Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 31, 2020


CO Jenni Hanson was contacted by an Ontonagon County resident regarding a nuisance bear that had ripped the screen and entered her screened porch. CO Hanson set a bear trap and within 24 hours caught the problem bear. Before releasing to the wild, the bear was evaluated by a DNR wildlife biologist.

While at a boat launch in southern Iron County, CO Anna Viau observed a man drive past the boat wash provided and begin to prepare to launch his boat. CO Viau contacted the man and advised him of the regulations regarding aquatic invasive species and the potential consequences of not washing his boat in between different bodies of water. CO Viau gave the man a verbal warning for not washing his boat.

CO John Kamps received a complaint from central dispatch that a group of individuals were driving their PWC recklessly at the Greenwood Reservoir. CO Kamps and a Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper responded to the scene to find an individual operating a PWC without a PFD. A citation was issued. The CO later contacted the complainant fishing on the reservoir who was very thankful for the quick response.

CO John Kamps was on marine patrol when he started to approach an individual trolling. As CO Kamps was approaching the boat, he could clearly see two undersize pike dragging in a fish basket next to the boat. During the check the CO mentioned that it looked like the pike in the basket were undersize. The individual fishing stated, “I guarantee they are undersize” and explained that he just wanted to catch a few of the pike out of the lake because he thought there were too many. The individual received a citation for possessing undersize pike.


CO Mike Evink assisted MSP with their search for an individual who was wanted in connection with an attempted homicide.

CO Mike Evink assisted commercial fish officers in attempting to locate an unmarked net in Lake Michigan.

CO Mark Zitnik responded to a complaint in Trenary where a family had taken four baby raccoons into their home to raise. The CO arrived and informed the family they were not allowed to keep raccoons. The father was given a verbal warning for keeping the animals captive and turned them over to CO Zitnik who returned them to the wild.

COs Colton Gelinas and Mark Zitnik were on ORV patrol near Grand Marais when they were dispatched to a two-vehicle accident just outside of town with one driver with very slow breathing trapped in his vehicle. The COs were the first officers on scene and assisted the fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) with extracting the driver from the crushed vehicle. The COs conducted traffic control until MSP troopers arrived.

COs Steve Butzin and Mark Zitnik were on marine patrol checking anglers from Munising to Grand Marais. When they reached the Grand Marais pier, they noticed a woman in the 50-degree water holding her large dog at the bottom of the pier. The COs asked if they were all right and needed help. The woman replied her dog fell off the pier and was unable to scale the ten-foot walls and she is unable to get him up the ladder. CO Zitnik got into his swimming gear and swam to the woman and carried the dog up the ladder. Once on top of the pier, the woman was happy that her hypothermic dog was all right and was thankful the COs had arrived at the right time.

COs Justin Vinson and Todd Sumbera were patrolling the St. Mary’s River near Drummond Island when the COs spotted a large pontoon with several occupants. The COs observed the boat for several minutes, witnessing four adults fishing. When the COs pulled up to check licenses, all the adults handed the fishing poles to their children and claimed not to be fishing. Three of the four adults fishing did not have a fishing license. Citations were issued for fishing without a license.


CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint from a beekeeper in Charlevoix County about a nuisance bear going through his electric fence and destroying his beehives. CO Erratt set a bear trap and showed the beekeeper how to reset it, which he did several times after trapping numerous raccoons. Approximately two weeks after setting the bear trap, the beekeeper reported to CO Erratt that a bear was in the trap. After consulting with wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch about appropriate bear release sites, CO Erratt released the bear on state land more than 50 miles from the bee hives.

Sgt. Mark DePew was patrolling in Otsego County when he observed a vehicle that had been involved in numerous poaching incidents in Otsego County of large white-tailed deer in the fall of 2019. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle, and the subject was determined to be heavily intoxicated. During the field sobriety evaluations, the sergeant asked the operator how many deer he had shot this spring. To Sgt. DePew’s amazement, the subject stated he had one hanging at his house. After making the operating-while-intoxicated arrest, a consent to search the subject’s residence was given to the sergeant who then contacted CO Tom Oberg who promptly went to the home finding and seizing the deer. The case is currently with the Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office pending authorization of arrested charges.

COs from Districts 3 and 5, along with the MSP, Montmorency County Sheriff’s and Alpena County Sheriff’s deputies, and Alpena County Search and Rescue responded to a missing 15-year old Down Syndrome child. The boy went missing on his bicycle the night before. His bike, shoes, and glasses were found in a field behind his residence. Unfortunately, the boy was later found deceased in a nearby pond.

CO Sidney Collins responded to a sick elk complaint. CO Collins received a complaint of a sick elk in a citizen’s field. CO Collins arrived and put the bull elk down due to the circumstances. The elk’s head was taken and will be sent to the wildlife lab for testing.


CO Troy Ludwig received a complaint of two anglers bowfishing on the Manistee River, which is a designated trout stream. The complainant advised that they had overheard the anglers talking at the boat launch that they did not know how many fish they could keep and if they were able to bow fish the river. The CO observed one of the anglers bowfishing when he arrived at the river. Contact was made and the anglers advised they did not know where they could and could not fish and had not bothered to learn the regulations. Enforcement action was taken for using a bow and arrow on a designated trout stream.

CO Troy Ludwig received sentencing details for a hunter who had taken a deer at night from a motor vehicle with a rifle and taken two other deer using his mother’s license. The suspect was required to pay restitution for the deer and his hunting privileges were revoked until 2025.

Over the past two weeks, CO Justin Vanderlinde assisted Wildlife Division in responding to several nuisance bear complaints, setting bear traps, and relocating one sow bear that has been destroying several chicken coops this spring.

CO Josiah Killingbeck responded with deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to a subject reporting that he had been shot at. CO Killingbeck arrived at the location where the complainant was meeting law enforcement officers and shortly afterwards, the complainant advised that a truck which was driving by was the suspect’s vehicle. CO Killingbeck and a Lake County deputy stopped the vehicle and it was determined that the vehicle’s driver was a witness to the incident. CO Killingbeck assisted with the investigation which led to the suspect’s residence. It was learned that an ex-boyfriend was attempting to speak with his ex-girlfriend, when the woman’s new boyfriend had become angry and fired a shot towards the ex-boyfriend; he was arrested and lodged in the Lake County Jail.


CO Brad Bellville received a RAP complaint regarding three individuals that had been fishing a small lake in Ogemaw County for over eight hours keeping almost everything they caught. When the CO arrived at the launch, he snuck down to the water’s edge using the mosquito-infested vegetation as cover and nestled in for what would be an almost two-hour wait. The CO used his binoculars to watch the three subjects catch and keep several panfish placing them all in a metal wire fish basket. When the boat finally made its way back to the launch, the CO contacted the unexpecting anglers. After checking for valid fishing licenses and giving several warnings for marine violations, the CO counted the subjects’ fish with an end total of 88 panfish. The three men were over their possession limit of 25 fish each. CO Bellville issued a citation and seized the over-limit of panfish.

CO Jon Warner responded to a drowning on the Au Sable River at the railroad trestle in Oscoda in Iosco County. The male trespassed onto the railroad tracks and jumped from the trestle into the river. According to witnesses, he surfaced once before submerging, but was not seen again. He was recovered by divers from the Oscoda Fire Department approximately one hour, 15 minutes after the initial 911 call. Upon recovery he was loaded into CO Warner’s boat where lifesaving efforts began, then transferred to a waiting ambulance. Unfortunately, all lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. Trespassing and alcohol were factors in the fatality.

CO Brad Bellville was on his way home near the completion of his workday when he observed a four-wheeler traveling in his direction on the paved portion of a county road in Ogemaw County. The CO watched as the four-wheeler drifted from the pavement, to the gravel, to the grass, and to the ditch where it eventually hit the edge of a six-foot culvert launching the machine and rider into the air. CO Bellville turned his patrol truck around to check on the accident. It was not long after the CO contacted the rider that he noticed several signs of intoxication from the driver. EMS was called to the scene to clear the ORV rider of injuries before CO Bellville began his investigations for operating under the influence (OUI). The individual was found to be OUI, was placed under arrest, and lodged in the county jail.


COs Joe Myers and Adam Beuthin were on marine patrol checking vessels coming in from fishing off Lake Huron in Bay County after dark. The COs observed a vessel operating toward them very close to shore at a high rate of speed while operating in a back-and-forth manner, without navigation lights. CO Beuthin met the operator and two passengers on the dock. Upon talking with the operator, CO Beuthin detected the odor of intoxicants. CO Myers checked the vessel for the appropriate safety equipment with the passengers while CO Beuthin began preforming field sobriety tests on the operator of the vessel. The operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and was lodged in the Bay County Jail.

COs Matt Neterer and Kyle Bucholtz patrolled the Saginaw Bay by boat. While checking anglers, the COs came across a boat in the middle of the bay. The COs contacted the anglers on the vessel and CO Neterer noted one of the occupants appeared nervous. When asked how many fish they had, the nervous occupant gave multiple answers. The COs checked the anglers’ catch and discovered that both anglers were in possession of too many walleyes. Multiple walleyes were seized and the two suspects were both written citations.

CO Dan Robinson was called to a lake in Isabella County where the caller stated that someone had dumped fish parts in the water. The caller sent coordinates to the location and assisted CO Robinson in finding the fish parts and pieces. The parts had been in the water for some time and identifying the type and length of the fish was difficult. Some of the fish were believed to be walleye. CO Robinson contacted nearby residents and found a woman who admitted to putting the fish in the water to feed the turtles. She was reminded that fish parts cannot be dumped in the water for disposal, and to make sure that she is carefully measuring the fish she keeps.


COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer assisted the Berrien County Marine Division with search efforts of a person who was last seen going underwater on the St. Joseph River. The COs assisted in the search for two days and were unable to locate the missing person. The body of the victim was found the following day by an angler downstream of the last seen location.

CO Anna Cullen was patrolling the White Lake Channel when she observed a group of people fishing off the pier. After some brief surveillance, all individuals were observed fishing. Once contact was made, it was determined none of the anglers had a valid a fishing license. A citation was issued for the violation.

CO Anna Cullen was patrolling a gas pipeline along the Huron Manistee National Forest. The location is known for attracting frequent ORV use and illegal dumping of household waste. CO Cullen observed a lifted truck drive off a national forest road, and onto the pipelines, driving erratically. CO Cullen stopped the vehicle and informed him of the violations. Through further investigation, it was found that the vehicle did not have ORV stickers and the driver had an expired driver’s license. A citation was issued for operating on a utility right-of-way, while warnings were issued for the rest of the violations.

While patrolling the Rogue River SGA, CO Jackie Miskovich came upon three individuals that were target shooting in a closed area. Their targets were approximately 10 feet away from the sign and they thought that just meant they could not shoot beyond the sign. Citations were issued for target shooting in a closed area.

CO Jackie Miskovich was dispatched to a call referencing a person harassing a raccoon. Contact was made with the complainant and they stated that they had witnessed the person climbing a tree and handling the raccoon. Contact was made with the individual and the juvenile raccoon was clinging to the subject as he pushed some children on swings. When asked why they had the raccoon they said that they saved it after finding it in Grand Haven and have been raising it for the last two weeks. The subject did not have a permit to possess the raccoon. A citation was issued to the individual and the raccoon was transported to a local rehabilitator.


CO Todd Thorn was contacted about a vehicle with two occupants, one being partially paralyzed from an unrelated matter, that was stuck at a boat launch in Jackson County after a tree had been struck by lightning and fallen across the road. CO Thorn contacted the individuals by phone and learned that they had been stuck there for about seven hours. CO Thorn also learned that the couple had been in contact with various fire departments who would not respond because it was not their jurisdiction. CO Thorn decided to take his chainsaw and was able get the vehicle out of the boat launch area.

CO Nick Wellman was responding to a complaint and noticed two men cleaning fish on a picnic table. The men stated they had caught the fish out of Coldwater Lake earlier that morning. CO Wellman asked if they had just caught bluegills, to which one man replied that there was a bass in the bucket as well. CO Wellman found the bass and it appeared to be short. CO Wellman asked to see what they had measured the fish with. The man brought over a measuring board and upon laying the bass on the board, it measured just under 13 inches. CO Wellman measured a second bass that was in the bucket and it measured right at 14 inches. A citation was issued to the man for possessing an undersized bass. The man called CO Wellman the next day and stated that he looked it up on the internet and that fish shrink after they are dead and that must be what happened.

CO Ed Rice responded to a complaint about freshwater mussels scattered throughout the front yard of a residence in Hillsdale County. CO Rice arrived at the residence and located an abundance of freshwater mussels. CO Rice observed a sledgehammer and a white bucket with several broken shells in and around it. More shells were located that had not yet been smashed open. After photographing the area, CO Rice contacted the suspect who admitted to taking the mussels from a nearby dam over a week ago. The man stated he did the same thing as a child and was bored, so decided to check it out. The man stated there were so many mussels near the dam that he could not stop taking them. The man stated he had no agenda as to the purpose of taking and smashing the mussels. CO Rice explained the importance of freshwater mussels as a resource to Michigan. The suspect had no fishing license purchase history and did not possess a department issued permit to possess freshwater mussels. The man was issued a citation for possession of aquatic species without a license and possess freshwater mussels without a permit.


COs Ariel Young, Keven Luther, and Danny Walzak were getting ready to go on a marine patrol of the Detroit River near Lake Erie. CO Young made conversation with an angler who was just getting off the water and telling CO Young about his boat’s success on the water. CO Young asked if everyone had fishing licenses and the captain said “Yes, everyone except the 18-year-old who doesn’t need one.”  CO Young then explained to the captain that he did in fact need to have one the day he turned 17. CO Young counted the fish on the boat and with only two legal anglers on board, found that they were over their limit of white bass. CO Young talked with the anglers and it was decided that the teenager would get a warning and instructed to purchase a fishing license, and the captain would be cited for having the overlimit of white bass. CO Young seized the fish that were over the limit.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll checked anglers near Sterling State Park boat launch. While conducting checks he observed a trash basket with holes in it submerged in the canal. CO Ingersoll asked a nearby angler if these were his fish, which he advised they were. CO Ingersoll removed the basket from the water and observed several panfish, a perch, and a largemouth bass. CO Ingersoll counted the panfish and there were 53 total panfish in his bin. That was not the only violation. The largemouth bass was nowhere near the legal-size limit of 14 inches. CO Ingersoll measured the largemouth bass and it was 6.5 inches long. CO Ingersoll advised the angler that the limit for panfish was 25 and he was 28 over his limit. CO Ingersoll also advised him the largemouth bass he caught was undersized and the legal-size limit for largemouth bass was 14 inches. The angler was cited for possessing an over-limit of panfish and possessing an undersized largemouth bass.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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