Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 5, 2020
CO Jenni Hanson received a complaint regarding potentially orphaned bear cubs in Ontonagon County. CO Hanson located the cubs but saw no sign of a sow nearby. After monitoring for a few weeks, it was determined the cubs were indeed orphaned. CO Hanson and DNR wildlife biologist Brad Johnson captured the cubs and transported them to a local rehabber. The cubs were very skinny and malnourished.
COs Zach Painter and Ethen Mapes patrolled a remote creek near Ontonagon. When they arrived, they noticed a 4.5-gallon bucket full of smelt sitting on the tailgate of a truck. CO Mapes and Painter could see two individuals in the creek who they had talked to earlier in the night. When the two were done dipping, they walked back to their truck with another 4.5-gallon bucket of smelt that was nearly full. The anglers stated that they didn’t think the COs would be back. CO Mapes issued one of the anglers a citation for possessing an over-limit of smelt.
CO Josh Boudreaux followed up on a complaint about individuals removing a beaver dam on public property without a permit in Marquette County. CO Boudreaux sat in the swamp watching them tear apart the dam and talk about how they were going to “come back and sit in the truck with a silenced .223, a case of beer, and shoot any beaver that tried to plug the holes.” Returning later and tucking into the brush CO Boudreaux observed the individual pull his truck up to the dam and stop. The driver stuck a gun and flashlight out the driver side window and fired a shot into the pond. As the driver exited the vehicle, CO Boudreaux turned on his flashlight and announced his presence. After sorting everything out, the man admitted he knew he made a huge mistake the moment he pulled the trigger. The individual’s firearm was seized, and a citation was issued for possessing/using a loaded firearm from a motor vehicle. Numerous other charges are under review and include shining with weapon in possession, take beaver without license, and take beaver with firearm.
CO Mark Zitnik was about to park his truck by the Rock River when he noticed two anglers fighting a fish in the closed section of the river, land the fish, put it on a stringer, and walk back to their vehicle. While on their way back, the CO contacted the couple and advised they were fishing a closed section of the stream. The CO had the anglers release the female steelhead and issued a citation for fishing in a spawning closure.
CO Steve Butzin received a complaint in Garden Township of an individual shooting at cormorants. CO Butzin went to the location the following day and contacted two individuals. The driver was found to be shooting a .22 into Garden Bay at a large flock of cormorants. The individual was shooting through a yard. Just around the corner were several individuals perch fishing. A report is being submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office. Charges requested are reckless discharge of a firearm, attempt to take an animal from a motor vehicle, and attempt to take a non-game species. The individual was also in violation of two safety zones.
CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of an individual keeping bass out of season on the Ford River. CO Butzin went to the location and observed the suspect loading his vehicle to leave. When CO Butzin approached and identified himself, the angler grabbed a bucket from the back of his truck and ran towards the river. CO Butzin followed and jumped in the river with the suspect and prevented him from dumping two bass back into the river. A report is being submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office requesting charges of resisting and obstructing as well as possess smallmouth bass out of season.
Sgt. William Webster responded to a complaint about a deer that had been shot in its vitals and died across the road from the complainant’s house. Sgt. Webster arrived on scene and noticed there was no exit wound on the deer but did have any entry wound under the front leg that appeared to be from an arrow. Sgt. Webster was dealing with poor tracking weather due to rain, so he contacted COs Andrea Erratt and Andrea Albert to assist in backtracking the blood trail. After about an hour on the blood trail, CO Albert located a maple branch that had fallen from a nearby tree and had stuck up with a very sharp point. The sharp point was covered in blood and deer hair and rustled leaves were all over that specific area. It was determined that the deer had run into the branch stabbing itself causing its death.
COs Tim Rosochacki and Matt Theunick responded to an overturned fishing boat on Burt Lake. Just prior to CO Rosochacki’s arrival, a good Samaritan launched their boat and recovered the cold and wet anglers. The COs launched and located the overturned boat and towed it to shallow water where it could be secured for removal the following day. Interviews revealed the 16-foot fiberglass bass boat was new to the owner. He was operating with the waves and took a large wave over the stern, filling the back of the boat and causing it to flip. The boat was recovered the following morning. Verbal warnings were given for social distancing as subjects occupying the boat were not of the same household.
CO Justin Vanderlinde checked an angler on the Platte River who was in possession of six fish. When asked what type of fish they were, the angler replied, “rainbow trout.” When asked what size the trout had to be for possession, the angler replied, “10 inches.” When asked how many trout the angler could have the angler replied, “Five.” After inspecting the fish, CO Vanderlinde determined that the longest fish was 9½ inches long, and the shortest fish was 6½ inches. The angler was shocked to learn that on the Platte River the possession limit was one rainbow trout, the size limit was 10 inches long, and the fish that the angler had kept were all coho salmon. Enforcement action was taken.
While on patrol in Lake County, CO Ryan Andrews encountered several individuals who were fishing in a closed section of the Pere Marquette River. In addition to fishing in a closed trout stream, none of the anglers who were fishing had obtained a 2020 fishing license. A check in the DNR retail sales system revealed that one subject had not purchased a fishing license since 2016, even though he admitted to fishing in the years between 2016 and now. Citations were issued for the violations present.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, on opening day of trout season, located a vehicle hidden in the woods along the Little Manistee River in a restricted area. CO Killingbeck, while walking along the river, spotted the subject trespassing on private property. After watching the subject get in the river, CO Killingbeck made contact and discovered that the subject was in possession of an over-limit of brown trout, of which some were undersize. The subject was also using illegal gear to catch the over-limit. CO Killingbeck educated the subject on fishing regulations and cited the subject for possessing an over-limit of brown trout. Warnings were issued for trespass, illegal gear, and possession of a short brown trout.
CO Jesse Grzechowski responded to a complaint of an injured black bear on private property in Alcona County. The bear was located and euthanized as it was determined to only have use of its front legs. CO Grzechowski initiated an investigation along with the assistance of CO Jeff Panich. The COs began a necropsy of the bear to determine the cause of injury. While doing so, a property owner in the area arrived on scene and advised he shot the bear. The COs conducted interviews and determined the landowner shot at two bears with a .22 caliber rifle the night before which had come on the property and into his garage. The injured bear had drug itself approximately 150 yards where it was located by the COs. The landowner had an active turkey feeder on the property as well. The COs searched the property for the second bear but were not able to locate it. The COs finished the necropsy on the bear after clearing the scene and determined it had sustained two bullet injuries from a .22 caliber gun, one penetrating the spinal column causing the paralysis. Charges are being sought through the Alcona County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a bear out of season.
CO Ethan Gainforth encountered a silver Jeep parked along the road. The driver’s door was open. When CO Gainforth contacted the driver, he was acting extremely nervous. CO Gainforth gained consent to look at the subject’s firearm in the vehicle and found a 12-gauge pump shotgun loaded with three rounds of number 4 shot, with one in the chamber. CO Gainforth asked the subject why he was driving around with a loaded shotgun and the subject stated that he “screwed up.” CO Gainforth issued the subject a citation for possessing a loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Jay Person received a call from Midland County 911 regarding a subject that got his boat stuck on Sanford Lake. CO Person retrieved his patrol boat and proceeded to locate the subject who was an 89-year-old male. The subject had gotten stuck on a sand bar in approximately a foot of water. CO Person was able to get his boat to the subject who was in the water trying to free his boat. After several unsuccessful attempts were made to free the boat, CO Person loaded the subject in the patrol boat and headed to the launch where EMS was standing by. The subject refused EMS and just wanted to go home and take a hot shower. The individual was returned to his home to family members and the boat was eventually removed.
CO Josh Jackson received a complaint last summer of a homeowner along a trout stream who was harassing anglers as they lawfully fished. CO Jackson went out with an angler during the opening weekend. As they neared the suspect’s residence, the homeowner began telling CO Jackson and the angler that they were trespassing and not allowed to be fishing in front of his house. CO Jackson identified himself as a conservation officer with the Michigan DNR. The man was interviewed and stated he is “tired of it.” He does not agree with the laws regarding fishing/wading in rivers. CO Jackson advised the man that he will be seeking charges for angler harassment.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling a piece of property for ORV activity when she found an empty car. After looking around the car, CO Miskovich found a container of worms and fishing poles in the back seat. The stream on the property was currently closed for fishing and possessing fishing equipment. CO Miskovich worked her way down the bank made contact. Two individuals were fishing for trout and had heard this stream was good. CO Miskovich informed them that the stream was currently closed to fishing, to which they adamantly stated that it was open. Besides fishing a closed stream, it was found that the individuals did not have current year fishing licenses, and they were also recreationally trespassing with their vehicle. A citation was issued to both individuals.
CO Jackie Miskovich was contacted by CO Jeff Ginn from Newaygo County asking if she could assist Newaygo County deputies with a wildlife case they were on. CO Miskovich patrolled up to the area and found that there had been a turkey and a ruffed grouse shot by two different subjects. The individual who shot the turkey did not have a turkey tag. When the deputies contacted the three individuals, before CO Miskovich had arrived, two of them had loaded guns, and the individual who shot the grouse tried to throw it into the bushes, to which the Newaygo deputy made them pick it back up. All three individuals stated they were small game hunting. Charges are being sought on all three subjects for an illegal turkey, an illegal grouse, and failing to wear hunter orange while small game hunting.
CO Kyle McQueer was patrolling Barry SGA when he heard multiple gun shots nearby. He patrolled the area of the shots and witnessed an individual quickly jump into the driver’s seat of a vehicle and start to leave. CO McQueer pulled up to the vehicle and contacted the occupants who indicated they were hunting for turkeys. Two uncased shotguns were observed in the vehicle and both were loaded in the barrel when checked. A citation was issued for the safety violation of transporting loaded weapons in a vehicle.
CO Todd Thorn was patrolling through the Dansville SGA when he observed a suspicious looking vehicle parked along a two-track which was closed to vehicles. CO Thorn drove down the track and saw numerous beer cans thrown into the woods. The cans looked like they were thrown there recently. CO Thorn continued and found three men with a camp set up and trash thrown throughout the area. The beer cans on the two-track had the same date and stock number as those at the camp site. The individuals were found to be camping illegally, littering, destroying vegetation, using marijuana in a public place, and disobeying the COVID-19 executive order. Warnings and a ticket were issued. The campers had to pack up and leave the area and cleaned up their litter.
CO Jeff Goss received a RAP complaint where a leasee was turkey hunting when he watched a hunter on the bordering property shoot a turkey on his leased property. The hunter watched as the suspect got out of his blind and started to retrieve the turkey until he saw the complainant sitting in his blind. The suspect returned to his blind. After an hour standoff between the two hunters, the complainant called the DNR. He explained the circumstances to CO Goss who was nearby and able to respond immediately. The suspect denied shooting the turkey on the lease property. Blood, feathers and two shotgun wads proved the complainant’s story. The turkey was at least 40 yards onto the complainant’s property when the suspect shot it. The suspect was issued a ticket for recreational trespass.
COs Dave Schaumburger and Dan Walzak were on a late-night marine patrol checking walleye anglers when they came across a pair of anglers that said they had a “few” walleyes. The COs conducted a basic marine safety equipment check and when one of the anglers was looking for a fire extinguisher, he opened a compartment that, amongst other equipment and tackle, a walleye was hidden. CO Schaumburger thought that was odd as they had two live wells on the boat and asked for consent to search the boat. The CO located 17 walleyes hidden throughout the boat in multiple live wells and compartments. The anglers were given tickets for possessing an over-limit of walleye.
CO Dave Schaumburger received a complaint of an angler keeping a bass out of season. When the CO arrived, he saw the suspect walking away with a bucket. The CO asked the angler what he had in the bucket and the angler replied, “Green bass, give me a ticket.” The angler further stated he did not care if he was getting a ticket and that the CO would be able to catch him tomorrow taking more bass. The angler has two prior tickets for over-limit of panfish and taking bass during the closed season. He was given a ticket for possessing bass during the closed season.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking anglers near the state line, who were fishing in Halfway Creek. CO Ingersoll contacted an angler who was fishing, and he advised he just bought his license the other day and that CO Ingersoll did not need to run him. CO Ingersoll ran a file and license check on the individual and it was determined that he had not bought a 2020 fishing license. It was also determined that the angler had 14 outstanding warrants out of Detroit. The angler was advised and released on his warrants and issued a citation for fishing without a license.
COs Raymond Gardner and Jaime Salisbury worked on a turkey baiting complaint. CO Salisbury met with the complainant and was shown on a map where the bait was located. CO Salisbury then went to the location and found cracked corn spread around a pop-up blind. The next day CO Gardner proceeded to the location and found the suspect in the hunting blind. CO Gardner issued a citation for using bait while hunting turkey.