and taking walleye during the closed season. CO Myers walked until he found an angler. The angler had taken four walleye. Warrants are being sought.
While on patrol in Saginaw County on the Tittabawassee River, COs Adam Schiller and Dan Robinson observed three fishing poles with planer boards attached to them sitting on the bank of the river. The COs positioned their patrol boat to watch the lines. The COs observed the lines for over an hour, and no one came to tend to the lines. The COs approached the bank where the lines were sitting in pole holders. An individual saw the COs from his house and came down on a four-wheeler. The individual explained that they leave these lines in all the time and were just away eating lunch. The COs informed the individual that fishing lines need to be in immediate control by the angler. A citation was issued for the unattended lines.
CO Jackie Miskovich responded to a RAP complaint about deer feeding. After contacting the homeowner, she was shown to the backyard where a dish was located with bird seed on it, and a crate on top of it, which made it inaccessible to the deer. The subject was told he could continue feeding the birds and squirrels in that manner as long as it was not spread intentionally on the ground to entice deer.
While on patrol in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg had a vehicle pass him at a high rate of speed on a busy expressway. CO Ulberg was able to utilize his state issued radar unit and discovered the vehicle was traveling at 107 mph. A traffic stop was conducted, and the driver was issued a citation for the violation.
COs Richard Cardenas, Robert Slick, and Justin Ulberg conducted a marine patrol on the Grand River in Kent County during the spring steelhead run. Numerous boaters and anglers were contacted, and most were following state law. However, one vessel did not have the proper number of personal flotation devices for the number of anglers on board. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Robert Slick received a call from Station 20 regarding two eagles that were stuck together. CO Slick responded to the location and found two eagles in a subdivision that appeared to be caught together with leg bands. While CO Slick was watching the eagles, he saw one going after the other and could see that it was holding onto the other’s talons. CO Slick approached the two birds and they separated. CO Slick watched the exhausted eagles to make sure they recovered. After some time both eagles flew off on their own.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County when he received a complaint of three subjects fishing with illegal gear and possibly snagging steelhead at the Swan Creek Dam. He arrived at the dam shortly after the complaint was received and observed three subjects fishing with bright headlights and spotlights. When the CO contacted the anglers, two of the three were found to be fishing with treble hooks in a stream where only single-pointed hooks are allowed. Citations were issued for fishing with illegal gear.
COs Nathan Beelman and Jon Byars received a call from a local wildlife rehabber regarding a call she received from the Meijer Distribution Center in Eaton County. The rehabber stated that an employee at Meijer found a scorpion in a shipment of bananas and that the Meijer employee wanted to find a home for the scorpion. CO Beelman contacted DNR dispatch who had also received a call from another Meijer employee. The information was going to be passed along to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
CO Larn R. Strawn received a RAP complaint of someone shooting the trail marker signs at Sleepy Hollow State Park in Clinton County. CO Strawn responded to the park and conducted a follow-up investigation. CO Strawn located the trail marker signs and was able to collect some potentially useful evidence. If anyone has any information regarding the malicious destruction of property to the state land signs, please call and report the information to the Report All Poaching Hotline at (800) 292-7800.
CO Nick Wellman was on his pass day when he received a call from Branch Central Dispatch that some anglers had just called in a complaint that someone had shot a goose from their house and that it was now floating in the water. CO Wellman responded to the area and met with the complainants. After speaking to them, CO Wellman went to the suspected residence and contacted the homeowner. After about 15 minutes of denying any knowledge of the goose being killed, the man admitted to shooting the goose with his .22 rifle out of his dining room window. CO Wellman retrieved the goose and collected evidence. In all, between wildlife charges and safety zone violations, there were approximately 12 possible charges. Charges will be sought with the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO David Schaumburger was at the Wyandotte boat ramp checking walleye anglers returning to the ramp when he came across two anglers who stated they caught 10 walleye. The CO counted the fish and the anglers had 11 fish. After the citation was issued for taking an over-limit of walleye, the anglers said they thought the limit had changed to six fish; however, the angler had no reason why they told the CO they had 10 fish instead of 11.
CO Ariel Young on a previous patrol had inspected a local processor and had seized a deer head that was marked suspiciously. CO Edward Rice helped with gathering information by interviewing the subject to whom the tag on the deer belonged and finding out that the owner of the tag had loaned his tag to tag the deer that was shot by an individual who hunts his property. CO Young was able to contact the two individuals who were hunting with the tag owner and gained full confessions that they had borrowed the tag from the first subject. A report is being written and submitted to the Hillsdale County Court for prosecutor review.
CO Kris Kiel responded to a RAP complaint of a possible over-limit of perch. The complainant stated that there was an angler at the Harley Ensign Access Site that was catching perch, three at a time, as fast as he could catch them and keeping all of them. CO Kiel located the suspect. While checking the angler’s license, CO Kiel asked the angler what he had, and the angler stated, “I don’t know, bass?” CO Kiel counted 64 yellow perch, 39 over the limit. The fish ranged in size from 2.5 to 8 inches. The subject was written a citation for possession of an over-limit of yellow perch and the over-limit was seized.
CO Bob Watson was patrolling the Black River and contacted two men squirrel hunting on private property that they did not have permission to be on. One of the men was not wearing hunter orange and eventually stated he knew they were on private property and did not want to be seen. One of the men had two warrants out of Wayne County. The men were both issued citations for recreational trespass and the man with the warrants was advised and released as the jurisdiction could not pick up.