Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 29, 2021


CO Jared Ferguson was in northern Dickinson County when he was waved down by a civilian in a motor vehicle.  The citizen was concerned over a bear that he thought was sick and needed to be put down. CO Ferguson explained that the bear was lethargic because his hibernation was interrupted, most likely due to the logging operation taking place. CO Ferguson advised him to leave the bear alone and it will find a new place to sleep the winter away.

CO Josh Boudreaux was patrolling northwestern Marquette County when he encountered some hunters set up over large bait piles. The pair admitted they knew they had way too much bait out, which was exceeding 10 gallons each. Violations such as riding double on an ORV, no helmet on ORV, no hunting license on person, no hunter orange in blind, and no name on blind were addressed and citations were issued for litter, cutting shooting lanes on state land, and exceeding the bait limit. 

CO Cody Smith received a Report all Poaching (RAP) complaint about what sounded like a rifle shot the last day of muzzleloader season in Baraga County. CO Smith got a description of the vehicle, along with the location where the vehicle sped off from after the shot. CO Smith responded to the area and observed a vehicle matching the description along with two individuals in the wood line with flashlights. Contact was made and the subjects denied shooting at any deer and had no explanation for their search of the area. A subsequent check of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of a loaded rifle. They were given a citation for possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and the rifle was seized. CO Smith then performed a thorough search of the woods and located a freshly killed doe. CO Smith conducted a necropsy and was able to recover a copper-jacketed bullet that matched the ammunition type of the seized rifle. A follow up interview resulted in the subject confessing to shooting the doe directly from the vehicle. The case is being forwarded to the county prosecutor for multiple charges.


CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol when he received a call from a trapper who stated that he had already caught his limit of fisher and had caught another fisher in his traps. The trapper stated the fisher was still alive and wanted assistance in releasing the animal. CO VanOosten was able to assist in successfully releasing the animal, unharmed.

CO Mike Olesen performed interviews regarding the illegal taking of a bear during the 2020 season. At the conclusion of two interviews, it was determined that an individual had shot a bear without a license near his residence and then contacted an individual who obtained a bear license for the 2020 season to tag the bear. Bear meat, a bear hide, and the rifle used to shoot the bear were seized as evidence with a report being submitted to the Chippewa County prosecutor for review.

CO Todd Sumbera followed an illegal ORV trail to the edge of a river where he found a foot path cutting through the woods. While walking the path, CO Sumbera spotted a few strands of deer hair near a log in the trail. He continued to a large clearing where he found an elevated deer blind with no name/address attached, tree branches cut, and lag bolts in the tree to secure the blind. Upon contacting the hunter, CO Sumbera asked if the gentleman had any luck this season, the hunter quickly responded, “No.” CO Sumbera stated he had observed signs of a deer being drug out of the woods at which point the hunter stated that he shot a 6-point about a week ago. When asked to see his deer license the hunter displayed a regular combination and a restricted combination deer tag. CO Sumbera issued a citation for no helmet on an ORV and failure to immediately tag deer.

CO Robert Freeborn was looking through social media posts and came across a potential illegal deer. CO Freeborn along with CO Michael Evink were able to locate the suspect. When questioned, the suspect confessed to taking the 8-point without a license and using their significant other’s tag. The rifle was seized as evidence and the deer also was seized and given to a family in need. A report was submitted to the local prosecutor office.


A deer hunter from Charlevoix contacted CO Andrea Erratt who said he had shot an extra doe and wanted to donate the meat to needy people. CO Erratt picked up several vacuum-sealed packages of venison and delivered them to seven grateful families in Charlevoix and Antrim counties.

CO Andrea Albert investigated a complaint of a subject trespassing and spearing salmon with a pitchfork on a local trout stream. The property owner was able to photograph the subject standing in the river with a freshly speared salmon on the end of a pitchfork. The next day, CO Albert interviewed the suspect and received a confession and seized the pitchfork used to spear the salmon. The Antrim County Prosecutor’s Office issued a summons for recreational trespass and taking fish by an illegal method.

CO Nathan Beelman received a complaint from the Boyne City Police Department regarding a dead deer within city limits. CO Beelman responded to the area and was able to track the blood trail to a nearby pile of sugar beets and carrots. A necropsy was performed on the deer and found that it was shot with archery equipment within the previous 24 hours. CO Beelman contacted the homeowner and received a confession. The homeowner admitted to hunting without licenses, placing the bait, hunting over bait, and failing to wear hunter orange while hunting during the firearm deer season.  Charges are being sought for taking a deer without a license.

CO Paul Fox was patrolling state land near Rogers City when he located multiple permanent hunting blinds that had been there for several years, did not have any names or license numbers attached, had large shooting lanes cut, and litter had been left behind. There was also a small amount of bait at each blind. In addition, there were illegal ORV trails leading from a private camp to the blinds. Portions of the ORV trails ran through wetland areas and caused damage to the soil and vegetation. CO Fox checked the area multiple times and was able to contact a hunter in one of the blinds. CO Fox addressed the issues with the subject and issued a ticket for several violations.


CO Steven Converse conducted a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle and observed several shotgun slugs on the center console of the truck. CO Converse asked the two subjects if they had been successful deer hunting that morning and they both sat silently for a minute before one of the subjects stated that they had been bird hunting.  CO Converse asked where the shotguns were and if he could check them out.  The subjects complied and showed CO Converse the two uncased shotguns lying on the back seat of the truck.  Both shotguns were unloaded, but both had slug barrels on them. After a little more conversation, the subjects admitted they had been deer hunting with the shotguns; additionally, it was discovered that one of the subjects had a DNR warrant for his arrest from 2019. The warrant was for having an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. Both subjects received citations for the uncased firearms and the subject with the warrant was able to post the $400 bond.

CO Brian Brosky located a large bait pile on a piece of property that could be seen from the road. CO Publiski followed up on the information and contacted a subject hunting over the bait the next evening. The subject stated that it was not bait as he put the large pile of carrots on his food plot and then turned the carrots into the soil. CO Publiski explained the carrots were not turned under, and he was hunting over them. CO Publiski then asked the subject about the other piles of carrots located on the property that were not on food plots to turn under. The subject stated, “Yeah, that’s bait.” The subject was issued a citation for baiting deer.


CO John Huspen responded to a complaint of a suspect who stopped at an intersection and got out with a loaded crossbow. The suspect shot at a turkey but was scared off by the complainant. The suspect vehicle did not have a license plate, so a vehicle description was all CO Huspen had for information. A few days later, a Crawford County Sheriff’s deputy advised CO Huspen that he had contact with a vehicle matching the description. CO Huspen responded to the vehicle owner’s house with the crossbow bolt he had located. The bolt was covered in turkey feathers and blood. CO Huspen was able to get a written confession from the suspect.  Charges are pending.

COs Kyle Bader and Lieutenant (Lt.) Brandon Kieft participated in the “Shop with a Cop” event in Ogemaw County.  The event took place at the Wal-Mart in West Branch and included members of local law enforcement as well as the MSP.

CO Phil Hudson was patrolling back roads in Arenac County when he observed a gun barrel hanging out the window of a truck. CO Hudson quickly maneuvered his patrol truck behind the suspect’s vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. When CO Hudson activated his emergency lights, the driver of the vehicle threw the firearm in the back seat of the truck and exclaimed, “I don’t have a hunting license, I am not hunting!” CO Hudson advised the driver that whether he is hunting or not, it is still a violation of the law to have an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. A citation was issued for possession of an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.


CO Joe Myers received information of a suspect hunting deer over bait and posting videos to the internet. CO Myers was able to locate and investigate the claims in the videos. Upon review of the videos, CO Myers observed numerous violations. During the interview with the suspect, COs Myers and Adam Beuthin obtained a full confession.  Charges will be requested from the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Joe Myers received information regarding the taking of an 8-point buck by a nonresident hunter. Upon investigation, it was determined that an Arizona resident while visiting family in Michigan, had shot two deer without a license. Charges will be requested from the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of waterfowl hunters shooting from a dike within the Maple River SGA. Once on scene, CO Schiller observed a group of hunters shoot multiple times from the dike at ducks that were attempting to land in their decoys. CO Schiller made contact with the hunters to check their licenses and firearms. Two of the hunters were hunting with unplugged shotguns. Citations were issued for hunting from a dike and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun.

CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of a hunter placing bait on private property in Gratiot County, which is closed to baiting. CO Schiller observed two hunters sitting over two separate piles of bait. The CO then made contact with the hunters. The suspect placing the bait was found to be the grandfather of the other hunter who had placed the bait to increase his grandson’s hunting opportunity. A citation was issued for illegal baiting.


CO Travis Dragomer responded to a complaint of a hunter who shot a deer and left it laying in a field. CO Dragomer responded to the area and observed two hunters in the field with one of the hunters actively gutting an antlerless deer. CO Dragomer contacted the two individuals and found that the deer did not have a kill-tag attached to it. The hunter who shot the deer did not have his kill-tag afield with him and had to go back to his residence to retrieve it. A citation was issued for failing to immediately validate and affix a kill-tag to the deer.

CO Chris Holmes received information that a subject had shot and killed two deer with a firearm and then left them in the woods so he could “go buy cigarettes.” CO Holmes followed up on the information and found the subject did not have any current hunting licenses. Upon further investigation and interviews, it was found the subject was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm. Charges have been forwarded to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Richard Cardenas received a complaint of a hunter who attempted to give away an antlered deer. The complainant stated that the suspect said they were out of antlered deer tags. CO Cardenas along with CO Justin Ulberg arrived at the suspects’ residence and observed three antlered deer heads near the driveway. The COs eventually contacted the suspects and found they did not possess any deer hunting licenses for the 2020 deer hunting season. Multiple deer parts were seized, and a report is being submitted to the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office for review.


CO Katie Baker conducted a follow up investigation on a suspect believed to have taken four antlered deer without licenses. Together, COs Baker and Larn Strawn were able to determine the firearm the deer was shot with, located the firearm and ammunition, and submitted DNA evidence to help support their case. The suspects refused to speak with the COs regarding their investigation. Confessions were previously recorded in a report taken by the MSP when one of the suspects was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm. A case report is being submitted for four counts of take deer no license, wanton waste, and recreational trespassing.

CO Nick Wellman received a call from MSP detectives who conducted a knock and talk at a residence in Branch County. During a consent search of the property, the MSP located several deer carcasses in a barn without tags. The detectives notified CO Wellman and he went to the residence later in the day to follow up. CO Wellman was assisted by CO Chris Reynolds. Upon arrival, the four untagged deer were seen from the driveway and shortly after that contact was made with the suspect. After a brief interview, CO Wellman was able to receive a full confession on one the bucks being killed from a truck with a .308 rifle. The man had been known for this type of activity for years. COs Wellman and Reynolds seized the deer and the man’s rifle. Several charges are being sought through Branch County.


The Flint Township Police Department requested a conservation officer to assist with a complaint of a possible hunter with a firearm in the retail district on Miller Road. CO Justin Muehlhauser arrived and checked the area. A baited hunt site was discovered, and officers were met by a man claiming to have permission to hunt the location. CO Muehlhauser pointed out violations which included attempting to take deer over bait and violating the Flint Township local hunting control for hunting with a firearm. The hunter was cited for violating the hunting control.

COs Justin Muehlhauser and Luke Robare were contacted by the Montrose Township Police Department regarding a trespass situation along the Flint River. A man claiming that he found a deer along the river was trespassing to try and recover it. CO Justin Muehlhauser took over the investigation. Upon conducting interviews with the property owner and witnesses, multiple charges will be sought. The investigation revealed that the suspect float hunted the river and shot the deer on property that was posted, and he did not have permission to hunt on.  Further, he later returned to recover the deer and trespassed on a second property that was fenced, posted, and was told he could not enter. The deer, a large 10-point was seized, and the meat was donated.

CO Justin Muehlhauser received a call from the Flint Township Police Department regarding a deer they suspected was poached. While arresting a man for domestic violence, the man alerted the officers to a deer which was hanging in his back yard. The suspect stated something along the lines of, “I poached that deer last night, why don’t you charge me for that, too?” They obliged and advised him that they would be contacting the DNR. CO Muehlhauser arrived and investigated the complaint. The deer was tagged with the suspect’s tag; however, CO Muehlhauser located a bait pile in the back yard with solar lights around it. There was a blood trail leading from the bait into the woods about 30 yards. While investigating further, the CO located another baited hunt site on the vacant lot next door. There, CO Muehlhauser located a tuft of hair on the baited site. The suspect will face an additional charge for taking deer over bait. The deer was seized and donated via Jerry B’s Processing in Flint.

While checking waterfowl hunters coming out of the Harsens Island Management Unit, CO Ben Lasher found that one of the two hunters on the permit to enter the area was not listed. A ticket for hunt/enter area without a permit was issued and two verbal warnings for marine violations.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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