Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 30, 2022

DISTRICT 1

Conservation Officers (COs) Phil Helminen and Alex VanWagner participated with wardens from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in a National Law Enforcement Night Out event. Law enforcement agencies from Dickinson, Florence, and Marinette counties participated in the event. The COs stationed an archery range, where they demonstrated archery safety and instructed kids on shooting.

CO Alex VanWagner and Sgt. Brian Bacon conducted a marine patrol on Fortune Lake in Iron County as there was an event held focusing on educating the public about aquatic invasive species (AIS). Citations were issued for failing to provide a personal flotation device (PFD) and operating an unregistered watercraft.

CO Shannon Kritz responded to a medical call involving an elderly male who was found unresponsive with shallow breathing in his home. CO Kritz was the second first responder on the scene. The male appeared to have suffered a fall resulting in blood loss. The victim was stabilized and transported to the hospital by EMS.

COs Jeremy Sergey and Jackson Kelly responded to a report of hikers blowing an emergency whistle somewhere on Hogback Mountain in Marquette County. The COs, along with the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department, developed a search plan and began searching for the hikers. The COs hiked up Hogback Mountain and located the hikers, who had gotten separated while going off-trail. All individuals were safe and made it back to the trailhead.

DISTRICT 2

While off duty at his residence, CO Robert Freeborn received a call from the local police department regarding a lost boater on the Manistique River. Upon gathering the possible location of the subject, CO Freeborn returned to work to assist the MSP and local sheriff’s department. As CO Freeborn was en route to the area, he learned that the missing boater was in a paddle boat and became separated from the rest of their party. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the boater was found in good condition and was returned to his friends.

COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin conducted several marine safety and aquatic invasive species patrols on inland lakes in Delta County. Several contacts were made, and one citation was issued to an angler for fishing without a license.

CO Todd Sumbera was patrolling the St. Mary’s River when he observed a pontoon boat with multiple occupants fishing. CO Sumbera observed a lady fishing and even observed her attempt to set the hook while fishing. As CO Sumbera approached, she set her fishing rod down and took a seat in the back of the vessel. CO Sumbera asked to see everyone’s fishing license. The individual who set their pole down claimed she was assisting her kids. After CO Sumbera explained that he had observed her fishing for several minutes. CO Sumbera asked to see the fishing rod used by the individual and her son stated, “Mom you used both of these rods.” A citation was issued for fishing without a license.

CO Todd Sumbera and Sgt. Calvin Smith came across a boat that was operating in one of the small bays along Drummond Island. The vessel was displaying a registration from 1983. A stop was made on the boat and CO Sumbera explained the reason for the stop to the boat operator. The man replied, “It’s registered, my wife forgot all the registration decals back at our home.” A quick check through Station 20 found that the vessel was indeed expired and had been for years. A citation was issued for operating a motorboat with expired registration.

DISTRICT 3

CO Nathan Beelman was off duty at his residence when he received a call about a seagull in Boyne City that was wrapped up in fishing line and unable to fly. CO Beelman responded to the area and with the help of a passerby was able to cut the line free of the seagull’s wing and remove a hook that was stuck in the seagull’s feathers. The seagull was released without incident and without any permanent injuries.

CO Adam LeClerc concluded a two-month long investigation into the destruction of property at the Oden State Fish Hatchery. Through review of surveillance equipment, multiple suspects were identified. In total, five juvenile suspects were identified and interviewed with their parents/guardian. Charges have been sought through the Emmet County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Tim Rosochacki received a phone call requesting assistance from a Tuscarora Township police officer, who was responding to a call regarding a juvenile who captured a live duckling at a local beach. Upon arrival, the duckling was located inside the mother’s vehicle. The juvenile had walked away from the scene, refusing to talk to the officers. After discussion with the mother, it was determined they had intended to take the duckling home with them. CO Rosochacki returned the duckling back to its mother. A report was completed and submitted to the Cheboygan County Prosecutor’s Office.

DISTRICT 4

COs Logan Turner and Will Kinney responded to a report of a capsized vessel and two people in the water on Ellis Lake in Grand Traverse County. On arrival, a local marine rescue boat had just launched, and CO Turner jumped on the boat with the rescue team to help locate the capsized vessel. Both individuals, who were in their 70s, were holding onto the side of the boat, and had PFDs on. They could not move from where they had capsized due to the lily pads and being entangled in their fishing line. CO Turner and the rescue team were able to pull the two individuals out of the water and tow their boat back to shore where emergency medical services (EMS) had staged.

CO Tim Barboza responded to a Report all Poaching complaint of a large group on the Muskegon River near Croton Dam that were spearing fish and cooking them over a fire along the riverbank. CO Barboza patrolled to the location and observed two males in the river with spears. He drove to the other side of the river and walked down the hill to the two males. As CO Barboza approached, he saw a third male exit the river on the opposite side holding a spear. CO Barboza identified the two males still in the water, secured the bag of fish they had speared, and asked how many people were in the group. Then he advised them to return to the group and he would be over to talk with everyone and to leave everything where it is. CO Barboza contacted a group of seven to eight individuals and began to ask who the third male with the spear was. After a few minutes of trying to deny another person with a spear, one member of the group admitted it was him. CO Barboza seized one walleye, seven rock bass, four suckers, one perch, and one bluegill from the group, along with four spears and seven spear heads. One of the males with a spear was a minor and received a warning. The other two males were issued citations and dates to appear in court.

DISTRICT 5

CO Casey Pullum was on patrol when he noticed a local bear hunter who uses dogs drive past his location. Having knowledge of early bear baits in the area, CO Pullum tracked the hunter. He followed fresh vehicle tracks in the road which was recently wet from rain. CO Pullum located the truck parked alongside the road on federal land. A few minutes later, CO Pullum noticed someone walking through the woods and carrying a bucket. As soon as the subject could see CO Pullum’s patrol truck he stopped, backed up, and set the bucket down. CO Pullum called out to the hunter, “Don’t hide that bucket!” The hunter replied “Awww, you got me.”  The hunter took CO Pullum to the bear bait that was established greater than 31 days prior to the season. A citation was issued for the illegal bear bait.

COs from District 5 patrolled the annual AuSable River Canoe Marathon in Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona, and Iosco counties. The COs provided crowd control at the start of the race and along bridge crossings in Crawford and Oscoda counties as well as on the water patrols in Alcona and Iosco counties. The race begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday and the winners will typically finish in the early afternoon on Sunday. The event was successful, and all contestants safely completed the race.

DISTRICT 6

While on patrol in Montcalm County, COs Mike Haas and Paul Lyden came across multiple anglers fishing the Greenville Dam. CO Lyden watched one group of anglers while CO Haas approached the others. One of the anglers noticed CO Haas across the river and used profanity as he quickly reeled in his line. Unfortunately for the angler, CO Lyden was standing right above him watching the entire time. The angler was cited for failure to exhibit a fishing license.

CO Mike Eovaldi was conducting a marine patrol on Murphy Lake in Tuscola County when he contacted two individuals fishing in a rowboat. One angler stated she had a fishing license but did not have it on her. Upon further investigation, it was determined the female angler did not have a fishing license. The couple was also found to be without two PFDs. The man was given a citation for failure to provide a PFD as required by state law and the woman was given a warning for fishing without a fishing license. In the same patrol, CO Eovaldi observed a male operating a personal watercraft without a PFD. The operator was contacted and stated he was not wearing his PFD because it was too small. The operator was issued a citation.

While checking activity around Littlefield Lake in Isabella County, CO Mike Haas witnessed an individual operating an ORV down the middle of a roadway without a required crash helmet. There were also two young children riding on parts of the ORV not designed to carry passengers, and they lacked helmets. A traffic stop was carried out and the multiple safety violations were addressed. A citation was issued, and the group was escorted home to ensure they got back safely.

DISTRICT 7

While patrolling Kalamazoo County, CO James Nason came up on a group of anglers fishing on a body of water in the city of Kalamazoo. One of the subjects presented CO Nason with another person’s fishing license. Upon further investigation, CO Nason discovered the man did not have a fishing license for the 2022 season, and had a felony warrant for OWI-third offense. With assistance from COs Richard Cardenas and Joshua Salas, the subject was taken into custody and lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail. CO Nason issued the man citations for fishing without a license and possessing/attempting to use another’s license.

COs Joshua Salas and Cameron Wright were on patrol in Kalamazoo County when they were checking anglers at a local park. Upon checking the anglers, the COs learned one of the individuals was lying about his name and did not have a fishing license. The COs informed the individual that he would be given one more chance to provide his name or he would be placed under arrest. The individual failed to comply with the CO’s commands and fled on foot from the scene. With the assistance of the Portage Department of Public Safety, he was apprehended, and charges will be submitted to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Joshua Salas was working at Holland State Park when he was contacted by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department about a potential domestic violence situation occurring on the beach. CO Salas responded to the beach and assisted the sheriff’s department with family and witness interviews. The suspect was arrested, and charges will be filed with the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office.

COs Travis Dragomer, Cameron Wright, and Matt Page conducted a group marine patrol on Lake Michigan. One citation was written for fishing with more than three lines and another was issued to the operator of a vessel who had a child less than 6 years old on board who was not wearing a PFD. Multiple other warnings were given.

DISTRICT 8

Sgt. Jason J. Smith conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that had an unsecured load. Sgt. Smith contacted the driver and informed him that he was about to lose the cranberry juice in the back of his truck. The driver, after putting items in the back of his truck, never closed his tailgate. The driver was very thankful.

CO Ed Rice responded to a boating accident resulting in a fatality. The operator and observer, towing a banana-boat with 12 passengers, did not see one of the passengers fall off. Upon circling back to pick up three other passengers, who had fallen off in the same area, a fourth passenger was struck by the vessel resulting in fatal injuries. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Kevin Bunce was launching his patrol boat on Duck Lake when he was approached by a couple who stated their vessel began to take on water after being launched from their trailer. The boat had nearly three inches of water in it. CO Bunce helped the couple extract the boat and discovered they had failed to put the boat’s plug in prior to launching.

COs Kevin Bunce and Marc Mankowski were on patrol in Clinton County when they received an anonymous tip of a rabbit that had been caught on an unattended line baited with corn in an individual’s back yard. It was discovered a subject had seen a TikTok trend on unorthodox trapping techniques and wanted to give it a try. The subject was educated on hunting/fishing/trapping techniques as well as season dates. The rabbit was released back into the wild without incident.

CO Marc Mankowski ran the DNR laser shot trailer at the Fowler Conservation Club Youth Outdoors Day. Eighty-eight kids showed up which they believe was a record for their club and the DNR station was said to be a crowd favorite.

DISTRICT 9

CO Cody Bourgeois was patrolling in the Ortonville SGA when he observed a group of ORV riders coming down the road toward him. When the group noticed the CO’s truck, they immediately stopped and tried to turn around and head in the opposite direction. However, one of the individuals stalled out their machine and could not complete the turn. CO Bourgeois quickly noticed these actions and the fact that two of the individuals were not wearing helmets. CO Bourgeois initiated his lights and siren and caught up to the group. When contacting the group CO Bourgeois noticed that on top of not wearing their helmets, the two individuals also did not have ORV licenses on their ORVs. CO Bourgeois cited the two individuals for not wearing a helmet while operating an ORV and failure to license their ORVs.

CO Luke Robare attended the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department roll call and briefed some of the deputies on ORV rules and regulations. Flint City is becoming a hot spot for ORV activity and the GCSD was seeking guidance for enforcement action to try to decrease the amount of ORV traffic in the city. 

Sgt. Jason Becker received a call from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office that there was a suicidal subject missing in Highland Recreation Area. Sgt. Becker responded to assist the OCSO Search and Rescue team comb the area. After searching for several hours with the assistance of park staff, the White Lake police, and OCSO K9 team, the missing subject was found deceased.

CO Robert Watson patrolled the St. Clair River for marine and fishing activity. Two different boats were contacted that were in possession of short walleye. One boat had a 14-inch walleye, the other boat had a 14-inch, and two 14.5-inch walleyes. Both anglers were cited for taking an undersized walleye.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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