Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – February 26, 2021

DISTRICT 1

COs Zach Painter and Ethen Mapes conducted an after-dark patrol on Lake Gogebic. The COs observed several tip-ups with no one around them and multiple flags up on the lighted tip-ups.  The COs waited nearby to see if anyone would check the tip-ups. After a half hour of waiting with no activity at the tip-ups, the COs followed off-road vehicle (ORV) tracks to a nearby residence and contacted two subjects. The subjects admitted that the tip-ups belonged to them. A citation was issued for fishing with lines not in immediate control.

CO Brian Lasanen was patrolling Houghton County at approximately 8:15 p.m. when a radio call went out regarding a subject who had slipped off a breakwall and into Lake Superior.  CO Lasanen and a Houghton County deputy responded to the location and met a local first responder who had just arrived. As a team, they located the subject still in the water, clinging to the side of the breakwall. The team navigated the frozen surface of the breakwall and utilized a system of ropes to safely get the subject out of the water and back onto the breakwall. The subject was then assisted to waiting emergency medical services (EMS) for transportation to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

CO Anna Viau assisted the DNR Forest Resource Division with follow up of a gate blocking access to state land. The landowner had failed to respond to official written communication regarding removing the gate and legality of the state easement. The gate was secured in an open position and the “No Trespassing” sign was removed. Further enforcement action will be pursued when the landowner returns from his seasonal home.

CO Josh Boudreaux arrested an individual on a six-count warrant regarding a hunter harassment case that took place in Marquette County this past fall. The individual was lodged at the Marquette County jail with bond to be set at arraignment.

DISTRICT 2

COs Steve Butzin and Chris Lynch responded to a great-horned owl that was stuck in a leg hold trap in the Ford River area. The COs were able to get the injured owl out of the leg hold trap and transported to a raptor rehabilitator in Marquette where it is expected to make a full recovery.

CO Chris Lynch handled an incident where a 64-year-old male subject had gone out fishing on Big Bay de Noc near Garden and had driven his four-wheeler into an open pressure crack and drowned. CO Lynch, along with DNR Fire Officer Brett Bednarski, recovered the subject from the open water.  Corporal Mike Hammill, the Michigan State Police, Garden Volunteer Fire Dept, Tri-Star EMS, Delta County Search and Rescue, and the Delta County Sheriff’s Department assisted on scene.

COs Cole VanOosten and Sergeant (Sgt.) Calvin Smith received a complaint of tip-ups being left out overnight on the Tahquamenon River. The following morning, the COs patrolled to the area and located three tip-ups that appeared to be left out over night. The COs tripped one of the tip-ups and waited for someone to tend to the tip-ups.  The COs located a 17-inch northern pike lying next to one of the tip-up holes as well as a beaver snare pole set under the ice. The COs waited several hours before two men came and checked the tip-ups from an airboat. Contact was made and the individuals admitted to leaving the tip-ups out all night and that their cabin was nearly four miles downriver. The individuals also admitted to catching the short pike the day before and left it on the ice because it swallowed the hook. The COs informed the individuals that if they tended to their tip-ups it would be less likely that the pike would have time to swallow the hook and would be able to be released.  The individuals initially denied knowing anything about the beaver snares set nearby. A consent search of the airboat revealed several snares without identification tags attached. One of the individuals finally admitted to setting the snares and after pulling up the snare pole it was determined that there were no identification tags attached. The individual who admitted to setting the trap also did not have a fur harvester license. Both individuals were issued a citation for fishing with lines not in immediate control, and the individual who set the beaver traps received a citation for possessing untagged snares and a warning for trapping without a license.

DISTRICT 3

CO Chad Baldwin located a suspect of a recreational trespass complaint occurring in December. The suspect was caught by the landowner on multiple trail cameras, but the identity of the suspect was not known. Having only a vehicle description, CO Baldwin and the landowner continued to monitor the area where the trespass had taken place and were lucky enough to get a plate number of a similar vehicle in the area several weeks after the initial incident. CO Baldwin conducted an interview of the suspect and received a full confession for the recreation trespass violation. The case is under review at the prosecutor’s office.

CO Sidney Collins was patrolling a small Montmorency County lake and checked a youth angler who was new to ice fishing and was up visiting his grandpa from down state. CO Collins noticed the young angler had too many tip-ups set out. CO Collins educated the young man on the fishing regulations and the amount of fishing lines allowed.

DISTRICT 4

CO William Haskin was contacted by the MSP and asked to assist in the pursuit of a felony fugitive who had driven a vehicle into an MSP trooper’s vehicle and fled. The suspect was in a Polaris Ranger side-by-side, using trails and unimproved roads as a means of travel.  CO Haskin responded, along with COs Mike Hearn and Breanna Reed, to assist and patrol the more remote areas with their equipment. The pursuit came to an end as the suspect was caught and arrested.

CO William Kinney was contacted by CO Andrea Albert from Antrim County, regarding an 8-point deer head found during a routine taxidermy inspection.  CO Albert had some concerns regarding the license attached to the antlers.  CO Kinney contacted the hunter over the phone to address some concerns the COs had. It was discovered when speaking to the hunter, that the deer was shot prior to the license being purchased. The hunter told CO Kinney that he was out hunting with the intent to observe the food plots planted on their property. He stated he did not think he would have seen such a large buck. This resulted in the hunter harvesting the deer without a license. A report was filed with the Benzie County Prosecutor’s Office. 

CO Jeff Ginn received a RAP complaint of a bobcat being trapped in a foothold trap during the closed trapping season. CO Ginn requested Deputy David Israel to respond to the scene to make sure the bobcat was not taken by the trapper. While en route to the scene, CO Ginn was contacted by Deputy Israel explaining the trapper was on scene attempting to harvest the bobcat. Upon arrival, Deputy Israel explained the trapper was fully expecting to harvest the bobcat and had a long gun out ready upon his arrival. An interview conducted by the officers revealed the suspect had seen the animal run into a culvert the day before. The trapper was confident it was a bobcat, so he set a trap at the entrance of the culvert to capture the animal. The trapper was cited for trapping bobcat during a closed season.

DISTRICT 5

CO Charlie Jones and CO Bill Haskin followed up on a complaint of an individual snowplowing two tracks closed to prevent access onto state lands. The COs interviewed the suspect and he admitted to doing so because he did not want his treestand stolen. The suspect was educated on stand land rules and a citation was issued for blocking access to state land.

CO Casey Pullum received a complaint of a deer carcass dumped on a back road in Oscoda County. He located the carcass and a small container with two black trash bags that contained deer parts and a 2019 deer tag. The suspect was located approximately two miles away and interviewed. The suspect stated he was completely unaware how his 2019 kill tag could have been in that bag but gave a couple of excuses including someone broke into his house and stole the items as well as his friend may have been responsible. His friend was located in Montmorency County after the suspect provided a name.  When CO Pullum arrived at the friend’s residence, he noticed an untagged deer hanging in the garage through a partially open door. When asked, the man initially stated the deer was a roadkill and he had not shot any deer this year.  Unfortunately, his 15-year-old brother was there and quickly corrected him stating, “Yes you did…the one in the garage.” The man confessed to shooting the deer without a license. Charges for taking a deer without a license will be sought through the Montmorency County Prosecutor’s Office. CO Pullum determined the friend did not dump the deer carcass in the original complaint, so the investigation continues.

DISTRICT 6

CO Joshua Wright responded to a call of an attempted suicide in Tuscola County. Initially, the call stated the person had taken pills, but while en route, CO Wright was updated that the person had now cut their wrist. Once on scene, CO Wright could not find an open door. CO Wright had to breach the front door and eventually a bathroom door to get to the person. First aid was rendered, and the person was transported to the hospital to receive professional help.

CO Mike Haas received a complaint through the RAP hotline regarding an illegally dumped deer in Isabella County. The complainant’s property had a steep hill along a public roadway where people frequently dumped their trash down the hill and into a small stream. A deer carcass was found within recently discarded refuse, and a tag was still attached to the deer. CO Haas tracked down the owner of the tag and the suspect admitted that the deer was his and took responsibility for the improper disposal. A littering citation was issued to address the violation.

DISTRICT 7

CO Zach Bauer was on patrol when he located a group of goose hunters. CO Bauer contacted the group hunting near a field edge. Further investigation found one of the hunters was hunting with an unplugged shotgun. A citation was issued for the violation.

CO Richard Cardenas was patrolling Thornapple Lake in Barry County and contacted ice anglers who were in possession of sunfish. CO Cardenas found that one of the anglers did not have a fishing license and denied fishing altogether. After further discussion, the angler confessed that he had been fishing and had drank a significant amount of alcohol. Further investigation determined that one of the subjects had warrants for their arrest. A citation was issued for the license violation and a sober driver was requested to drive the subjects home.

CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling an area known for recreational trespass along Big Blue Lake, in Muskegon County, when she noticed a bunch of vehicles parked on the roadway with sled marks going down to the lake.  CO Miskovich followed the trail and observed subjects on the ice with her binoculars. CO Miskovich observed nine tip-ups out on the ice and one subject jigging. CO Miskovich contacted the group, and it was found that there was a total of three people out; however, only two were fishing. When asking about their equipment, CO Miskovich found that their tip-ups were not properly labeled. A citation was written for an over-limit of lines, and warnings were given for no name on tip-ups and recreational trespass.

COs Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg were on patrol at Murray Lake in Kent County when they contacted an angler with a bucket of fish. The angler told the COs he caught his limit and offered the COs a chance to count his catch.  After counting the fish, it was discovered the angler possessed 28 bluegills.  The angler was given a citation for the three bluegills he possessed over the limit of 25.

While checking ice anglers in Kent County, COs Justin Ulberg and Casey Varriale observed an angler tip-up fishing for pike and panfish. The angler had four fishing poles in the water and admitted to having five tip-ups set.  COs Ulberg and Varriale also noticed five large pike in the angler’s sled.  When questioned about the over-limit of pike and having too many lines, the subject stated that other anglers on the ice were fishing with him. COs Ulberg and Varriale questioned the other anglers fishing and only one came forward and admitted to setting two tip-ups and catching two of the pike. The other anglers stated that they had never met the subject. A citation was issued for taking an over-limit of pike and for fishing with more than three lines.

DISTRICT 8

CO Todd Thorn learned that an Ingham County prosecutor and judge recently had signed off on paperwork ordering the return of two sets of 8-point antlers to an East Lansing man who had shot both deer at night over bait with the aid of a thermal scope. CO Thorn had initially sworn to five charges against the man through Ingham County courts. The charges had been approved by the prosecutor’s office and included two counts of taking deer illegally. He learned that the lawyers agreed on a plea deal of one count of borrowing a tag and that sentence would be dismissed if the East Lansing man is not caught violating any laws prior to the spring of 2021.

CO Todd Thorn followed up on an investigation that began during a taxidermy inspection in Eaton County. CO Thorn contacted a man who had dropped off a set of 8-point antlers at a taxidermist and told the taxidermist that he had shot the deer when the tag belonged to someone else. During the conversation with the hunter, he admitted to CO Thorn that he had shot the deer using his friend’s kill-tag because he left his at home. The man stated that he had shot one other antlered deer during the 2020 deer season, but the antlers were gone. As CO Thorn walked back to his patrol truck, he noticed a set of antlers sitting by the man’s pole barn that had a 2020 tag attached. At first the man did not want to allow CO Thorn to look at the antlers but eventually retrieved and showed them to CO Thorn, who verified that the tag belonged to the interviewee. A second set of antlers were next to that set that did not have a tag attached. Those antlers appeared to have been killed about the same time. The man said that he had shot the deer belonging to the untagged set during the 2019 deer season. The investigation is ongoing.

DISTRICT 9

CO Joseph Deppen was following up on a processor inspection that showed an individual harvested multiple deer in the 2020 season. The subject purchased a single deer tag early in the season and then got a replacement single deer tag late in the season and had other replacement antlerless deer tags during the season. The subject was also paying in full for all taxidermy work done for an antlered deer his brother allegedly shot. CO Deppen interviewed the brother, who did not have a credible story and it kept changing. After interviewing the subject about the antlered deer, he finally came clean and confessed that he did not shoot the antlered deer. He said his brother called him after he had shot an antlered deer and did not have a tag for it because he used his single deer tag on a doe earlier in the season. Records revealed the shooter turned in another antlered deer during the late season using his “replacement” antlered deer tag. After interviewing the shooter, he admitted to shooting the first buck without a tag and the second buck was tagged using his replacement tag. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office for illegally taking two antlered deer during the 2020 deer season along with other tagging violations.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking a group of hunters on the opening weekend of late goose season. After checking the group of hunters, CO Ingersoll noticed one of the hunters possessed a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells. The hunter advised CO Ingersoll he was wrong, and a third shell did not fit into his firearm, and to double check. CO Ingersoll demonstrated that three 3½-inch shells did in fact fit in his magazine tube. The hunter was cited for hunting waterfowl with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.

COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither were patrolling near the Onsted SGA when they passed a vehicle covered in mud and matching the description of a vehicle that had been off-roading in a restricted area. The COs followed the vehicle at a distance and observed the Jeep driving into people’s yards, doing doughnuts, and tearing up the parking lots of the game area.  A traffic stop was conducted, and tickets were issued for careless driving.

CO Eric Smither assisted the MSP and Clinton Police Department on searching for and locating a missing individual who had left home earlier that day. CO Smither met with MSP troopers and the Clinton Police Chief at Tate Park at approximately 11 a.m. to help get a plan on where to search for the subject who had left home at approximately 3:30 a.m. that morning. The MSP had already called for the MSP K-9 and Trooper 2 helicopter who were en route.  CO Smither checked a few areas that Trooper 2 called out once on scene and checked a few leads that had been called in by the public before assisting the MSP K-9, MSP troopers, and the Clinton Police Chief locating the individual in the woods south of Tate Park.  The individual was uninjured, able to walk out of the woods, and was transported to the hospital for evaluation.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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