Department of Natural Resources
Conservation Officers (COs) Josh Boudreaux, Ariel Young, John Kamps, and Sergeant (Sgt.) Mark Leadman responded to a felonious assault complaint in Marquette’s Humboldt Township. The male suspect had an early morning argument with family members over money and had fired a shotgun over their vehicles as they left the residence. The COs assisted Michigan State Police (MSP) with setting up a secure perimeter around the residence until MSP’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) could be deployed. The suspect could be seen carrying firearms and shooting off several rounds in his back yard over the next couple hours. The suspect was seen launching a small boat into the Escanaba River near his residence. The ERT moved in and took him into custody without incident. A shotgun was recovered from inside the small boat.
CO Dave Miller received a complaint about a deer being shot at night next to a residence within the village of L’Anse. The next morning, CO Miller received information that the deer was taken to the suspect’s camp for processing. CO Miller responded to the camp and located a gut pile, rib cage, hide, and the neck of the deer along the road near the suspect’s camp. Upon examination, it appeared as though the deer had been shot with a gun. The suspect and his hunting party were questioned and admitted that one of them had shot the deer with a handgun after it was wounded with an arrow and ran into town. The investigation is ongoing with charges for hunting in the village limits, safety zone violations, trespassing, allow minor to hunt unsupervised, and damage to property and is being reviewed by the prosecutor’s office.
CO Josh Boudreaux received a complaint of an individual fishing a closed section of a trout stream in Marquette County. CO Boudreaux responded to the area and hiked to a vantage point where he could observe the angler. After observing the individual fish for several minutes, CO Boudreaux contacted the angler who stated, “I had no idea the stream was closed!” As CO Boudreaux followed the angler back to his truck, he pointed out the two signs he passed on his way to his fishing spot which stated the stretch of river was closed, including one which was posted on the tree in front of his parked truck. The angler’s fish was seized, and a citation was issued for fishing a closed stream.
Sgt. Brian Bacon and CO Anna Viau noticed a recently made ORV trail going around a berm on state land in Iron County. The COs followed the trail until they located a side-by-side ORV on the trail. In the passenger seat of the ORV was a gun case. Sgt. Bacon shortly spotted an individual in the woods, who turned out to be the operator of the ORV. The individual was hanging a tree stand very close to a tree stand in a nearby tree. After contacting the individual, he soon admitted to not having properly labeled the existing tree stand which had been left on state land for a few days. The COs brought the man back to his ORV and asked about the gun case. The man admitted he had a loaded .22 caliber rifle in the case. After confirming that the rifle was loaded, the COs wrote the individual a citation for having a loaded firearm on his ORV and gave him warnings for his unlabeled tree stand and for operating his ORV in a closed area.
CO Jenni Hanson was the closest officer to a roll-over accident outside of Wakefield. CO Hanson rendered medical care to the two patients inside the vehicle until Beacon Ambulance could transport them to the hospital.
COs Steve Butzin, Chris Lynch, and Breana Reed responded to a call of a lost child in the City of Escanaba. The young child had left school upset and, given the cold weather that day, all involved knew that the child had to be located soon. Along with the COs, the search party consisted of Delta County Search and Rescue, Escanaba Public Safety, Delta County Sheriff’s Office, MSP, and local volunteer fire fighters. Thankfully, after over a five-hour search, the child was safely located and transported to family.
CO Chris Lynch successfully served an arrest warrant on a subject for shooting an illegal 8-point buck and 10-point buck. The subject is currently facing charges for shooting sandhill cranes as well.
CO Colton Gelinas was working a shining patrol in Mackinac County when he observed a truck using a green tinted spotlight to shine fields. CO Gelinas contacted the subjects who believed that they were legal to shine during the month of November. CO Gelinas advised the subjects that from November 1 through November 30, shining is not allowed. CO Gelinas also advised the subjects that shining, when legal, must cease from the hours of 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. CO Gelinas issued a citation for using an artificial light between and during unlawful hours.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol when a call of a suicidal teen was reported near his location. CO VanOosten began searching for the individual and located the vehicle that the teen was reported driving. The suspect was not in the vehicle, but the engine was still warm, and the door was slightly cracked. CO VanOosten began looking for the teen on a trail near the vehicle. With the help of the Luce County Sherriff’s Department, the teen was located and brought in for medical attention without incident.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol when he received a request to notify an individual at a remote cabin that a family member had passed away. The family was unable to reach the individual because of lack of cell phone service. CO VanOosten responded to the location and notified the individual of the circumstances.
CO Andrea Erratt attended the Trunk-or-Treat celebration at the Boyne City Presbyterian Church. CO Erratt displayed her fur kit and antlers from illegal deer cases while handing out DNR posters, fishing bobbers, Smokey Bear pencils, sharpeners, tattoos, bracelets, and bookmarks.
COs Kyle Cherry and Tom Oberg followed up on a baiting complaint that was received. COs Cherry and Oberg went to the location and located a hunting blind near a gas well site. The COs observed the baited deer blind using binoculars and noticed an individual crawling out of the blind and into the woods. The COs quickly made their way to the blind and identified themselves as conservation officers. They located the subject lying down under some trees in the woods who quickly complied with the COs’ commands. The subject was detained and handcuffed by the COs. The subject stated, “I didn’t know who you guys were”. He stated that he got scared when he saw two people walking towards him because there had been issues with people trespassing on the property. After investigation, the subject was released and issued a ticket for hunting over deer bait.
CO Paul Fox received a complaint about a dead deer that was found in a subject’s yard in Presque Isle County. CO Fox responded to the scene. Upon investigation, it was determined the deer was shot with a crossbow after dark from the roadway. The investigation continues and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline. Tipsters can remain anonymous and convictions may lead to a reward.
CO Paul Fox received a call from the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office regarding a subject who shot a deer with a rifle from a vehicle. The deer was shot on private property. The caller was able to get a license plate and identified one of the suspects. CO Fox responded to the scene and tracked down the suspects. Upon interviewing the suspects, confessions were obtained about shooting the deer. The deer and the suspect’s gun were seized. Charges will be filed for multiple violations, including the illegal deer.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling Albert Township in Montmorency County when a suspicious vehicle drove past him. The vehicle spotted CO Liestenfeltz and abruptly turned down a two-track leading to an oil well and stopped halfway down. CO Liestenfeltz ran the subject’s license plate and determined the plate belonged on a different vehicle. The vehicle then backed out and began driving back the way from which it came. CO Liestenfeltz was able to make a traffic stop on the vehicle shortly thereafter. Once contacting the driver, it was determined that the plate did in fact belong on a different vehicle, the vehicle the subject was driving did not have insurance, and the driver had multiple containers of open intoxicants inside. The subject was taken into custody and lodged at the Montmorency County Jail.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz investigated a tip regarding a 10-point buck that was killed on state land by a subject who didn’t have a license. The subject also had prior violations with the DNR. The subject posted a picture on Facebook with his deer that morning. CO Liestenfeltz checked the subject on the Retail Sales System (RSS) and determined that the subject had purchased one single buck tag the same morning prior to when he posted the picture on Facebook. CO Liestenfeltz interviewed the subject and, after multiple lies were told, he eventually confessed to shooting the buck the night prior without a license. CO Liestenfeltz seized the deer and the bow and arrow with which it was shot. Charges were submitted to the prosecutor and a warrant was issued for the subject’s arrest. CO Liestenfeltz was able to arrest the subject on the warrant and a court date has been set.
COs Jon Sheppard and Jessie Curtis received a complaint of salmon snagging on the Thunder Bay River in Alpena. The COs drove to the dam and observed fishing activity. They also observed several anglers on shore and three in a boat. One subject in the boat had a fish on, so the COs watched closely as it approached the side of the boat. The salmon was hooked in the back, nowhere near the mouth. After taking a picture, the subject put the salmon on a stringer and continued fishing. The COs watched for another 30 minutes and then called the group over to the shore. The COs asked the subject where he hooked the salmon. The subject said that he hooked it “where everyone else is.” The COs advised him that they had been watching everyone fish for approximately two hours. The subject admitted that it was a foul hooked fish. CO Curtis issued a ticket for possessing a foul hooked fish. The fish was seized.
CO William Haskin was patrolling Wexford County when he received a call of a lost hunter in the woods. The hunter was able to be reached by phone but gave a different location than his GPS was reporting. Wexford Central was able to locate him by his phone and it matched up with his GPS coordinates. CO Haskin was able to get to the location and get the hunter back to his camp.
COs Patrick McManus and Amanda McCurdy conducted a six-mile foot patrol on North Manitou Island during the week-long firearm deer hunt. This is a specialized hunt that occurs annually and approximately 120 people participated this year. During the patrol, the COs checked numerous hunters, many of whom had harvested large deer from the island. While on the island, the COs assisted the National Park Service with a medical emergency that occurred after an individual cut himself with a knife while quartering a deer. The individual was located and transported back to Leland by the Glen Lake Fire Department.
CO Richard Stowe responded to a complaint of a shore angler keeping short fish while night fishing in Grand Traverse County. CO Stowe contacted the angler and conducted a routine license check. No fish were observed during the contact. The angler stated that he had caught only a small walleye and a small pike but had none to show. After leaving the contact and being told that the subject was almost done fishing, CO Stowe decided to wait and see if the subject continued to fish and to see if he carried any extra gear back to his vehicle. Approximately a half hour later, the subject was observed hurrying back to his vehicle carrying a bucket and was confronted in the parking area attempting to leave driving with his waders on. When the contents of the bucket were checked, an undersized pike was discovered, and a ticket was issued for keeping a northern pike under 24 inches.
CO Josiah Killingbeck heard a Be on the Lookout (BOL) of a vehicle that was going over the centerline and causing people to run off the road. CO Killingbeck was the only officer in the area of the complaint. CO Killingbeck located the vehicle and observed the vehicle driving very erratically. CO Killingbeck stopped the vehicle and contacted an elderly female who had no idea where she was but was attempting to “head home.” CO Killingbeck realized she had driven about 50 miles past her turn. The subject assured CO Killingbeck that she could drive just fine and did not want to believe that people were calling in about her driving. CO Killingbeck determined that the driver was not fit to drive in her current condition and her gas gauge was on empty. CO Killingbeck was able to get in touch with a daughter of the driver, who was able to come to the scene and pick up her mother. The daughter advised CO Killingbeck that they had been looking for her mom for several hours and that her mom was starting to have Alzheimer’s complications and should not be driving. The family was extremely thankful that CO Killingbeck had located their mother.
CO Josiah Killingbeck assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Department with surveillance of an armed and dangerous suspect who had numerous warrants and was wanted for questioning in an attempted homicide in Clare County, along with numerous breaking and entering throughout many counties. CO Killingbeck was conducting surveillance with a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) officer and Lake County deputy when another deputy located the suspect driving a vehicle and had attempted to make a vehicle stop. The pursuing officer requested assistance from officers in the area. CO Killingbeck and a second USFS officer assisted in apprehending an individual who had fled the scene on foot after the suspect vehicle crashed into a vehicle stopped along the roadway before striking a tree. The individual apprehended by CO Killingbeck had fled because she had outstanding warrants for her arrest. CO Killingbeck assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Department with the investigation. It was determined that the trailer being towed by the suspect vehicle in the pursuit was stolen along with an ORV inside and numerous other tools and generators. Several firearms that were located were believed to be stolen along with a sawed-off shotgun that is possibly the weapon used in an attempted homicide. Both suspects are being charged with numerous felony charges. The investigation is ongoing.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol, observed a subject in full camouflage with only partially orange gloves carrying a shotgun on a rural road in Lake County. CO Killingbeck contacted the subject and asked about the lack of proper hunter orange. The subject said that he only thought that he needed orange when deer hunting with a firearm and not while small game hunting. CO Killingbeck quickly determined that the subject was carrying a loaded shotgun with the safety off. CO Killingbeck asked the subject why his safety was off, and the subject said that when he goes in the woods, he takes the safety off because upland game birds are fast on takeoff. CO Killingbeck explained the dangers of carrying a firearm with the safety off and not wearing hunter orange. A citation was issued for failure to provide the required hunter orange garment.
CO Mike Wells received a complaint of a buck that had been field dressed and dragged across the road onto private property. When CO Wells arrived, he was able to confirm the buck had been shot with a bow and that there was no license attached to the dressed buck; it was also covered with leaves. CO Wells contacted Sgt. Mike Bomay for assistance to conduct surveillance on the buck while he back tracked the blood trail to the stand location. CO Wells returned, confirming the location of harvest from a legal stand with no bait. CO Wells and Sgt. Bomay continued to conduct surveillance on the buck, anticipating the hunter to return. After approximately four hours, a side-by-side was observed approaching the deer from the woods. CO Wells and Sgt. Bomay observed the two individuals driving away with the buck in the bed of the side-by-side. Sgt. Bomay broke cover and ran after the side-by-side, attempting to stop the suspects. The suspects stopped and CO Wells was able to confirm that the hunter had shot the deer and did not have a license. The landowner went on to say that he didn’t believe he had to have a license on private property. The deer was seized, and CO Wells will be seeking charges through the prosecutor’s office for hunt/take/possess deer no license.
Sgt. Mike Bomay received information on a subject that was hunting while revoked and had harvested an 8-point buck. Sgt. Bomay contacted COs Mike Wells and Tim Barboza for assistance contacting the subject in camp. COs Wells and Barboza were able to locate the subject with the buck loaded up in his pick-up truck preparing to leave. The buck’s head was covered with a tarp in the bed of the pick-up with a validated license from someone else not present in camp. The revoked hunter claimed his fiancé shot the buck but was no longer at the camp and was from downstate. Sgt. Bomay contacted CO Jacob Griffin from District 9 to assist by attempting to contact the fiancé in the Detroit area for an interview. CO Tim Barboza was able to contact the fiancé and conduct an interview on the phone and obtained conflicting information on how the deer was shot. It was determined that the individual stating they had shot the deer had never completed a hunter safety program which made them ineligible to purchase a hunting license. The buck was seized, and CO Barboza is seeking charges through the prosecutor’s office.
CO Josh Reed followed up on a complaint of people camping on state land for an extended period in the Morley area. A heavily used pop-up camper was located, along with signs that the area was being used regularly. A neighboring property owner advised that a grey minivan was seen at the location, but the suspects arrive late at night and leave early in the morning to avoid law enforcement. CO Reed arrived at the location early in the morning and observed the van leaving the two-track and enter the county road. CO Reed followed the van which made a U-turn on the county road and headed back to the two-track and the camp site. A stop was conducted and the occupants contacted. Both occupants had warrants for their arrest and had been staying on the public land off and on throughout the summer and fall. Both subjects were arrested on the warrants and advised to have the area cleaned up.
CO Josh Reed was patrolling the Morley area when a single vehicle motorcycle accident was called in at Northland Drive and 4 Mile Road. CO Reed responded with county units. Upon arrival, CO Reed was asked to assist fire and rescue with a landing zone for a helicopter at the Morley Stanwood High School. CO Reed assisted fire and rescue with the landing zone and the driver was transferred to Med Flight without incident.
CO Micah Hintze received a complaint of raccoons being killed by poison in Missaukee County. When CO Hintze responded to the scene, he noticed a deer stand nearby with illegal bait. Further investigation also confirmed poison at the site along with numerous dead raccoons. CO Hintze removed the poison to alleviate any further issues. When he checked the location a few days later, the hunter was in the deer stand and new poison had been placed out again. CO Hintze interviewed the hunter who admitted to poisoning the raccoons because they were eating all his deer bait. A citation was issued for taking animals by illegal method.
CO Kyle Bader was patrolling for illegal hunting activity on a narrow seasonal road just after dark one night in Ogemaw County when he witnessed a vehicle pull off the road and turn off its headlights. CO Bader contacted the driver of the vehicle who advised he was not hunting even though he had a crossbow in the back seat and crossbow bolts on the dashboard. As the conversation turned into an investigation, CO Bader observed a loaded pistol in between the driver’s seat and the center console of the vehicle. He also determined that the driver’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit and he was driving on a suspended license. The driver was lodged and is being charged with felony Conceal Carry Weapons, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) fourth offense, driving while license suspended, and possession of open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.
CO Kyle Bader received a call from CO Brad Bellville advising a vehicle just showed up at Hart GMC in Ogemaw County with a live bald eagle stuck in the grill. CO Bader responded and was able to restrain the young eagle while a service technician cut enough parts off the grill to be able to remove the bird. Once the eagle was removed, it was turned over to an animal rehabilitation facility for treatment. A big thanks to Cody at Hart GMC in West Branch and the folks that hit the bird who cancelled their plans to stop at the dealership and wait around until the bird could be safely removed.
While on patrol in rural Clare County, CO Josh Wright observed a black truck with loud exhaust slowly rolling though an agricultural area that is known for big bucks and shining activity. The vehicle continued north and crested a hill where CO Wright briefly lost sight of it. When CO Wright crested the hill, he observed the same truck had already pulled over to the side of the road. CO Wright pulled up and contacted the driver to check his welfare. CO Wright immediately noticed a strong odor of intoxicants, glossy blood-shot eyes, and the driver was slurring his speech. After speaking with the driver, it was revealed that he had been out drinking and was trying to get back home. The man refused field sobrieties and a preliminary breath test because he told CO Wright that those tests had not worked out very well for him in the past. CO Wright arrested him for suspected OWI. Once at the jail, test results indicated the driver had a blood alcohol content that was over twice the legal limit. The subject was lodged in the Clare County Jail on his fourth OWI offense. The Clare County Prosecutor’s Office will be pursuing felony charges.
CO Craig Neal located numerous illegal bait piles in Mason Township of Arenac County while scouting on foot. CO Neal continued checking the area several times in the following days trying to locate the hunters who were responsible for placing them. Eventually, while checking the area of one of the bait piles, CO Neal ran into a hunter at his truck. The man stated he had to “use the restroom” and came back to his truck from his stand. The hunter claimed he was hunting the east side of the trail, so CO Neal walked into the west side to check a known bait pile. Upon coming to the stand, CO Neal found a crossbow and hunting pack with no hunter in the area. CO Neal walked back to the parking spot where the hunter was now taking his camouflage hunting gear off knowing he had been caught. Upon contact this time, the hunter reluctantly asked if he could go back to his stand to grab his crossbow. CO Neal followed the hunter back to his stand and bait pile to get the crossbow and then back to the trucks where a citation was issued for baiting deer while prohibited.
CO Mark Papineau investigated a complaint involving a vehicle that was illegally shining a field in Gladwin County followed by a single gunshot. CO Papineau responded and spoke with the complainant who indicated that shortly after 11 p.m., they observed a vehicle actively shining a field and then heard a shot from the vehicle. According to the complainant, the vehicle quickly fled; however, the caller was able to provide a plate number. Investigation of the field revealed a dead button buck with a single gunshot wound. CO Papineau conducted an interview of the vehicle owner, who confessed to illegally shining with several friends. Initially, the suspects denied having a firearm and advised that the gunshot was from the complainant shooting at them; however, they never reported the incident. After further questioning, their story fell apart and confessions were obtained. Warrants are being sought through the Gladwin County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Adam Beuthin was patrolling Saginaw Bay for waterfowl hunters when he observed hunters on a vessel shoot several ducks and attempt to retrieve them with the vessel. CO Beuthin contacted the vessel and found two of the four passengers were in possession of loaded shotguns. The CO explained it was illegal to be under power with forward progression and have a loaded firearm in the vessel. Two of the hunters were issued citations for hunting waterfowl in a motorboat with forward movement.
COs Dan Robinson and Mike Haas responded to a lost child in Montcalm County. The child had been missing for almost two hours prior to the COs’ arrival. The COs assisted MSP K-9 units in searching for the child in the areas surrounding the point where he was last seen. The child was located after six hours of searching by one of the neighbors who saw an article of clothing matching the description, eventually finding the child in a hollowed log.
CO Josh Jackson located several illegal tree stands on a parcel of state land. Frequently checking the area, CO Jackson noticed a vehicle in a nearby parking lot. CO Jackson walked into the state land and witnessed a hunter in a bow stand, overlooking a mineral block and fresh apples on the ground. The hunter admitted to dumping the apples prior to his hunt and was subsequently cited for the use of bait.
While patrolling the Vestaburg State Game Area (SGA) in Montcalm County, Sgt. Bob Hobkirk came across an empty ambulance with its emergency lights on parked in the middle of a road. Central Dispatch was contacted, and the CO learned that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel were at a deer blind on private property with a subject who was having a medical emergency. Sgt. Hobkirk was able to assist by driving his patrol truck back to the deer blind and transporting the patient out to the waiting ambulance.
CO Sam Schluckbier received a complaint of a deer hunter who was illegally baiting near his tree stand. CO Schluckbier responded to the hunting location provided in the complaint and encountered a crossbow hunter leaving the area. When speaking with the hunter, he asked to see his stand and set up. The hunter escorted CO Schluckbier to his hunting spot where he located a pile of bait that the hunter had attempted to conceal. A citation for baiting deer was issued.
CO Sam Schluckbier was checking an illegal blind located on state land in Allegan County when he came across another hunter nearby. The hunter could not provide a valid license and further investigation revealed he had improperly tagged a buck several days earlier. A citation was issued for the license violation.
CO Carter Woodwyk has received multiple complaints of subjects misusing the newly constructed Echo Point Shooting Range in Allegan County. Many of the complaints stem from after-hours shooting. The CO was patrolling through the area and observed a subject actively target shooting well after the posted hours. Contact was made with the suspect and the sign showing the usage hours was pointed out on the post next to the shooting station being used. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Carter Woodwyk received information from CO John Kamps of Marquette County regarding a possible trespassing situation that occurred in Allegan County. CO Woodwyk spoke with the original complainant who advised their neighbor trespassed on their property to track a deer they shot. CO Woodwyk contacted one of the suspects in the complaint who denied trespassing until the CO showed him all the evidence that proved he did trespass. A full confession was eventually received on the trespassing. Additionally, CO Woodwyk noticed the deer that was shot did not have a kill tag validated or attached to the deer hours after the original incident occurred. The deer was seized and charges for recreational trespassing and possession of an untagged deer are being sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County when he observed a vehicle operating carelessly on the public roadway. The CO conducted a traffic stop and found the driver did not have a valid license to drive. Additionally, it was discovered that both the driver and passenger each had a warrant out for their arrest. Both subjects were taken into custody and lodged at the Allegan County Jail.
CO Casey Varriale was on patrol in the Rogue River SGA in Kent County where he contacted two hunters while they were parked on the side of the road. CO Varriale noticed a gun case on the floorboards of the pickup truck and some archery equipment. CO Varriale gained consent to search the truck and found an uncased .22 caliber rifle on the backseat. During an investigation, CO Varriale also discovered the driver of the truck had not had a valid driver’s license since 2010. The individual was cited.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling the area surrounding the Muskegon SGA when she observed two young individuals riding their ORV on the roadway. Muskegon County does not allow one to operate their ORVs on the roadway or on the shoulder of the road. Along with this, the ORV was not properly registered, nor did the operators have an ORV safety certificate. CO Cullen stopped the two minors at their residence. CO Cullen was able to contact the parents of the minors and educated them on the violations present.
CO Justin Ulberg responded to a complaint of individuals shooting explosive targets in the Rogue River SGA. CO Ulberg responded to the area and observed and listened from a distance. While in the area, CO Ulberg heard two explosive targets go off. CO Ulberg contacted the group of individuals shooting the targets and issued a citation for the violation.
While inspecting a local deer processor, COs Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg observed a deer tag that seemed suspicious. The tag was notched on the same day it was purchased and it was purchased after legal shooting hours. COs Varriale and Ulberg contacted the hunter and questioned him about the deer and when it was killed. After a short interview, the subject admitted to shooting the deer and then purchasing his deer license. A report will be submitted to the county prosecutor for charges.
CO Michael Haas contacted COs Justin Ulberg and Casey Varriale regarding a hunter that appeared to have shot a buck without a valid license. CO Haas located the subject on a social media site posing with the buck and discovered the subject only had an antlerless tag. COs Ulberg and Varriale contacted the subject and interviewed him regarding the buck. The subject confessed to shooting the buck thinking it was a doe and purchased his buck tag afterwards. A report will be submitted to the county prosecutor for charges.
CO Jackie Miskovich received a tip via the RAP line about an individual illegally possessing protected turtles. CO Miskovich contacted the subject and was able to locate six turtles inside the residence. The subject was in possession of an Eastern Box turtle, which is a protected species, an undersized Snapping turtle, two Musk turtles, a Map turtle, and a Painted turtle. A citation was issued for possessing a protected species and for possessing turtles without a fishing license.
While patrolling the Muskegon SGA in Newaygo County, CO Jackie Miskovich came upon two individuals cutting down trees and putting them on their trailer. The individuals stated they were cutting firewood for a friend of theirs but could not produce a permit or the person’s full name for whom they were cutting the wood. A citation was issued for removing forest products from state land without a permit, and the wood was then taken off the trailer and left from where they took it.
COs Daniel Prince and Peter Purdy investigated a complaint of a subject shooting deer without a hunting license. The subject was cooperative and turned over a 9-point buck and an 8-point buck, both shot by the subject without hunting licenses. A report will be submitted to the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office for a warrant request for the two deer taken without hunting licenses and for the subject for illegally baiting for deer behind his home.
CO Brandon Hartleben investigated a complaint involving a subject that took a Lesser yellowlegs while waterfowl hunting at Four Mile Lake at Chelsea SGA. The complainant was able to provide a picture of the suspect’s vehicle and a picture of the Lesser yellowlegs that the suspect supposedly shot. CO Hartleben was able to locate the suspect and conduct an interview. During the interview, the suspect confessed to shooting what he believed to be snipe until he was confronted and educated by the complainant. A report is being submitted to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office seeking charges for taking a non-game bird.
COs Nick Wellman and Chris Reynolds were conducting an overnight shining patrol in an area of Branch County that has been a problem area this year. During the patrol, CO Wellman noticed a vehicle slowly rolling and turning around near a field. CO Wellman followed the vehicle for a while and watched it stop several times in the middle of the road and weave back and forth across the roadway. CO Wellman conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver who appeared extremely intoxicated. He was given sobriety tests, which he failed. The driver refused both the preliminary breath test and the chemical breath test at the jail so a search warrant for his blood was obtained. The man was lodged in the Branch County Jail on his second OWI charge and lab results are pending.
COs Nick Wellman and Jim Nason went to interview a subject on a recreational trespass complaint. The suspect was hunting on property for which he did not have permission, shot a doe, and then was out looking for it. Sometime during the track, he lost the blood and returned later to continue to look. When he returned to the property, he took a tree stand down, hooked it to his vehicle and dragged it through the farmer’s standing soybeans. In all, it was property damage and recreational trespass on two separate properties. The man admitted to everything. Charges are being sought through the Branch County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Nick Wellman and Jason McCullough went to conduct an interview regarding illegal otter that they had found earlier in the year. Upon contacting the suspect, CO Wellman asked the man if he knew why the COs were there. He stated that he knew and that it was because he had killed a big buck the night before and never tagged it. Surprised, the COs handled the illegal deer issue, then asked the man about the otters, to which he confessed to taking an over-limit of otter and not registering them. All illegal game was seized, and reports are being sent to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office.
While patrolling Branch County, CO Jim Nason received a call regarding a pontoon boat with occupants that was stranded on Coldwater Lake. CO Nason responded with his patrol vessel and was able to contact the father and daughter who were stranded for over two hours in cold temperatures. CO Nason towed the boat back to shore without incident.
CO Brad Silorey conducted a deer processor inspection and found a deer tagged and validated on the same day the license was purchased and dropped off at the processor. A short interview by COs Silorey and Kris Kiel produced a confession of taking the 8-point buck in his backyard and purchasing the license after the fact. A warrant request will be sought through the prosecutor for taking a deer without a license. The deer was donated to two needy families in Richmond that the COs found by contacting the local police department.
COs Joseph Deppen and Brad Silorey were following up on a trespassing complaint along the Clinton River in Macomb County. The COs had information the subject had entered the area, but they could not find tracks leading to his hunting stand. After quietly searching the area, the COs were able to locate the hunter in his stand along the back corner of the property. The hunter was hunting over bait and he was trespassing. When confronted with the allegations against him, the hunter said, “I know it was wrong, I know this isn’t my property, but I was hoping to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.” The hunter claimed he had been hunting and trespassing in the location for seven years without being caught. When questioned about his entrance to his stand, the hunter pointed out a canoe tucked in along the riverbank. The hunter said he used the canoe to gain access in and out of the property. CO Deppen cited the hunter for recreational trespass and hunting deer over bait while prohibited. The hunter was given a verbal warning for no personal floatation device while operating his canoe.
While on wildlife patrol in Macomb County, COs Joseph Deppen and Kris Kiel revisited a complaint dealing with baiting deer from the previous year. The COs had visited the property during the deer season and witnessed new bait placed out for deer, but the hunter was never around. The COs returned to the location before shooting hours were going to end, believing the hunter was in the area. The COs advanced through the woods and found the hunter in a covered elevated tree stand hunting deer over a pile of sugar beets and carrots. The COs approached and identified themselves. The hunter jumped up and said, “I am out here only hunting coyotes.” The COs asked about his hunter orange garments and the hunter pointed out he was stationary. As the hunter exited the tree stand, empty beer cans came raining down. The hunter said, “Those are old and empty.” The hunter claimed he was hunting deer on the way in, but once he was over the carrots and sugar beets, he switched to stationary coyote hunting, and then on the way out he was going to hunt deer again. The COs asked for his identification and hunting license. The hunter handed the COs hunting licenses and deer tags that were not his. Once asked a second time, he was eventually able to find his deer tags. The hunter was given warnings for use/possess/borrow another’s deer tags and littering; however, the hunter was issued a citation for hunting deer over bait while prohibited.
CO Robert Watson was on night patrol when he conducted a stop on an ORV. After a few questions, CO Watson gave the operator of the ORV a verbal warning and broke contact. CO Watson suspected something was wrong and stayed in the area. Two hours later, CO Watson heard an ORV operating on the roadway without using headlights. CO Watson conducted a stop and discovered it was the same ORV from earlier, except now the operator had a 9-point buck in the bed of the ORV. After a short interview, CO Watson discovered the deer was shot out of the suspect’s truck window with a .450 Bushmaster. CO Watson submitted a report to the prosecutor for review.
COs Jaime Salisbury, Raymond Gardner, and Sgt. Chris Maher were on their way to perform a processor inspection in Lapeer County when they came across a field with goose hunters in it. The COs stopped and contacted the hunters. During the check, the COs noticed that there was some corn in the field around their decoys. The COs asked why there was corn there and the individuals all became quiet and looked at one another. Finally, the person in charge of the group stepped up and said that they had thrown the corn into the field when they were brushing in their blind. The COs informed the individuals that they were all hunting waterfowl over bait and that they needed to clean it up. The COs also found one of the individuals to be in possession of lead shot. The COs explained the penalties associated with hunting over bait and gave several warnings for hunting over the corn they had thrown out that morning. A citation was issued to the individual in possession of lead shot.
While on patrol in Oakland County, CO Christopher Knights received a phone call from CO Danielle Zubek. She stated an individual that has been trespassing was out on the property again in Davisburg. CO Knights was still working, so he headed over to the property. Upon arrival, CO Knights found the vehicle in question. CO Knights was able to find the property owner using his resources and contacted him via telephone. The property owner stated he hadn’t received any contact regarding gaining permission to hunt his property and advised he would like to prosecute for trespassing. CO Knights waited for the hunter to return to his vehicle. CO Knights met the hunter at his truck and asked if he had permission to hunt the property. He stated that he got permission from the landowner three years ago. CO Knights advised the hunter he had already contacted the landowner and he stated no one had permission to use the property. The hunter was surprised and thought he was still allowed. CO Knights asked for his hunting licenses, but he was unable to provide them. CO Knights checked with dispatch and they advised that he did have a license for this year. CO Knights told the hunter he didn’t have permission to hunt the property and would be issued a citation for recreational trespassing, as well as a citation for failing to provide his hunting license.
COs Christopher Knights and Danielle Zubek were patrolling Highland State Recreation Area and heard shots coming from Lower Pettibone Lake. When they arrived, multiple waterfowl hunters were headed to shore. Both COs checked licenses, firearms, and waterfowl for possible violations. As they were checking, another boat showed up just after the first few hunters had left. Upon checking ammunition, CO Knights found what looked like lead shot. The hunter advised that it was his target practicing ammunition and not for duck hunting. After checking the ammunition, it turned out to be lead shot. CO Knights issued the individual a citation for possessing lead shot while duck hunting.
CO Justin Muehlhauser investigated a deer that was taken over an illegal bait pile. A property owner reported that there was a fresh blood trail on their property and was concerned that there may be a wounded deer that wasn’t recovered. The CO followed the blood trail and located a baited hunt site. There was approximately a bag of corn and a bag of sugar beets located at the hunt site. The CO located a gut pile and contacted the property owner. The property owner advised that it was a person who he leases his land out to and provided the contact information of the hunter. The CO interviewed the hunter who eventually confessed to taking the deer over bait and turned over the deer. The deer was donated to Sportsmen Against Hunger. Charges are being sought through the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Tom Peterson received a complaint of a man hunting over a large bait pile in Oakland County. CO Peterson patrolled the area during popular hunting hours and was able to locate the man hunting over the bait pile. The CO had the individual clean up the bait pile and was cited for hunting deer over a bait pile.
CO Luke Robare performed a deer processor inspection in Genesee County. CO Robare noticed several questionable deer tags and conducted two separate interviews with two different hunters in the area. Following the interviews, each hunter confessed to shooting their deer without licenses and proceeding to buy them after they recovered their deer. CO Robare wrote up a report for each case and is seeking charges against the hunters. Charges against the hunters are pending review by the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Luke Robare responded to a complaint in Davison Township about an individual who was hunting on the property line of their neighbors. The individual reportedly had several substantial bait piles on their property and the neighbor’s property. CO Robare walked back to where the hunter was located and encountered him in his blind with a loaded crossbow while he was in full camouflage. The individual was clearly hunting over several piles of carrots and apples. The hunter was issued a citation for using bait in the aid of hunting.
COs Nick Ingersoll and Brandon Vacek received a complaint of an individual who was baiting deer next to his box blind. The COs located the box blind and located two hunters inside the box blind hunting over the bait. The COs advised both hunters that hunting over bait was illegal and asked why they were baiting. They advised that they did not think it was taken that seriously, and that they knew it was wrong. The COs advised the hunters of why baiting was illegal, and both hunters were issued citations for hunting over bait.