Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 25, 2022

DISTRICT 1

COs Phil Helminen and Jared Ferguson investigated the illegal taking of a 10-point deer in Dickinson County. The COs interviewed the suspects involved who claimed that the deer was shot in another part of the county by a person with a valid tag. The COs served search warrants to gather evidence. It was determined the deer was shot by an individual without a license and the deer was tagged using another person’s license. A report was submitted to the Dickinson County Prosecutor for charges of taking a deer without a license and using the tag of another.

CO John Kamps and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Alex Bourgeois checked a bear bait site and found it to be baited with chocolate. The COs were able to develop a suspect and check other bait sites in the area belonging to the same hunter. Chocolate was found at one other location. Evidence was collected at both sites and the COs contacted the suspect at his residence. A full confession was obtained for baiting with chocolate at both sites. Charges will be submitted through the Dickinson County District Court.

COs John Kamps, Cody Smith, and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Alex Bourgeois were at the right place at the right time when they observed a side-by-side driving at a slow speed. The COs watched the passenger shoulder a 12-gauge shotgun from within the ORV. The COs stopped the ORV as the individual attempted to shoot a grouse from the side-by-side. The individual received a citation for possessing an uncased/loaded gun in a motor vehicle and a warning for attempt to take game from motor vehicle.

DISTRICT 2

COs Robert Freeborn and Cole VanOosten received a tip of three anglers fishing a closed trout stream with nets. They were joined by CO Michael Evink at the scene and set up to surveil the anglers. The anglers were contacted when each were observed netting large Chinook salmon in the closed stream. The anglers were issued citations for fishing a closed trout stream, taking fish with an unlawful method, and restitution for the fish taken. The suspects later pleaded guilty and each paid $540 in fines.

CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol of the Milikokia River when he observed two anglers fishing for salmon. CO VanOosten watched from a discrete location as the men attempted to foul-hook salmon in the river. The men were chasing the salmon to congregate them so that they could illegally hook them. CO VanOosten observed one man hook and land a large king salmon by the tail; the other man assisted by netting the fish. Contact was made and the men eventually admitted that they were attempting to snag the salmon. Three illegally harvested Chinook salmon were seized and donated to a local family. A report was generated for review from the Schoolcraft County prosecutor for attempting to snag and for retaining foul-hooked fish.

DISTRICT 3

CO Chad Baldwin received a complaint of a large owl that appeared to be sick or injured at the end of a driveway in Antrim County. CO Baldwin located the owl, which was a large great horned owl, that displayed signs of being hit by a vehicle. After several attempts, CO Baldwin was able to capture the owl and place it in a dog crate where he could better examine it. The injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, so CO Baldwin contacted the Skegemog Raptor Center in Traverse City where the owl was turned over and is now under the care of a licensed rehabilitator.

CO Nathan Beelman was contacted by Charlevoix Central Dispatch regarding a juvenile who shot a deer and watched it run onto private property on which he did not have permission to access. CO Beelman arrived on scene and discovered that the juvenile was hunting on city property and did not have an adult with him as required. The father was ticketed for failing to supervise the juvenile while hunting. He was also educated on the importance of being with the juvenile for safety and making sure the juvenile takes ethical shots. Permission was eventually received to track the deer and CO Beelman assisted with tracking the deer until the blood stopped in a pasture. The juvenile and father stated they would resume tracking in the morning.

CO Adam LeClerc was on the way to patrol the Bear River for salmon fishing activity when he received a RAP complaint of illegal snagging activity at the Bear River Dam. After observing the anglers, CO LeClerc witnessed an angler hook a fish in the stomach, land the fish, and not return it to the water. The angler also was observed using two hooks in a section of river where only one single pointed hook is allowed. The angler was written a ticket for using an illegal method and retaining foul-hooked fish. The fish was seized and donated to a family in need.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling the Thunder Bay River in the city of Alpena when he observed a subject fishing with what appeared to be illegal fishing gear. CO Liestenfeltz contacted the subject and determined that the angler was using a large, weighted jig head below two other fishing hooks on the same line. When asked about the gear, the subject admitted that he knew it was most likely illegal and the jig was still considered a weight. CO Liestenfeltz issued the subject a ticket for the gear violation.

DISTRICT 4

COs Josiah Killingbeck and Scott MacNeill doubled up for a foot patrol along the Manistee River near Tippy Dam in Manistee County. COs Killingbeck and MacNeill received an anonymous tip from an angler of a group just down the river using illegal fishing gear and snagging salmon. The COs located the group and observed their activity before making contact. The COs contacted the group who attempted to break off their fishing lines so the COs wouldn’t see the illegal fishing gear they were using. The COs determined that the six anglers did not have valid fishing licenses, were using illegal tackle, and possessed 17 salmon taken by an illegal method. COs Killingbeck and MacNeill conducted interviews and determined that more fish were in coolers in a vehicle back in the parking area, which put the six anglers in possession of an over-limit of salmon. A total of 463 pounds of salmon were recovered. The six anglers were issued citations and an additional $4,630 of restitution, with additional fines and costs being requested. The salmon were provided to families in need in Manistee County.

CO Josiah Killingbeck received a tip of two subjects catching salmon in a closed stream. CO Killingbeck responded to the area and located the two subjects, who were still fishing on the closed stream. CO Killingbeck asked the subjects if they had caught any fish and both subjects said that they were not having any luck. After several minutes, CO Killingbeck asked the subjects where the fish were that they had caught. One of the anglers admitted that he had caught fish. The fish were recovered, and the subject admitted that he had caught the fish and knew it was illegal to possess. Both subjects were cited for fishing in a closed stream.

DISTRICT 5

CO Matt Zultak observed two waterfowl groups hunting on a small lake in Roscommon County; both groups were successfully harvesting waterfowl. The first group was occupying an illegally placed blind. CO Zultak contacted the first group; the group admitted ownership of the blind and to knowing it was placed early without identification. Upon further investigation, both hunters were using shotguns capable of holding more than three shells. One of the hunters had also just been convicted of a concealed weapons felony and was not allowed to be in possession of a firearm. The subjects were issued citations for the waterfowl hunting violations, and the felon in possession of a firearm violation was brought before the Roscommon County Prosecutor’s Office for review. After finishing with the first group, CO Zultak observed the second group pick up their decoys and head to the launch. CO Zultak contacted this group. It was determined the group was hunting with shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and had loaded shotguns in a motorized vessel. The subjects also did not have the correct number of PFDs for the vessel. CO Zultak addressed the violations and issued citations for the unplugged shotguns.

CO Jesse Grzechowski patrolled the Alcona Pond in Alcona County for waterfowl hunters. CO Grzechowski contacted a group of hunters and determined a hunter was in possession of two shotguns and did not have a federal duck stamp. The hunter was issued a citation for hunting without a federal duck stamp and received a warning for possessing two shotguns.

DISTRICT 6

While on patrol in northern Montcalm County, CO Mark Reffitt noticed several individuals fishing a recently closed trout stream. Stopping to investigate, the CO observed six young adolescents fishing and keeping their fish in a bucket. CO Reffitt talked to the anglers, who ranged in age from 7 to 11, and helped them identify the different species of fish they had caught. Among the fish were two 6-inch largemouth bass. CO Reffitt taught them why it is important to let such fish stay in the waterway and had them release the fish. One of the angler’s parents arrived, and CO Reffitt explained that he was glad to see the boys out fishing so enthusiastically, but that he wanted them to be sure to follow the rules. CO Reffitt also provided one of the anglers his personal copy of the Michigan fishing guide.

CO Michael Lator received a RAP complaint about a 9-point buck a subject had taken during bow season, without a license. CO Dan Robinson assisted as they met the suspect’s wife at the suspect residence. They found the deer head behind the garage with a tag on the antlers. The wife stated the tag belonged to her daughter but did not know of her daughter shooting a deer recently. The COs interviewed the suspect and received a confession to shooting the deer without a license, and then placing his daughter’s tag on the deer. CO Lator seized the deer head, and a report has been submitted to the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office requesting the charge of taking a deer without a license.

DISTRICT 7

An anonymous tip was received of possible illegal waterfowl hunting activity in Ionia County. COs Justin Ulberg, Robert Slick, and BJ Goulette investigated the area and located a baited area with corn just prior to the south zone waterfowl opener. Surveillance was conducted and contact was made with four subjects witnessed hunting over the illegally baited wetland. A full confession was obtained from one of the hunters. The COs seized one black duck, two Canada geese, nine wood ducks, and six mallards along with the subject’s firearm used in the crime. A citation was issued for illegally hunting waterfowl with bait.

CO Anna Cullen received a potential hunting “after hours” complaint in Muskegon County. Multiple attempts were made to interview the suspect at their residence with no luck. CO Cullen decided to attempt to interview the suspect one more time and was finally successful. During the interview, the suspect admitted they had just shot a deer that night. The hunter led CO Cullen to the backyard, where she observed an untagged 6-point hanging from a tree. The hunter said, “I was just about to tag it.” The deer was shot three hours prior to the contact. CO Cullen asked to be shown where the deer was shot. There, she located a blood trail that led to a bait pile. As a result, the suspect admitted to shooting the deer over bait. Charges are being sought through the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office for an illegal deer and failing to immediately validate a kill tag.

CO Matt Page was assisted by COs Jeff Robinette and Travis Dragomer working salmon anglers in Van Buren County. During the patrols, several citations were issued including fishing a closed stream and for retaining foul-hooked fish.

DISTRICT 8

CO Lisa Taube responded to a RAP complaint in Shiawassee County for a subject trespassing to retrieve a deer. The suspect left behind evidence with the gut pile and then posted his deer online. The suspect was interviewed at his residence and confessed to retrieving the deer without permission. A report will be submitted to the Shiawassee County Prosecutor’s Office for authorization on charges.

While on patrol, CO Ed Rice observed a pickup truck parked in a closed wildlife refuge area. CO Rice observed a bow case in the bed of the truck. After several minutes, a man emerged from the refuge. CO Rice asked the man where his bow was, and he stated he left it in the woods. CO Rice pointed to a posted sign prohibiting entry to the refuge. The man stated he was unaware. CO Rice walked with the man to retrieve his bow and issued a citation for entering the wildlife refuge.

CO Marc Mankowski conducted an interview with the parents of a youth hunter who had taken a deer without a license during the youth hunt while under the supervision of his father. The licenses were purchased after the deer was harvested and posted online. The investigation will be finalized, and a report will be filed this week with the Eaton County Court.

DISTRICT 9

CO Luke Robare responded to a call from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department in northern Oakland County a week before the waterfowl season opener. A citizen called stating that they heard several shots that morning. CO Robare responded to the area with an Oakland County deputy and found two waterfowl hunters. The hunters stated that they thought it was the opening day for waterfowl in the area. The two hunters were cited for hunting waterfowl out of season and one hunter was cited for an unplugged shotgun.

On opening day of waterfowl season, COs Kris Kiel and Sydney Griffor contacted a waterfowl hunter who was in possession of lead shot loaded in his firearm. A citation was issued for possession of toxic shot. Another hunter was issued a citation for an unplugged shotgun. A third hunter was written a citation for hunting waterfowl without a federal waterfowl stamp.

CO Joseph Deppen was working the waterfowl opener in St. John’s Marsh. CO Deppen observed two hunters wearing hunter orange, shooting from an elevated dike. They both attempted to hide as CO Deppen approached. CO Deppen contacted the hunters in the woods and initially educated them about managed area regulations. Additional violations including possession of lead shot and no licenses on person. A citation was issued for hunting from a dike and verbal warnings were given for no license in possession and possession of lead shot in a managed unit.

CO Andrew Monnich received a complaint about a hunter harvesting a 12-point buck and not having a license. CO Monnich was able to check the hunter’s license history, the Facebook post the hunter made, and was able to determine the deer was shot prior to buying a license. During an interview, the hunter – after showing all evidence – admitted to hunting and harvesting without a license. Charges are being submitted to the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office. 

CO Jaime Salisbury received a complaint about a subject hunting crows out of season. When the CO arrived on scene, he located an individual hunting crows. This is the same individual who CO Salisbury issued a citation to for hunting crows out of season earlier this spring. A report will be submitted to the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office seeking charges for hunting crows out of season.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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