Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 4, 2020
Conservation Officer (CO) Ethen Mapes responded to a complaint about shots fired after dark near Ewen in Ontonagon County. After conducting interviews and tracking a blood trail, CO Mapes was able to gain a confession from an individual, who was also a felon. The individual admitted to shooting a deer that was standing under a yard light from the back window of a residence. Michigan State Police (MSP) Troopers Evan Fazatt and Logan White also responded and assisted in the investigation. An 8-point buck and a hunting rifle were seized, and charges are being sought through the Ontonagon County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a deer without a valid kill-tag, shooting a deer after shooting hours, and felon in possession of a firearm.
CO Anna Viau received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of a deer that had been taken with a bow after legal shooting hours within the city limits of Iron River. CO Viau interviewed the suspect at his residence who subsequently admitted to shooting the deer with a crossbow after legal shooting hours. CO Viau seized the 8-point deer and charges are pending at the Iron County Prosecutor’s Office and charges for Iron River city ordinance violations may also be filed.
CO Shannon Kritz was patrolling commercial forest land (CFL) in Menominee County when she came across a closed gate that was posted with “no trespassing” signs. CO Kritz attempted to access the CFL from a different road and ran into another gate that was posted “no trespassing.” The next day, CO Kritz made contact with the landowner who admitted to posting the CFL with no trespassing signs because his son was coming up to hunt. CO Kritz issued a warning for the violation of posting the property and forwarded the information to the DNR Forestry Division who will determine if the landowner must unenroll the property from the CFL program.
COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten interviewed a suspect involved in several hunter harassment complaints during bear season. During the interview, the suspect admitted to several illegal bait barrels, ground blinds, and tampering with a camera used in the investigation. A report has been submitted to the Luce County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Todd Sumbera was investigating a waterfowl hunting complaint on Munuscong Bay when he observed a camouflage duck boat push multiple flocks of ducks off the water. The birds flew to and between a couple of hunters set up in layout boats, shots were fired. Shortly after, the hunters began picking up the associated party in the layout boats. CO Sumbera made contact, finding a loaded shotgun in the motorboat along with an admission of rallying birds. Citations were issued for rallying waterfowl and for possessing a loaded shotgun in a motorboat while under power.
CO Robert Freeborn was off duty at his residence when a neighbor knocked on his door advising a tree had fallen on a power line knocking the line down and starting a fire. CO Freeborn advised dispatch of the situation and blocked off the intersection where the line was down until the fire department and power company arrived on scene.
CO Michael Evink assisted MSP troopers and K-9 locate a missing hunter in Schoolcraft County.
CO Chad Baldwin received a complaint from a property owner who stated that he had caught two hunters on his property with an untagged deer and were now trying to flee the scene. CO Baldwin was only a few miles away from the complaint and responded to find the property owner blocking the hunters from driving away. After interviewing the complainant and the suspects, it was determined that the hunters were given permission to retrieve their deer on the adjacent property but did not receive permission to be on the complainant’s property which is where the deer had expired. The hunters had crossed a barbed wire fence and continued to track the deer. The complainant caught the hunters about to tag the deer and field dress it until he told him they were trespassing and wanted them off the property. With the complainant’s permission, CO Baldwin escorted the hunters back to the deer, had them drag it onto property they had permission to be on, and field dress it. The deer was seized as evidence and a report was submitted to the prosecutor’s office for recreational trespass charges.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz of Montmorency County salvaged a road-killed elk just west of Atlanta. CO Liestenfeltz had the meat processed and turned the processed meat over to CO Andrea Erratt of Antrim County. On Thursday and Friday, CO Erratt delivered over 150 pounds of elk meat to 19 needy families in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Otsego Counties.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz received a complaint about a stolen trail camera in Montmorency County. The victim had placed a second trail camera up monitoring the camera that was stolen. CO Liestenfeltz was able to obtain a positive identification of the subject who took the trail camera. The victim did not want to press charges. CO Liestenfeltz was able to return the trail camera to its owner.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was called out from his residence to assist the MSP in southwest Otsego County with a deer that had been shot from a vehicle. The complainant saw the subjects shoot a deer from the vehicle and was able to obtain a license plate. After gathering that information, the MSP went to the subject’s house and contacted the owner of the vehicle in question. The subject confessed to shooting the deer from the vehicle. The deer and firearm were confiscated. Charges will be pending in Otsego County.
CO Angela Greenway responded to a RAP complaint of a subject shooting a deer from the moonroof of his car with a crossbow. The illegal deer was then loaded into the trunk of the car and transported to nearby state land by the suspects. The suspects took the backstraps and dumped the remains of the carcass. As the investigation continued, it was then discovered that the suspect shot a second deer that evening but was unable to recover it. CO Josh Reed patrolled the area the deer allegedly had been shot and was able to locate it. A few hours later, CO Greenway received a call from the suspect, and he confessed to shooting three deer that evening. He stated that the deer CO Reed found was the first deer he had shot. He also admitted that his ex-girlfriend had shot a deer on the same road prior to him shooting that one. The suspects then went to another area and shot a third deer. Charges are being filed with the local prosecutor’s office
CO Ben Shively was patrolling closed trout streams in Oceana County and observed a vehicle parked near a bridge with two individuals attempting to hide as he patrolled past them. CO Shively turned around and parked his patrol truck down the road and got into position to watch the river. CO Shively watched the two subjects on the far side of the river with pitchforks and another subject with a gaff on his side of the river. CO Shively contacted the subjects, who immediately attempted to hide the pitchforks and gaff. CO Shively was able to locate the two pitchforks the adults had, and the gaff that a 13-year-old male had in his possession. The adults were issued citations for possessing a spear along a closed trout stream and fishing without a license. Warnings were issued for attempting to take fish by an illegal method.
CO Ben Shively observed a waterfowl hunter in Oceana County and contacted him as he returned to his vehicle after hunting hours had ended. The hunter immediately put his head down and admitted to harvesting five mallard ducks. CO Shively inspected his ducks and confirmed what the hunter had admitted. The hunter stated he shot at his fourth drake mallard and shot a hen mallard. The subject was cited for taking an over-limit of waterfowl.
CO Phil Hudson received a “shots fired” complaint in Gladwin County after his shift had ended for the evening. Based on the information within the complaint, he decided to investigate it in the morning. COs Hudson and Josh Russell proceeded to the location the following morning. They located a hunter in a blind with a crossbow hunting over a truck load of sugar beets. The hunter did not have a hunting license and had never purchased one in past years. Citations for hunting over bait and hunting without a license were issued.
COs Casey Pullum and James Garrett received a complaint of recreational trespass. The complainant stated the suspects were trespassing, removing memory cards from trail cameras, deleting pictures, and putting the cards back into his cameras. The complainant had photos of them on his cameras after they replaced the memory cards. COs Pullum and Garrett went to the suspect’s home and conducted an interview. It was determined there were multiple other violations including baiting and feeding of deer and taking animals without a license. During contact with the suspects, the COs were advised that both had active warrants for their arrest. They were taken into custody on the warrants. One suspect wanted his coat, so CO Pullum escorted him into the house where he witnessed multiple firearms. It was later determined that the suspect was a convicted felon. A search warrant was executed, and 16 firearms were seized from the residence. The case has been submitted to the Oscoda County Prosecutor’s Office for charges.
CO Adam Beuthin was patrolling Saginaw Bay for waterfowl hunters when he observed a subject on a vessel attempting to take waterfowl while the vessel was under power. Upon contact, the subjects on the vessel admitted to knowing what they had done was wrong. A citation was issued to the subject who had been shooting at the waterfowl while under power.
CO Mike Haas was patrolling northern Montcalm County when he witnessed vehicles parked near a closed trout stream. CO Haas watched two subjects fishing and informed them they were fishing on a closed trout stream. The subjects admitted to not paying attention to what stream they were fishing and did not check the fishing regulations. CO Haas asked if they had caught any trout and one subject stated they had not, but they had caught walleye in a different river earlier in the day. CO Haas inspected the walleye in the subject’s cooler, and it was discovered that one of them had retained an undersized walleye. Citations were issued to address the numerous fishing violations.
CO Dan Robinson completed an investigation on an illegal bait complaint in Montcalm County. CO Robinson located a bait pile from a complaint and photographed the area. After returning to the site a few weeks later and talking to the possible suspect, it was discovered that in the weeks between the individual had put out another 150 pounds of corn near his deer blinds. A report and charges will be submitted to the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Dan Robinson was called to a farm field in Gratiot County where the callers found an injured juvenile bald eagle. CO Robinson and the callers went back out to the field where the bird was located and were able to capture it. CO Robinson drove the eagle to Saginaw County and turned it over to rehabilitation facility staff for treatment.
On a tip given by CO Matt Page, CO Tyler Cole checked on a bait pile in Cass County. The bait pile in question was approximately two truckloads of apples dumped on the edge of a corn field. CO Cole responded to the area and observed a vehicle parked near the field. CO Cole checked the area near the bait pile but did not observe anyone hunting over it. The CO waited at the vehicle and contacted a hunter returning from hunting. CO Cole asked the hunter if he had any idea why he was being contacted. The hunter replied, “Probably because of the apples.” The subject claimed to have been hunting on the opposite side of the field from the bait pile but did admit to placing the bait a week prior. Charges for baiting deer in an area closed to baiting will be sought through the Cass County Courts.
CO Tyler Cole was patrolling the Cornish SGA well after dark and observed two vehicles parked along the roadway. CO Cole walked the area on foot and observed two subjects dragging a deer back toward the road. Contact was made and it was found that the deer was not tagged. The subjects had field dressed the deer and dragged it approximately three quarters of a mile before contact was made. The subjects claimed to have not tagged it in fear that the tag would have fallen off during the drag; however, investigation revealed that the subject had left his tags in his vehicle while hunting. A citation was issued for failing to immediately attach a tag.
CO Casey Varriale received a baiting complaint in Caledonia in Kent County. CO Varriale responded to the scene and located a ground blind with a hunter sleeping in it. CO Varriale woke the hunter up and asked him why there was a bait pile in front of his blind. The suspect denied there was a bait pile there. CO Varriale showed the suspect the pile of carrots 20 yards in front of the blind. The suspect admitted to baiting the deer all season long and was issued a citation.
CO Chris Reynolds received a call from a farmer who stated he had found a large buck he thought had been poached. CO Reynolds responded and checked the wound which was an obvious two blade broadhead wound. After contacting some of the landowners and hunters in the area, it was found that a hunter had tracked and lost the deer from a neighboring property. CO Reynolds back tracked and found that the deer had come from the property where the hunter had hunted. CO Reynolds contacted the hunter who was very appreciative that he had been found as it was the largest buck he had ever shot in over 40 years of hunting.
CO Katie Baker received a complaint of a 10-point deer found close to a trail camera with a photo of two unknown suspects. CO Baker determined the deer had been shot with a bow. Contact was made with local neighbors and the shooter was found. The hunter admitted to accessing the complainant’s property without permission in attempt to locate the deer shot the evening prior. The hunter did not venture far before ending the search. He admitted to knowing he and his friend were caught on camera and that he planned to speak with the homeowner later that day. The complainant did not want to press charges; instead, the hunter and landowner exchanged numbers for further contact. CO Baker issued a verbal warning for the recreational trespass, made the hunter validate a kill-tag, and gave him his 10-point deer.
CO Nick Wellman worked a complaint of a hunter that had been asked not to bait on the landowner’s property last year because it was illegal. The hunter told the landowner he can do whatever he wants. This year the hunter continued to bait. CO Wellman located the man hunting over a large pile of corn and carrots. The hunter had only his wife’s deer tags in his possession and, after a lengthy interview, it was found that man had already killed two deer this year illegally over bait, had his wife buy him tags so he could shoot more deer, and a full confession on hunting turkeys in the spring of 2020 without licenses. Charges are pending through Branch County.
CO Christopher Knights was walking some farm fields in the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area looking for hunters, when he located a tree that was perfect for a treestand, and after checking it out he noticed a hunter. CO Knights observed him for a couple of minutes and then was able to get his attention. The hunter acknowledged the CO, and CO Knights advised him to take out his arrow from his crossbow and come down. After doing so, CO Knights noticed a camera a few yards in front of the tree. After walking toward the camera, CO Knights observed a large pile of bait. CO Knights asked the hunter if he knew the baiting laws and he advised he did. CO Knights walked the hunter back to his vehicle and issued him a citation for hunting over bait.
CO Bob Watson backed a St. Clair County Sheriff’s deputy up on a stop involving two men stating they were coyote hunting but were in the process of shining. The subjects were in possession of two centerfire rifles. The young men had the proper licenses for nighttime fur harvester hunting, as well as possessing game calls and typical coyote hunting lights. Both men were issued citations for shining with a weapon in possession.
While checking for waterfowl hunting activity on Lake St. Clair, COs Joseph Deppen and Brad Silorey noticed two hunters picking up a crippled duck. COs stopped the vessel when they were back en route to their decoy spread. During the stop the COs noticed that both firearms were still loaded while the boat was underway. CO Silorey recognized the pair from an incident that happened earlier in the season with a potential reckless discharge of a firearm. The waterfowl hunters were given a verbal warning on an unsigned stamp, and both were cited for loaded firearms in a motorized boat.