Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 17, 2020


CO Zach Painter responded to a complaint of gunshots followed by bullets traveling near a residence in Gogebic County. CO Painter talked with the complainant and identified a direction from which the gunshots came. CO Painter contacted a family that had just moved to the area and learned that the two teenage boys had been shooting their guns earlier in the day. CO Painter advised the family that the manner and direction in which they were shooting was unsafe due to a busy county road and multiple residences in the backdrop.

CO David Miller was dispatched to a breaking-and-entering-in-progress complaint at a remote camp in Houghton County. CO Miller and a Michigan State Police trooper arrived and found an individual sitting on the couch completely naked near a loaded shotgun. The individual could only give his first name, and continuously repeated, “I messed up.”  It was later discovered that the individual had put his vehicle in the ditch a few days earlier and walked to the camp and had been staying there ever since. He did not know the owners of the camp and had been helping himself to the alcohol stored in the camp. There was nothing else reported missing. The subject was lodged in the Houghton County Jail by the MSP on multiple charges including breaking and entering.

CO Cody Smith was patrolling Keweenaw Bay when he observed a vessel trolling with six lines out. Upon approaching the vessel, CO Smith observed only one angler onboard the vessel. A check for marine safety equipment and a fishing license came back good. CO Smith asked why there were six lines out, to which the angler stated, “I’m just testing things out for the weekend.” CO Smith then asked if there were lures on each rod, the angler stated yes. CO Smith had the angler reel in their lines and a citation was issued for running six lines which is double the legal amount for one angler.


CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of an individual possessing a spotted fawn in Escanaba. CO Butzin went to the location and found a fawn wearing a dog collar and chained to a stake in the front yard. Further investigation found that the individual had the fawn for over a week, and he claimed he was waiting for the mother to return. CO Butzin asked the individual what he had been feeding it. The individual stated he fed it human breast milk. The fawn was taken from the individual and turned over to Wildlife Division. The individual received a citation for possessing a live game animal.

While on routine marine patrol, COs Robert Freeborn and Mike Evink were checking a busy inland lake when they checked a boat trolling away from the rest of the boats. Once the COs got closer to the boat, they immediately recognized one of the anglers. The COs asked if they had any luck. The angler driving stated that he was not answering any questions from the COs and continued fishing. The COs then asked for their fishing licenses. The angler in the front of the boat produced a valid license, while the angler driving stated he was not going to show one. The COs advised that he needed to produce a valid fishing license when asked by a CO. The angler refused again and was advised he would be arrested if he did not. The angler stated, “Go ahead, bring me to jail.”  The COs ordered the boat back the shore where MSP was waiting. Since the jail was currently not accepting people at this time, the subject was issued a citation and appearance date for failing to display a fishing license.

CO Cole VanOosten was patrolling northern Mackinac County when he located a couple fishing in a designated trout lake. CO VanOosten observed the individuals catch several fish and throw them into a bucket nearby. When contacted, the individuals stated that they may have had one fish that was undersized because it had swallowed the hook. After measuring the fish, it was determined that five out of the seven brook trout caught were under the 10-inch minimum size limit for that lake. A citation was issued for possession of undersized brook trout.


COs Kyle Cherry and Tom Oberg received a call from a ranger at Otsego Lake State Park advising there was a boat that had been sitting in their boat launch for over a week. CO Cherry responded and obtained information from the boat to locate the owner. While attempting to locate the owner, the COs located a social media post in which the owner bragged that he could keep his boat at the launch because there were no park rangers due to COVID-19. The COs located the subject and issued a ticket. The boat was removed.

CO Eric Bottorff was on patrol near a sturgeon spawning area on the Black River when two subjects were seen fishing in the closed stream during the spawning closure. When the subjects were contacted, they were both fishing within 10 feet of a “No Fishing” sign, and their car was parked directly under another “No Fishing” sign. One angler also had no fishing license. Tickets were issued to both subjects.

CO Sidney Collins visited a citizen she assisted earlier this year. CO Collins responded to a welfare check on an elderly woman. The woman did not attend her doctor’s appointment. Knowing this was unlike the woman, the doctor called and had officers check on the woman. CO Collins and a Montmorency County Sheriff’s deputy found her on the bottom of her stairs outside. She had fallen four days earlier and could not move. The woman was unconscious but breathing when the officers arrived. Her dog was laying at her side, keeping her warm throughout the nights. CO Collins heard the woman was back to her residence after her dog was picked up from the shelter. Knowing the woman had no family, CO Collins visited her. She was in good spirits and very thankful to still be alive.

CO Jon Sklba responded to a complaint of an unoccupied vessel in Bell Bay. Upon investigating the scene, several personal items, including a fishing license, were located. CO Sklba, Presque Isle Sheriff’s deputies, and MSP troopers responded to the scene and began searching the area for the missing boater. One of the deputies was able to locate the subject at his residence. The subject fell out of the vessel the night before and walked several miles back to his residence. The subject was suffering from hypothermia and had several lacerations from walking over rocks and through thick brush. The subject was turned over to medical staff and transported to the hospital.


CO Scott MacNeill assisted the Manistee Sheriff’s Office and US Coast Guard (USCG) Station Manistee with a vessel on Manistee Lake that had run aground after they encountered engine trouble. The vessel was occupied by two adults and four children who had called for help after being unable to get off the boat as it was being pushed with strong winds and waves into the rocky shoreline. CO MacNeill and a deputy from the Manistee Sheriff’s Office were able to use the smaller DNR patrol boat to get close enough to secure a line to the crippled vessel and pull it away from the rocky shore. Once out in the deeper water, the USCG took over the towing efforts and were able to get the vessel and its occupants safely back to the boating access without incident.

CO Jeff Ginn received a complaint of an angler who had been trespassing on a private portion of a designated trout stream. The complainant was able to get a picture of the vehicle with the suspect’s face reflected in the driver’s side mirror. CO Ginn was unable to locate the suspect as he no longer lived at the address listed on the license plate. While conducting general patrol, CO Ginn observed vehicle tracks pulling over at every stream crossing. CO Ginn followed the tracks of the vehicle for several miles, observing it consistently stopping at every bridge or stream crossing. CO Ginn eventually caught up to the vehicle, which pulled over as soon as they observed CO Ginn following. CO Ginn contacted the vehicle to address their suspicious activity. CO Ginn identified the driver and passenger, who were dressed in waders and had fishing equipment. The passenger was identified as the suspect from the original trespassing incident. The information will be forwarded to the Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office.


Sgt. Jon Wood took up a position of surveillance over a problem wetland on state land in rural Clare County and was able to stop two side-by-side UTVs as they illegally operated through the wetland. When asked why they were on the closed pipeline, the operator of one the machines stated that he saw the trail on his Garmin mapping device. Sgt. Wood explained that Garmin does not decide which trails are open or closed and that proper ORV trail maps are available on the DNR’s website. In addition, Sgt. Wood pointed out the “closed” signs that both operators had just driven by when they turned off the proper trail. Both operators were cited for the illegal operation and educated on using the proper maps and obeying posted signs.

CO Kyle Bucholtz assisted the USCG with an implosion perimeter. CO Bucholtz held a position on the outer walls of the Harbor Beach Harbor in Lake Huron as the local Detroit Edison plant was imploded/destructed. The USCG, Harbor Beach Police, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, and CO Bucholtz cleared the harbor of boaters and held the perimeter until the tower and buildings had been safely imploded.

During an early morning marine patrol on a windy Isabella County lake, COs Mike Haas and Josh Jackson contacted a group of anglers fishing from kayaks. It was discovered that multiple anglers failed to have PFDs on their vessels and two anglers did not have valid fishing licenses. Citations were issued to address the safety and fishing violations and the group was escorted back to the boat launch to ensure they exited the water safely.


CO Jay Person received a complaint of an abandoned vehicle on state land in Midland County. CO Person located the vehicle and, after a few unsuccessful attempts to contact the owner, CO Person tagged the vehicle and would follow up in a few days. CO Person returned to check the vehicle with CO Joe Myers and found the vehicle was still there. A wrecker was called to impound. While conducting the inventory, the COs found what appeared to be a vial of methamphetamine and two pipes. Illegal weapons were located as well as suspicious electronics. Follow-up investigation and attempted owner contact continues.

Sgt. Robert Hobkirk participated in a marine and fishing patrol on Saginaw Bay with COs Chad Foerster and Jason King. Numerous anglers and boaters were contacted throughout the patrol. Citations were written for over-limit of walleye, fishing with more than three lines, and fail to provide PFDs. The COs responded to an emergency call near a location locally known as “boaters beach.”  A man had cut his arm while trying to anchor his vessel. COs bandaged the man’s wound and ensured that he had a safe way back to shore. It was later reported that the man had received nine stitches at the hospital.

CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of a stray bullet that struck and went through a pickup truck parked on private property. The bullet was suspected of coming from state-owned land. The local county deputies requested the help of the CO with the investigation. During the investigation it was determined that the bullet did not come from state land, rather someone discharged the firearm at the truck while on the private property.


CO Matthew Page followed up on a littering complaint of someone throwing several bags of trash into and along a trout stream. CO Page determined who the trash belonged to and, after interviewing the individuals, they were given a short period of time to clean up the garbage before further enforcement action was taken. The trash was cleaned up upon return.

While patrolling near the Cornish SGA, CO Tyler Cole spotted an ORV operating on the roadway. CO Cole attempted to stop the ORV, but lost sight of it while cresting a hill. CO Cole continued to patrol the area and spotted the same ORV and operator sitting in between two rows of grapes within a vineyard. The ORV was stopped, and the operator was contacted. The operator stated that he did not see CO Cole attempting to stop him and was working for the farmer, trimming vines within the vineyard. When asked where his tools were to conduct the work and who the farmer was that owned the property, the subject stated “I forgot” to both questions. Citations were issued to the subject for operating on the roadway and operating with no helmet.

CO James Nason responded to a 911 call from two individuals lost in the Fort Custer Recreation Area. CO Nason and Park Officer Brian Armstrong began searching an area that was close to the subjects’ last known location and tracked approximately 1.5 miles into the wooded trail system. CO Nason and Officer Armstrong were able to locate the exhausted, disoriented, and mosquito-bitten couple at a trail intersection. The male and female were escorted back to their vehicle several miles from where they were found. Both subjects were extremely grateful and admitted to “biting off a little more than they could chew.”

CO Sam Schluckbier received a complaint of two anglers keeping undersized smallmouth bass on the Kalamazoo River. CO Schluckbier responded to the area within a few minutes of receiving the call. The subjects began packing up as soon as the CO arrived at the river’s edge. While checking one of the subject’s bucket of fish, the second subject jumped in his vehicle and drove away at a high rate of speed. CO Schluckbier chased the angler down within a couple of miles. During the traffic stop the subject claimed he became nervous that he kept the wrong fish and decided to leave in a hurry. A vehicle search revealed four under-sized smallmouth bass were being kept in a plastic bag. The angler admitted to knowing he was breaking the law. The fish were confiscated, and a citation was issued for possessing the under-sized fish. A warning was issued for speeding.


CO Katie Baker observed a vehicle fail to yield at a stop sign. While trying to catch up to the vehicle, she observed it fail to yield at a second stop sign. A traffic stop was conducted. The driver immediately exited the vehicle and was overly nervous. Further investigation revealed the vehicle was stolen. CO Baker quickly was joined by the MSP narcotics team who had been looking for the vehicle throughout the day. The detective reported the driver was a well-known methamphetamine dealer in the area. The suspect was arrested and lodged by the Corunna Police Department at the Shiawassee County Jail. During an inventory search of the vehicle, CO Baker located over an ounce of an unknown white powdery substance in the glove box. The case was turned over to the MSP MAGNET team who are seeking charges.

CO Katie Baker conducted a follow-up investigation on a subject found to be in possession of approximately 80 turtles. A reptile specialist conducted a species inventory which resulted in the subject possessing 15 Michigan native species including red-eared sliders, map, and painted turtles. Charges were submitted against the suspect for possession of an over-limit of turtles.

CO Nick Wellman was on marine patrol on Rose Lake when he conducted a stop on a PWC. During the stop, CO Wellman noticed a cover was missing from the back of the machine and that it was taking on water. Within seconds, the PWC was sinking. CO Wellman got both passengers of the machine into his patrol boat and quickly tied a line to the sinking PWC to keep it from completely sinking. CO Wellman brought the PWC and the passengers safely back to shore.


CO Joseph Deppen received a complaint of someone keeping a large snapping turtle in a pot in Mount Clemens. The caller was not able to give an exact address but stated it was downtown near the river. CO Deppen responded to the area and was able to get a possible apartment complex from the caller. CO Deppen pulled into the lot and saw a large cooking pot with a turtle sticking its head and claws out of the top looking concerned and trying to escape. The suspect had placed two large flowerpots on top to keep the lid from being pushed off by the large snapper. CO Deppen noticed a subject come outside and check on the turtle. As the subject picked up the turtle, CO Deppen contacted him. The man said he was going to cook the turtle for supper. CO Deppen told the subject that snapping turtles were not in season and the subject changed his story and said it was his friend’s turtle and he was just watching it for him. CO Deppen secured the snapping turtle in his patrol vehicle. The subject was cited for possessing a snapping turtle during the closed season and possessing a snapping turtle without a fishing license. The turtle was released in the nearby river.

CO Brad Silorey was checking shore anglers. CO Silorey contacted an angler and asked if he had any success yet, to which the angler stated, “No.”  After the angler stated no, his eye immediately shifted to a stringer that was hidden in the grass directly in front of him. CO Silorey walked over to the stringer and asked the angler what he had, and he stated that he just had the one fish. CO Silorey pulled up the stringer with a fish basket attached with a largemouth bass in it. After questioning the angler on the size of the bass, he stated that he did not measure it. CO Silorey measured the bass to be only 12 ¾-inches in length. CO Silorey issued the angler a citation for an undersized bass.

CO Brandon Hartleben was checking vessels at the Wampler’s Lake boat launch while working a parks detail at W.J. Hayes State Park. A jet ski came into the launch without any numbers, letters, or a validation decal. CO Hartleben contacted the operator at the launch who advised he was out of Ohio and had lost his temporary registration. After further investigation, the operator had an expired temporary 60-day registration out of Ohio from last year when he purchased the jet ski but had never formally registered the vessel. A citation was issued for operating an unregistered watercraft.

CO Brandon Vacek was patrolling Pointe Mouillee SGA in Monroe County. The CO contacted several subjects returning to a boat launch with their kayaks after sunset. CO Vacek checked each member of the group for a PFD. Three of the subjects were not carrying a PFD on their kayak and stated they were not aware that it was required by law. The CO issued a citation to each subject without a PFD for failure to provide a PFD on a kayak and educated the entire group about Michigan marine safety laws.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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