Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 11, 2022

DISTRICT 1

CO Byron Parks was patrolling Houghton County when a call came over dispatch of an autistic 20-year-old who had been missing for approximately four hours. The subject was enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program that provides people who are at a higher risk of disappearing a locator wrist band that sends off a signal. CO Parks assisted the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department in a search for the subject, who was located within an hour. The subject was about two miles from his home, fishing near the Portage Canal.

CO Phil Helminen followed up on a complaint of recreational trespass in Dickinson County. A subject had operated his ORV onto posted private property and set up a hunting blind. CO Helminen contacted the subject and found him to also be hunting with bait in an area closed to baiting. The hunter stated he saw the no trespassing signs but thought that some other hunter was just posting them to keep him away. At the landowners’ request, the hunter was removed from the property and was also cited for hunting over bait in a closed area for baiting.

CO Cody Smith worked a popular waterfowl hunting location. The location is heavily hunted by college students from Michigan Technological University. This influx of new college hunters brought inexperienced, new-to-waterfowl hunters, who were trying to get into the sport with fellow classmates. CO Smith observed multiple violations but saw no intent of trying to intentionally break the law from the hunters in question. Rather than writing the first-time duck hunters a ticket, CO Smith chose to take an educational approach and teach them how to do things properly as there were no immediate damages to the resource.

DISTRICT 2

COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin were on patrol when they received a complaint of an altercation in progress between a bear hound hunting group and a group of private property landowners. The COs arrived on scene to learn some of bear hunters had entered private property to retrieve their hounds and had been confronted by the landowners. The COs explained the laws surrounding the recovery of dogs on private property and the ethics involved in doing so. The bear hunting group agreed to avoid the area of the private property landowners.

COs Justin Vinson and Mike Evink responded to Shingleton for the recovery of a moose that was killed after being struck by a vehicle. A local towing company was contacted to recover the moose. The COs field dressed the moose and CO Vinson transported the animal to a local game processor. The meat will be distributed to local food banks for dispersal to those in need.

Sgt. Mark Zitnik and CO Andrea Dani prepared students for an upcoming Hunter Safety Field Day by providing the take home study materials, teaching the students how to use Michigan hunting digests, and allowing the students to handle training rifles and shotguns with different actions.

Sgt. Calvin Smith responded to a young bull moose that was hit by a vehicle near Sault Ste. Marie. The moose suffered from a broken hind leg and had to be euthanized. Several hundred pounds of moose meat will be donated to local food pantries for distribution.

DISTRICT 3

CO Duane Budreau responded to a possible illegal deer complaint. Information was provided that the deer was found on private property and the property owner suspected the deer had been shot with a firearm. CO Budreau examined the deer and discovered there was an entry wound but no exit wound. Knowing that the deer would have been difficult to track, CO Budreau investigated the surrounding properties and located a vehicle parked about a mile to the west of where the deer was found. After further investigation, CO Budreau observed a trail leading into the woods near the vehicle. CO Budreau contacted the hunter in a blind; it was determined that he had shot an 8-point that morning. The hunter reported that he was unable to find a blood trail and was absolutely disgusted with himself for losing the animal. When CO Budreau advised that the deer had been found, the hunter was absolutely elated. The deer was turned over to the hunter to be properly tagged and all parties involved were very happy with the outcome.

After several attempts at catching a subject taking deer out of season with a rifle, CO Andrea Albert was able to finally contact the suspect in his hunting blind in the evening with a rifle in early October. The subject had not purchased any hunting licenses for years. Further investigation by CO Albert found the subject had shot a 4-point deer last year in September with a rifle. The processed venison was seized and charges will be sought for taking a deer out of season in 2021, hunting deer out of season in October of 2022, hunting without a license, and using bait to hunt deer.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz and Sidney LaLonde were patrolling in Montmorency County when they observed a group of waterfowl hunters actively hunting Voyer Lake a week before waterfowl season was open. The COs contacted the subjects. Two tickets were issued for hunting waterfowl in a closed season.

DISTRICT 4

Over the course of the weekend, CO Richard Stowe responded to several complaints of fishing in closed waters on the Betsie River. Each time, the subjects were located fishing in the closed waters and citations were issued for fishing in a closed stream and possession of fishing gear on a closed stream.

While working in Manistee County, CO Kyle Publiski located five subjects on Pine Creek snagging salmon. The subjects were walking down the shallow creek, letting out only two to three feet of line off the end of their rods, then floating the line over a fish’s back and snagging it in the back. CO Publiski watched one subject put two salmon on a stringer that had been hooked in the back in a short time frame. CO Publiski contacted the subject and issued them tickets for snagging salmon.

CO Kyle Publiski received a complaint in Manistee County on the Bear Creek of several subjects snagging salmon with large treble hooks with weight melted to them. CO Publiski walked into the remote section of Bear Creek the next day and located six subjects snagging salmon with the same gear as explained in the complaint. CO Publiski contacted the subjects and issued them tickets for using weight permanently attached to the hook.

CO Micah Hintze was on foot patrol on the White River when he observed small trees rustling roughly 30 yards from the river’s edge. He investigated and observed a man clearing an area to fish. After about an hour of clearing brush, the man walked to a car parked at a nearby residence and returned with a large two-piece spear. The man began attempting to spear the migrating salmon, unsuccessfully. He finally gave up and was contacted by CO Hintze as he left. The man informed CO Hintze that he had warrants and that this just wasn’t his day. The man was charged with possession of a spear on a trout stream, fishing a closed trout stream, fishing without a license, and was lodged on two misdemeanor warrants.

DISTRICT 5

CO Matt Zultak and Sgt. Brian Olsen checked a group fishing on the Muskegon River in Missaukee County. CO Zultak determined one of the anglers only possessed an expired fishing license. The anglers were also in possession of 10 undersize bass. They received citations for fishing without a license, possessing fish without a license, and possession of undersize bass.

CO Kyle Bader participated in a math/science night at Surline Middle School in Ogemaw County with a DNR Wildlife Division technician and a local taxidermist. CO Bader estimated at least 200 youths visited the exhibit and learned about fish and game laws, furbearer identification, and the surrogate sow program.

DISTRICT 6

CO Matthew Neterer received several RAP complaints about a group of hunters camping and “partying” at the Rush Lake State Game Area (SGA). CO Neterer then received a tip that they may be parked blocking a DNR work road gate. Upon arrival, CO Neterer found the gate to still be accessible, but located a gut pile nearby and an untagged button buck hidden under goose decoy bags in the bed of one of the trucks. CO Neterer issued a citation for failing to immediately validate and attach a kill-tag and a written warning for not displaying a camping permit on state land.

CO Mike Eovaldi conducted a suspect interview to follow up on a short muskellunge that was reported to be harvested out of Lake Skegemog in Kalkaska County. The 17-year-old suspect stated that he and a buddy caught an approximately 43-inch muskie, whereas the minimum size limit on lake Skegemog is 50 inches. When asked what happened with the fish, the angler stated that it had been released. CO Eovaldi was able to verify the story with the fishing buddy while conducting the interview. The young angler was under the assumption that every muskie caught had to be registered, not just the fish kept. CO Eovaldi educated the angler on the muskie harvest report system.

COs Dan Robinson and Jake Daniel participated in the Isabella County Project RED, Rural Education Day. The COs presented ORV safety at their assigned station, talking to more than 500 fourth grade students from the local school districts over two days, giving each group a chance to learn about the job a Michigan Conservation Officer and how to be safe while riding ORVs.

CO Dan Robinson was called to an area where an individual had found a ground blind, a trail camera, and a large bait pile on his property. The suspect had a cellular trail camera and saw the caller on the camera and came to the location. The suspect stated the bait and stand were his and he knew baiting deer was illegal. A citation was issued for the baiting violation and a verbal warning for trespass.

DISTRICT 7

While patrolling Van Buren County inland lakes for marine activity, CO Tyler Cole observed a vessel with three subjects fishing. Upon contacting the anglers, it was found that the only subject on the vessel that had a proper personal flotation device (PFD) was the dog on board. Upon further investigation, it was also found that the vessel was unregistered, a largemouth bass that was less than 14 inches was caught and kept, and only one subject had a valid fishing license. Citations were issued for the undersized bass, PFD, and licensing/registration issues.

CO Tyler Cole received a RAP complaint concerning a subject dumping a bag of fish into a hardware store’s recycling bin. CO Cole responded and spoke with the complainant, who showed the CO the fish that were dumped. In total, eight largemouth bass, all undersized, were dumped along with other sunfish. A suspect was eventually identified and interviewed by CO Cole. The suspect admitted to catching all the fish and dumping them into the store’s recycling bin because he didn’t want the fish stinking up his garbage bin. A report was submitted to the prosecutor’s office and charges were authorized for the undersized and over-limit of largemouth bass.

CO Anna Cullen received a complaint of an active bait pile in northern Muskegon County. CO Cullen scouted the area and was able to locate the bait pile with approximately 50 pounds of corn, carrots, sugar beets, and apples in front of a cell camera and ladder stand. CO Cullen made contact with the hunter the next morning. A citation was issued for hunting over bait.

DISTRICT 8

CO Chris Reynolds worked the archery season in Hillsdale County. During the patrol, CO Reynolds located a vehicle that was parked that he had not encountered before in that area. CO Reynolds checked the registered owner of the vehicle and others that lived at the address in RSS, and no one at the address had a current hunting license. After waiting for a while, a hunter was observed walking to the vehicle. When CO Reynolds contacted the hunter, the hunter stated he had not had time to purchase his licenses yet but had blood on his fingers. The hunter told CO Reynolds they had not been hunting but had cut themselves. CO Reynolds kept talking with the hunter who eventually confessed to shooting a deer and led CO Reynolds to the area the deer was shot. An antlerless deer was recovered, and a citation was issued for hunting without a license. The deer was seized and donated.

DISTRICT 9

While on an ORV patrol, CO Cody Bourgeois and Sgt. Jason Becker heard what sounded like rapid gunfire coming from Holly State Recreation Area land. While hunting is legal, target practicing is only allowed in designated areas. The COs located several vehicles parked off the road and heard more gunfire in the woods. The COs located seven individuals off a main hiking trail target shooting. The COs made contact and ensured all firearms were cleared and put on safe. Once the scene was safe, the COs explained to the suspects that shooting in this area is illegal, furthermore the safety of shooting next to a hiking trail, and the amount of lead being put into the ground that won’t be cleaned up. The suspects were asked to clean up all their debris and litter and to move to their vehicles. All suspects were issued citations for target shooting in an undesignated area.

CO Sydney Griffor received a wildlife complaint regarding feeding deer in Fort Gratiot. CO Griffor received the same complaint about the same individual back in June and gave the individual a warning for the first occurrence and advised them it was illegal to feed deer. CO Griffor responded to the residence and found corn out behind the house once again. CO Griffor issued the individual a citation for feeding deer in a closed area.

CO Chris Knights has had issues the last couple seasons in the south unit of Bald Mountain Recreation Area with baiting, illegal stands, and destroying state land. CO Knights checked the area looking for the responsible individuals. CO Knights walked the perimeter and noticed some movement in a tree blind down the field. CO Knights made contact and had the hunter. The hunter came down and CO Knights checked the blind for identification; it had none. CO Knights noticed more bait next to the stand as well as cut-down trees and trail cameras surrounding it. The hunter admitted to everything, so CO Knights issued him a citation for each violation.

CO Eric Smither and Sgt. Shane Webster were patrolling Lenawee County for goose-hunting activity when they observed a group of hunters starting to pack up and leave. They contacted the group and upon further investigation, found that one individual did not have a plug in their firearm. Enforcement action was taken, and a citation was issued for hunt waterfowl with an unplugged gun.

CO Mike Drexler followed up on a baited treestand complaint on opening morning of archery deer. The treestand was on public land and CO Drexler scouted it out a few days prior to the opener, finding mineral blocks and a large section of grain mineral spread around on the ground, as well as apples. CO Drexler contacted the hunter, who stated he wasn’t sure if baiting was legal or not. A citation was issued for hunting over bait.

CO Brandon Hartleben assisted with the Washtenaw County Becoming an Outdoors Woman event by providing the attendees with legal and regulatory information during the classroom portion of the event. CO Hartleben also assisted with the range portion of the event by serving as a range safety and instructor during the archery equipment overview and live fire at the Sharonville SGA range.

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