Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 19, 2020

DISTRICT 1

CO Zach Painter was on patrol in Gogebic County and responded to an officer calling for backup on a Department of Health and Human Safety assist. While assisting, CO Painter was shown a pet grey squirrel in a cage by one of the children in the home. CO Painter asked the child how he got the squirrel and he stated that he was outside one day, and the squirrel just started crawling on him. CO Painter removed the squirrel from the home and released it in the woods. A warning was issued to the mother for having the squirrel in captivity.

CO Ethen Mapes received a complaint about possible set lines from docks and people keeping walleyes during closed season on Lake Gogebic. The complainant stated that it was happening in the middle of the night. COs Mapes and Zach Painter patrolled the area of the complaint via boat and found the set lines. The COs watched the dock from a distance and watched two subjects check their set lines. Both subjects had fish on their lines but one broke off. The anglers put their lines away and brought the walleye up to their cabin. Upon contact, one of the subjects had just finished cleaning the walleye. The anglers were issued citations for taking walleye during closed season and fishing without a license.

CO Zach Painter trapped a nuisance bear in Gogebic County near the city of Ironwood. The bear was released in a more rural area.

COs Jeffrey Dell and Corporal (Cpl.) Brett DeLonge received information regarding a boat taking on water in Lake Michigan. CO Dell and Cpl. DeLonge were at the marina at the time and were able to locate the vessel and check on the boaters. Due to strong winds the officers were able to escort the boat back to the harbor under its own power.

DISTRICT 2

COs Mark Zitnik and Andrea Dani patrolled Lake Superior by boat between Munising and Grand Marais. Near Grand Marais, the COs observed a boat with a single angler and four rods and planer boards being utilized. The angler was issued a citation for fishing more than three lines.

CO Michael Evink responded to a complaint from Indian Lake State Park personnel. The complaint stated that someone had driven around barricades and camped in the closed state park. Once on-scene CO Evink contacted a vehicle pulling a trailer. The driver stated that she was a traveling nurse who had been working in New York City in support of the COVID-19 situation. She was in the process of traveling to her next nursing assignment on the West Coast. She felt that the state park was a safer spot than a truck stop parking lot. CO Evink issued a warning for camping while the state park was closed.

CO Colton Gelinas responded to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint in Mackinac County for a report of illegal taking of fox. CO Gelinas arrived on scene and talked to a complainant who stated their neighbor intentionally filled in an active fox den. CO Gelinas located the fox den and observed it to be open and fox tracks around.

CO Mike Olesen was on routine patrol and checking a river in Chippewa County when he came across an angler that was quickly jerking his lure across the top of spawning steelhead. CO Olesen observed the activity for approximately 15 minutes. CO Olesen contacted the angler, and upon further investigation, it was determined that the angler had retained one foul hooked fish. The angler was issued a citation for possessing a fish that was not hooked in the mouth.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau is investigating a land/water complaint with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Detective Chris Bowen where a subject in Bay Harbor has manipulated the shoreline and choked off an inlet mouth to a small tributary that is filled with steelhead. The fish have become trapped in the small stream making them easy targets for predation, mainly eagles.

CO Duane Budreau has been working with the Oden Fish Hatchery on trying to identify what they believe to be young boys sneaking onto the property from Conway Commons. At first the subjects were simply leaving some plastic bottles behind that they had been shooting at with airsoft guns, but this past week they have graduated to spray paint and decided to spray paint graffiti on several trees, some pipes and a pumphouse on state property.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz was checking anglers along the Thunder Bay River in Atlanta when he observed one of the younger subjects put down his fishing pole when he saw the CO. After making contact, the subject stated he had a fishing license, but did not have it on him. After doing a license check, it was determined that the subject never had a fishing license. After having a long discussion with the young subject explaining that honesty goes a long way, a ticket was issued for fishing without license in possession.

CO Jessie Curtis received a complaint in Alpena County of a subject taking a squirrel out of season and hunting within a safety zone. CO Curtis investigated the scene and was able to contact the suspect. The individual confessed to shooting the squirrel out of season and within a safety zone. In addition, the subject did not have a valid hunting license. Charges are being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for the violations.

DISTRICT 4

CO William Kinney received a recreational trespass complaint from a property owner in Grand Traverse County. The property owner had obtained a trail camera photo of an individual in full camouflage carrying a firearm onto his property. The turkey hunter was interviewed several days later, and a confession was obtained for the trespass. It was also discovered the individual had been hunting on that date and time without a license. A warrant request is being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review.

CO Steven Converse was checking Tippy Dam for compliance with the EO which closed the recreation area. CO Converse located a vehicle parked in the upper parking lot. CO Converse searched the area and located two subjects fishing within the closed recreation area. One of the subjects was found to be in possession of several undersize trout, and the other subject was fishing without a license. Both subjects were issued tickets for entering the recreation area while posted closed and for their respective fish violations.

While checking boats and anglers on Lake Michigan, CO Kyle Publiski observed a boat that appeared to have two anglers aboard. As CO Publiski approached the vessel, the CO could count 10 lines actively fishing. Now alongside the boat, CO Publiski contacted the two anglers and asked about the four extra lines. One of the men stated it was their first trip of the season and they were stretching their lines out and were just about to pull the extra ones in as they were probably stretched. CO Publiski explained to the man unfortunately there is no exception in the law to allow for stretching of lines, especially when you have spoons with dipsy divers and planer boards attached. A ticket was issued for fishing with too many lines.

CO Justin Vanderlinde responded to a complaint of distressed boaters on Crystal Lake. The complainant reported that two people in a rowboat had gotten caught by winds and were being blown out into the middle of Crystal Lake. Upon responding to the location, CO Vanderlinde located the complainant standing on shore talking to the two people in the rowboat trying to keep them calm. CO Vanderlinde introduced himself to the complainant, who immediately asked what they should do to rescue the two people in the rowboat. CO Vanderlinde stated, “Ma’am, that boat is only 50 yards from shore, tell them to keep rowing.”  Two minutes later the boat was on shore.

DISTRICT 5

COs Charlie Jones, Ben McAteer, and Matt Zultak were following up on a complaint of ORVs operating in a closed area of Fredric Township in Crawford County. The COs observed an ORV operating at a high rate of speed down a roadway and into a hill climb/closed area. After stopping the ORV, the COs observed alcohol containers inside. The occupants were cited for possessing open intoxicants in an ORV and given warnings for operating in an area closed to ORVs.

Sgt. Bobbi Lively was on patrol in Oscoda County and contacted a family on public land who indicated they were out looking for morel mushrooms. Sgt. Lively contacted a male in the group who was in the woods and had been out of sight initially and observed him setting up a 55-gallon drum bait for bears. The date in which you can establish a bear bait in the Red Oak unit is August 13 through October 8. The individual was cited for establishing a bear bait prior to the legal date.

CO Brad Bellville was on patrol and received a complaint from an Ogemaw County deputy who was on a traffic stop and the driver had an untagged turkey in the vehicle. CO Bellville responded and contacted the driver. He determined the hunter had the tag in his wallet but chose not to tag the bird and was cited for being in possession of an untagged turkey.

DISTRICT 6

CO Jason King investigated a possible recreational trespass complaint of a ground blind on private property in Saginaw County. CO King contacted the possible suspect at his residence and spoke with the complainant. It appeared through GIS mapping system that the blind was within the possible suspect’s property line. CO King instructed that the land would need to be surveyed and would be a civil matter at this point. An old mineral block was discovered on the property. A verbal warning was given for the mineral block.

CO Dan Robinson received a complaint of a case involving two subjects who shot at a group of turkeys with rifles. CO Robinson responded to the scene and, with the help of the witnesses, located shell casings. A suspect was identified who lived in the area and has previous DNR violations. The suspect was interviewed, and a search was conducted. The rifle used was recovered along with several other items for evidence. The case is pending approval at the prosecutor’s office. Possible charges include hunting after hours, recreational trespassing, hunting with unlawful equipment, careless discharge of a firearm, and various license violations.

CO Dan Robinson located a Jeep in an area closed to vehicle traffic. The subjects were fishing and had a fish on a stringer. CO Robinson asked the group for licenses. The individual holding the fish did not have his license with him. A ticket was issued to the operator of the Jeep who went around a marked gate to get to the closed area. A verbal warning was given to the person with the fish for failing to provide a fishing license.

CO Dan Robinson was working Isabella County when a call came out for a large illegal burn. CO Robinson arrived along with the first two firefighters. Together they worked to control the edges of the fire and get hose lines pulled. The individuals responsible were attempting to burn a smaller pile when it spread to a large, dry pile of barn wood. CO Robinson assisted on-scene until the fire crews cleared and opened the road.

COs Mike Haas and Adam Schiller stopped a four-wheeler that was operating down the middle of the roadway through the Flat River SGA. There were two young subjects on the unlicensed machine which was designed to carry only one person and neither had a helmet or eye protection on. CO Haas recognized one of the subjects and asked if they had been in trouble before with the DNR; the driver of the machine reminded the COs that they had been warned for similar violations on snowmobiles just a few months earlier almost in the same location. The COs again reiterated the safety concerns and various laws they were violating. A citation was issued to the operator to address the numerous ORV violations.

DISTRICT 7

CO Robert Slick was on patrol when he checked the Jenison gravel pits for fishing activity. He observed an individual fishing from shore with a white five-gallon bucket next to him. As CO Slick parked his patrol truck and headed toward the angler, the angler immediately dumped his bucket into the water. CO Slick contacted the individual and asked why he dumped his bucket. The angler stated he was just dumping out his water. CO Slick then asked for his fishing license. The individual stated he did not have one because he was not keeping fish. CO Slick issued a citation for the violation.

COs Anna Cullen and Jackie Miskovich were checking anglers in Muskegon County when they observed three people fishing. The COs contacted the anglers and asked for their fishing licenses. They advised they did not need fishing licenses due to the current epidemic. CO Miskovich asked one of the individuals if they had any fish, the angler advised that he did not have any fish. CO Miskovich observed fish in a bag that the angler was carrying. In the bag, a short and out-of-season largemouth bass was found, along with a sunfish. The anglers were cited for their violations.

CO Casey Varriale received a complaint in Ionia County regarding the poaching of two sandhill cranes. During an investigation, CO Varriale located the suspects and learned they were shooting the birds because they were damaging their crops. CO Varriale determined they did not obtain a crop damage permit for the taking of the sandhill cranes. The case is pending approval from the Ionia County prosecutor.

CO Zach Bauer was on patrol when a Michigan State Police trooper advised on the radio that he located an overturned vessel with a subject face down in the water. CO Bauer responded to the call and assisted the trooper with attempting to get the subject out of the water. The angler was fishing and was pronounced dead on scene.

CO James Nason received a complaint that a bobcat had been hit by a car and then picked up by a passerby. Further investigation revealed the identity of the subject who picked up the animal who explained a friend of the family had stopped by and took the animal stating, “He could get some money for the fur.”  CO Nason contacted the man who denied having any knowledge about a bobcat. After sharing the evidence, a confession was obtained along with the bobcat. A citation was issued for possessing a roadkill bobcat.

DISTRICT 8

CO Katie Baker responded to a call from central dispatch regarding a black bear sighting in Fairfield Township. CO Baker contacted the complainant and was able to confirm the sighting with photos/videos taken. Multiple witnesses were contacted throughout the surrounding area. The bear sighting was reported to wildlife biologist Chad Fedewa. No sightings have occurred since.

CO Nick Wellman had been working complaints of guys keeping smallmouth bass at the Riley Dam. CO Wellman snuck down to the dam and contacted a suspect who was described to him by complainants. CO Wellman investigated the bucket of the anglers and noticed two smallmouth bass. The man tried to say he found the bass on shore and did not catch them. When CO Wellman turned to look on the ground where the man was pointing, the man tried to grab the bass and throw them into the river. CO Wellman grabbed the fish out of the man’s hand and seized them. The man was charged with taking bass out of season and taking undersized bass as they were both 12 inches long.  

CO Nick Wellman was meeting with a family to get a nuisance beaver permit. When one of the family members showed up, CO Wellman recognized his name as a man of interest in an illegal deer investigation. CO Wellman interviewed the man and his son later over the phone, which led to a full confession on an illegal 9-point buck from  2019.

DISTRICT 9

CO Ariel Young received a tip that there was someone on the Riverwalk in downtown Detroit who was dumping fish in their vehicle and going back out to continue fishing. CO Young headed to the Riverwalk and had CO Dan Walzak accompany her. The COs watched the angler come in with fish and contacted the individual. The individual first said he did not have any fish and when CO Young questioned him about the fish in his vehicle, he admitted to having fish. CO Young had the individual pull the fish out and counted 17 walleyes. After further questions with the individual, it was discovered that he also did not have a valid fishing license. The fish were seized, and CO Young issued citations for possessing fish without a license and for having an over-limit of walleye.

During a group ORV patrol, COs Brad Silorey, Kris Kiel, and Jaime Salisbury responded to the Holloway Dam for a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of someone keeping bass out of season. Arriving at scene CO Salisbury saw someone closely matching the description of the suspect. Upon checking, the angler  was not in possession of any bass, but did have five walleyes that were all undersize. A citation was issued for undersize walleyes.

CO Bob Watson received a complaint from a landowner in St. Clair County who was tired of chasing trespassing asparagus pickers off his property. CO Watson responded to the in-progress complaint, but the suspect had left the area by the time CO Watson arrived. While meeting with the landowner and discussing his issue, CO Watson observed a van slowly driving along the perimeter of the farmer’s property, then park and get out to pick the asparagus growing on the farmer’s property. CO Watson contacted the asparagus picker and advised him of the trespassing issue. The farmer had requested all trespassers be prosecuted. CO Watson issued a citation for recreational trespass.

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