Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 15, 2021
CO Ethen Mapes responded to an ORV trespassing complaint near Bruce Crossing. Upon investigating ORV tracks onto the complainant’s property, a gut pile was found. CO Mapes followed the ORV tracks to the neighbor’s property where a large bait pile was found as well as an untagged deer. The owner of the deer admitted that he did not want to spend the money on an out-of-state deer license. Citations were written for over-limit of bait as well as possession of an untagged deer.
CO Shannon Kritz received a Report All Poaching complaint about a property owner who was blocking access to state land with fence posts and fake DNR signage. The roadblock was removed but on the second day of gun season, CO Kritz was patrolling the area when two hunters told her that the roadway was blocked again. This time, the suspect had cut down multiple trees and used a tractor to block off the roadway. CO Kritz was able to follow the tractor tire prints back to a camp. One person at the camp confessed to blocking off the access road to the state land, so their hunt was not interrupted, since his son was coming up to hunt on opening day. CO Kritz issued a citation to the individual for cutting trees on state land.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol in Schoolcraft County when he observed a truck slowly driving towards him. Contact was made and it was determined that the driver was transporting an uncased shotgun, had already harvested a deer the day before, and did not have an unused deer tag. When questioned about the shotgun, the hunter stated that it was for partridge hunting. CO VanOosten informed the individual that grouse season was closed and that the gun must be enclosed in a case to transport. A citation was issued for transporting an uncased gun.
CO Cole VanOosten was patrolling Mackinac County when he observed a traffic violation. A traffic stop was conducted and upon contact it was determined that the driver was transporting a recently killed deer that was a spike buck. The driver admitted to killing the deer and it was determined that the deer was tagged with a combination license meant for deer with at least 3-points on one side. The deer was seized, and a ticket issued for possessing a deer without a valid license.
CO Mark Zitnik received a RAP complaint regarding a buck that was stolen from a camp’s buck pole. CO Zitnik responded and found that a large 11-point buck was stolen from the camp’s front yard during the middle of the night. After interviewing camps nearby, CO Zitnik believed he had a suspect. CO Zitnik interviewed the main suspect and parties involved and strongly encouraged them to return the buck. That night the buck was indeed returned to the camp, alluding that the buck was in fact stolen by the suspected party. The investigation is ongoing, and a report is being submitted to the Alger County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Duane Budreau received a complaint of an individual who had been bragging about shooting a 5-point buck over bait. After conducting a license check on the subject for license purchases, it was determined that the man had not purchased a deer hunting license since 2011. CO Budreau responded to the subject’s residence to question him on the complaint. As CO Budreau pulled into the subject’s driveway, he observed what appeared to be an untagged 4-point deer hanging in a tree behind the residence, which is a violation of the APR. When interviewed, the subject made a concerted effort to convince CO Budreau that he was an honest individual. CO Budreau ticketed the man for take/possess a deer without a license and possess deer without validated tag attached. CO Budreau also issued the subject warnings for baiting deer and violation of the APR.
CO Kyle Cherry was on patrol in Otsego County when he observed a hunter walking down the side of a roadway. CO Cherry got out to check the hunter who stated that he did not have his licenses on him. The hunter said he had accidentally left them in his friend’s vehicle. At approximately the same time, a car pulled up next to CO Cherry that was apparently the hunter’s friend who had the missing licenses. While speaking with the friend, CO Cherry discovered there was a loaded and uncased rifle in the truck. CO Cherry was able to confirm the licenses for the first hunter, but the friend was issued a ticket for having a loaded uncased rifle in the vehicle.
COs Sidney Collins, Dan Liestenfeltz, Jon Sklba, and Paul Fox investigated a complaint of illegal baiting on a large private hunting camp south of Millersburg. The suspect camp placed large amounts of bait, which was visible from neighboring properties. In addition, complaints were made regarding truckloads of bait being brought into the camp. Furthermore, an individual who had outstanding DNR warrants was believed to be at the camp. The COs located the bait and attempted to contact the responsible parties. COs Fox and Sklba saw a fresh set of foot tracks leading away from the camp and followed them through the woods, locating an individual hunting over a large amount of bait. The subject with the outstanding warrant was not located, but later turned himself in. Enforcement action was taken for the bait violation.
COs Troy Ludwig and Bill Haskin concluded a year-long investigation into a black bear cub that had been shot and killed on Nov. 15, 2019. On the morning of Nov. 15, 2020, COs Ludwig and Scott MacNeill interviewed a suspect who confessed to killing the cub when it came near his treestand. The suspect advised that he had felt afraid for his life even though the cub had not acted aggressively or attempted to climb his treestand. Charges will be sought with the Wexford County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Josiah Killingbeck responded with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on a report of a missing hunter. CO Killingbeck was the first on scene learning that the hunter had been missing for three days. CO Killingbeck and Lake County Sheriff’s deputies began searching the property which lead them to finding the missing hunter who was deceased. It was determined that the subject had fallen out of his treestand and succumbed to his injuries.
CO Troy Mueller received a complaint of a subject shooting a turkey from a motor vehicle. The witness was deer hunting and watched as the vehicle approached and an occupant shot and killed a wild turkey. The complainant was able to get the vehicle’s license plate. CO Mueller responded to the location and was able to locate the operator of the vehicle. There were feathers on the porch and the doorknob to the residence and the suspect answered the door with the turkey in his hand. CO Mueller seized the turkey and issued a citation for possession of turkey during closed season.
CO Jesse Grzechowski and Sgt. Bobbi Lively received a complaint of two hunters not wearing hunter orange and hunting over bait in Alcona County. CO Grzechowski and Sgt. Lively responded to the area and located the hunters in their ground blind. The hunters were not wearing hunter orange and were hunting over a bait pile. In addition, one of the hunters did not purchase a 2020 deer hunting license. Citations were issued for hunting without a license and not wearing hunter orange.
CO Brad Bellville was working a shining patrol in Ogemaw County when he observed a vehicle cast a light into a hay field attempting to locate game. CO Bellville initiated a stop and contacted the driver who had a cocked crossbow and spotlight in the passenger seat. While interviewing the subject, CO Bellville obtained a confession that he not only had plans to shoot the deer in the field but had shot two bucks this year and only tagged one. CO Bellville went to the subject’s residence and confiscated a 7-point deer that was not tagged. Citations were issued for the shining offense and charges are being sought for the untagged deer through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Josh Russell received a complaint from the RAP hotline that there was a subject who shot a buck and bought the kill-tag afterward. CO Russell researched when the kill-tag was purchased and discovered it was bought in the middle of the day. The complainant stated the buck was shot in the morning. CO Russell contacted the suspect and located the buck still hanging without a tag attached. The suspect also admitted to buying a license after the fact. The suspect was cited for possessing an untagged deer. The deer was seized and donated to a family in need.
CO Jay Person responded to a complaint of a subject hunting with his grandson from the cab of a semi-truck in the city of Midland. Once on scene, CO Person located the truck and upon approaching, he heard some shuffling in the sleeper area. A male subject and a young boy climbed out of the truck. Confirming this was the suspect, it was discovered the subject had his 9-year-old grandson hunting from the truck with a crossbow. CO Person also discovered bait placed along a wood line 20 yards from the vehicle. The suspect advised that they were just mostly watching the deer, but if a big one came in the grandson would take a shot. The suspect was advised on the long list of charges facing him and a report would be sent to the prosecutor for review. A Midland City police officer warned the suspect for the hunting within the city limits.
CO Robinson received a RAP complaint regarding a tagging violation posted on social media. A quick check by the RAP dispatchers showed that the individual did not have a current 2020 hunting license. CO Robinson located the individual at his residence. The individual was very upset about what had happened and admitted to hunting without a license, and then tagging the deer with another person’s kill-tag. The deer was seized, and charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office regarding the unlawful tagging.
CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint of a deer shot with a firearm during the archery deer season. The complainant had a trail camera picture of a subject walking into the woods carrying a firearm. Approximately 45 minutes later, a second trail camera picture captured the same subject dragging a deer. At the time the complaint was filed, the complainant did not know who the subject was. A few days later, CO Ulberg was notified by the complainant that the subject had returned to the area. This time a license plate number was obtained. CO Ulberg, with assistance from Cpl. Ivan Perez, was able to locate the subject at his place of employment. After a short interview, the subject admitted to shooting the deer with a firearm. Further investigation revealed the subject was also hunting over bait and never tagged the deer with his deer license. A report will be submitted to the county prosecutor for pending charges.
CO Zach Bauer was on patrol when he noticed a truck backed into the woods with the tailgate down and two hunters at the edge of the tailgate. CO Bauer attempted to make contact, but the hunters got in the vehicle and took off down the road. CO Bauer followed the vehicle until it turned into a neighborhood. The truck stopped and CO Bauer contacted the occupants of the vehicle. The hunters stated that they pulled into the neighborhood to “tag their deer.” Further investigation revealed that they did not know whose driveway they were in and that there was an untagged deer in the bed of the truck. A citation was issued for the violation.
While patrolling the Cornish State Game Area, CO Tyler Cole spotted two subjects walking through a field with no visible hunter orange. Contact was made and it was found that the subject was deer hunting with an apprentice hunter. The apprentice hunter did not have any hunter orange and the other subject stated that he had a reversible winter hat that he was planning on wearing when they reached their tree stand. CO Cole stressed the importance of wearing hunter orange and setting a good example for apprentice hunters and advised the subjects that they could not continue hunting until they were both wearing proper hunter orange. Citations were issued to the adult for hunter orange requirements.
COs Chris Reynolds and Nick Wellman responded to a complaint about a hunter who was trespassing and shooting a deer on two privately owned properties, along with railroad property. The COs interviewed multiple neighbors, landowners, and ex-landowners, and were able to identify suspects. CO Reynolds conducted an interview with one suspect who confessed to shooting a buck along with having several other people trespass to help him retrieve the deer. Follow up interviews were conducted with those that assisted him. Confessions were obtained and a report will be submitted seeking charges.
CO Todd Thorn investigated a complaint from a landowner who found a deer carcass on his property and ORV tracks leading from the carcass to a neighbor’s property. The complainant also stated that there were corn feeders on the suspect’s property and that the suspect may have shot an 8-point deer on Thursday or Friday. CO Thorn responded and walked the property with the complainant. CO Thorn learned that the suspect had purchased only one deer kill-tag for 2020, and it was done after legal hunting hours the night before the complaint was received. CO Thorn observed the ORV tracks, carcass, and feeders. He then contacted the suspect who showed CO Thorn his kill-tag that he still had in his wallet. CO Thorn was also shown an 8-point antlered deer head and cape as well as 78 packages of venison. The man admitted to shooting the deer in his backyard where the feeders were located. The deer was harvested on Thursday and he purchased a deer license on Friday night. The man’s son admitted to dumping the carcass on the neighbor’s property with his ORV. Charges will be sought through the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office. The meat, head, and cape were seized.
CO Keven Luther assisted Monroe County CO Brandon Vacek in locating a capsized vessel within the Point Mouillee Game Area. CO Luther then followed up on a baiting and trespassing complaint within the City of Canton. CO Luther determined that the complainant trespassed upon the property of another and unlawfully removed property. The suspect, who was new to hunting, had placed bait out for the 2020 deer season. After discussing the illegal activity, verbal warnings were issued to both individuals. CO Luther ended his shift after presenting at the Huron Township Police Department. CO Luther discussed how local conservation officers can assist the township officers in a variety of different situations.
COs Joe Deppen, Kris Kiel, and David Schaumburger conducted a waterfowl patrol in the Detroit River and Lake Erie when they were approaching a boat and viewed one of the occupants unloading his firearm while the boat was still in motion. Contact was made with the boat and the person unloading said that he was messing around with the decoys. CO Schaumburger told him to be truthful and he admitted to unloading his firearm when he saw the COs. A citation was issued for having a loaded firearm in a motorboat.
COs Tom Peterson and Luke Robare contacted two hunters actively hunting after hours in Bald Mountain State Recreation Area. The two hunters accessed the recreation area in a motor vehicle by power lines owned by ITC. When the COs confronted the two hunters, they said that they were under the impression that they could hunt deer at night. Both hunters were armed with 12-gauge shotguns loaded with buck shot. The men were cited for multiple violations and given several warnings. The COs then escorted the individuals off the property.
COs David Schaumburger and Dan Walzak were patrolling on Thanksgiving morning on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair when they came across a boat trolling with seven lines between two anglers. The anglers were questioned why and one of them replied that they were “just trying out that lure on the seventh line” and were just about to pull it in. Unfortunately for the anglers, the COs had been viewing them for a few minutes and were issued a citation for fishing with more than three lines.