Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 27, 2022

DISTRICT 1

COs Phil Helminen, Jared Ferguson, and PCOs Josh Salas and Jacob Daniel were observing fishing activity during the spring walleye runs in the Menominee River. CO Helminen and PCO Salas observed a group of anglers catching walleyes and placing them on shore. The COs observed one individual take a walleye back to their vehicle and then return to continue fishing. The COs contacted the group as they were leaving and found them over the possession limit. One angler was found to also have no fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO John Kamps and PCO Marc Mankowski checked a late season trapper parked along a trout stream in Marquette County. The trapper appeared a bit nervous and quickly put away several trapping items as he was approached by the COs. A thorough check of his trapping equipment discovered that several of the traps were not tagged with the owner’s information. The COs followed the trapper to several beaver sets he had placed out along the stream. These traps were untagged as well. A citation was issued for the violation.

CO John Kamps and PCO Marc Mankowski responded to a single automobile accident where the driver failed to stop at an intersection and went airborne after hitting the ditch. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and had a laceration to her head from striking the windshield. Local emergency responders assisted the driver out of the vehicle, and she was transported safely to the hospital for further evaluation.

DISTRICT 2

COs Chris Lynch, Steve Butzin, Rob Freeborn, Mike Evink, PCOs Todd Bunce, and Jackson Kelly successfully executed a search warrant without incident. The search warrant was to search a suspect’s truck believed to be containing evidence of a deer poaching that happened last deer season. A search of the truck turned up potential evidence that will be used in court at a later date. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Steve Butzin was conducting a follow up investigation from this past deer season when he encountered several wildlife violations. The investigation was regarding the loaning and borrowing of licenses. Further investigation found that one of the suspects had shot a 6-point buck without a license. A report has been submitted to the 94th District Court of Delta County.

CO Steve Butzin was on patrol in Delta County, looking for unlawful fishing activity during the walleye closure, when he had a pick-up truck pull out in front of him and begin traveling at a slow rate of speed. CO Butzin followed the pick-up and when it became apparent the operator was unable to keep their vehicle within the lane travel, a traffic stop was conducted. CO Chris Lynch arrived on scene shortly after to assist with the investigation. A preliminary breath test (PBT) test of the individual showed the subject was operating a motor vehicle with at nearly triple the legal limit. The operator was arrested and lodged at the Delta County Jail for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) 3rd offense, operating a motor vehicle on a restricted license in violation of restrictions, and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

CO Robert Freeborn and PCO Todd Bunce were on an ice fishing patrol in Schoolcraft County when they encountered an individual with an overlimit of bluegill. As the COs approached the angler, the individual began to throw fish back into the holes, but not before the COs were able to visually count more than the fisherman’s limit of 25. A citation was issued for the overlimit, and the fisherman was educated on the differences between possession and catch-and-release fishing. Upon checking a second fisherman nearby, another overlimit was discovered, and another citation was issued for the over-limit of bluegill.

DISTRICT 3

CO Jessie Curtis attended the Women in Law Enforcement Conference in Grand Rapids put on by the Michigan State Police (MSP).

CO Adam LeClerc was contacted by the Arizona Department of Fish and Game to assist with a suspect who fled from Arizona to Michigan. The subject was located after over a month of searching for him. Following an interview, CO LeClerc and PCO Cheyanna Langworthy advised the suspect of five new resource-related charges originating from the state of Arizona.

CO Tim Rosochacki responded to a complaint of an injured snowy owl, reportedly hanging upside down in a tree. Upon arrival, the owl was determined to be a plastic grocery bag.

CO Jon Sheppard received a tip from CO Jon Sklba that there were people trespassing on private property in order to spear fish in Clinton Creek. CO Sheppard responded to the area and contacted a subject, as well as the landowner. The landowner stated that he had told the subject to leave his property and the subject refused. CO Sheppard advised him of the recreational trespass laws. The subject then said, “Well, give me my ticket so I can get back to fishing.”  CO Sheppard advised the subject that if he entered onto the private property again and continued fishing, he would be physically arrested. CO Sheppard issued an appearance ticket for recreational trespass and the subject left the scene.

DISTRICT 4

CO Ben Shively and PCO Mark Reffitt worked a stream closed to fishing in Oceana County. The COs arrived at the stream and snuck in from the north and heard voices along the stream. Using their binoculars, they were able to observe two subjects along the stream and observed one of the subjects carrying a large spear. They put the spear down and worked downstream attempting to locate fish in the creek. The COs were able to cross the creek and quickly located the large spear laying along the creek. Contact was made and CO Shively recognized one of the potential suspects as revoked from fishing until 2024 and hunting until 2025. Both subjects stated they were just walking along the creek looking for fish. When questioned about the spear, both subjects denied any knowledge of the spear. Both subjects were cited for possession of a spear along a closed trout stream and one subject was cited for fishing while revoked. The 9-foot, 8-inch spear was photographed and seized.

CO Tim Barboza located several muskrat traps, which were still set after the trapping season closed. One had a dead muskrat inside. CO Barboza pulled the traps and located the driver’s license number on the trap tags matching all six traps. CO Barboza returned the traps, and conducted an interview. CO Barboza advised the trapper of the issues of the traps being set while the season was closed and finding a dead muskrat in one of the traps. This case is pending prosecutor review.

CO Micah Hintze and PCO Cody Bourgeois received a complaint early in March about a possible bear bait. The COs found and confirmed the early bear bait in the middle of a national forest in Oceana County. They set up surveillance on the bait site. After a few weeks, they discovered several suspects entering the area with bait. Two suspects were interviewed separately and admitted to the early bear-baiting. The COs have submitted the information to the court and are awaiting an arrest warrant.

DISTRICT 5

CO Casey Pullum and PCO Olivia Moeller noticed a vehicle stopped in the roadway in Oscoda County and offered assistance. After contacting the occupants, the COs observed signs of intoxication on the driver. PCO Moeller conducted SFSTs on the driver and administered a PBT. The PBT result was nearly twice the legal limit. PCO Moeller took the driver into custody and lodged him in the Oscoda County Jail for OWI.

CO Craig Neal was patrolling Standish Township in Arenac County checking the ditches for spawning pike when he noticed a colony type trap in the bottom of the ditch. Colony traps are used for trapping muskrats. The season for trapping muskrats closed March 1. CO Neal pulled the colony trap out of the ditch to see if it was properly tagge. The trap was tagged, and CO Neal was able to determine who it belonged to. CO Neal had checked that particular trapper in that area in recent years.  CO Neal stopped by the trapper’s house to discuss the illegal trap. CO Neal explained to the trapper the importance of remembering where he sets his traps so that they can all be pulled at the close of season. Charges have been submitted to Arenac County for trapping during the closed season.

CO Matthew Zultak was watching people fish at a local dam in Roscommon County. One of the anglers noticed CO Zultak and stepped away from the water. He put his rod down in the woods and pulled his car keys from his pocket. The angler began to walk back to his car. CO Zultak contacted him, just before he reached his vehicle. CO Zultak conducted a fish check and confirmed that the angler did not have a valid fishing license. A citation was issued for fishing without a license.

COs Breanna Reed and James Garrett were off-duty scouting state land for spring beaver trapping in Missaukee County when they observed four traps near a beaver dam. Upon inspection of the traps, the COs were unable to locate any identification tags. Later in the day, CO Reed was able to contact the trapper while checking his traps. The trapper did not have a fur harvesters license. Upon further investigation and a social media search, the trapper had taken several other animals without the proper licenses. COs Reed, Garrett, and Jeremy Cantrell reinterviewed the trapper at his residence. The trapper had multiple other violations, including taking beaver, otter, and coyote without a fur harvesters license as well as taking an 8-point buck with a compound bow in Newaygo County during the 2021 deer season. Charges are being sought through the Missaukee and Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Offices.

DISTRICT 6

COs Dan Robinson, Jeremy Beavers, Adam Schiller, and PCO Michael Lator set up a dedicated group patrol at a problem shooting range in southern Montcalm County. The COs used covert observation and uniformed officers to address multiple issues and complaints in the area. Several tickets were issued for range violations and ORV violations in the area.

CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of violations at the Flat River State Game Area (SGA) range. The CO responded and observed four individuals violating range rules. After issuing the citations to the four individuals, the CO contacted three more individuals on the range and an additional citation was issued to the individual for misuse of the range.

DISTRICT 7

CO Kyle McQueer was patrolling the Middleville SGA in Barry County on a trail that is closed to ORV use and observed an ORV and conducted a stop. While CO McQueer was on the stop, he observed six other ORVs approach from behind him. Four of the ORVs stopped and the last two backed up and fled down the trail. There were multiple violations among all the ORVs. A citation was issued for operating in a closed area and several verbal warnings were given for failing to register an ORV.

CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County and observed two anglers fishing Bear Creek, which is a closed Type 1 trout stream. The CO contacted both anglers and discovered they had six steelhead on three stringers spread out in various locations in the creek. After photographing and releasing all the fish, the CO issued citations to the anglers for fishing in a closed trout stream.

DISTRICT 8

COs Cullen Knoblauch and Thomas Jaakkola conducted a taxidermy check on a local taxidermist. During the conversation with the taxidermist, he stated that he was cited in 2008 for not keeping records. When asked to see records, the taxidermist stated he only kept records for two years after being cited and hasn’t kept records since 2010. The taxidermist was cited for not maintaining records.

CO Cullen Knoblauch conducted a deer processor inspection at a local business after the 2021 deer hunting season concluded. CO Knoblauch located a record of a buck being dropped off on October 23 and the license was purchased on October 23 in the afternoon. CO Knoblauch contacted the suspect who stated she only killed one doe during the 2021 season which contradicts the records from the processor. The female stated her husband was the one who shot the buck and asked her to go buy a tag for him to use so he could continue to hunt for a larger buck. The male suspect admitted to shooting three bucks during the 2021 season and using his wife’s tag for one. The case will be forwarded to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Ed Rice responded to an ORV accident and, along with medical personnel, located a subject in the middle of the roadway. The individual was complaining of head and neck pain. CO Rice positioned his patrol truck to block a nearby intersection while medical personnel stabilized the man. CO Rice discovered through witnesses that the male was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but the helmet was dislodged as he was thrown from the ORV. In addition, the ORV landed on top of him. The individual was life-flighted to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.

DISTRICT 9

CO Danielle Zubek received a complaint of an unlicensed charter boat advertising fishing charters for the Detroit River on Facebook. CO Zubek contacted SIU detectives to set up a charter with the suspect. Upon finishing a charter trip and returning, COs Zubek and Schaumburger questioned the suspect who admitted to taking money for the fishing trip and for advertising charters on Facebook. The individual ticketed for carrying passengers for hire without a license.

PCO Marissa Hassevoort and CO Justin Muehlhauser watched a group of anglers at the Hamilton Dam in downtown Flint. CO Muehlhauser observed a man walk over to the end of the fishing pier and pick up a plastic bag which was hiding under a pile of landscape fabric. The subject placed the bag inside his bucket and started back to his vehicle. The COs approached on foot and as they attempted to make contact, the subject hurried behind a structure and was out of sight for a split second. The COs contacted the subject who stated he didn’t have any fish. The COs looked behind the building and they located a plastic bag with a walleye in it that was still moving. The man admitted he threw it behind the building when he realized the COs were approaching. The subject was cited for taking/possessing walleye out of season.

CO Jaime Salisbury received a complaint of out of season crow hunting in Almont Township. CO Salisbury responded and observed a hunter shoot and kill multiple crows. CO Salisbury located six crows killed by the hunter and issued a citation for hunting crows out of season.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll checked two anglers at the DTE Hot Ponds who were having success. When checking the first angler, it was determined that he had a total of 16 channel catfish. When checking the second angler it was determined that he had a total of 24 channel catfish. The fish were seized, and they were cited for taking an over-limit of catfish.

CO Brandon Vacek was on patrol at Pointe Mouillee SGA when he observed two subjects using cast nets. The subjects were in possession of two pike, one undersized, both out of season, a carp, and a sheepshead. All the fish had been caught using the cast nets and neither subject had a valid fishing license. Citations were issued for possessing fish taken by illegal method and fishing without a license.

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