Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Cuffs & Collars: Field reports from Michigan DNR Conservation Officers

DISTRICT 1

• CO Jared Ferguson was called to assist the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department with a search and rescue incident in northern Dickinson County. Two individuals were following their GPS when it led them down an impassable road in which they became stuck and were running out of gas. The officers were able locate them and escort them back to roadway.

• CO John Kamps and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Alexander Bourgeois were investigating a complaint of an illegal deer blind in Marquette County when they observed a man setting up a deer camp. After further investigation, it was found that the subject had been camping there for over a year. The subject also had two deer bait sites near his camper. CO Kamps and PCO Bourgeois checked the bait sites and found approximately 10 gallons of corn and apples at each bait site. A citation for having greater than two gallons of deer bait was issued to the subject.

DISTRICT 2

• CO Brandon Maki was driving on US Highway 41 to a complaint when he observed a large blood stain on the rear of a car in front of him. CO Maki followed the vehicle for a short distance before it turned into a residential area. CO Maki made note of it and continued on to address the original complaint. Once finished with the complaint he returned to the area in which he had observed the blood-stained vehicle turning into a residential area. He located the residence and observed deer entrails laying near the end of the driveway where the same blood covered car was parked. CO Maki knocked on the front door of the residence and was met by two individuals who claimed they had shot a deer the morning prior. The individuals took CO Maki to see the deer, which was inside their freezer, whole. While showing CO Maki the deer in the freezer, it was discovered it had not been tagged. Another whole deer was discovered rotting on the floor which was not tagged as well. CO Maki cited both individuals for failing to immediately validate and tag their deer.

• Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Ryan Cox and Michael Evink observed a van parked next to Thompson Creek. The stream is closed to fishing, and it appeared there was a stringer next to the van. Contact was made with seven individuals, and it was discovered that all seven individuals had been fishing in the closed stream. Law enforcement action was taken.

• CO Robert Freeborn assisted in a fatal motor vehicle accident where a kayak and roof rack came off a vehicle. It struck a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, going through the windshield, which resulted in the driver’s death. CO Freeborn assisted on the scene and shortly after, assisted in the road closure with the local fire department. The accident was handled by the MSP.

DISTRICT 3

• COs Tim Rosochacki and Matt Theunick assisted the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department in the recovery of several stolen firearms and hunting equipment from a group of juveniles who had broken into a residence. CO Theunick located juveniles target shooting on state land with the stolen firearms. The sheriff’s department was contacted to follow-up on the open case.

• CO Tom Oberg had worked a complaint over a year ago regarding a treestand placed on state land that appeared to be overlooking a food plot, also on state land. After multiple attempts of CO Oberg checking on the stand, he never witnessed anyone hunting out of it. CO Oberg checked on the stand over the summer and noted the subject failed to remove his treestand from state land. CO Oberg checked the stand again during this October and finally located the subject hunting. CO Oberg addressed multiple violations such as hunting over bait, constructing a food plot on state land, no name/ address on a treestand, and failing to remove the treestand by March 1. CO Oberg issued tickets to the subject for hunting over bait as well as failing to remove his treestand by March 1. Warnings were given for the other violations.

DISTRICT 4

• CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol, observed a slow-moving vehicle that was shining deer. CO Killingbeck stopped the vehicle for a motor vehicle code violation and discovered that the driver and passenger were in possession of bows and crossbows. CO Killingbeck addressed several motor vehicle code violations and issued a citation for shining while in possession of a weapon.

• CO Tim Barboza received a RAP complaint of trespassing and a deer shot over bait. CO Barboza located the area where the deer was shot and confirmed bait being out. The hunter was contacted, and he admitted to shooting the deer over bait. CO Barboza then asked to see where the hunter had tracked the deer and confirmed it was onto another private property. CO Barboza seized the deer and donated it to a local family. CO Barboza has submitted the information to the county prosecutor for charges of an illegal deer, trespassing, and hunting over bait.

• CO Tim Barboza received a RAP complaint about trespassing where the landowner had found a chair and a treestand on his property. CO Barboza walked the property with the owner and located three hunting sites, two of which had trail cameras set out. CO Barboza could see a foot path through the weeds, which led to a residence on the edge of the caller’s corn field. CO Barboza contacted a male at the residence who admitted to CO Barboza that he was trespassing and had set the trail cameras and chair on his neighbor’s property. CO Barboza will be submitting a report for recreational trespass charges on the suspect to the prosecutor.

DISTRICT 5

• COs Breanna Reed, Charlie Jones, and Sgt. Brian Olsen were called to a vehicle that was shining multiple fields in Missaukee County. CO Reed was able to locate and conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. The occupants advised they were competing in a local raccoon hunting competition that was going on. When asked why they were shining multiple fields out of the vehicle, the hunters stated they were looking for raccoons. They had multiple firearms in the vehicle at the time and it was after the legal shining time of 11 p.m. The hunters stated they knew they had gotten “sloppy” and should not have been shining the fields. A citation was issued for shining after 11 p.m.

• COs James Garrett and John Huspen responded to a shining complaint in the St. Helen area of Roscommon County. The occupants were observed shining out both sides of the vehicle after legal shining hours. A traffic stop was conducted, and the COs noticed the passenger attempting to hide something. Both occupants were ordered to put their hands outside of the vehicle windows. An uncased and cocked crossbow was sitting between the driver and passenger just into the back seat within arm’s reach of both occupants. The crossbow was equipped with a quiver that held two bolts. The third bolt was lying next to the crossbow outside of the quiver. The passenger of the vehicle was cited for shining with a weapon in possession and the crossbow was seized as evidence.

• CO Craig Neal was patrolling Saginaw Bay near the Pine River for waterfowl activity. Legal hunting hours didn’t start until 7:23 a.m. that day. At 7:17 a.m., CO Neal heard a volley of shots to the south of his location. He pulled his patrol boat out of the phragmites to go locate the early shooters. CO Neal was able to locate and contact the four hunters with assistance of a second volley of shots from the same group still prior to legal hunting hours. They had already killed a drake mallard and a hen redhead. CO Neal asked what time they first shot. They stated, “Not too early, maybe 7:15 a.m.” Then CO Neal asked if they knew what time legal hunting hours started. One of the four hunters stated, “Last he checked it was 7:04 a.m.” CO Neal asked when the last day he hunted was. The hunter stated opening day. CO Neal proceeded to check all their licenses, shotgun shells, and shotguns for plugs. One of the four was found to be hunting with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells. Several citations were issued to the group.

DISTRICT 6

• CO Adam Beuthin received a complaint of an individual who harvested a deer in a closed area of the Tobico Marsh Unit of Bay City State Park. After gathering information, CO Beuthin went to the individual’s residence to interview him about where and when the deer was harvested. With the help of COs Mike Haas and Dan Robinson searching the state land behind the individual’s residence, it was determined the deer was harvested in an area closed to hunting and taken over a bait pile. A warrant request will be requested through the Bay County Prosecutor’s Office for the illegal harvest of the deer.


This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.


• CO Mike Eovaldi was conducting night surveillance of salmon anglers at a harbor in eastern Sanilac County. CO Eovaldi watched one angler using a headlamp to spot and attempt to snag several salmon. While CO Eovaldi watched, the angler successfully hooked into a fish. The angler then turned off his headlamp and made a phone call while fighting the fish, making sure to keep the fish low in the water. A second angler approached with a net and landed the foul-hooked fish. Once in the net, the anglers made a bee line for parking lot. CO Eovaldi contacted the anglers just before they got to their vehicle and located a large gash where the Atlantic salmon was snagged. The angler received a citation for retaining a foul-hooked fish and the salmon was seized, photographed, and donated to another angler.

DISTRICT 7

• CO Cameron Wright was working the St. Joseph River for walleye anglers when he observed a man and woman carrying a stringer full of short bass up to the parking lot. When the two subjects noticed the CO approaching them in the parking lot, they quickly turned and began speed walking the opposite direction. CO Wright yelled for them to stop and asked if they had been fishing. The man said they were there to watch the sunset and that they don’t fish. Four short bass eventually were located hidden in the trunk of their vehicle and citations were issued.

• CO Cameron Wright was working the St. Joseph River when he contacted a large group of anglers fishing the bank. CO Wright asked how the fishing was and quickly realized that no one in the group spoke English. The CO was able to utilize Google Translate and his small Spanish vocabulary to interact with the anglers. It was quickly discovered that no one in the group had fishing licenses and that there were three coolers full of panfish. Enforcement action was taken, and the fish were seized.

• CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint of an individual who shot a white-tailed buck without a valid deer license. The subject posted several pictures on a social media website about shooting her first deer with a bow. Further investigation showed that the subject had not purchased a deer license for the 2022 season. CO Ulberg spoke with the subject who admitted to shooting the deer without a license. When asked where the deer was, the subject stated it was at a taxidermist. CO Ulberg questioned the subject about how the deer was tagged and the subject stated that she used her stepson’s deer license. Charges are pending prosecutor review.

• Sgt. Jeff Rabbers and COs BJ Goulette, Rob Slick, and Justin Ulberg investigated a tip of a pond being baited for waterfowl in Ionia County. Prior to opening day of the south zone waterfowl season, the COs checked the pond and located a large amount of shelled corn in a shallow section of water. On the waterfowl opener, the COs took up an observation position and watched as several individuals were hunting waterfowl. After the subjects were done hunting, the COs contacted the group. One of the subjects admitted to placing the bait six days prior to opening day. The other hunters denied knowing the pond was baited. The subject responsible for placing the bait was issued a citation, his shotgun was seized, and 18 ducks were confiscated.

DISTRICT 8

• CO Cullen Knoblauch discovered a possible unlawfully taken deer at a deer processor while following up on a different unlawfully taken deer. CO Knoblauch interviewed the processor and identified a suspect who lives in Wayne County.

CO Knoblauch contacted COs Ariel Young and Martin Lawrence requesting they attempt contact with the suspect. COs Young and Lawrence contacted the suspect and obtained a confession of him shooting a 7-point buck in the Sharon Valley State Game Area on Oct. 1 and purchasing his license on Oct. 2. Charges are being sought through the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.

• CO Chris Reynolds responded to an in-progress recreational trespass in Branch County. When CO Reynolds arrived, the complainant and suspect were on the complainant’s property. CO Reynolds interviewed the suspect who showed where he was hunting, which was on the complainant’s property. The suspect also stated he had shot a deer. A report will be submitted to the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office for recreational trespass. The deer was donated to a family in need in the area.

• Sgt. Rich Nickols and CO Cheyanna Langworthy worked the pheasant season opener at Rose Lake. Approximately 160 birds had been released on the previous day. The hunters were very supportive and thankful for the pheasant release program. Only one hunter was checked who did not have the required pheasant license, but he was able to download the new licensing app and purchase his license on the spot.

DISTRICT 9

• While on marine patrol, CO David Schaumburger came across a pair of anglers who were perch fishing. The two anglers had their perch in two buckets, both without water. When the CO pulled up to the anglers, they dumped one of the buckets into the water so the “fish could swim around alive.” The CO had the anglers count their fish into one bucket and they had 57 perch between the two of them. One of the anglers said that they were using the smaller fish to “upgrade.” The CO pointed out they could not “upgrade” fish that were belly up and they were in possession of too many fish. The anglers were cited for an overlimit of perch.

• COs Joseph Deppen, Brad Silorey, and Sydney Griffor were checking waterfowl hunters on Lake St. Clair. They checked one hunter who was taking out his grandson. The hunter said he was teaching his grandson how to hunt properly. The hunter was cited for possession of lead shot, unplugged gun, and no personal flotation devices (PFDs). The COs encouraged him to take his family hunting, but he needs to do it in a safe and legal manner.

• CO Raymond Gardner responded to a complaint of a hunter who purchased a deer license after taking a deer. CO Gardner contacted the suspect and asked if any deer had been taken this season. When the suspect said yes, CO Gardner asked what day the deer was taken. The suspect said on the October 2 or 3. CO Gardner explained that he had reason to believe that suspect took the deer on Oct. 1 and then purchased his deer license on Oct. 2. The suspect hesitated and then admitted to buying the deer license after taking a deer. The suspect said that it wasn’t until after the deer was shot that they realized they didn’t have a kill-tag. The suspect also said the deer wasn’t moved or transported until after the license was purchased their deer license. CO Gardner explained the deer was illegally taken because they didn’t have a license prior to taking the deer. CO Gardner then seized the deer skull. A report will be submitted to the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

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