CO Shannon Kritz was on patrol when she noticed a vehicle parked near a closed trout stream. CO Kritz walked along the stream and observed a subject fishing in the stream. CO Kritz approached the subject and asked if he was aware the stream was closed. The angler gave CO Kritz a variety of excuses including that he did not know he could not catch and release in the stream, that he had confused the stream with one that was open, and that he was not aware it was a trout stream at all. CO Kritz instructed the fisherman on how to look up designated trout stream maps online and issued him a citation for fishing in a closed trout stream.
CO Andrea Dani received a complaint stating that a turkey had just been shot from the road on posted private property. CO Dani contacted the vehicle owner and his girlfriend who were still in possession of the turkey. The shooter stated she did not know private property signs mattered on the county road right-of-way, and that she did not see the signs until afterward. The turkey and suspect’s shotgun were seized. A report is being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for the recreational trespass and safety zone violation.
CO Mike Olesen assisted the MSP in investigating an abandoned vehicle in the Hiawatha National Forest that was discovered to be connected with a missing person from Illinois. The driver of the vehicle was found by two citizens after they checked on one of their hunting blinds. It was determined that the missing person was staying in a deer blind a couple miles from the location in which the vehicle was abandoned. Other than being hungry, the individual was in good health and reunited with his family.
CO Cole VanOosten assisted members of District 25 with the serving of three warrants for an individual who was caught taking steelhead with a dip net in Schoolcraft County. CO VanOosten issued tickets for three misdemeanor counts of taking fish with an illegal method as well as taking an over-limit of steelhead.
CO Adam LeClerc wrapped up an investigation that lasted over half a year. CO LeClerc received a complaint of a bear taken during bear season on private property where the hunter did not have permission. After multiple warrants and interviews, the Emmet County Court issued arrest warrants for six individuals involved in the incident. The six suspects presented themselves to the court, satisfying the warrant, and have received arraignment dates.
Sergeant Bill Webster was patrolling on Lake Charlevoix the night before the walleye opener. He was in the mix of many boats, and lots of anglers were sitting waiting until midnight to start fishing. One boat that showed up started trolling at 11:30 p.m., so Sgt. Webster started following the boat. After lines were set, Sgt. Webster watched the anglers catch two walleyes prior to the midnight opener. Sgt. Webster contacted the anglers at 12:03 a.m. and issued a ticket for keeping walleye during closed season. Both anglers knew they were cheating the other anglers and said they did not think anyone would be out to check them.
CO Sidney Collins reported the outcome of a trespass and illegal deer case from last fall in Montmorency County. The subject pleaded guilty to recreation trespass and was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution.
CO Sheppard received a report of an injured hawk in the city of Alpena. CO Sheppard responded to the area where he found a small sharp-shinned hawk that was unable to fly. After a brief foot pursuit CO Sheppard was able to catch the hawk. One of its wings looked to be injured, so CO Sheppard took it to the Alpena Animal Control for the night while he attempted to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. The next morning, CO Sheppard picked up the hawk and turned it over to a raptor rehabilitator.
CO Troy Ludwig received a complaint of traps left out during the closed season along the Clam River near the city of Cadillac. The CO responded to the area and located a total of seven traps that were placed out of season or illegally placed. The traps were tagged so the CO was able to contact the owner. The trapper admitted to placing them and stated that he believed that he had forgotten some of the traps and believed that some had been stolen. Enforcement action was taken for several trapping violations.
While investigating a complaint of timber theft in Lake County, CO Ryan Andrews set up a cellular trail camera overlooking the exit from the area along the Little Manistee River where individuals were illegally cutting and taking cedar logs and stumps. While patrolling the area several days later, CO Andrews received a photograph from the camera showing activity in the area. After receiving additional photographs, including one showing a truck with a trailer fully loaded with cedar logs and stumps leaving the area, CO Andrews contacted the individuals in the truck as they were leaving the scene. The operator of the truck admitted to taking the cedar trees from along the river in an area that permits are not authorized from. Additionally, it was discovered the operator had an outstanding warrant. A citation was issued for the timber theft.
CO John Huspen responded to a wildfire complaint near I-75 just south of Grayling. The fire was caused by a downed powerline after a tree fell on the line from the strong winds. The fire was burning in an area where the 4 Mile Fire burned back in 2008, the fire was putting up a lot of smoke causing a traffic slow down on I-75. The fire burned approximately five acres.
CO Charlie Jones was dispatched to a missing 12-year-old at Smithville Landing on the Manistee River in Kalkaska County. Upon arrival, CO Jones began interviewing the father of the missing child. The father’s statements were not making sense and his fidgety actions caught the attention of CO Jones. After having dispatch place several calls, a relative advised the child was at a family friend’s house safe and unscathed. Upon further investigation, consent was given to search the father’s vehicle. The Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department along with a K-9 and officer from the Kalkaska Village Police Department, discovered methamphetamine. The child had never been missing and the father was hallucinating while under the influence of meth. The father was taken into custody for possession of meth and filing a false police report.
CO Casey Pullum received a complaint through the report all poaching (RAP) Hotline of an angler along the Au Sable River attempting to snag fish in Iosco County. CO Pullum contacted CO Jeff Panich for assistance and devised a game plan. CO Pullum was in contact with his complainant the entire time and received a text that the suspect had just snagged a fish but released it. CO Pullum was dropped off by CO Panich and snuck into a location upstream to conduct surveillance on the suspect. After only a few minutes, the suspect foul-hooked another fish, brought it to shore, and kept the fish. CO Pullum received a text from the complainant relaying the same information. COs Pullum and Panich contacted the suspect. He denied foul-hooking the fish even after he was notified CO Pullum witnessed the entire incident. The fishing gear and fish were seized, and charges are being sought through the Iosco County Prosecutor’s Office for retaining a foul-hooked fish.
COs Josh Russell and Jeff Goss were patrolling the Lame Duck hunting area when they observed a vehicle parked at a gate that leads back to a food plot. Hunting hours for turkey season already had ended. The COs tracked the subject to the food plot and could hear him calling for turkeys. The COs observed the subject in a blind and could also see the decoys that were in use. After several more minutes, the subject finally retrieved his decoys and the COs moved in and made contact. In addition to hunting after hours, the subject also was using shells with an illegal shot size. The subject was given a turkey digest along with an explanation of the violations. A citation was issued for hunting after hours and a warning was given for using illegal shotshells.
CO Jay Person was checking anglers along the Tittabawassee River during the walleye opener when he happened upon a family returning to their car. They had one lone walleye on a stringer that measured 15 inches exactly. CO Person was informed that a 4-year-old girl caught it and it was her first fish. She was so excited and thanked CO Person for looking at it. The fish also had a jaw tag from this year.
COs Adam Beuthin and Seth Rhodea were on marine patrol working walleye anglers on the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County the morning of the opener. The COs observed a vessel operating with two sets of red and green navigation lights instead of a red and green on the bow of the vessel and a white light on the stern. When the COs approached the vessel, they could smell freshly burnt marijuana and discovered a case of beer that was almost empty on the floor of the vessel. CO Beuthin asked the operator of the vessel how many drinks he had and when the last time he smoked marijuana was. The individual replied that it had been about an hour and had too many drinks. After running the operator through standard field sobriety tests, it was determined he was under the influence and was arrested for boating under the influence where he was taken to the Saginaw County jail.
While patrolling the Flat River State Game Area (SGA), CO Mike Haas was contacted by a turkey hunter who stated his hunt had been interrupted earlier by ORVs that were operating in a closed area. CO Haas checked the area later in the evening and encountered multiple machines that were operating in the closed area. One subject told CO Haas that he thought the trail was open to motor vehicles. CO Haas pointed out that having to bypass a locked gate by driving through the woods and over berms should have been a good indication that the trail was closed. Citations were issued to address the illegal operation of motor vehicles in a closed area.
COs Jeff Robinette and Zach Bauer assisted girl scouts out of Three Rivers who were volunteering their time to pick up trash in a wetland in Three Rivers. The COs sat on each side of the road with their emergency lights activated to provide safety for the scouts.
While patrolling Hunter Access Program land in Berrien County, CO Travis Dragomer observed three ORVs illegally operating on the property. CO Dragomer issued three citations for the illegal use of ORVs upon HAP lands.
COs Matt Page and Jeff Robinette patrolled the Three Rivers SGA and observed two turkey hunters exiting the woods. Upon checking the hunters, it was found that their public land license had expired. After speaking with the hunters, the male half stated that he had only been turkey hunting one season and didn’t know much about the laws. After a quick licensing check, the hunter had several turkey licenses for the same unit, which led officers to believe he knew a little more than he led on. A citation was issued for hunt without a valid license. The new hunter in the group was given a verbal warning for the violation.
CO Matt Page responded to a complaint of trespassing after the landowner located seven beaver carcasses and evidence of trespassing. A possible suspect was brought up from past conversations with the neighbor. After speaking with the suspect, he claimed that he needed to trap the beavers because they were causing the water level to rise in his hunting spot. At the time, the property did not meet the trespass posting requirement; however, a citation was issued to the individual for littering.
COs Justin Ulberg and Casey Varriale investigated a complaint of two turkey carcasses being dumped on private property in Kent County. The COs located the turkey carcasses in a wooded area and discovered one of the carcasses still had a kill-tag attached to the leg. Upon responding to the subject’s house, the hunter claimed that he only killed one of the turkeys and that his friend killed the second turkey and was responsible for dumping the carcasses on the private property. Following up on the second subject, a full confession was obtained. When asked why, the hunter said that the turkeys were shot on his grandfather’s property and he did not like the carcasses dumped on his property. The COs informed the young hunter that other property owners did not want the carcasses dumped on their property either. The hunter was educated on proper disposal of the carcasses and issued a citation for littering.
CO Nick Wellman was off duty when he received a complaint from a deputy who had just been dispatched to several swans that had just been shot from the road. The deputy responded and updated CO Wellman on the situation. The deputy took several evidence photos and interviewed the complainant for CO Wellman. The following day, CO Wellman spent several hours in the area looking for the suspect vehicle, which he had a very good description of. At approximately midnight, CO Wellman located the vehicle at a nearby farm. CO Wellman was assisted by CO Jeff Robinette and several interviews were conducted. CO Wellman was able to receive a full confession from the shooter on killing four trumpeter swans, all with a .223 rifle from the roadway. Charges are being sought.
While working on a wildlife complaint in Branch County, CO Nick Wellman overheard a sheriff’s deputy call out that a suspect in a complaint the sheriff’s department was working on had taken off on foot. CO Wellman responded to the area to assist. CO Wellman was able to use his night vision goggles to help in tracking the individual through a large field. CO Wellman and a deputy located the suspect hiding behind a large dirt pile. CO Wellman took the suspect into custody and turned him over to the sheriff’s deputies on scene.
CO Nick Wellman was off duty when he received a complaint from a man who said there were a couple of people keeping smallmouth bass out of season at the Union Dam. The complainant said that the men were catching the bass, then running them up and putting them in a cooler in the cab of their truck. CO Wellman was unable to respond but got ahold of the assistant chief of Union City Police Department who went to the dam to assist. Once the assistant chief arrived, he contacted the men, gathered the fish and photos for evidence as well as confessions from the men. Charges are being sought.
CO David Schaumburger was checking walleye anglers in the wee hours of the morning when he came across a boat with four anglers docked at a private marina. The anglers stated they had a “four-man limit” of walleyes, and the CO proceeded to count the fish. The CO counted the 17 walleyes they already had in their bag and then checked the live well where there were 20 more walleyes. The owner of the boat said it was his fault because he “forgot to count.” A citation was issued for possessing more than the daily limit of walleye. Reimbursement for the walleye will be requested for $390.
CO David Schaumburger viewed an angler pull into a private dock in the early morning hours and contacted the man. The angler stated he had his limit; however, after counting the walleye, he had one more than the limit of seven walleyes. The angler stated that he was a good Christian man, and he did not intend to take more than the limit and it was an honest mistake. The CO agreed that it was a mistake, but he should have counted the fish before coming to the dock. A citation was issued for possessing more than the daily limit of walleyes.
CO Justin Muehlhauser investigated a compliant from the Report All Poaching hotline where a subject shot a turkey without a license. The subject’s father posted photos on Facebook stating that he was proud of his daughter for shooting her turkey. However, RSS showed that she never purchased a license. Charges are being sought.
CO Ben Lasher followed up on information of a baited turkey blind. The suspect did not hunt opening weekend but showed up on the following Monday. The suspect claimed he thought all the bait was gone and it would be OK to hunt the area. One ticket issued for turkey hunting over bait.
CO Joseph Deppen was on an aquatic invasive species (AIS) patrol in Macomb County, when he noticed a group of three anglers catching and keeping live gobies. The anglers were contacted, and they were in possession of live AIS and were using them for bait. CO Deppen issued each angler a citation for take/possess live aquatic invasive species.