Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 24, 2021


COs Jared Ferguson, Anna Viau, Cody Smith, PCO Alex VanWagner, and Sergeant (Sgt.) Brian Bacon responded to a report of a missing 21-year-old male near the Net River in Iron County. The Iron County Sheriff’s Office requested help in locating the missing subject after his vehicle was found submerged in the river the previous day with no occupants. Multiple articles of clothing were located, and the COs attempted to locate the subject using side scan sonar and canoes and kayaks. The sheriff’s office also assisted with a drone in attempt to locate the subject. The deceased male subject was located the following day by the MSP Dive Team.

CO Zach Painter and PCO Alex VanWagner responded to the report of a single all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crash on the Pioneer Trail in Matchwood Township, Ontonagon County. Dispatch advised the operator of the ATV had struck a pole while traveling on the trail and injuries were unknown. CO Painter and PCO VanWagner arrived on scene and observed a female lying on the trail and medically evaluated her until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived with the rescue pod. The female complained of some neck pain and pain in her abdominal area. She was transported to the hospital for treatment.


COs Colton Gelinas, Cole VanOosten, Justin Vinson, Mike Evink, Corporal Kevin Postma and Sgt. Calvin Smith assisted the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department with the search for a missing 4-year-old girl near Engadine. After 24 hours of searching, the young girl was found by one of the volunteers. The child was unharmed and reunited with her family. Several hundred people from the community showed up and assisted with the search. Many local businesses and people made contributions of food and beverages to help support those searching. The entire community really pulled together to help as the word spread of the situation, our thanks go out to all.

CO Justin Vinson was on patrol in Luce County when he observed an ORV being operated on a state highway. CO Vinson conducted a stop and advised him that it is illegal to operate an ORV on a state highway. CO Vinson gave the individual directions on how to legally return to his vehicle without operating on the state highway and issued a verbal warning. Not 10 minutes later, CO Vinson observed the same ORV and subject operating in the same location this time against the flow of traffic on the state highway. A stop was made and this time the operator received a citation for operating an ORV on a state highway.

While on assignment in the DNR Pocket Park at the UP State Fair in Escanaba, COs Andrea Dani, Shannon Kritz, and Lt. Jason Wicklund were requested to assist an elderly woman suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion. The woman was pale and light-headed, and appeared to be dehydrated. The COs and other Pocket Park staff assisted the woman into a chair that was rolled into the air conditioned DNR building, where she was provided with water and ice to cool down. The woman was then checked by EMS and was able to be assisted back to her vehicle.

COs Andrea Dani and Mark Zitnik assisted Alger County Sheriff Sgt. Grahovac with a lost kayaker on the Indian River. Dispatch advised a couple had gotten lost and then separated. The wife found her way out but did not know how to get to her husband’s location. Officers worked with the wife to narrow the search area. CO Zitnik and Sgt. Grahovac hiked down the river’s edge while CO Dani checked potential exiting locations. CO Zitnik and Sgt. Grahovac located the subject and walked him out of the woods. The male was checked by EMS and reunited with his wife.


COs Duane Budreau, Chad Baldwin, and Nathan Beelman conducted a hunter safety class in Harbor Springs for approximately 15 students. Although the class size was small, students traveled from all over northern Michigan due to the lack of availability of classes. The students had completed the online portion of the curriculum and the COs completed the field day portion which focused on the laws and regulations of hunting in Michigan, firearm actions and proper handling, treestand safety, fields of fire, .22 rifle marksmanship, and crossing fences and streams while hunting. Overall, the class was successful, and the COs had students with positive attitudes and good participation.

CO Adam LeClerc finally closed out a bear case from last season which involved six suspects. A bear was taken on property where the suspects did not have permission. The suspects all pleaded guilty to recreational trespass. The bear skull, hide, and meat were all seized as part of the case.

COs Jon Sheppard and Jessie Curtis assisted the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department and Alpena Search and Rescue with a search for a missing suicidal person. The individual was located deceased on state land.

COs Jon Sheppard and Jessie Curtis taught a hunter’s education class at the Alpena Sportsman Club.

CO Sidney Collins and Dan Liestenfeltz responded to an ORV accident in Montmorency County. The COs were first on scene in a remote area and gave directions to the ambulance. The COs rendered first-aid to the victim who was driving his side-by-side when he was impaled by a large tree branch. The COs checked the wound site to make sure there was not excessive bleeding. The large branch impaled the driver of the ORV in his right upper thigh and pinned him to the seat. The COs had to cut away another large tree branch with a saw to access the victim in the side-by-side. Once EMS was on scene, the COs, EMTs, and fire department cut away the remainder of the branch with a Sawzall, that was impaled in the thigh, in order to remove the victim out of the side-by-side. The victim was then carried out on a stretcher to a waiting local ambulance. CO Collins was able to get a helicopter to come and meet the ambulance.


COs William Kinney, Ryan Andrews, Steve Converse, and Amanda Weaver participated in a hunter safety class at Walton Junction Sportsman’s Club in Grand Traverse County. The COs taught the legal portion of the class and then operated the shooting range for the field day. Many first-time shooters were able to fire a .22 caliber rifle and gain confidence with safe firearm handling.

CO Amanda Weaver responded to a complaint of a possible drowning in Benzie County along the Platte River. When CO Weaver arrived on scene, the patient was semi-conscious but not lucid and had been brought to the side of the river by his family. CO Weaver recruited several family members to help carry the patient up the side of the riverbank to a flat, dry surface. EMS arrived shortly after and CO Weaver, along with EMS personnel, loaded the subject onto a stretcher and carried him to the ambulance. The patient was transported to the hospital where he remains in critical condition.

CO Micah Hintze was patrolling federal land when he observed an ORV enter onto a federal road, entering the public land. CO Hintze stopped and spoke with the operator, a 16-year-old boy, and a relative. The driver stated he was just showing his relative around the area and was unaware of the violations with operating an ORV on federal land. The driver produced a valid ORV safety certificate, was educated on public land operation, and given a verbal warning before leaving.

CO Jeff Ginn assisted the Newaygo Fire Department on a powerline which was down blocking a boating access site after severe weather. The powerline was blocking the access site and anglers were temporarily trapped at the BAS. Consumer’s Power was requested to de-energize the line allowing the anglers to exit safely.

CO Ben Shively rendered aid to a vessel, that was five miles outside of Pentwater in Lake Michigan, who experienced motor failure. The subjects had just set their first downrigger when the vessel stopped and would not restart. CO Shively was able to locate the vessel and tow the two subjects in the 22-foot vessel back to the access site in Pentwater Lake.


CO John Huspen and PCO Jack Gorno witnessed a PWC jumping the wake of another vessel, who was towing an individual on a wakeboard on Lake Margrethe. The COs initiated a stop on the PWC and boat. The COs could smell marijuana coming from the boat and the displayed registration on the vessel showed expired. Further investigation showed, the PWC and the boat were from the same camp. The PWC had no registration displayed and no fire extinguisher. The boat registration was expired, the title had not been transferred after purchase, and the vessel needed four more PFDs. The individual on the PWC was cited for no displayed registration, and the boat was cited for failure to provide enough PFDs.

COs Chuck McPherson, Charlie Jones, John Huspen, PCO Jack Gorno, and Sgt. Brian Olsen assisted with a hunter’s safety field day at Roscommon Baptist Church. The COs gave presentations on the law, first aid, search and rescue, and safe firearm handling.

District 5 COs participated in a joint training on Higgins Lake with the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division and Dive Team. The training included the use of side scan sonar devices on DNR patrol vessels. Vessel operators floated over divers and objects in different positions and depth to better identify what the electronics would display. This training will be very beneficial for water rescue operations in the future.

COs Kyle Bader, Brad Bellville, and PCO Zackary Walters assisted volunteers at the Rifle Creek Archery Park in West Branch with a hunter’s safety field day. Hunter safety certificates were issued to 13 students.

CO Casey Pullum and PCO Cullen Knoblauch received a phone call from a subject in Oscoda County who self-reported shooting a bobcat he thought was a coyote. The COs responded and interviewed the suspect. During the interview, it was determined he was coyote hunting when he saw what he thought was a small coyote, shot it, and later found it to be a bobcat. The COs determined he did not have any hunting licenses for 2021. The bobcat was seized, and charges have been submitted to the Oscoda County Prosecutor’s Office for hunting coyote without a license.

COs Casey Pullum, James Garrett, Ben McAteer, Jeff Panich, Jesse Grzechowski, Jon Warner, Tyler Sabuda, Brad Bellville, Kyle Bader, Sgt. Bobbi Lively, and PCOs Cullen Knoblauch and Zackary Walters hosted a hunter safety field day in Oscoda County. Approximately 21 students participated and obtained hunter safety certificates.


While on a recent marine patrol, CO Kyle Bucholtz located a jet ski a few miles offshore in the Saginaw Bay. A male was observed sitting on the jet ski with a dog and a female was found swimming near the jet ski. CO Bucholtz learned the jet ski had become disabled and the occupants had flipped it numerous times attempting to get back on. After multiple failed attempts to re-board the machine, the female decided to wait in the water until a tow boat could come assist. The subjects had been waiting close to two hours before being found by CO Bucholtz. Due to the growing winds and waves on the bay, CO Bucholtz asked the occupants to board his patrol boat. The jet ski was then towed back to shore with the two occupants and their dog on board the patrol boat. No injuries were reported, and everyone arrived on shore safely.


COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer interviewed a hunter last spring regarding a possible deer that was shot without a license. After interviewing the hunter, it was determined that the hunter shot the deer and purchased a hunting license after the fact. CO Bauer submitted a report to the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office and charges were recently approved for hunting without a license as well as taking an antlered deer without a license.

CO Anna Cullen was patrolling Hilton Park Road in the Muskegon State Game Area (SGA) when she observed multiple vehicles park and begin shooting in an area that was posted closed. CO Cullen waited for back up units to arrive due to a recognized, possible dangerous vehicle and attempted to contact all the subjects. All persons were cooperative, and advised they were unaware of the closure. Further investigation revealed that one subject had an active warrant. CO Cullen was asked to advise and release on the warrant per direction of Muskegon County Jail. Two citations were issued for shooting when posted against based off the violations that were observed.

COs Robert Slick and Anna Cullen performed a marine patrol on Lake Michigan targeting anglers using too many lines while trolling. Multiple boats were contacted checking fishing licenses and safety gear. One individual was issued a ticket for having too many lines.

CO Robert Slick followed up on a complaint of an individual feeding deer. CO Slick already had gone out to this residence once and told them that they were not allowed to feed the deer because of chronic wasting disease. They said they understood why and would stop. When CO Slick arrived at the residence, he asked them why they were still feeding. The suspect didn’t have an answer. A ticket was issued for feeding in a restricted county.

While patrolling an inland lake in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg checked three anglers fishing from a vessel. Two of the anglers did not have fishing licenses and the vessel was missing required safety equipment. A citation was issued for the violation.

CO Casey Varriale was on patrol with CO Justin Ulberg on Lake Michigan in Ottawa and Muskegon counties where they witnessed three different boats fishing with more lines than they were legally allowed to fish with. The COs contacted the violators, and all of them knew they were breaking the law. Citations were issued to all the violators.


CO Nick Wellman actively is working with the Union City Fire Department on placing signs along the Coldwater and St. Joseph Rivers for kayakers to more easily identify where they are on the rivers, in case there is a need for emergency services. CO Wellman has been marking areas for signs, speaking with landowners seeking cooperation in allowing for these signs to be placed on their property, as well as gaining access to these properties for emergency personnel should an emergency arise.

CO Jason McCullough assisted the Battle Creek Police Department and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department in the recovery of a body from the Battle Creek River.

CO Nick Wellman attended the funeral services for fallen Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Ryan Proxmire. Over 1,000 patrol vehicles were involved in the precession, and more than twice that attended the funeral.

PCO Matthew Tomas and Sgt. Jason Smith patrolled Dansville SGA and located two male subjects attempting to take trees from the game area. One of the males had a misdemeanor warrant out of Lansing Police Department. He was arrested and subsequently advised and released.


CO Keven Luther presented at virtual DNR Summer Youth awareness programs and careers for at-risk youth within the Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw areas.

While on marine patrol at the Sterling State Park boat launch, COs David Schaumburger and Brandon Vacek contacted the last vessel in the parking lot late at night. While the vessel was pulling up to the dock, the COs viewed the boat with improper navigation lights, the vessel did not have a stern light. The anglers stated they were out walleye fishing and did not have any luck; however, they said they had a great time. A check of fishing licenses was conducted; however, one of the anglers left his in the truck and CO Schaumburger followed him and started talking to him about fishing. During this contact, CO Schaumburger became suspicious that the owner of the vessel was operating an illegal charter boat. CO Schaumburger spoke to the three anglers separate from the owner of the boat, to which they stated they paid $350 to the owner to take them out on a charter, and they used Facebook messenger to set up the charter. COs Schaumburger and Vacek confronted the vessel owner who, after denying any illegal activity, confessed that he did in fact take $350 from the anglers and they made contact via Facebook messenger. The owner stated that he was attempting to get his charter business going and knew that he was not allowed to charter before being inspected. A citation was issued for carrying passengers for hire without inspection and improper navigation lights.

CO Tom Peterson assisted the MSP with a roll over crash on I-75 and Davisburg Road where the operator could not be located. The CO conducted a search of the heavily wooded median with the assistance of fire and EMS to ensure the operator was not ejected during the crash. CO Peterson was able to locate a cell phone among the wreckage and was able to call the last individual called. The individual was the spouse of the registered owner. It was confirmed that the individual received a ride from the wreckage by a passerby to his residence. It was discovered that the operator did not have a license. The investigation was turned over to the MSP.

CO Michael Drexler and PCO Thomas Jaakkola conducted marine safety patrols on Portage Lake and Base Line Lake. Upon arriving to the Portage Lake launch, the COs contacted the DNR employee working the gate who stated that he had a subject park in the handicap parking and would like enforcement action. CO Drexler and PCO Jaakkola checked the vehicle and there was no handicap sticker. The COs also ran the Michigan plate through the law enforcement information network to verify handicap status. A citation was issued for the violation.

COs Brandon Vacek, Nick Ingersoll, and Brandon Hartleben conducted a group marine patrol on Lake Erie. The COs conducted a check on a single angler in a boat fishing in Plum Creek. When asked to produce the safety equipment required onboard the vessel, the angler attempted to locate, but did not have any wearable PFDs or the required Type IV PFD on the vessel. The angler was issued a citation for failure to provide a PFD onboard a vessel.

CO Brandon Hartleben was on marine patrol on Whitmore Lake when he contacted a motorized kayak that was not displaying a registration. Further inquiry with the operator confirmed that the vessel was not registered and that there was no PFD aboard the vessel. The subject was educated on motorized vessel registration requirements and was issued a citation for not having a PFD on board.

CO Luke Robare stopped a dirt bike for doing a wheelie down the middle of a road in Genesee County. CO Robare issued the operator a citation and educated them on the county ORV rules and regulations.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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