Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 13, 2022

DISTRICT 1

CO Alex VanWagner followed up on a prior complaint regarding a collapsed ice shanty, which was left out on a lake in Iron County for multiple weeks. The subject previously stated the shanty was left out there after the Free Fishing Weekend. The CO recontacted the subject and the shanty was now sunk in and frozen in the ice. A citation was issued for failing to remove the shanty after March 31.

CO John Kamps and PCO Marc Mankowski responded to a supplemental feeding complaint in an area where many car-deer accidents have occurred. The COs located multiple hay bales and corn piles throughout the property that were within a quarter mile from a paved highway. The COs explained the safety hazard that it was creating for the nearby roadway as well as the rules regarding supplemental feeding. A warning was issued to the property owner, and they were given 24 hours to clean up the feed.

CO John Kamps and PCO Marc Mankowski contacted a trapper who was loading up his gear prior to checking his trap. During the routine check of the trapper, the COs noticed many untagged traps. Additionally, when the trapper escorted the COs to the trap in the water, it was determined that the trap was untagged as well. A citation was issued for using a trap that was not tagged with owner identification.

CO Cody Smith responded to a two-car accident in Baraga County. Upon arrival at the scene, he discovered two vehicles blocking the roadway. Occupants from both vehicles sustained substantial lacerations from the impact. CO Smith assisted Michigamme first responders while the ambulances were en route. The road was opened back up and traffic resumed as normal.

DISTRICT 2

CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of dogs chasing deer in Delta County. After following up on the complaint, it was found that an individual, for over a month, had been allowing his two dogs to run on to the neighbor’s property and chase deer almost every day. The neighbor had recorded the dogs on camera numerous days, often multiple times per day. He requested the neighbor to keep the dogs home, but the request was ignored. When CO Butzin contacted the dog’s owner, he stated, “They’re hunting dogs, that’s what they do.” A report has been submitted with the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office.

COs Todd Sumbera and Brandon Maki conducted a fisheries patrol on Drummond Island when they contacted an individual ice fishing who possessed 14 lake herring. The individual stated, “I am one away from filling my limit.” CO Sumbera asked him if he was sure the limit was 15. After a brief pause the individual stated that he forgot the limit was 12. COs Sumbera and Maki then explained that the legal possession limit for herring was actually 10. A citation was issued for the over-limit.

CO Justin Vinson received a complaint that an eagle and fox were caught in traps near Engadine, in Mackinac County. CO Vinson responded to the scene and upon his arrival discovered that Wildlife Division staff had already released the eagle, which had been trapped in a cable restraint (snare). CO Vinson observed several snares, a trail camera, and a trapped fox near a deer carcass. CO Vinson assisted Wildlife staff with the release of the live fox then seized the equipment. CO Vinson was able to locate and interview the suspect, who believed fox and snaring season was open. He informed the suspect that the use of cable restraints and fox season ended March 1 and that the eagle had been in his snare for four days. Total violations found included trapping fox outside of the open season, using cable restraints outside of the open season, using unlawful cable restraints, failing to check traps every 48 hours, and protected species unlawful acts. Charges are being sought through the Mackinac County Prosecutor’s Office.

DISTRICT 3

CO Matt Theunick received a trash dumping complaint at Green Timbers in the PRC. An individual or individuals had dumped several mattresses in the parking lot. If you have information about who may have committed this crime, please contact the Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

CO Tom Oberg was on patrol when he observed fresh ORV tracks on the Iron Belle Trail in Otsego County. The trail is used as a snowmobile trail in the winter and is strictly a walking/biking trail outside of snowmobile season. It is closed to all ORVs. CO Oberg noticed the fresh tracks traveling north and followed them. CO Oberg soon came across a side-by-side ORV on the trail approaching him. The CO initiated a traffic stop on the side-by-side and questioned the operator why all the “No ORV” signs he had passed in his venture didn’t catch his attention. The operator did not have an explanation. The operator was issued a ticket for operating an ORV on a closed trail.

CO Tom Oberg reports the disposition of three illegal deer cases he investigated from the 2021 deer hunting season. Three separate suspects pleaded guilty to the violations. Two cases dealt with shooting a deer during firearm deer season without a license and another case dealt with a suspect who shot a deer during archery deer season and failed to tag the deer. $3,000 in reimbursement was paid to the state Fish and Game Fund for the three illegal deer, in addition to court fines and costs.

DISTRICT 4

CO Ben Shively and PCO Mark Reffitt were patrolling along federal and private land when they came across two individuals cutting wood along the private land. CO Shively had been previously notified by a deputy that the property owner did not give permission to anyone to be cutting any wood on the property, which had been clear cut. The COs contacted the male and female and asked for their written permission to be cutting on the property. Both subjects gave different answers as to who gave them permission, which did not match up with the property owner. File checks were run on both subjects and the female subject returned with six valid misdemeanor warrants for her arrest. She was taken into custody on the warrants and lodged at the Oceana County Jail. All wood was unloaded and left at the scene and warnings were issued for larceny of the wood.

CO Ben Shively and PCO Mark Reffitt were leaving the Muskegon River after assisting DNR Fisheries Division personnel with the walleye egg take in Newaygo County when a vehicle passed their marked patrol on a double yellow line and then accelerated to 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle and the subject stated that he was late for work. A file check was run on the subject, who was found to have a criminal bench warrant for a traffic violation. The subject was taken into custody and lodged on the warrant. 

CO Micah Hintze and PCO Cody Bourgeois were checking anglers along a trout stream in Oceana County. From a distance, they observed two anglers smoking marijuana among several other anglers and a few children. The COs addressed the situation and told them they were setting a poor example to the anglers and children in the area. The anglers were issued a citation for use of marijuana in public.

CO Micah Hintze and PCO Cody Bourgeois were patrolling Tanner Swamp in Oceana County when they observed fresh tire tracks in the mud leading towards a known mud bog. The COs followed the tracks and eventually discovered a Jeep operating within the Beaver Creek Wetland. The COs contacted the driver, who stated he was just out two-tracking. The driver stated its public land so he thought he could drive wherever and however he wanted. The COs explained the irreversible damage that he was causing to the wetlands and that the area was closed to ORVs. The driver was cited for operating an ORV within a closed area and operating an ORV through a wetland.

DISTRICT 5

COs John Huspen, Ben McAteer, Matt Zultak, and PCO Elisabeth Killingbeck led a search for two subjects who got stuck on state land while driving local two-tracks in Crawford County. The COs were assisted by Crawford County deputies, MSP, and Camp Grayling Fire Department. One subject left the vehicle on foot, while the other stayed with it. The vehicle was located first just before dark. The subject on foot was found shortly after the vehicle was located. A wrecker was contacted and directed to the location of the car. The subjects were a little wet and cold, but otherwise healthy and followed the wrecker and search party back to the paved road.

CO Ben McAteer and PCO Marc Mankowski concluded an investigation of a deer illegally taken in Crawford County. The COs were alerted to an individual who had shot a 7-point buck during firearms deer season without a license. The COs conducted an interview and gained a confession for shooting the deer and purchasing a license later in the evening. A warrant is being sought through the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a deer without a license.

CO Brad Bellville was patrolling a closed trout stream in Ogemaw County when he came upon a truck parked by the river. The CO approached the anglers fishing the closed stream on foot and took up a good vantage point to observe. Although the anglers were oblivious to the CO being nearby, their four-legged companion was not. The angler’s chocolate Labrador sniffed out the CO and came to investigate. One of the anglers yelled to the dog, “Hey girl, what are you smelling over there?” At which time CO Bellville answered, “Just the game warden.” A citation was issued for fishing a closed trout stream.

DISTRICT 6

CO Matthew Neterer responded to a call near Caseville of a man who had fled from police into a nearby wooded area holding a box cutter to his neck. CO Neterer assisted Huron County deputies and an MSP trooper in setting up a perimeter. After a brief foot pursuit, the man was apprehended and taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

While patrolling the Au Sable State Forest in Midland County, COs Mike Haas and Adam Schiller came across a subject cutting wood. The subject’s truck was full of timber, and it was discovered that the man had failed to obtain a permit. Further investigation revealed that the subject had confirmed arrest warrants out of Gratiot and Montcalm counties. The subject was advised of his warrants and released but issued a citation to address the removal of forest products from state land without a permit.

CO Adam Schiller came across three trucks parked on the side of the road within the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area (SGGA). Contact was made with two individuals who were training their dogs on raccoons and using GPS to track the dogs. One of the dogs was in an area within the game area that was difficult to traverse. CO Schiller spoke to an occupant in a truck who was concerned because her boyfriend had not returned from retrieving their dog. The dog was in an area that was impassable by foot. Realizing that the dog was unwilling to cross the water, CO Schiller retrieved a canoe to assist with helping the dog and locating the dog’s owner. CO Schiller launched the canoe, retrieved the dog, and continued the search for the owner. CO Schiller located the owner who was on an island surrounded by deep water and was soaking wet from walking through the flooded area. The CO transported the subject and dog safely back to the parking area. 

DISTRICT 7

CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint in Allegan County of subjects trespassing to fish on the Rabbit River in Hamilton. He located two subjects fishing just yards away from a “posted, no trespassing” sign. When the subjects were contacted, they stated they were not aware they were on private property, even after walking directly past an abandon building in the middle of the property. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint in Allegan County of three shotgun shots fired on the Rabbit River in Hamilton and moments later an injured Canada goose landing in the water near the complainant’s residence. The CO arrived on scene and observed the suspect in a vessel on the river. CO Woodwyk directed the subject to come to shore. When the subject anchored his vessel, the CO observed a dead goose on the floor and a loaded shotgun in a case. The subject immediately admitted to shooting the goose because he wanted to try eating it. A report has been submitted to the Allegan County Prosecutor’s office seeking charges of taking geese during the closed season.

DISTRICT 8

CO Cullen Knoblauch discovered a possible illegally taken deer while conducting a processor inspection in Jackson County. CO Knoblauch contacted the hunter and inquired about the buck that was dropped off on Nov. 15, 2021. The hunter admitted to killing the buck two and half hours prior to purchasing his 2021 deer hunting license. A report will be forwarded to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Ed Rice received a RAP complaint of an individual cutting trees from Lost Nation SGA in Hillsdale County. CO Rice contacted the suspect and recognized him from an encounter roughly a month prior wherein the suspect asked about the process of removing wood from state land. The suspect provided CO Rice with a blank fuelwood permit and stated someone at the DNR told him to print the document and keep it with the wood. CO Rice advised the suspect the application period did not open until April 1. A citation was issued for removing trees from state land without a permit.

DISTRICT 9

CO David Schaumburger assisted CO Matthew Zultak by interviewing a subject who was accused of shooting a bobcat in a trap and leaving it to suffer. The hunter admitted his wrongdoing and charges will be sought in Otsego County for animal cruelty. 

CO David Schaumburger, while on marine patrol on Lake Erie, came upon a fishing boat with eight fishing lines. When the CO approached, he asked how many lines the pair of anglers had out, to which they replied, “Too many.” A citation was issued for fishing with too many fishing lines.

CO Mike Drexler and PCO Lisa Taube received an anonymous complaint for a subject keeping walleye on the Huron River at the Hydro Dam. The subject was found to be in possession of seven walleyes, all less than 15 inches in length. The subject was charged with take/possess walleye out of season and take/possess walleye less than 15 inches in length.

CO Mike Drexler and PCO Lisa Taube followed up on information from CO Tom Jaakkola on suspects in Washtenaw County who possibly purchased their license after taking a deer. Both suspects were contacted and admitted to taking deer prior to buying their license. Reports will be submitted to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Kris Kiel and PCO Cameron Wright received a complaint about a person hanging poison-soaked rags in trees in their yard to kill squirrels. The officers determined the rags were covered in fox urine (to spook the squirrels away), not poison. The subject told the COs that he is frustrated with the squirrels and has been trying everything he can to deter them from his property.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll received a complaint of individuals who had dumped approximately 60 sucker fish along a creek on private property. CO Ingersoll was able to locate two juvenile suspects who had dumped the fish the previous night after spear fishing. The complainant allowed the juveniles to remove the fish from the property and CO Ingersoll warned them for trespassing and dumping the fish.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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