Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 14, 2022

DISTRICT 1

CO Phil Helminen investigated a complaint from the Report All Poaching (RAP) Center of waterfowl being taken out of season in Iron County. CO Helminen contacted a witness and collected the waterfowl that had been shot. COs Helminen and Alex VanWagner went to the suspect’s residence and interviewed him about the incident. The suspect admitted to shooting waterfowl out of season. A report was forwarded to the Iron County prosecutor for charges of taking waterfowl out of season.

COs Phil Helminen, Jared Ferguson, and Alex VanWagner attended a hunter safety field day at the Sagola Sportsman’s Club in Dickinson County. The COs provided instruction to the students on hunting laws and safety. The COs also answered questions that the students had related to hunting.

COs John Kamps, Jeremy Sergey, and Jackson Kelly assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) with serving felony warrants on an individual who was known to flee on an off-road vehicle (ORV) and hide in the woods. The COs used ORVs to transport MSP troopers and set up perimeters around the suspect’s residence. The suspect was found hiding in a crawl space of the residence. He was taken into custody and lodged in the Marquette County Jail.

DISTRICT 2

CO Chris Lynch conducted several marine safety and aquatic invasive species (AIS) patrols on the Little and Big Bays de Noc and inland lakes in Delta County. Several contacts were made, and compliance was high.

CO Steve Butzin was patrolling the waters of Little Bay de Noc checking anglers during a local sport fishing tournament. CO Butzin encountered one angler registered in the tournament who was fishing without a license, that individual was cited. Overall, the walleye bite in Little Bay de Noc has been picking up.

CO Brandon Maki was patrolling on his ORV near the Forest Lake Basin. CO Maki had just finished his ORV patrol and started to make his way back to one of the main roads in his patrol truck when he came around a corner and observed two adults and one juvenile who appeared to be in distress. One of the adults ran to CO Maki and advised they were part of a scout  group, and the juvenile was having an allergic reaction. CO Maki requested emergency medical services (EMS) and transported the juvenile and one chaperon to the ambulance.

CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol in Mackinac County when he received a call of an 87-year-old man with dementia who had walked away from his residence and had not returned. CO VanOosten was first on scene and was able to gather information from a family member before attempting to track the man. CO VanOosten was able to track the man through the woods for approximately 30 minutes before additional units arrived. The officers located tracks, as well as discarded items that the man had dropped as he ate a candy bar he had with him. The man was located after approximately a seven-hour search and had traveled approximately 1.2 miles into an area of dense vegetation. The man had lost his shoes during his venture and was extremely thankful to see the officers. CO VanOosten carried the man out of the woods to a nearby two-track where CO Justin Vinson provided him with a ride back to the residence where the man was determined to be in good condition and needed no additional medical assistance. Other agencies involved included the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office and MSP.

DISTRICT 3

CO Adam LeClerc assisted the Boyne City Police Department with the location and apprehension of an attempted murder suspect out of Boyne City. The suspect was seen in a wooded area with ORV trails throughout. CO LeClerc, being familiar with the trail system, utilized an ORV to patrol the area. Eventually the suspect was flushed out of the woods to awaiting officers and arrested.

CO Sidney Collins followed up with a serious boating accident that happened in Montmorency County. A family was boating on East Twin Lake when a child was struck by the propeller of the motor. The child was airlifted to a Grand Rapids hospital in critical condition. The child is now stable but has a long road to recovery having already undergone nine surgeries.

CO Sidney Collins responded to a RAP complaint of a dead deer on private property in Montmorency County. CO Collins met with the landowner who stated his home was broken into and several items were stolen including three guns and an ORV. The homeowner found a piece of venison in the back of one of his side-by-sides and a deer carcass in his field. There have been several break-ins in the area, and this one seemed to be related to the others. CO Collins did a necropsy on the deer in the field and was able to find a bullet in the deer. The bullet matched the caliber of one of the guns stolen from the residence. Later, the suspects were identified and confessed to the killing of both deer, along with several other deer over the summer.

DISTRICT 4

CO William Kinney received an illegal burning complaint from the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department. The property owner had pushed a large volume of materials into a pile one evening and started it on fire. Mattress springs, metal cabinets, refrigerator, drywall, metal sink, garden hose, plastic gutter/tubing, full garbage bags, dimensional lumber, and manufactured lumber were all stated to have been observed in the contents of the burnt material. After conducting his investigation CO Kinney is charging the suspect with illegal burning of solid waste.

CO Josiah Killingbeck, while responding to a car crash, was following a fire truck headed to the same call, when another vehicle drove into the lane of the fire truck which resulted in a head-on collision. CO Killingbeck stopped and rendered first aid and discovered that the subject who was at fault showed signs of intoxication. CO Killingbeck began investigating and discovered that the subject was operating under the influence of alcohol. The subject was taken to the hospital, along with a firefighter. CO Killingbeck will be submitting a report to the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office for charges.

CO Zack Walters backed up the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and MSP trooper on an incident involving multiple individuals fighting in Evart. Upon arrival, all parties had separated. CO Walters stayed with some of the individuals involved while OCSD deputies interviewed the involved persons and witnesses.

DISTRICT 5

COs Ben McAteer, Matt Zultak, Breanna Reed, and Jacob Hamilton conducted a patrol on Houghton Lake for Bud Bash festivities in Roscommon County. While on patrol, the COs were alerted to a sexual assault in progress on the water. The COs navigated to the location and observed an in-progress assault on an unconscious female floating on a tube. CO McAteer repeatedly yelled commands at the male perpetrator, but the subject refused to comply with the CO’s commands. The male suspect then attempted to flee the area by pulling the unconscious female under a nearby pontoon. COs McAteer and Zultak entered the water to assist the female and apprehend the male suspect. Both the male and female were taken to shore. The male suspect was interviewed while the female was evaluated by emergency medical personnel. The male suspect was placed under arrest for indecent exposure and additional charges are being sought for resisting and obstructing. The female was escorted to her hotel by Roscommon County Sheriff’s deputies

COs Matt Zultak and Ben McAteer responded to a waterfowl safety zone complaint at a lakefront residential community in Roscommon County. The complainant heard a “pop” and observed a flock of Canada geese hurry into the water. One of the geese, however, appeared injured and soon died. COs Zultak and McAteer conducted interviews of multiple subjects in the area. One subject showed signs of dishonesty in his answers. After CO Zultak further questioned the subject, he confessed to shooting at the geese to scare them away. Both the firearm and the type of ammunition used were recovered by CO Zultak. CO Zultak preformed a necropsy on the deceased goose and recovered a bullet appearing to match the ammunition seized from the suspect. A report was filed with the Roscommon County prosecutor, who authorized on multiple waterfowl violations as well as hunting within a safety zone.

DISTRICT 6

While on patrol in Bay County, COs Paul Lyden and Jacob Daniel came across two individuals with a trailer full of lawn bags and lawn mowing equipment. CO Lyden approached one of the individuals and asked what they were doing. The individual said nothing, and CO Lyden moved around the back side of the trailer and noticed multiple lawn bags full of clippings dumped on state land. The individual was cited for littering.

CO Adam Beuthin received an anonymous complaint that there was a fishing charter on the Saginaw Bay with seven people fishing, violating the maximum seven passengers allowed by law to be on a charter vessel. CO Beuthin and Sgt. Chad Foerster waited on shore for the charter to come in from the morning’s fishing trip. When the vessel came in, the COs separated all the members on the vessel to verify who was in fact a member of the crew and who were members of the fishing trip. It was determined one individual was not telling the truth and was not a crew member but a paying customer of the charter. The captain of the charter boat was issued a citation for violating the conditions of his charter inspection. 

COs Mike Eovaldi, Paul Lyden, Ethan Gainforth, Jacob Daniel, and Sgt. Robert Hobkirk hosted a hunter safety field day at Gateway Sportsman’s Club in Tuscola County. The COs reviewed the digest with the students before the students were able to shoot shotguns, .22 rifles, and learn about the importance of treestand safety. At the end of the day, 29 students took the test to become hunter safety certified. All the students passed and received their hunter safety certificates. 

DISTRICT 7

CO Carter Woodwyk was conducting a marine safety patrol on the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County when he observed a vessel anchored and fishing in a quiet section of the river. The CO contacted the anglers to check for fishing licenses. The anglers indicated they had caught a few sunfish and a bass. The CO conducted a count of the sunfish and between the two anglers counted 56 sunfish, an undersized channel catfish, and one largemouth bass. Additionally, one of the anglers did not have a 2022 Michigan fishing license. Both anglers were issued citations for possessing more than 25 sunfish each.

CO Joshua Salas was contacted by CO Cameron Wright to assist with a captive raccoon complaint in Cass County. The COs contacted a homeowner who admitted to having a raccoon in her home. Upon further investigation, the COs learned that the individual had six raccoons in her possession and was currently trying to obtain her rehabilitator license through the state of Michigan. The six raccoons were turned over to the COs and released back into the wild.

CO Justin Ulberg was checking anglers along the Grand River in Kent County when he encountered a subject who would not produce a fishing license. The subject also would not provide CO Ulberg with a name because he stated he, “Didn’t trust the police.” Eventually the subject provided CO Ulberg with a name; however, the name was false. With the information provided, DNR dispatch was able to locate the correct subject and discovered the subject had an active warrant out of Kent County. The subject was taken into custody and turned over to the Grandville police department to be lodged on the warrant.

DISTRICT 8

CO Kevin Bunce and Sgt. Rich Nickols were on patrol in Eaton County when they received a RAP complaint regarding an individual live trapping and drowning gray squirrels in the back yard. Upon contacting the homeowner, CO Bunce and Sgt. Nickols were informed that the squirrels had become overpopulated in his neighborhood and were getting into the eaves of his neighbor’s home and caused damage to his landscaping. After admitting to the trapping/drowning of the squirrels, the subject was advised of other, more humane methods, of maintaining his yard while also keeping the gray squirrel population in his neighborhood in check.

While off duty, CO Kevin Bunce was traveling from Marquette to Big Rapids when he encountered a vehicle southbound on 131 that was driving erratically and crossing the centerline. CO Bunce contacted Mecosta/Osceola dispatch to report the potential drunk driver and learned there had been numerous calls on the vehicle, but police had been unable to locate it. CO Bunce followed the vehicle for miles on the back roads of Mecosta County until deputies were able to locate and stop it. The subject was intoxicated and arrested for the violation.

DISTRICT 9

CO Sydney Griffor followed up with a wildlife RAP complaint of individuals that were in possession of live raccoons. CO Griffor spoke with the suspects and found out they have been attempting to rehabilitate five baby raccoons for a few months. They stated a few died, a few were released, and they were down to one baby raccoon. CO Griffor issued a citation for possession of wildlife without a rehabilitator permit.

CO Eric Smither and Sgt Shane Webster worked a youth “Touch a Truck” event and had approximately 100 participants come through. The kids were able to learn about conservation officers and what they do as well as check out different equipment including patrol vehicles, boats, and ORVs.

CO Dan Walzak, while working on Belle Isle, observed a subject on a café racer-style motorcycle blast through a stop sign at a high rate of speed – much higher than the 25 miles per hour allowed on the island. CO Walzak, along with Sgt. Chad Foerster, caught up to the cycle and spoke with the operator. When asked why he was driving so fast, the operator shrugged his shoulders. When asked if he knew that he ran a stop sign the operator responded, “I know.” Checking further, the motorcycle had expired plates. The subject was issued citations for careless driving and the expired plates.

Nearing closing time at Belle Isle, COs Ariel Young and Marc Mankowski stopped to check some anglers. While inspecting the buckets of fish, the COs located an undersized smallmouth bass measuring 3.5 inches and round gobies, an invasive species in Michigan. The angler was issued a citation for both issues. The small fish was seized, and the gobies were killed and discarded.

CO Brandon Hartleben and PCO Nick Thornton were working a Belle Isle shift when they received a report from MSP Station 20 of a suicidal female subject on the MacArthur Bridge. CO Hartleben and PCO Thornton responded to the area immediately and assisted DNR park staff who were already on scene. Both the COs and park staff were in constant communication with the subject and took measures to prevent her from accessing the bridge railing. Medical support was requested, and because of the rapport that had been built with the subject, she voluntarily agreed to committal at an area hospital to seek further treatment. The subject was transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital by Detroit Fire/EMS for additional treatment.

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