Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 7, 2021
CO Jared Ferguson was traveling south on M-95 when he encountered a motor vehicle traveling 95 mph in a posted 55 miles per hour zone. CO Ferguson was able to stop the vehicle and contact the driver. CO Ferguson asked the driver why he continued at a high rate of speed and didn’t slow down after seeing the patrol vehicle and he stated, “I didn’t think you guys could stop me for speeding, so I didn’t think anything of it.” A citation was issued for speeding.
CO Shannon Kritz worked in conjunction with Wisconsin game wardens to patrol an area of the Menominee River where both states were receiving numerous snagging complaints. CO Kritz contacted one angler who was observed keeping a fish after it had been snagged on top of its head. The angler explained to CO Kritz that he thought he could keep fish as long as they were caught in front of the gill plate. CO Kritz informed the angler that fish have to be retained in the mouth to be legally kept. The angler was cited for possessing a fish not retained in the mouth.
CO Jeffrey Dell completed an investigation of license fraud with the Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement. A subject was found to be purchasing resident Michigan licenses while being a Wisconsin resident. In total, the subject defrauded the state of Michigan approximately $900 in the past five years. Charges are being sought through the local prosecutor.
CO Chris Lynch recently had a deer case adjudicated in court where the subject illegally shot an 8-point buck. The subject was sentenced to five days jail, fined $450, ordered to pay $6,000 in reimbursement, loss of hunting privileges until 2027, and the crossbow forfeited. The case stemmed from a multi-agency investigation where several subjects were charged with various hunting and fishing violations.
CO Steve Butzin served an arrest warrant on an individual from an incident which occurred in Delta County. This warrant was for taking a 6-point buck without a license in 2020. The suspect is pending arraignment.
CO Mike Olesen responded to a grass fire that got out of control and burned approximately 15 acres, including an old fallen down barn on the neighbor’s property, before being put out. Warrants are being sought for the person responsible.
CO Nathan Beelman responded to two brush fire calls in Charlevoix County during a windy day when Charlevoix County was closed to burning. CO Tim Rosochacki assisted CO Beelman with investigating the first fire. The fire escaped a burn pit and burned approximately 10 acres of property, including a neighbor’s property and the fence line to a township cemetery. The homeowners stated they started the fire to have a “Viking funeral” for a cat that had died earlier in the day. The fire quickly grew and burned much of the open grass field around their home. The homeowner was issued a ticket for allowing the fire to escape and given warnings for burning other household items, including mattresses and tires.
CO Adam LeClerc received a complaint of an angler fishing on a closed trout stream in Emmet County. CO LeClerc responded and found the angler at his vehicle in the parking lot next to the stream. The angler possessed a current license and stated that he was going to attempt to fish but did not yet. CO LeClerc advised the angler that this section of stream was under closure until the end of April and gave the angler a couple other options to fish that were open nearby. The angler was unaware of the closure and thanked the CO for the advice.
CO Eric Bottorff was patrolling the Pigeon River State Forest when he came upon a stranded motorist in a remote area who had attempted to contact a tow truck but could not get cellular service. The CO was able to change the flat tire and guide her back to the main road to head home.
COs Jon Sklba and Paul Fox contacted a subject tending an illegal out of season bear bait in Presque Isle County. The subject stated he was running the bait to train his dogs. A ticket was issued for the violation.
COs Scott MacNeill and Steve Converse received a complaint of a “temperamental tom turkey terrorizing tourists” in Lake County. It was reported that the turkey had been outside of their house for two days and would come after them every time they went outside. COs MacNeill and Converse patrolled to the area and spotted the turkey right outside the caller’s front door, strutting around. The COs were able to catch the turkey and relocated it without incident.
While patrolling east on Croton Drive, CO Tim Barboza observed a fire spreading through the woods towards a couple residences. CO Barboza radioed dispatch, advised of the fire, and began to dig a line to stop the fire from reaching the residences. CO Barboza was assisted by the Newaygo County undersheriff in trying to control the fire. Neighbors of the surrounding houses helped in putting the fire out. CO Barboza and the undersheriff, with assistance of the neighbors, had the fire mostly contained when the fire department arrived on scene.
COs Jeff Ginn and Ben Shively located and observed two anglers snagging walleye during the closed season near Croton Dam in Newaygo County. CO Ginn observed one angler snag a walleye and place it on a stringer. CO Shively moved into position on the opposite side of the river to assist with observations. Once the anglers were finished and packed up, they made their way back to the parking lot. One angler stayed in the woods with their fish, while the other angler went to get their vehicle. COs Shively and Ginn made contact with their respective suspect at the same time. CO Shively contacted the subject at the car and obtained a confession while CO Ginn contacted the suspect in the woods with the three illegally taken walleye and obtained a confession. The men were cited for taking walleye during the closed season.
COs Jeff Goss and Phil Hudson were working the Omer Sucker Festival after dark and watching as anglers were catching several fish. One group of anglers caught the COs’ attention. CO Hudson watched as a man caught a fish and immediately held it close to his side and walked behind his camper with it. He returned a short while later empty handed. The COs found this suspicious because the rest of the fish the group of anglers caught were all going on the stringer along the riverbank. After watching the group for a while longer, the COs made contact. At first, the anglers would not admit to walking behind their camper with any fish. After further interviewing, the COs were led to a truck with three illegal walleye in it. Two of the anglers were cited for possessing walleye during the closed season.
CO Seth Rhodea contacted a large group of anglers spearing suckers on a creek in northern Huron County. When CO Rhodea asked to check their fishing licenses, multiple anglers advised they were under 17 years old and didn’t need one. CO Rhodea then asked for their birthdates and was given multiple birthdates that did not coincide with them being under 17. In total three anglers were found to not have valid fishing licenses and were issued citations.
CO Dan Robinson was called to a trapping complaint in the city of Greenville. The caller reported that her cat had been injured by a large trap and found by the neighbors who took it to a local shelter. The caller produced the trap, which turned out to be large foot-hold trap meant for large animals. CO Robinson was able to talk to the suspect at his residence. The suspect was attempting to catch a problem groundhog and was apologetic for catching the incidental cat. CO Robinson educated the individual on allowed trapping practices for nuisance animals and not using a trap of that type in an area where incidental catches of domestic and wild animals is likely.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling northern Muskegon County for ORV activity when she observed three dirt bikes operating off the designated trail system. The dirt bikes were operating on a national forest road in the Huron Manistee National Forest. CO Cullen stopped the riders and discussed the violations that were present. The group was cited for operating in an area closed to ORV activity.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling the Cedar Creek trail system when she observed a group of ORVs operating in a sand pit. The pit is located off the designated trail system on a national forest road. CO Cullen stopped the individuals and found that two were juveniles who did not have the proper eyewear and had not obtained an ORV safety certificate yet. The adult in charge was cited for allowing them to operate without the proper safety training. Warnings were issued for the misdemeanor violations.
CO Casey Varriale was on patrol in the Rogue River State Game Area (SGA) in Kent County when he witnessed a father and young son about to depart on a rabbit hunting trip. CO Varriale quickly noticed neither of the hunters were wearing hunter orange. CO Varriale reminded the father that they both need hunter orange to hunt. The father stated he was not aware of the requirement for rabbit hunting and went home to retrieve an orange vest and sweater before they commenced their hunt.
CO Justin Ulberg received a complaint that individuals were spearing steelhead on a small tributary in Kent County. The complainant was able to provide a precise location and a good timeline of when the suspects were supposedly spearing. CO Ulberg responded to the area and noticed a flashlight in the area and was able to get in position to closely monitor the angler. While the angler was not spearing, Ulberg could observe a bare treble hook with a weight suspended below the hook, which is illegal fishing gear. CO Ulberg watched as the angler attempted to snag fish. After approximately 30 minutes with no success the angler left the area. The angler was surprised when CO Ulberg met him at his vehicle and advised that he had watched the subject attempt to snag fish the entire time. The angler admitted that he was trying to snag steelhead and that he knew it was illegal. CO Ulberg issued the angler a citation for fishing with illegal gear.
CO Pete Purdy spoke at a National Wild Turkey Federation hunting workshop. CO Purdy talked with 23 individuals explaining laws and answering questions.
CO Larn R. Strawn received a RAP complaint of a hawk trapped inside a local pet store. CO Strawn responded to the store and discovered a sharp-shinned hawk was flying around inside the store. CO Strawn called wildlife biologist Chad Fedewa and the Dewitt Charter Township Police Department (DCTPD) to assist with the situation. DCTPD police officer Brandon Shellberg evacuated the store and guarded the entrance door while CO Strawn and Chad Fedewa captured the hawk. Once captured, CO Strawn and Fedewa quickly assessed the hawk for injuries. The hawk was healthy and uninjured. Fedewa immediately released the hawk which flew away.
CO Larn R. Strawn received a complaint of a subject who found a dead turkey on their property while they were walking their dog. CO Strawn responded to the complaint location and investigated. CO Strawn discovered a turkey that had been gunshot. CO Strawn collected evidence and several GPS coordinates. CO Strawn is conducting follow up interviews and attempting to locate a suspect.
CO Ben Lasher made numerous contacts with people target shooting in the Port Huron State Game Area. Multiple warnings were given, and one ticket issued for littering as they did not pick up their empty ammunition boxes and/or brass.
CO Bob Watson patrolled Hewitt Pit in response to multiple complaints and improper use of the game area. CO Watson noticed an increase in illegal ORV traffic judging by recent tracks. CO Watson was able to contact three ORV operators who were illegally operating inside the game area. All three individuals received citations for operation inside the game area.