Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 22, 2021

DISTRICT 1

Conservation Officer Anna Viau was heading to a southern Iron County Lake for marine patrol when she came across a sport utility vehicle (SUV) on the side of the road with its flashers on. Upon checking the vehicle, she discovered all the front airbags had gone off, but the vehicle was empty. After advising dispatch of the situation, the dispatcher shortly told CO Viau that the occupants had just called. They had walked down the road to get service to call. Thankfully, the two occupants of the vehicle had not been injured after hitting a large deer at highway speed. CO Viau assisted the occupants with getting a tow and a ride back to their cottage on a nearby lake.

DISTRICT 2

CO Andrea Dani checked on a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. CO Dani contacted the operator and immediately observed glossy eyes and the strong odor of intoxicants from the driver’s breath. The driver stated he’d had two drinks that day before he left his house and asked CO Dani to follow him back to his residence, in the opposite direction he was traveling. CO Dani asked where the driver was originally going. He stated he was on his way to get into a fight with his brother-in-law. The driver did not have his driver’s license with him. The driver failed standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs), blew a .104% blood alcohol content (BAC) on the preliminary breath test (PBT), and was subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and lodged at the Alger County Jail.

COs Andrea Dani and Steve Butzin attended a presentation for members of the Delta Force Leadership Program at the DNR Pocket Park. CO Butzin made a PowerPoint, and the COs described the steps required to become a conservation officer, the ever-changing responsibilities of conservation officers, as well as some of their most memorable cases.

COs Robert Freeborn and Michael Evink, along with several local police departments, participated in an escort into Manistique for a motorcycle group that pays tribute to fallen U.S. military service members. The bikers were led through town to the courthouse where a ceremony took place honoring the fallen service members and highlighted local men and woman who served.

While on patrol in western Mackinac County, CO Colton Gelinas observed a group of bicyclists stopped on a remote road approximately three miles from a rustic campground. One of the group members had a flat tire after riding 40 miles that day. CO Gelinas offered to give a ride to some group members the rest of the way to the campground, several members quickly took him up on his offer. The highway U.S. 2 corridor is popular for through-country bicyclists.

CO Mike Olesen and Sgt. Calvin Smith patrolled the St. Mary’s River from Neebish Island up to Sault Ste. Marie. During the patrol, many contacts were made with individuals fishing different areas of the river with high compliance in both fishing and marine regulations. When traveling near Sault Ste. Marie, the COs observed a personal watercraft (PWC) being operated within 200 feet of the shoreline. Contact was made with the operator who was determined to be 10 years old. The COs followed the underage operator back to his dock where contact was made with the father. CO Olesen explained the laws pertaining to PWC operation and a citation was issued to the father for owner/guardian allowing underage operation of PWC.

DISTRICT 3

CO Nathan Beelman and his wife were traveling home on a day off when they witnessed an accident along M 35 between Escanaba and Gladstone. The accident resulted in one subject being trapped in a vehicle and stuck in a ditch with air bags deployed. CO Beelman and his wife rendered first aid at the scene while they waited for first responders and helped direct first responders to the scene.

CO Kyle Cherry responded to two separate ORV crashes on a busy Saturday in Otsego County. Coincidentally, both crashes involved operators who had rolled their ORVs downhill after hitting a tree root. Both operators were transported to local hospital for treatment.

COs Jon Sklba, Dan Liestenfeltz, Sidney Collins, Jessica Curtis, Kyle Cherry, Matt Theunick, Eric Bottorff, Jon Sheppard, and Sgt. Michael Mshar assisted the Alpena Combat Readiness Center and the United States military with an exercise involving the landing of four A-10 Warthogs and two C-146s on state highway M 32. The COs provided security for the landing zone. This was the first time in history that this type of training was conducted on a roadway using fighter aircraft in the country.

CO Jon Sheppard received a complaint from RAP dispatchers regarding a bobcat that was harvested and registered in the 2019 license year. The hunter who took the bobcat had not obtained a bobcat kill tag. CO Sheppard interviewed the suspect at his house. The suspect showed CO Sheppard the mount of the bobcat hanging on his wall as well as pictures of the bobcat the day he harvested it. After the interview, CO Sheppard was unable to find any evidence that a bobcat kill-tag was purchased or placed on the bobcat. CO Sheppard seized the bobcat mount for evidence, and a report is being submitted to the Alpena County Prosecutor’s Office for harvesting a bobcat without a valid kill-tag.

CO Jon Sklba located an illegal bear bait in Presque Isle County. The bait had been established well before the legal bear baiting season and had used illegal debris at the bait site. Eventually, CO Sklba was able to contact a local bear guide as he was actively resetting the bait. A ticket was issued for the violation.

DISTRICT 4

CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol, heard Lake County Dispatch advise that a 911 call had been received but then dropped due to lack of phone service. The subject said that he had fallen and broken his back. Lake County Dispatch was unable to get a computer connection with the call, which would have given a location of origin. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office began tracking back the number, and after speaking with family members, it was determined that the person was probably in the woods in Mason County. CO Killingbeck went to a remote area and began driving two tracks. CO Killingbeck was able to locate the vehicle and eventually was able to track the injured person, now located at the base of the tree. The male subject had fallen approximately 30 feet out of the tree as he attempted to move his tree stand. CO Killingbeck provided first aid until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived. CO Killingbeck assisted with extrication of the subject from the area. The subject was transported by helicopter to a down state trauma center for his injuries.

CO Josiah Killingbeck was on patrol when he heard Lake County Dispatch advise that an unwanted person at a residence had turned hostile and there was a gun involved. CO Killingbeck responded to the scene as he was only a couple miles away. Upon his arrival, CO Killingbeck took cover and began calling people to come towards his location so he could get a visual on the suspects. One subject would not listen to CO Killingbeck’s orders. After a Lake County deputy arrived, CO Killingbeck and the deputy advanced and observed a subject lying face down and another subject standing nearby. CO Killingbeck asked the subject where the gun was. The subject who was standing told CO Killingbeck it was laying in the grass and that he’d just shot the other subject. CO Killingbeck detained the subject who was standing, and first aid was administered to the subject who had been shot. CO Killingbeck turned the scene over to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and assisted with the investigation.

COs Ben Shively and Micah Hintze responded to a Report All Poaching complaint from a subject who went to his leased hunting property in Oceana County and found one of his tower blinds to be damaged, his cell trail cameras had been removed, and no trespassing signs torn down. The COs met with the complainant and investigated the scene. The cell cameras were located at the back of the property, along with the removed no trespassing signs, next to another tower blind. The COs reviewed the trail camera photos from the SD cards and located a unique Polaris utility terrain vehicle (UTV) that was photographed on the property. CO Shively was able to reach out to contacts and was able to develop a suspect within an hour. CO Shively contacted the suspect who he has had prior contact with and was able to obtain a full confession to attempting to tip over the tower blind and destroying the staircase up to the blind with his UTV, removal of the trail cameras, tearing down the no trespassing signs, and ORV trespass. Warrants will be sought for malicious destruction of property, ORV trespass, and removal of no trespassing signs.

DISTRICT 5

COs Charlie Jones and Jeff Goss were patrolling Houghton Lake in Roscommon County. The COs observed a pontoon boat leave the event area operating at a speed greater than slow no wake less than 100 feet from anchored watercrafts and swimmers. COs Jones and Goss conducted a stop on the boat. Further investigation showed the operator of the pontoon was intoxicated with a BAC of .218. The operator was taken into custody and lodged in the Roscommon County Jail.

COs John Huspen, Breanna Reed, Josh Wright, Casey Pullum, Charlie Jones, Jeff Goss, and Sgt. Brian Olsen assisted the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office, the MSP, and Denton Township Police Department with patrolling on Houghton Lake in Roscommon County. Several marine citations were issued by the COs while patrolling the water. One medical assist was also handled where an individual began having a seizure.

DISTRICT 6

CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol in Saginaw County when he observed two individuals with fishing poles and buckets walking up to a parked vehicle. One of the individuals had several fish in the bucket he was carrying. Upon inspection, the CO noticed one of the two bass was visibly shorter than the other. It was measured to be approximately nine inches in length, five inches less than the legal 14-inch possession limit. The individual was issued a citation for possessing a bass less than the legal possession limit.

DISTRICT 7

COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer conducted a marine patrol upon the Galien River in New Buffalo. The COs observed two anglers fishing from kayaks. After contacting the anglers, it was determined neither individual possessed valid fishing licenses and one of the kayakers did not have a PFD onboard. Two citations were issued for fishing without licenses and one warning was given.

Sgt. Steve Mooney worked with CO Travis Dragomer in Berrien County on Saturday. While on patrol, the COs responded to a shooting incident at a local liquor store in Benton Harbor. One subject fatally was wounded, and another had minor wounds. The suspects fled the area after the shooting.

CO Richard Cardenas responded to an in-progress breaking and entering complaint. Barry County Sheriff’s deputies pursued two suspects and one was caught by the sheriff department’s K9 unit. The second evaded the track. CO Cardenas was patrolling the area looking for the second suspect when a citizen called 911 and advised a subject matching the description of the suspect came out of the woods and was attempting to get into a home that was for sale. When the suspect was confronted by citizens, he stole a bicycle and fled down the road. CO Cardenas responded to the area and located the suspect who refused to comply with his orders, abandoned the bike, and fled on foot. CO Cardenas pursued the suspect on foot and ultimately was able to take the suspect into custody and turn him over to the Barry County Sheriff’s Department to be lodged on charges related to their investigation and resist and obstruct charges for his actions during the arrest.

CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County when he observed two ORVs operating on the public roadway without helmets. The CO initiated his emergency lights to conduct a stop and witnessed the lead ORV operator quickly pour out a can of beer and place the can back inside the freshly opened 12-pack sitting on his lap. A citation was issued, and they were escorted to private property where they could get back to their residence.

CO Carter Woodwyk was conducting a dedicated patrol at Holland State Park. The park has seen an increase in reckless driving complaints. CO Woodwyk was patrolling the parking area when he heard and observed a black Ford Mustang coming in his direction at a high rate of speed through a pedestrian-filled day-use parking lot. When the operator observed the CO’s patrol truck, he immediately slowed down. A stop was conducted, and the operator admitted to “getting on it” but also stated he was only going 10 miles per hour. A citation was issued for careless operation due to the packed parking lot and heavy volume of pedestrians in the area.

COs from Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, Commercial Fish section, and park rangers conducted patrols on and around Grand Haven State Park. Fifty citations were issued related to alcohol violations, minors in possession of alcohol and marijuana, marine safety violations, general motor vehicle traffic violations, and fishing without a license.

DISTRICT 8

CO John Byars participated in the First Responders Food Drive for the Hungry. He passed out fliers to customers at a Kroger location in Lansing and was successful in getting enough donated non-perishable items to fill a large watermelon bin and three shopping carts.

DISTRICT 9

COs Dan Walzak and Dave Schaumburger checked a vessel with a lone angler who stated that he had his limit of walleye in the boat. The angler was pulling in lines and putting things away in his boat. Conducting a check, CO Schaumburger asked the angler to bring the fish into view by placing them in his landing net. As the subject was bringing the fish out of the live well, both officers noticed that there were seven fish, one fish over the legal limit. After the subject was issued a citation for possessing an over-limit of fish, CO Schaumburger asked him why he had the over-limit, the subject responded, “I was culling.”

COs Justin Muehlhauser and Luke Robare responded to a snagging complaint in progress at the Holloway Dam. A caller provided descriptions of two individuals who actively were snagging and keeping walleye. The COs arrived at the location and set up on the anglers. Both COs observed obvious snagging motions from both parties. Eventually the COs checked the anglers and inspected their catch. There were noticeable snag marks on three of the five fish in their possession. One of the anglers admitted to keeping a foul-hooked fish. The other angler was fishing without a license. Both anglers were cited for their respective violations.

Sgt. Jason Becker worked the Kroger First Responder Food Drive at the Milford location. Kroger customers filled a melon bin full of food donations and the store accepted hundreds of dollars in monetary donations. People were excited to see a conservation officer and there were many people commenting on how sharp the patrol truck looks.

CO Bob Watson had a bench trial for a hunter harassment case which took place in December 2020. The suspect was found guilty. His hunting privileges were revoked, and he was sentenced to fines and community service.

CO Bob Watson responded to a complaint of trespass. CO Watson contacted a young man fishing who acknowledged to walking past “No Trespassing” signs to access the property. The young man received a citation for fishing without a license and a warning for trespassing.

CO Jaime Salisbury was on marine patrol when he witnessed a female sitting on the front of a boat with her legs dangling towards the water while doing approximately 35 mph. CO Salisbury stopped the vessel and informed the bow-riding woman and the male driver that it was illegal to sit on the front of the boat while going faster than no wake speed. CO Salisbury asked the woman for her state issued identification and she said she didn’t have it with her. CO Salisbury asked for her name and date of birth, and she gave him the requested information. After running the name through Station 20 and receiving a “no record” return, CO Salisbury confronted the woman about the name she gave him. When CO Salisbury asked for her real name, she miraculously was able to produce the identification CO Salisbury had initially asked for. CO Salisbury asked why she lied about her name, and she replied, “I didn’t feel like giving it to you.” The woman was run through LEIN by her real name and there were no wants or warrants. Two misdemeanor citations were issued to the woman for bow riding and providing a false name to a police officer.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking anglers at Luna Pier when he observed an individual fishing from the parking lot. While walking down the pier CO Ingersoll noticed the subject had set his pole down. Upon speaking with the subject, he advised CO Ingersoll he was just out enjoying the night and not fishing. CO Ingersoll advised the angler he watched him fish from the parking lot and his worm was still wet from the water. The angler continued to deny that he was fishing, until CO Ingersoll issued him his citation. Once CO Ingersoll issued him his citation for fishing without a license, the angler advised he was fishing and just didn’t have the money to pay the citation.

CO Eric Smither was contacting anglers at Lake Hudson boat launch when he observed a boat traveling at a high rate of speed on plane across the lake. Lake Hudson is a no wake lake and CO Smither contacted the boat operator near shore on the opposite side of the lake. The operator stated he did not know it was a no wake lake until his wife informed him once he slowed down. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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