Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Cuffs & Collars: Field reports from Michigan DNR Conservation Officers (Jan. 5, 2023)

DISTRICT 1

• CO Alex VanWagner and Detective Josh Boudreaux of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy contacted two hunters in possession of untagged deer. One of the subjects shot a 6-point and the other shot a spike. The subject who shot the spike did not have killtags in possession as he ordered them online before going out to hunt. The other had kill-tags and had not yet attached a tag to his 6-point. A citation was issued to the subject who shot the spike, and a verbal warning was issued to the other.

• Sgt. Mark Leadman and CO Jeremy Sergey were patrolling in Marquette County when an individual drove up to them in a truck and engaged them in conversation about the hunting season.

Unfortunately for the hunter, when CO Sergey checked the individual’s rifle, he discovered it was loaded with a live round in the chamber. The subject admitted to just putting a round in the firearm for the last half mile trek into camp. A citation was issued for loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

• COs John Kamps and Jackson Kelly checked a buck that was hanging on a buck pole at a camp. The COs checked the 4-point deer, two points on each side, and found it to be tagged with a unvalidated regular combination tag. Talking with the people at camp they determined it to be harvested by an individual who was hunting just down the road. The COs contacted the hunter to find him hunting without hunter orange. The COs obtained a confession from the individual for harvesting an undersized buck with a combination tag. Evidence was seized and law enforcement action was taken.

DISTRICT 2

• As opening day of Michigan’s firearm deer season had come to an end, CO Brandon Maki was about to call out of service when he received a report of a collared wolf emitting a mortality signal. CO Maki met CO Andrea Dani a short time later. The COs arrived on scene and were able to find a dead, gunshot wolf that was placed in a garbage bag underneath a pine tree. The COs observed fresh four-wheeler tracks and boot prints leading to where the wolf was dumped. The COs seized the wolf and followed the four-wheeler tracks to the nearby road. COs Dani and Maki went to where the tracks led to a camp and contacted the occupants at approximately 1 a.m. The COs were greeted by an individual of the camp and after questioning, he admitted to shooting the wolf. Subsequently the individual’s firearm was seized. COs Dani and Maki returned to the same camp a few days later for a follow up interview, when it was discovered that the individual was also deer hunting without a license. A report is being submitted to the Alger County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

• CO Andrea Dani observed a permanent blind on Hiawatha National Forest property with an over-limit of bait. CO Dani observed the hunters did not leave the blind until well after legal shooting hours. Upon contact, CO Dani observed the rifle was still fully loaded. Each hunter stated they had shot a deer during archery season and still had the remaining portion of their kill-tags. CO Dani also found that neither hunter had taken hunter safety. Enforcement action was taken.

• PCO Ryan Cox and CO Michael Evink contacted a hunter with an overlimit of bait at their blind. Once contact was made the hunter and his young grandson admitted to bait that included a 50-pound bag of corn, a 50-pound bag of carrots, close to 10 gallons of sugar beets, and a mineral block. Additionally, the elder hunter did not have hunter orange on in the blind.

DISTRICT 3

• CO Sidney LaLonde was patrolling Montmorency County when she
came across a deer hunter sitting in a ditch. The hunter had just
hauled out an 8-point buck and was exhausted. The hunter was recovering
from having broken both his legs not long before and had two canes. CO
LaLonde was able to put the deer in her truck and give the hunter a ride
back to his vehicle.

• CO Andrea Albert and Sgt. Bill Webster checked a baited deer hunting
blind on state land. The COs observed a dead untagged antlered deer was
next to the unidentified blind. The hunter had forgotten his hunter
orange, so he put orange duct tape on his cap. A ticket was issued for
hunting deer over a large bait pile and warnings were issued for failing
to immediately tag his deer, no identification on the blind, and no
hunter orange.

• CO Tom Oberg checked a hunting blind during the firearm deer season that he
located in archery deer season. The blind was baited for deer. CO Oberg
contacted the hunter while he was hunting. CO Oberg addressed the issue
of baiting deer in a closed area. The hunter stated everyone was baiting
and it wasn’t fair to receive a ticket for it. CO Oberg explained that
it was still illegal, and a ticket was issued.

• CO Jack Gorno was on patrol in Cheboygan County and contacted a subject
sitting in his vehicle on state land. A check of the subject’s firearm
revealed that he had a loaded shotgun in the vehicle. CO Gorno ticketed
the subject for a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

DISTRICT 4

• CO Jeff Ginn requested the assistance from the United States Forest
Service (USFS) to address several illegal blinds on USFS property.

The adjacent landowner had developed illegal roads in the forest and built
permanent elevated blinds on federal land. The suspect was contacted,
and the violations were addressed by the USFS, and the blinds were
removed with a tractor that day. USFS law enforcement will conduct
follow up regarding the enforcement action.

• COs Jeff Ginn and Kevin Bunce responded to a residence where five deer
were reported to be hanging untagged. Upon arrival, the COs located a
single whitetail buck untagged. Upon contacting the resident, he
initially explained his minor brother had taken the buck. Additional
questioning revealed the suspect had lied and he was the one who shot
the deer without a license.

• CO Micah Hintze received a complaint of a large amount of bait on a
neighboring property. On the afternoon of the rifle season opener, CO
Hintze followed foot tracks to multiple baited stands and retrieved the
hunters and had them return to their cabin. One of the hunters was a
juvenile hunting without adult supervision. Citations were issued for
hunting deer over bait, no hunter orange, allowing a juvenile to hunt
unsupervised, hunt deer without license, and possessing a loaded firearm
after hunting hours.

• CO Tim Barboza received a RAP complaint of a truck in the Muskegon SGA
that had driven through a trout stream. CO Barboza responded and located
a truck on the opposite side of the stream with a hunter visible behind
the vehicle. CO Barboza contacted the hunter and observed a 30-round
magazine in the hunter’s AR-15 rifle. CO Barboza asked how many rounds
were in the magazine and the hunter replied, “I honestly don’t know.”

CO Barboza asked for the magazine and discovered there were 20 rounds. CO
Barboza advised the hunter that he was not allowed more than six between
magazine and chamber CO Barboza cited the hunter for hunting with a
prohibited device.

DISTRICT 5

• CO Casey Pullum responded to a complaint that gunshots were heard two
nights in a row out on public land in Oscoda County. CO Pullum responded
and contacted a fatherand-son team of hunters as they were just leaving
the woods with a spike horn buck. The father stated that his son had
shot the spike and that he had gotten a deer the night before. ORV
tracks led back to their blind which was baited. CO Pullum followed the
hunters back to their cabin to investigate further and discovered an
untagged 10-point buck, an untagged 6-point buck, and a doe. All the
deer were seized, and charges are being sought through the Oscoda County
Prosecutor’s Office.

• COs participated in a shining flight in Oscoda and Ogemaw counties in
November. With the assistance of the pilot, they contacted a vehicle
with two occupants who were shining deer and in possession of firearms.
Citations were issued for shining while in possession of weapons. During
the same flight, another vehicle was located by the plane for shining
and the occupants were issued a citation.

• CO Kyle Bader made a traffic stop on a vehicle and discovered that the
deer on the top of the sport utility vehicle was untagged, and there was
an uncased rifle and a cocked and loaded crossbow inside the vehicle.
Further investigation revealed three of the four rifles in the vehicle
were loaded and not properly cased. Two of the hunters were cited for
possessing loaded and uncased firearms in a motor vehicle. One of the
hunters was issued a citation for failing to immediately validate and
attach his killtag.

DISTRICT 6

• During a heavy snowfall in Isabella County, CO Mike Haas was passed by a
vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was displaying
expired registration, passed in a no passing zone, and was traveling
over 70 mph in a 55-mph zone.

A traffic stop was conducted, and the driver admitted she did not know
the CO’s truck was a police vehicle. A citation was issued to address
the violations.

• While patrolling state land during a rainy day of the firearm deer
season, CO Mike Haas encountered a truck operating slowly on a two-track
along the Bay/Gladwin county line. The CO contacted the driver as he
pulled over and fumbled with something in the seat next to him. CO Haas
pointed out that the man’s gun case was not secured and could see there
was no rifle in the case. When asked where the man’s firearm was, the
man moved a flannel coat revealing a rifle resting on the seat next to
him. CO Haas secured the firearm which was loaded with multiple rounds
and explained the obvious safety and fair chase issues.

The man admitted he knew better since he had been cited for the same
violation in the past. A citation was issued for having a loaded/
uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.

• On the deer firearm opener, CO Dan Robinson contacted an individual
hunting who had a large amount of bait out. Prior to the firearms
season, CO Robinson had received several complaints about the individual
and had located the illegal bait which required crossing the Chippewa
River. After several failed attempts to contact an unknown suspect
before the opener, CO Robinson checked it again the morning of the
firearms opener and found a hunter in the blind.

After helping the hunter light his propane heater and answering a few
questions, CO Robinson issued a citation to the hunter. He also got a
warning for stretching a rope across the river and leaving it up most of
the season. He was using it to pull himself across in a small boat, but
it was also a potential navigation hazard.

DISTRICT 7

• CO Carter Woodwyk received a hunter harassment complaint in Allegan
County. Through interviews with the complainants and the suspect, it was
determined that the suspect initiated their vehicle’s car alarm
multiple times throughout the morning. Additionally, the suspect sounded
off an air horn approximately six times on two different occasions
throughout the morning. The suspect denied setting off the car alarm on
purpose to harass the neighbors hunting and denied ever sounding off an
air horn. The complainants had multiple video/audio recordings that
distinguished the two different sounds coming from the same direction.
Charges were submitted to the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office for
hunter harassment.

• CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint of a subject shooting a
10-point white-tailed buck during the archery season without having a
valid 2022 deer license. The subject posted a picture of himself posing
with the buck on a social media site. A check of the subject’s license
purchasing history revealed the subject had not purchased his deer
license at the time of the kill. A report will be submitted to the Kent
County Prosecutor’s Office for pending charges.

DISTRICT 8

• CO Chris Reynolds observed multiple bucks hanging in a tree at a home
in Hillsdale County. He spoke to the homeowner (not the person who shot
the deer) who stated a friend was hunting and shot the deer. CO Reynolds noticed one
of the tags recently was purchased and contacted the buyer who stated
they bought the tag for a friend. CO Reynolds tracked down the hunter
who confessed to shooting all three antlered deer and having his friend
buy another tag so he could take another antlered deer. The third
antlered deer was seized. A report will be submitted for taking an
over-limit of antlered deer and borrowing the kill-tag of another.

• CO Marc Mankowski received a RAP complaint of a hunter in the
Potterville SGA wearing all orange and carrying a firearm during the
evening hunt on November 14. CO Mankowski was off duty and contacted an
Eaton County Sheriff’s deputy that was in the area to check the
complaint. CO Mankowski suited up and responded. The deputy contacted
the hunter who readily admitted to shooting a button buck with a
shotgun. The hunter firmly believed it was November 15. The suspect
pulled up the calendar on his phone to prove the date was the 15th and
said, “Oh, crap!” The deer was seized and donated. Charges are pending.

• Sgt. Rich Nickols received a tip about a hunter in Clinton County
suspected of shooting a third buck. After some digging into license
purchases, Sgt. Nickols contacted the hunter and interviewed him about
the deer he had harvested. The suspect stated he had lost his original
licenses, so he had his wife purchase a combination license that he
tagged two bucks with. The suspect then bought his own replacement tags
and continued to hunt, ultimately shooting an 11-point buck.

The suspect was still in possession of a remaining tag as well. Sgt.
Nickols seized the remaining tag and the 11-point rack. Charges are pending.

DISTRICT 9

• CO Brad Silorey was conducting early morning surveillance on layout
waterfowl hunters. CO Silorey contacted CO Kris Kiel for assistance
after witnessing multiple violations from multiple groups. CO Kiel
prepped and launched a vessel and was able to pick up CO Silorey. Both
COs contacted the multiple groups and wrote three different groups for
having a loaded firearm in a motorboat underway.

• CO Joseph Deppen was checking hunters in St. Clair County when he heard
a gunshot very close to his area. He waited and watched a hunter having
difficulty tracking a deer he just shot. After 15 minutes, CO Deppen
exited the woods and assisted in the track. CO Deppen tracked the deer,
and the hunter hauled the deer back to his blind. In front of the blind
was a large pile of corn and sugar beets. The hunter looked at CO Deppen
and said, “Well I guess we better address this then.” The deer was
confiscated and charges for baiting while prohibited and taking deer
over bait are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.

• CO Joseph Deppen received a complaint of waterfowl hunters shooting
within the safety zone of a residence. CO Deppen responded to the area,
and – using a rangefinder – found the distance to be 99 yards from the
occupied dwelling. CO Deppen contacted the hunters, and all were issued
citations for hunt/discharge firearms within the safety zone.

• CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking duck hunters at Pointe Mouillee SGA
when he contacted two hunters who had little success. CO Ingersoll
conducted a full and thorough check of all their equipment and licenses,
and it was determined that one of the hunters only bought a hunt/fish
combination license and failed to purchase a waterfowl license for
Michigan or a federal duck stamp. The individual was cited for no state
license and warned for not having a federal duck stamp.

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