Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 24, 2022

DISTRICT 1

CO Brian Lasanen worked a patrol in Keweenaw County related to smelting activity. CO Lasanen discovered the river did not hold many smelt but was full of walleyes attempting to spawn. CO Lasanen watched three subjects dipping for smelt and observed two of the subjects return to their truck. They retrieved a tackle box and a garbage bag and returned to the river where they were dipping for smelt. When the three subjects returned to their truck a brief time later, CO Lasanen introduced himself as a CO and asked how their smelting was going. The three subjects appeared nervous and stated they did not have any smelt. When CO Lasanen asked about the tackle box and trash bag, the subjects produced a walleye that was hidden in the tackle box. One of the subjects was cited for taking a walleye out of season.

CO Shannon Kritz received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint about an angler who was fishing from a boat and was harassed by shore anglers. CO Kritz responded to the area and interviewed the involved parties. Both groups were fishing a narrow slough of the river for catch-and-release bass. A juvenile shore angler and the complainant kept crossing lines. The older brother of the juvenile came over and confronted the boat anglers about being too close to them. As the verbal confrontation occurred, the shore anglers continued to cast near the boat. A report documenting both sides of the confrontation will be submitted to the Menominee County Prosecutor’s Office to review charges of angler harassment.

DISTRICT 2

CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of a hunter who had shot another hunter’s turkey decoy. CO Butzin responded to the area and was able to conduct a traffic stop on the suspects’ vehicle. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the individual who shot the decoy was an elderly gentleman who had made an honest mistake when he shot the jake decoy. The individual was educated on the importance of knowing your target and what is beyond it.

CO Cole VanOosten received a complaint from the RAP hotline regarding two anglers who had caught a large snapping turtle on shore as it was laying eggs then put it in a box in the back of their vehicle during the closed season. CO VanOosten responded and located the suspects who initially tried telling him that they had caught the turtle but released it. It was determined that the turtle had been killed and the individuals planned to eat it. CO VanOosten seized several parts of the turtle, and a report was compiled requesting charges for taking a turtle out of season with the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol of Mackinac County when he located a group of individuals spearing a small creek where complaints of illegal walleye spearing had been received. CO VanOosten contacted three members of the group who had several buckets full of suckers that they had speared. The individuals stated that they had not seen any walleye and that they had not speared any. CO VanOosten began walking the riverbank and located a freshly speared walleye that was still alive and had been placed in the woods. When confronted about the walleye, all members of the group stated that they knew nothing about it. Through further investigations and interviews it was determined that a member of the group had speared the fish and placed it in the woods. A report was generated and submitted to the Mackinac County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a walleye out of season and taking a walleye with an illegal method.

COs Todd Sumbera and PCO Jacob Daniel received a call from the Sault Ste. Marie City Police Department about a suspect who had trapped a fox out of season. The city officers were able to release the fox from the trap and seized two traps that the suspect had set. COs Sumbera and Daniels interviewed the suspect the following day who admitted to setting the traps with hope of catching the fox that he had captured on his trail camera. A report was sent to the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office seeking charges for trapping fox out of season, untagged traps, and trapping without a license.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau and PCO Jackson Kelly responded to a designated trout stream in northern Emmet County on a complaint of a group of anglers spearing suckers. When the COs arrived on scene, they spoke with a group of four subjects, with one person spearing. PCO Kelly explained the violation to the anglers. After a short debate as to whether the river was a designated trout stream, the COs educated the individual by pointing out in the Michigan fishing guide the specific pages explaining the spearing regulations. The subject was issued a ticket for spearing on a designated trout stream. The COs seized his spear and three illegally taken fish. PCO Kelly checked the subject for prior fish and game violations. PCO Kelly discovered the young man had been arrested a couple of years ago for illegally spearing trout.

CO Paul Fox assisted the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Department on the scene of a single motorcycle fatal accident. The lone driver lost control leaving the roadway and did not survive the crash.

DISTRICT 4

CO Patrick McManus assisted the National Park Service (NPS) Law Enforcement Division with investigating a small wildfire on NPS property near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County. CO McManus was able to locate the source of the fire on private property adjacent to NPS land and assisted rangers with interviews and follow-up prosecution. Historically, the NPS and DNR work together on many different complaints each year, and 2022 is proving to be no different.

CO Ben Shively was first on scene in Newaygo County on the report of a missing 82-year-old female with dementia who had possibly fallen into the Muskegon River.  CO Shively was able to coordinate with a neighbor, launch a boat, and check downstream as search crews showed up to check the land around the residence. After an hour and a half, the woman was located near her residence. She was reunited with her family with no injuries.

COs Ben Shively and Micah Hintze responded with the DNR and Hesperia Fire Department to a fire near federal land. A homeowner stated he was burning some paper and cardboard in a pit and the fire escaped into the woods. The homeowner was cited for allowing fire to escape control and warned for burning during a fire ban.

CO Tim Barboza responded to a domestic violence call, which occurred a few miles away, where an intoxicated male had choked a female. CO Barboza responded to the scene, which he secured, and started to interview the parties until the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene to take over the investigation. The subject was arrested and transported to the Newaygo County Jail.

DISTRICT 5

CO John Huspen and PCO Jacob Hamilton received a complaint of a grass fire in Crawford County. Upon arrival, the grass fire had started due to a dwelling on fire and spread to the surrounding woods where it burned a small area and had started to die out. First responders and neighbors were already in the process of containing the grass fire. The dwelling was burned to the ground but was not occupied. The scene was secured until the fire department and Crawford County Sheriff Department arrived.

CO John Huspen and PCO Jacob Hamilton were patrolling for fishing activity along the Au Sable River in Crawford County when they heard a dispatch call for a domestic violence situation near their location. The COs arrived at the scene and assisted an MSP trooper.

CO John Huspen and PCO Jacob Hamilton were requested to assist with the Blue Lake fire in Montmorency County. Upon arrival, the COs assisted with incident command by sending law enforcement to close intersections in order to keep traffic from entering the area.  While traveling back to their county, CO Huspen and PCO Hamilton were dispatched to a second fire a few miles away from the Blue Lake fire. The second fire was a smaller fire that burned an acre of private property. The residents had been burning trash and were not attending to their fire when it escaped. The responsible parties were interviewed, and a citation was issued.

DISTRICT 6

CO Mark Siemen received a complaint about two subjects who had caught some smallmouth bass and took photos of the fish on a stringer and then placed the fish out on the grass to take more photos. In the photos, it appears as if a few of the fish were dead. CO Siemen spoke with the subjects and advised them of the catch-and-immediate-release law and explained that putting the fish on a stringer is not immediately releasing them. Charges are being sought.

CO Mark Siemen received a call from a subject stating two people were trespassing on his property and had shot at a turkey. CO Siemen responded and contacted two juveniles who stated they did not know they were trespassing. When asked to see hunting licenses one of them began to cry stating he did not have a license. After speaking with the two hunters and the property owner, CO Siemen contacted the juveniles’ parents. All were educated about trespassing and hunting without a license. The property owner was satisfied with the outcome and did not pursue charges.

COs Adam Schiller and Mike Haas received a complaint of a suspect who had shot a turkey from his truck. Using photos the COs received from the complainant, they were able to locate the suspect at his residence. The suspect denied any wrongdoing and provided his version of the taking of the turkey. The COs photographed the turkey and firearm and informed the man that a report would be submitted to the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office. The next day, the suspect called and stated he felt guilty for lying and admitted to shooting the turkey from inside of his truck. The turkey and shotgun were seized, and charges are pending.

DISTRICT 7

PCO Cameron Wright and CO Sam Schluckbier found a post on social media of a hunter who shot a turkey but did not have a tag for the date it was harvested. The COs interviewed the suspect and learned that the turkey hunter left their license at home, traveled to the east side of the state, shot the turkey, and then put a friend’s tag on it. When the COs explained that they needed to seize the turkey as evidence, they were surprised when the hunter stated that it was in the back of the Asian Palace Restaurant drying with Borax as that was where the turkey was processed. Multiple charges are being submitted to the prosecutor.

CO Casey Varriale swore to a warrant for a poaching case from this past winter. COs Varriale, Justin Ulberg, Jeremy Beavers, Anna Cullen, and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers worked a case through February and March of 2022 in Nelson and Spencer Townships in Kent County involving several deer being shot at night. The deer were left where they were shot. An anonymous tip led officers to a suspect who confessed and furnished maps of how and when the poaching took place. A cellphone search warrant was obtained which uncovered violations from 2020 and 2021. The suspect initially denied violating any laws in 2020 and 2021, but when faced with the evidence, he confessed to those crimes as well. The suspect was charged with taking deer out of season, taking deer utilizing an illegal method, and taking deer from a motor vehicle.  

DISTRICT 8

CO Chris Reynolds received a call from a local contact in Hillsdale County of individuals hunting and trespassing on his property. CO Reynolds contacted the individuals and asked if they knew whose property they were on. No one knew the landowner and one of the people said they had just been going on the property for years. CO Reynolds explained to the group that the landowner does not want anyone on their property and wanted trespass charges for anyone on the property. Citations were issued for recreational trespass.

CO Jason McCullough, along with several other agencies, were called to locate a lost teenager in a canoe along the Kalamazoo River. CO McCullough located the young girl standing on an island unharmed but a little scared.

CO Ed Rice responded to a RAP complaint of an individual possessing mallard ducks. CO Rice arrived at the residence and located two ducklings. CO Rice gave a verbal warning for rehabilitating wildlife without a permit. CO Rice explained the wildlife rehabilitation permit process and transported the ducklings to a nearby rehabilitator for care.

DISTRICT 9

COs Kris Kiel, Sydney Griffor, and David Schaumburger patrolled the Detroit River at night and came upon a boat fishing near Wyandotte. The anglers said that it was a slow night and they had been fishing since 9 p.m. and had just got their limit. The anglers were in possession of 12 walleye. During the contact, one of the anglers said that he just started fishing at 11 p.m. CO Schaumburger questioned the two about the fishing and suspected that the captain of the boat had caught a limit before picking up his fishing friend and suspected there was fish in his vehicle. CO Schaumburger asked the anglers if there were any fish in the vehicles and the anglers said there was not. The COs followed the anglers back to the dock and one of the anglers pulled CO Kiel aside and told him he had fish in his vehicle. The COs located six additional walleye in his vehicle and he was given a citation for possessing over the daily limit.

CO David Schaumburger received a complaint that an angler at Bishop Park in Wyandotte caught and was in possession of an undersized northern pike. CO Schaumburger responded and located the suspect and the fish that was 22 inches. The CO asked for the suspects identification, at which point he was berated by the suspect who yelled at the CO saying, “I’M DONE IF YOU’RE GIVING ME A TICKET, ARE YOU TELLING ME I HAVE TO KNOW ALL OF THE SIZES OF THE FISH I CATCH?” The CO diffused the situation and let her know that she did indeed need to know the sizes of the fish that she is going to catch and if she did not, then she needed to throw them back. The angler received a citation for possessing an undersized northern pike.

CO Joseph Deppen was checking for fishing activity in Macomb County when he noticed a boat with two men fishing. The anglers were checked upon returning to the dock and had no PFDs, no Type IV PFD, no fire extinguisher, no registration, and no fishing licenses in possession. Both had outstanding warrants. The boat operator was cited for operating a vessel with no PFDs and given warnings on everything else. Both men were arrested on their outstanding warrants.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll and PCO Cody Bourgeois received a complaint from dispatch about a turkey being shot within a neighbor’s safety zone. When interviewing the suspect, he admitted to shooting a turkey and stated he was outside all safety zones and would show the COs where he shot the turkey. He showed the COs the turkey which was untagged. The suspect stated he shot the bird earlier that morning and said he did not have time to tag it. The suspect was issued a citation for failing to immediately attach a kill tag to his turkey.

COs Ariel Young, Nicholas Ingersoll, and PCO Cody Bourgeois came across a vessel with no MC numbers. They spoke to the angler who had an over-limit of white bass on board. The angler was 14 fish over the limit and was cited for the over-limit and warned for not displaying his MC numbers.

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