Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 10, 2021

DISTRICT 1

CO Jenni Hanson received a video of two local men illegally operating vehicles in a river. The subjects posted the videos on their Snapchat. After completing her preliminary investigation, CO Hanson contacted and interviewed both suspects. Ultimately, they admitted to camping illegally, cutting down trees, littering, and operating their jeeps in the Montreal River. Charges are being sought through the Gogebic County prosecutor’s office.

CO Jenni Hanson assisted the Gogebic County Search and Rescue team with a chairlift evacuation from Copper Peak. The western hemisphere’s largest active ski jump, Copper Peak, offers an adventure ride up the hill via chair lift. On a busy Friday afternoon, an unknown reason caused the chairlift to malfunction and stop working. CO Hanson has prior training and experience in ski lift evacuation and was able to assist in the safe removal of all the riders.

CO Jeremy Sergey received a complaint of a dead bear caught in a leg-hold trap. When CO Sergey arrived on scene it was apparent the bear had been dead for several months. The bear’s paw was still stuck in the trap while most of the body had decayed and been scavenged.  The investigation is ongoing.

CO Josh Boudreaux was patrolling Marquette County for aquatic invasive species (AIS) violations. Upon observing a truck pulling a boat on the highway commit a violation of motor vehicle code, CO Boudreaux conducted a traffic stop. Upon talking with the occupants, CO Boudreaux learned they had just returned from a fishing trip in Minnesota. Upon inspecting the boat CO Boudreaux discovered a piece of aquatic plant stuck to the trolling motor. CO Boudreaux explained to the driver the importance of preventing the spread of aquatic species and educated him on the places they commonly cling.  CO Boudreaux issued the driver a warning for transporting aquatic plant materials and was assured by the driver that he would deep clean the boat before launching it in any Michigan waters.

DISTRICT 2

CO Mark Zitnik participated in active shooter training with the Alger County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police (MSP), U.S. Coast Guard, and the Park Service. The training was focused on an active shooter on the Pictured Rocks cruise boats. The teams went through training on how to take down and apprehend an active shooter on the cruise boats and then how to triage patients and get them to shore where EMS could treat the victims.

CO Steve Butzin successfully served three arrest warrants on individuals for taking deer during the 2020 deer season without licenses. These cases are pending prosecution at the 94th District Court in Delta County.

COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten responded to a call of a 74-year-old fisherman on the East Branch of the Two-Hearted River who had failed to return to camp. The fisherman’s partner said he had yelled to his friend and heard him yell back but the yells became more distant before stopping all together. The COs assisted in mobilizing multiple search and rescue assets as well as searching the river for signs of the fisherman and using emergency sirens to attempt to draw the lost angler to their location. After several hours of search and rescue efforts, the angler was located shortly after 2 a.m. the next morning on a road on the opposite side of the river from where he started fishing. The angler stated he had walked a long way down river when it started getting dark. The angler then exited the river to try to find a road as opposed to trying to walk back the way he came.

CO Cole VanOosten concluded a court case from the fall of 2020 involving a dog that had been killed in an illegal trap on state land in Chippewa County. The trapper pleaded guilty to two counts of using an illegal conibear on state land was ordered to pay $1,130 in fines, court cost, and restitution as well as forfeiting the three 330 conibears that he had set on the ground on state land.  The individual lost hunting and trapping privileges for one year and was ordered to take a trappers safety course before trapping again.

DISTRICT 3

COs Eric Bottorff and Matt Theunick attended a Landing Blitz Initiative event on Douglas Lake and checked multiple boats for AIS violations. The rules regarding the requirements for loading and unloading vessels to minimize spread of AIS were explained to the operators.

CO Tim Rosochacki responded to a wildfire in a dense pine stand adjoining a neighborhood in Gaylord. CO Rosochacki assisted the DNR and local fire personnel on scene and checked the area for additional fires. It was determined there were, in fact, two separate small fires active in the area.  CO Rosochacki contacted numerous neighboring landowners to try and determine any possible suspects. The incident is still under investigation.

CO Paul Fox assisted FRD with a state land trespass investigation in Presque Isle County. Several private landowners gated a portion of a state forest road.  CO Fox contacted the responsible parties and advised them of the violation. The responsible parties were cooperative and removed the gate.

CO Paul Fox was on patrol in Presque Isle County when he observed a turkey vulture propped on a pole in the middle of a small clearing. CO Fox drove to the property owner’s residence to inquire about the bird and contacted a subject fishing there. He stated that the bird was found dead under his porch, so he put it up on the pole for all to see. After the discussion about the dead vulture, CO Fox asked the subject for his fishing license. After some back and forth the subject admitted to not have a Michigan fishing license but stated he did have a lobster license out of Florida. CO Fox issued the subject a ticket for fishing without a license.

DISTRICT 4

CO Troy Ludwig was patrolling the Cadillac Forest Management Unit along the Manistee River when he observed a camp that did not have a camp registration card posted. CO Ludwig contacted the camp occupants who advised they did not know they were required to have a card. The CO looked around the camp and observed a large amount of litter that was strewn about the camp; he also observed litter along a path that led to the river. CO Ludwig also found fresh wood that had been cut by the occupants from trees that were still living. Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations.

CO Micah Hintze was on patrol and stopped to speak with two anglers. After learning the bite had been slow, both anglers were asked for their fishing license and identification. The older angler stated her license was in her vehicle and walked over to retrieve it. The younger angler stated she was 16, so she did not need one. CO Hintze asked if she had a school identification, which she replied she did not, nor did she know which school she currently attended. When asked what her birthdate was, after a long pause she stated, “You got me,” and admitted she did not have a license. The mother returned to the group and unprompted stated, “That’s my 16-year-old daughter, she doesn’t need a license.” When CO Hintze explained that the age had already been established, the mother became quiet and walked away. The daughter retrieved her identification and was cited for fishing without a license.

CO Ben Shively contacted a subject after receiving complaints of the individual rehabilitating wildlife without a permit in Oceana County. The subject was suspected to be picking up young raccoons and injured raccoons from the public and rehabilitating them at his residence and domesticating them.  The subject was cited for rehabilitating wildlife without a permit and possessing wildlife without a permit.

DISTRICT 5

CO Chuck McPherson assisted with a field day at the Missaukee County Sportsman’s Club by teaching ethics and hunting regulations.

COs Casey Pullum and Jesse Grzechowski were patrolling in the Luzerne area of Oscoda County when they were requested to respond to the Mio Pond for an overturned canoe.  Oscoda County Central Dispatch notified them that a canoer fell overboard and had not resurfaced. COs Pullum and Grzechowski launched a jetboat near the location where the canoeist was last seen. After receiving a brief description and obtaining last known location from witnesses, COs Pullum and Grzechowski began searching the water in grid pattern. A little over an hour later, the body of the canoer was located and recovered. After further investigation, it was determined that the canoer did not have any PFDs with him in the canoe.

CO Craig Neal checked three anglers at the dock coming off Saginaw Bay at the AuGres Rivermouth access site in Arenac County. The owner of the boat went to get the truck and trailer from the parking lot when CO Neal asked the other two anglers how they did. They stated that they had caught their limit and the walleyes were in the two coolers. The two anglers handed the coolers out to CO Neal and said, “I hope we’re right we didn’t count them.” CO Neal counted the walleyes in the two coolers for a total of 27, making the anglers over their daily limit by three. CO Neal issued a citation for possession of an over-limit of walleye and stressed the importance of keeping track of how many fish end up in the creel.

DISTRICT 6

CO Mike Haas received a complaint in Sheridan concerning the dumping of fish. A gentleman recently discovered a cooler full of rotten fish thrown into a refuse container he kept near his house along with dead fish scattered on his driveway. The complainant had surveillance footage that identified the suspect as his neighbor with whom he had had issues with before. CO Haas spoke with the neighbor who admitted to throwing the fish into the trash can but insisted there was no malicious intent; he was just getting rid of his stinky fish. A citation was issued for littering and illegal dumping refuse on someone else’s private property.

Sgt. Jason A. Smith and CO Mike Haas conducted a marine patrol on a lake along the county borders for Montcalm and Ionia. While on their patrol vessel, the COs heard a very close gunshot that appeared to come from a cottage on shore. Sgt. Smith pointed out a rabbit in a yard and an arm with a gun barrel sticking out of a window. After two additional gun shots, the COs could no longer see the rabbit and observed a gentleman exit the cottage with a gun in hand. The COs docked their boat and contacted the gentleman who stated he had been shooting at a woodchuck. Once the COs pointed out that it appeared he was shooting at a rabbit, the man’s story changed, and he said he had shot at a woodchuck and a rabbit. The man then took the COs to where he claimed the animals were standing and pointed out that he was just shooting at them to scare them off and he had missed them. Sgt. Smith then walked to where he had originally observed the rabbit and located it deceased in a neighbor’s yard. The gentleman was warned for recreational trespassing and safety zone violations but received a citation for harvesting a rabbit out of season.

DISTRICT 7

COs James Nason and Kyle McQueer where patrolling Kalamazoo County when an aggravated assault call was dispatched over Kalamazoo County Dispatch. The COs responded to the business where the assault occurred and found a female on her knees in the middle of a machine shop. The female had been pepper-sprayed by her new husband’s ex-wife. After gathering witness and victim statements the COs discovered through security camera footage that the alleged victim was the aggressor in the assault, contrary to her recollection of events. Even after being pepper-sprayed the suspect was still able to chase down her husband’s ex-wife in the business parking lot and repeatedly punched her in the head.  The newlywed wife was then lodged by sheriff deputies in the Kalamazoo County jail and is facing aggravated assault charges.

COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer observed two anglers fishing with a total of eight lines off the north pier in St. Joseph. The COs contacted the anglers and determined only one of them had a fishing license. One citation was issued for fishing without a license and one citation was issued for fishing with more than three lines.

CO Casey Varriale was on patrol in the Rogue River SGA in Kent County where he witnessed a group of people target shooting. CO Varriale made contact and advised the individuals to unload their pistols. All the individuals unloaded their pistols. During the interview one person reloaded his pistol and negligently pointed it at CO Varriale. CO Varriale took control of the pistol and advised the individual on safe handling of firearms. During a record search, CO Varriale discovered the owner of the pistol had only owned it for one day and gave him the benefit of the doubt when it came to the safety issue. The individual was lectured on safe handling of firearms and issued a citation for shooting pistols in a closed area.

DISTRICT 8

CO John Byars assisted with a property damage accident of an armored truck rollover in the Lansing area during a thunderstorm. CO Byars closed the freeway on-ramp to assist with clean up and allow the tow crews to get the armored truck off the road.

CO Ed Rice conducted a hunter safety and marine safety education presentation at the Will Carleton Academy in Hillsdale. There were 40 students in attendance. CO Rice led a brief presentation covering multiple issues focusing on youth hunting and marine safety. CO Rice answered questions and shared experiences, both personal and work related.

CO Jason McCullough patrolled the Kalamazoo River with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Marine Division to address safety issues due to the high, fast-moving water. A kayaker recently had to be rescued from the river after becoming stuck in downed trees.

CO Nick Wellman was first on scene of a waterskiing accident in Branch County where a 17-year-old male was knocked unconscious and was face down in the water. CO Wellman assisted with patient care and stabilization until EMS arrived on scene. The young man hit his head on the ski as he fell forward which caused a large laceration to his forehead. He was later released from the hospital with a concussion and eight stitches. No one was at fault for the accident.

CO Nick Wellman stopped an ORV in Branch County and found blood and deer hair in the back. Several subsequent interviews found violations of crop damage permits. CO Wellman issued warnings for failing to use the entire deer killed on crop damage permits.

DISTRICT 9

CO David Schaumburger received a complaint of a subject possessing three white-tailed fawns in captivity at a residence. CO Schaumburger contacted the subject and turned the fawns over to a local rehabilitator. The subject was issued a citation for unlawful possession of wildlife.

CO Tom Peterson was on patrol in eastern Oakland County and encountered an individual trespassing with an ORV on ITC property. The individual entered the property to fish in the lake within the property. The individual did not possess any safety equipment required when riding his ORV. The individual was cited for the ORV violation.

CO Bob Watson received a complaint of someone cutting trees down within the Port Huron SGA. CO Watson responded and observed a man chopping a large dead tree down near his campsite along the Black River. CO Watson contacted three men and recognized one of them as being a subject who CO Watson had previously warned for camping within the game area. CO Watson issued a citation for camping within the SGA May 15 and Sept. 10.

CO Joseph Deppen was on marine patrol when he noticed two kayakers fishing in rough water. CO Deppen contacted the anglers and asked for a fishing license and PFDs. Neither angler had a PFD, so CO Deppen escorted them to a calmer canal. In the canal, CO Deppen asked the second angler for his fishing license. The angler said that he was from out of town, and he was just fishing under his father’s fishing license. CO Deppen explained each angler had to have their own fishing license. The angler was apologetic and agreed to purchase one online. Each angler was cited for failure to provide a PFD.

COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither were on Devils Lake when they observed a pontoon with seven anglers on it. The COs contacted the pontoon and asked to see everyone’s license. Two anglers in the back stated they did not buy them this year because the DNR made it too expensive, and they did not feel like they should have to just for one day since they were from out of state. The COs educated the anglers about the 24-hour fishing licenses and issued citations for fishing without a license.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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