Department of Natural Resources
CO Anna Viau recently participated in a youth trapping event in northern Iron County held by the local nonprofit Hardcore Scripture Outdoors. The event provided area youth with the opportunity to learn trapping skills, regulations, and to trap a variety of animals. CO Viau met with the group to discuss trapping regulations and ethics, as well as answer any questions they had about being a conservation officer.
CO Jared Ferguson was in northern Dickinson County when he was waved down by a civilian in a motor vehicle. The citizen was concerned over a bear that he thought was sick and needed to be put down. CO Ferguson explained to the concerned citizen that the bear was lethargic because his hibernation was interrupted, most likely due to the logging operation taking place. CO Ferguson advised him to leave the bear alone and it will find a new place to hibernate and sleep the winter away.
COs Cody Smith and Josh Boudreaux participated in Marquette County’s annual “Shop with a Cop” event. Approximately 50 kids attended the program and were able to shop for their families with members of local and state law enforcement officers. The COs were able to shop with five of the children throughout the day. This was the third year participating in the event for COs Smith and Boudreaux and they look forward to it for years to come.
CO Jeremy Sergey was patrolling commercial forest land near the Marquette and Menominee County lines when he came across an individual walking on a two-track. When the individual saw CO Sergey, he looked up to the sky and said, “Oh, thank God.” The individual told CO Sergey he had his two kids, his dogs, and his wife back at his truck and that his truck was stuck. He also said his wife had diabetes and he was very concerned for her. CO Sergey assisted the individual and was able to help get his truck unstuck. The individual was stuck several miles from any paved road and thought he would have been hiking for several hours. The individual was very grateful and said in all his years he had never seen a conservation officer in the area where he was stuck.
CO Josh Boudreaux was patrolling northwestern Marquette County when he encountered some hunters set up over large bait piles he had discovered earlier. After contacting the pair, they admitted they knew they had way too much bait out which was exceeding 10 gallons each. Violations such as riding double on an off-road vehicle (ORV), no helmet on ORV, no hunting license on person, no hunter orange in blind and no name on blind were addressed and citations were issued for litter, cutting shooting lanes on state land, and exceeding the two gallon bait limit. The pair were advised to pack up for the day and not resume hunting until their hunt sites were compliant with all laws.
CO Cody Smith received a Report all Poaching (RAP) complaint about what sounded like a rifle shot the last day of muzzleloader season in Baraga County. CO Smith called the complainant and got a description of the vehicle, along with the location where the vehicle sped off from after the shot. CO Smith responded to the area and observed a vehicle matching the description. CO Smith could also see two individuals in the wood line with flashlights. Contact was made and the subjects denied shooting at any deer and had no explanation for their search of the area. A subsequent check of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of a loaded rifle. CO Smith once again questioned what they were doing at the scene and why the firearm was loaded. After more denials about shooting a deer, they were given a citation for possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and the rifle was seized. Once the individuals left, CO Smith performed a thorough search of the woods and located a freshly killed doe. Upon examining the deer CO Smith saw there was no exit wound. He conducted a necropsy and was able to recover a copper jacketed bullet that matched the ammunition type of the seized rifle. A follow up interview by both COs Cody Smith and Dave Miller resulted in the subject confessing to shooting the doe directly from the vehicle. The case is being forwarded to the county prosecutor for multiple charges.
COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten were on patrol of Luce County when they encountered a vehicle approaching them. When the driver saw the CO’s patrol truck, he attempted to evade them by coming to an abrupt stop and backing up before driving down another road at a high rate of speed. The COs observed the driver not wearing his seatbelt and a traffic stop was conducted. It was determined that the driver was in possession of a partially uncased rifle and did not have deer kill tags for that year. A citation was issued for no seatbelt and possession of rifle afield without an unused deer tag.
COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten received a complaint of an individual trespassing on private property and smashing through a hunting camp’s gate. An investigation was conducted, and it was determined that the individual who had driven through the property was an individual that the COs had contacted earlier in the day in the same area. An investigation was completed, and a report was generated for review by the Luce County Prosecutor’s Office requesting charges against the individual for trespassing and malicious destruction of property.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol of Luce County when he received a call for assistance on a traffic stop by a deputy from the Luce County sheriff’s office. Upon initial contact, CO VanOosten contacted the driver who was in possession of three deer that had been harvested during deer season. None of the deer in the back were tagged by the driver and he was the only occupant of the vehicle. Interviews were conducted and it was determined that the driver had shot one of the deer and contacted a family member to send a tag up to him while he was at camp so he could continue to hunt. A report was generated requesting charges for loaning and borrowing a deer tag as well as hunting without a license.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol when he received a call from a trapper who stated that he had already caught his limit of fisher and had caught another fisher in his traps. The trapper stated the fisher was still alive and wanted assistance in releasing the animal. CO VanOosten was able to assist in successfully releasing the animal, unharmed.
CO Mike Olesen performed interviews regarding the illegal taking of a bear during the 2020 season. At the conclusion of two interviews, it was determined that an individual had shot a bear without a license near his residence and then contacted an individual who obtained a bear license for the 2020 season to tag the bear. Bear meat, a bear hide, and the rifle used to shoot the bear were seized as evidence with a report being submitted to the Chippewa County prosecutor for review.
CO Todd Sumbera followed an illegal ORV trail to the edge of a river where he found a foot path cutting through the woods. While walking the path, CO Sumbera spotted a few strands of deer hair near a log in the trail. He continued to a large clearing where he found an elevated deer blind with no name/address attached, tree branches cut, and lag bolts in the tree to secure the blind. Upon contacting the hunter, CO Sumbera asked if the gentleman had any luck this season, the hunter quickly responded, “No.” CO Sumbera stated he had observed signs of a deer being drug out of the woods at which point the hunter stated that he shot a 6-point about a week ago. When asked to see his deer license the hunter displayed a regular combination and a restricted combination deer tag. The hunter stated that the buck was hanging up in his pole barn at his house. A trip back to the hunter’s residence confirmed a 6-point harvested by the hunter that was untagged. CO Sumbera issued a citation for no helmet on an ORV as well as failure to immediately tag deer.
CO Robert Freeborn was looking through social media posts and came across a potential illegal deer. After several, CO Freeborn along with CO Michael Evink were able to locate the suspect. When questioned, the suspect confessed to taking the 8-point without a license and using their significant other’s tag. The rifle was seized as evidence and the deer was also seized and given to a local meat processor, who processed the deer free of charge, to be donated to a family in need. A report was submitted to the local prosecutor office.
CO Michael Evink conducted a patrol in the Thompson Plains for road hunting activity. CO Evink observed a pickup truck off in the distance and followed the truck from a distance. The pickup returned in CO Evink’s direction. Contact was made and the driver of the vehicle possessed a loaded muzzleloader. The individual admitted he knew he was not supposed to have a loaded weapon in the vehicle. CO Evink issued a ticket for the violation.
CO Steve Butzin received information from CO Todd Sumbera of an individual who may have shot a 4-point buck on a combination license. CO Butzin conducted several interviews and found evidence that the individual did shoot a 4-point buck but had also bought her hunting license after she had already shot the buck. The hunter realized that she had mistakenly purchased a combination license which cannot be used on a 4-point buck, so she borrowed a single deer license from a family member. A report has been submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office requesting a charge of taking a deer without a license as well as loaning and borrowing deer licenses on the individuals involved.
CO Steve Butzin was on patrol in the Stonington area when he contacted several hunters. One of the hunters was standing next to a large 6-point buck. Further investigation found that the deer was shot the previous night and that the hunter who shot it did not have a license, so he tagged it with his father’s license. A report has been submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office requesting a charge of taking a deer without a license as well as loaning and borrowing deer licenses on the individuals involved.
CO Chris Lynch was contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation wardens to assist them in interviewing several fish poachers they observed keeping foul hooked whitefish and over-limits of whitefish. COs Lynch and Steve Butzin assisted the Wisconsin conservation wardens on what needed to be done in Michigan. In all, the COs interviewed three suspects who all confessed to keeping foul hooked whitefish and one who confessed to keeping an over-limit of whitefish. During the investigation, the COs determined the first suspect they interviewed also was hunting deer in Michigan without a license and after legal shooting hours. The second suspect they interviewed shot an illegal 8-point buck in Michigan. The illegal 8-point and crossbow used to kill the deer were seized. The third suspect they interviewed shot at an 8-point buck after hours with a crossbow from his truck while holding a spotlight in his mouth and trespassing. He missed the deer. It was also determined that the third suspect was shining in November on someone else’s property on a separate occasion. The crossbow and spotlight, with teeth marks in the handle, used were seized. All three suspects confessed to their violations and a report will be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review of the violations committed in Michigan. The Wisconsin conservation wardens will be issuing citations to the suspects for the fishing violations committed in Wisconsin.
A deer hunter from Charlevoix contacted CO Andrea Erratt who said he had shot an extra doe and wanted to donate the meat to needy people. On Saturday, CO Erratt picked up several vacuum-sealed packages of venison and delivered them to seven grateful families in Charlevoix and Antrim Counties.
CO Andrea Albert received a complaint of an 8-point buck with its antlers stuck between several trees. CO Albert walked into swampy area with the complainant and observed a large buck jumping and kicking with its antlers wedged firmly between three trees. It appeared as if he was rubbing his antlers on the trees and both sides of the antlers became stuck around the trees with no possibility of the deer getting out. While standing behind and using the trees as protection from the flailing deer, CO Albert sawed the ends of the antlers off just enough to release the trapped deer. He ran 10 yards and immediately ran into another bunch of trees so hard he bounced off the trees and then continued to take off into the woods.
CO Andrea Albert investigated a complaint of a subject trespassing and spearing salmon with a pitchfork on a local trout stream. The property owner was able to photograph the subject standing in the river with a freshly speared salmon on the end of a pitchfork. The next day, CO Albert interviewed the suspect and received a confession and seized the pitchfork used to spear the salmon. The Antrim County Prosecutor’s Office issued a summons for recreational trespass and taking fish by an illegal method.
CO Duane Budreau investigated a RAP complaint in which a couple of deer carcasses, along with some other garbage, had been dumped in a creek along the side of the road. CO Budreau was able to recover the hunter’s attached kill-tag from the leg of one of the carcasses. After determining who the tag belonged to, CO Budreau responded to the owner’s residence and questioned him about the deer he had taken. The hunter reported that he takes all his deer to a processor, he does not butcher any of his own deer. After being shown a photo of the dump site, the man became somewhat angry, and after looking closer at the photo of the tag, he remembered giving that deer to a person in need. After a couple of interviews, CO Budreau was able to obtain an admission from a young female with an extensive history of DNR violations. She admitted that she had processed the deer for the individual the hunter had gifted the deer to. She was ticketed for litter and the hunter had already cleaned up the litter site.
COs Duane Budreau and Adam LeClerc responded to a baiting complaint in which an anonymous caller reported bait behind a residence. CO Budreau questioned the homeowner about the bait. He stated that his nephew has been sneaking onto his property and hunting and if there was any bait out, it would be from his nephew. After investigating the area, COs Budreau and LeClerc located a couple large piles of shelled corn in view of the residence. After determining the homeowner could plainly see the corn piles from his residence, CO Budreau questioned the man again. The subject attempted to deny knowledge of the bait; however, he knew there were two piles without CO Budreau telling him there were two. The man was ticketed for baiting deer in the Lower Peninsula. He was advised to pick up the approximate 200 pounds of corn on the ground.
CO Nathan Beelman received a complaint from the Boyne City Police Department regarding a dead deer that was found within city limits. A subject walking a dog found a blood trail across a city road and sidewalk and shortly afterwards spotted a dead deer in the backyard of a nearby home. CO Beelman responded to the area and was able to track the blood trail to a nearby pile of sugar beets and carrots. A necropsy was performed on the deer and found that it was shot with archery equipment within the previous 24 hours. CO Beelman contacted the homeowner that night and received a confession. The homeowner admitted to hunting without licenses, placing the bait, hunting over bait, and failing to wear hunter orange while hunting during the firearm deer season. Charges are being sought for taking a deer without a license.
CO Tim Rosochacki worked with the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, Tuscarora Township Police, and Michigan State Police (MSP) at a “Coats for Kids” drive to collect coats for less fortunate children in the local community.
COs Kyle Cherry, Tim Rosochacki, Matt Theunick, and Sergeant (Sgt.) Mark DePew took part in a "Stuff a Truck" event through a partnership with Jay’s Sporting Goods and “Toys for Tots”. The COs were able to fill multiple trucks with toys for needy children and raised approximately $1,800 through generous donations from the community.
CO Kyle Cherry responded to a residence to address a baiting issue. When asked about the bait on the property, the homeowner acknowledged that he did place sugar beets, corn, and mineral blocks out for deer. The homeowner stated that he baits deer every year and that he knew he was going to get a ticket for it at some point. A ticket was issued.
COs Tom Oberg, Sidney Collins, and Sgt. Mark DePew participated in the annual “Shop with A Cop” program at Wal-Mart in Gaylord. Due to the current pandemic, the program was a bit different this year. The COs, along with the MSP, Otsego County Sheriff's Department, and Gaylord Police Department, collected gifts for the children at Wal-Mart and then delivered the gifts in large bags to the children's houses. Even with this year's different structure, the event was very successful, and everyone enjoyed it.
CO Eric Bottorff received a complaint of an illegal deer blind placed in the Pigeon River State Forest. CO Bottorff located the illegal blind along with a bait pile consisting of shelled corn. Several days later, a muzzleloader hunter was contacted hunting in the blind over the bait. In addition, he was not wearing hunter orange clothing and did not possess his kill-tag while hunting. A ticket was issued for not wearing the required hunter orange clothing along with direction to correct the remaining violations.
CO Paul Fox was patrolling state land near Rogers City when he located multiple permanent hunting blinds. The blinds had been there for several years, did not have any names or license numbers attached, had large shooting lanes cut, and litter had been left behind. There was also a small amount of bait at each blind. In addition, there were illegal ORV trails leading from a private camp to the blinds. Portions of the ORV trails ran through wetland areas and caused damage to the soil and vegetation. CO Fox checked the area multiple times and was able to contact a hunter in one of the blinds. CO Fox addressed the issues with the subject and issued a ticket for several violations.
COs Sidney Collins received a complaint in Montmorency County of a bobcat in a foothold trap a couple days prior to bobcat trapping season. When CO Collins responded to the scene, she noticed the bobcat was gone. However, upon closer inspection, she observed blood and fur in the catch circle. CO Collins was able to identify the trapper. The following day, COs Collins and Paul Fox contacted the trapper at his cabin. Initially, the subject denied catching a bobcat. Upon further questioning, the subject stated he caught a bobcat, but released it. The COs asked if they could check the subject’s freezer to confirm no bobcat was taken. The subject agreed then stated that the COs should just write him the ticket. Upon inspecting the freezer, the COs located a fresh bobcat carcass with the subject’s kill-tag on it. The bobcat was seized, and charges are being sought with the Montmorency County Prosecutor’s Office for taking bobcat out of season.
While on patrol, CO Jon Sheppard noticed three subjects dressed in orange, floating down the Thunder Bay River. CO Sheppard went to a downstream spot and contacted the three hunters as they came ashore. CO Sheppard checked the hunters for hunting licenses. When CO Sheppard asked about personal floatation devices (PFDs), the hunters said that they did not have any. CO Sheppard explained the importance of having PFDs on board and issued a ticket for failing to have PFDs.
COs William Kinney and Justin Vanderlinde responded to a litter complaint on the county line between Grand Traverse and Benzie Counties. The COs located several small bags of trash dumped on state land. Fortunately, the complainant had witnessed much of the illegal activity that had taken place. He had witnessed the suspect walking down the roadway hauling several bags of trash in a small cart. The COs located tire tracks from the cart and footprints in the snow next to the litter site. After some investigating, the COs located the cart in the front yard at a residence down the road. The suspect was interviewed and after enough information was obtained, a citation was issued to the individual for litter.
CO Steven Converse conducted a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle and observed several shotgun slugs on the center console of the truck. CO Converse asked the two subjects if they had been successful deer hunting that morning and they both sat silently for a minute before one of the subjects stated that they had been bird hunting. CO Converse asked where the shotguns where and if he could check them out. The subjects complied and showed CO Converse the two uncased shotguns lying on the back seat of the truck. Both shotguns were unloaded, but both had slug barrels on them. After a little more conversation, the subjects admitted they had been deer hunting with the shotguns, additionally, it was discovered that one of the subjects had a DNR warrant for his arrest from 2019. The warrant was for having an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. Both subjects received citations for the uncased firearms and the subject with the warrant was able to post the $400 bond.
CO Kyle Publiski was on patrol and observed a vehicle that had just pulled into a parking area. CO Publiski noticed the subject was dressed in orange and decided to contact the subject. As CO Publiski approached the vehicle, the subject exited the vehicle in a hurry and acted nervous. CO Publiski asked if the subject was going to be hunting here, the subject said yes and handed CO Publiski a handful of hunting licenses. CO Publiski asked the subject if he had a firearm in the vehicle the subject said yes, opened the vehicle door, and showed CO Publiski an uncased loaded 30-30. CO Publiski asked the subject if he knew it was muzzleloader season not rifle season and the subject stated he knew. The subject was cited for having a loaded uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Brian Brosky located a large bait pile on a piece of property that could be seen from the road. CO Publiski followed up on the information and contacted a subject hunting over the bait the next evening. The subject stated that it was not bait as he put the large pile of carrots on his food plot and then turned the carrots into the soil. CO Publiski explained the carrots were not turned under and he was hunting over them. CO Publiski then asked the subject about the other piles of carrots located on the property that were not on food plots to turn under. The subject stated, “Yeah, that’s bait.” The subject was issued a citation for baiting deer.
CO Josiah Killingbeck conducted a stop based on a traffic violation and the vehicle operator immediately began yelling at CO Killingbeck that he had been illegally stopped. CO Killingbeck discovered a loaded firearm placed next to a three-year-old in the vehicle. CO Killingbeck detained the subject for officer safety and while patting the subject down, a bag of what was believed to be meth fell out of the subject’s wallet. The subject admitted that the meth was his and admitted to a syringe being in the vehicle that had meth as well. The subject had a suspended driver’s license, and no insurance on the vehicle. The three-year-old in the vehicle was not in a car seat. The driver was lodged in the Lake County jail on charges of possession of meth, possessing a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, driving while suspended, no insurance, and child abuse.
CO Josiah Killingbeck stopped a vehicle for several motor vehicle violations and discovered the driver had a suspended license and there was no insurance on the vehicle. CO Killingbeck detected the aroma of intoxicants coming from the subject. An operating while intoxicated (OWI) investigation was conducted and the subject was arrested for OWI. The subject refused a preliminary breath test and refused to blow at the Lake County jail. A search warrant was obtained for blood and it was taken from the subject. The subject was lodged in the Lake County jail on charges of OWI, driving while license suspended, no insurance, and possession of open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.
CO Angela Greenway conducted a virtual Zoom presentation to high school seniors at the Newaygo School District. CO Greenway discussed the essential job functions, trainings, equipment, and the hiring process. The school district recorded the presentation for future use with students interested in a career as a conservation officer.
CO Tim Barboza responded with the MSP and Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department to a breaking and entering in progress. When the units arrived on scene, there was one individual in the house and the homeowner outside stating their things have been loaded into the back of the pickup in the drive, as well as burnt in the fire pit. One of the individuals on scene had warrants and was placed into custody. Another male was placed into custody for concealing stolen property.
CO Tim Barboza had been working a bait complaint and conducted an interview of the suspect who admitted to maintaining a waist-high bait pile of carrots for multiple years and harvesting four deer from the property. CO Barboza is currently seeking charges with the prosecutor pertaining to the case.
CO Tim Barboza assisted the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department with a flee and elude of a suspect with multiple warrants who crashed and fled on foot. A sawed-off shotgun was found in the suspect’s vehicle. MSP K-9 and Newaygo County K-9 were both working a track, which was eventually called off after multiple hours of searching the area.
CO Josh Reed was on patrol in the Martiny State Game Area (SGA) and located a fresh two-track that was cut into private property, wide enough for a side-by-side or a compact truck. CO Reed located a vehicle parked at the end of the two-track and contacted two subjects who admitted to cutting the timber. Both subjects were cited for trespass and a probation violation report was sent over to the 77th District Court on the subject who admitted to the timber cutting.
CO Josh Reed located an unoccupied side-by-side trespassing on private property. The side-by-side contained two gun cases and some other hunting items. CO Reed waited in the area for several minutes and then began to drive back and forth on a gas line. CO Reed observed a blaze orange vest hanging in a tree that had not been there minutes before. CO Reed then observed a subject in full camouflage attempting to pack up his belongings. CO Reed contacted the subject and advised him he was trespassing and not wearing his required hunter orange. The subject advised he believed he was on state property. CO Reed advised the subject he had passed several posted signs on his drive into the private property. Two other subjects emerged from the woods and one admitted to being a felon. This subject’s weapon was seized and a charge of felon in possession of a firearm is pending with the prosecutor’s office. It was later determined that the driver of the side-by-side was also a convicted felon and that charge is also pending with the prosecutor’s office.
CO Micah Hintze received a RAP complaint of an individual trespassing and removing a deer from the property. The suspect was caught on trail cameras walking onto the property dressed in hunter orange and carrying a rifle, then can be seen exiting the property dragging a deer on a jet-sled. With no identity of the suspect, CO Hintze began interviewing neighboring landowners until the suspect was identified as a family member of one owner’s who was hunting the property adjacent to the complainant’s property. After identifying where the suspect was hunting, CO Hintze returned that evening and contacted the suspect in his ground blind. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer out of that ground blind and when it ran onto the neighboring property. He did not ask permission and just went to retrieve it. The suspect was also hunting over a large bail pile. Hair and blood were observed in and around it. The suspect was cited for hunting deer over bait. The deer was seized and donated to a local family.
CO John Huspen responded to a complaint of a suspect who stopped at an intersection and got out with a loaded crossbow. The suspect shot at a turkey but was scared off by the complainant. The suspect vehicle did not have a license plate, so a vehicle description was all CO Huspen had for information. A few days later, a Crawford County Sheriff’s deputy advised CO Huspen that he had contact with a vehicle matching the description. CO Huspen responded to the vehicle owner’s house with the crossbow bolt he had located. The bolt was covered in turkey feathers and blood. CO Huspen was able to get a written confession from the suspect. Charges are pending with the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Kyle Bader and Lieutenant (Lt.) Brandon Kieft participated in the “Shop with a Cop” event in Ogemaw County. The event took place at the Wal-Mart in West Branch and included members of local law enforcement as well as the MSP.
COs Josh Russell and Ethan Gainforth received a complaint of a tree cutting business dumping limbs and other debris on state land. The COs were able to find a local tree cutting jobsite where the workers were loading up the same type of tree and brush debris located at the state land dumpsite. Upon interviewing the workers, one of them admitted to dumping the debris the day before. The COs addressed the issues with dumping debris and waste created by a business. A citation for littering was issued.
CO Josh Russell received a complaint from Gladwin County Central Dispatch of a subject who was a possible hazard to himself. The individual’s cell phone was pinged on state land in Gladwin County. CO Russell checked the area and was able to locate the subject’s vehicle in a remote area of state land. As CO Russell approached the vehicle, he observed the man on the ground next to his vehicle. The subject was deceased, and the investigation was turned over to the Gladwin County Sheriff’s Department.
CO Phil Hudson was patrolling back roads in Arenac County when he observed a gun barrel hanging out the window of a truck. CO Hudson quickly maneuvered his patrol truck behind the suspect’s vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. When CO Hudson activated his emergency lights, the driver of the vehicle threw the firearm in the back seat of the truck and exclaimed, “I don’t have a hunting license, I am not hunting!” CO Hudson advised the driver that whether he is hunting or not, it is still a violation of the law to have an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. A citation was issued for possession of an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
COs Craig Neal and Phil Hudson were conducting a late-night shining patrol when they observed a vehicle driving slowly down a rural road. The COs watched the vehicle stop three times and cast a small green light into the fields. COs Neal and Hudson conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the occupants of the vehicle. The driver stated they were just looking for coyotes. The COs explained the laws regarding nighttime predator hunting and a citation was issued for shining during the month of November.
COs Josh Wright, Josh Russell, Sgt. Jon Wood, and Lt. Brandon Kieft organized and participated in a “Stuff a Truck” event in Clare County. The DNR partnered with Jay’s Sporting Goods and “Toys for Tots” to stuff a conservation officer patrol truck full of toys for the holiday season. The event was a huge success. Hundreds of toys were donated to local kids who might not have otherwise received anything for the holidays. Most items were outdoor-related, so kids will be able to enjoy Michigan’s natural resources.
CO Joe Myers received information of a suspect hunting deer over bait and posting videos to the internet. CO Myers was able to locate and investigate the claims in the videos. Upon review of the videos, CO Myers observed numerous violations. During the interview with the suspect, COs Myers and Adam Beuthin obtained a full confession. Charges will be requested from the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Joe Myers received information regarding the taking of an 8-point buck by a non-resident hunter. Upon investigation, it was determined that an Arizona resident while visiting family in Michigan, had shot two deer without a license. Charges will be requested from the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Joe Myers was on patrol when he almost crashed into a side-by-side ORV that was parked in the middle of the lane of travel. CO Myers immediately stopped and contacted three subjects exiting the woods. While investigating the occurrence, CO Myers was able to locate a deer that was being dragged out of the woods by the three subjects. An antlerless deer without a tag was discovered at the bottom of a ditch. While interviewing the subjects separately, the CO was able to gain a confession from one hunter regarding a bait pile and a ‘questionable’ shooting time. The owner of the ORV admitted to parking in the center of the roadway, driving the unregistered ORV, and having a large bait pile in the back of his house. Charges will be requested from the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Chad Foerster received a call from a Bay County Sheriff’s deputy stating that he was on scene of a 911 call of recreational trespass and he had an untagged deer. CO Foerster responded to the scene and ultimately obtained a full confession from the suspect for taking the deer over bait, without a license, and trespassing to recover it. A complaint and warrant have been submitted to the Bay County Prosecutor’s Office for the charges.
CO Quincy Gowenlock was returning from attempting an interview in Midland County, while low on fuel, he pulled into a gas station to refuel his patrol truck. While refueling, a car pulled in and parked along the edge of the parking lot. CO Gowenlock observed a young woman get out and open the hood to her vehicle and looked distraught. CO Gowenlock noticed two small children in the vehicle and contacted the driver to see if he could be of assistance. The driver stated she was on her way to Midland but while she was driving, she could smell burning plastic. CO Gowenlock checked the engine and upon checking the oil level, found that the dip stick was completely dry. This was causing the engine to overheat and getting the plastic cover hot, emitting the smell. Because the driver did not have any money, CO Gowenlock offered to buy her some oil. Another patron stopped by advising he had some spare oil in his truck. The oil was added to the engine and the young mother and her children continued to Midland.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol when he found CO Chad Foerster parked along M 13 near the Bay and Saginaw County lines. CO Foerster explained to CO Beuthin he received a complaint of an individual hunting out of a red tent over bait on Portsmouth Township property. Every time CO Foerster checked on the complaint, there was no one hunting over the bait. Later that afternoon, CO Beuthin launch his patrol vessel on the Saginaw River to check waterfowl hunters. When he arrived back to the launch after his patrol, he observed a vehicle parked near where the bait pile was. CO Beuthin loaded the patrol vessel and drove approximately 250 yards to where the vehicle was parked. He then walked to the red tent to find an individual hunting over the bait pile CO Foerster had been checking up on. The individual was cited for hunting deer over bait and failing to wear hunter orange.
While in the Greenville area in Montcalm County, CO Mike Haas received a baiting complaint. The complainant stated that he was irritated with a gentleman in his area who was putting out large amounts of bait for deer. CO Haas responded to the complaint area and located a hunter sitting in his deer blind overlooking various piles of apples, carrots, and sugar beets. The hunter admitted to knowing he wasn’t supposed to utilize bait. During the interview, it was also discovered that the man had shot an antlered deer earlier in the season, that violated the APRs in the county, and the deer was tagged with a friend’s tag. Charges concerning the use of unlawful bait, violating APRs, and using a tag belonging to another are pending with the Montcalm County’s Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of waterfowl hunters shooting from a dike within the Maple River SGA. Once on scene, CO Schiller observed a group of hunters shoot multiple times from the dike at ducks that were attempting to land in their decoys. CO Schiller made contact with the hunters to check their licenses and firearms. Two of the hunters were hunting with unplugged shotguns. Citations were issued for hunting from a dike and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun.
CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of a deer that was shot after legal hunting hours. CO Schiller was in the area of the complaint when a hunter was spotted dragging a deer out of the woods near a residence. The CO made contact with the hunter to check his deer. Unfortunately, the tag on the deer did not match the subject who shot the deer. The hunter was attempting to use his brother’s deer kill-tag. CO Schiller also discovered that the hunter had shot another deer prior to this buck. The suspect then showed the CO where he had shot both deer. The suspect was found to be hunting within a safety zone. A citation was issued for borrowing of a kill-tag and warned for hunting within a safety zone.
CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of a hunter placing bait on private property in Gratiot County, which is closed to baiting. CO Schiller observed two hunters sitting over two separate piles of bait. The CO then made contact with the hunters. The suspect placing the bait was found to be the grandfather of the other hunter who had placed the bait to increase his grandson’s hunting opportunity. A citation was issued for baiting within a closed area.
CO Zach Bauer received a complaint during bow season regarding multiple untagged deer and deer taken illegally at a residence in Berrien County. Prior to CO Bauer responding to the address, the MSP were called to the residence for an unrelated complaint. The MSP contacted CO Bauer and stated that they located multiple untagged deer at the residence, seized the deer, and turned the deer over to CO Bauer. Sgt Steve Mooney, COs Travis Dragomer, and Bauer necropsied the deer and located slugs from a small caliber rifle in parts of the deer carcasses located at the residence. No residents at the address had valid 2020 deer hunting licenses at the time. CO Bauer submitted multiple reports to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office. Charges were approved for multiple counts of possessing deer illegally taken as well as obtaining a license with a false statement.
CO Travis Dragomer responded to a complaint of a hunter who shot a deer and left it laying in a field. CO Dragomer responded to the area and observed two hunters in the field with one of the hunters actively gutting an antlerless deer. CO Dragomer contacted the two individuals and found that the deer did not have a kill-tag attached to it. The hunter who shot the deer did not have his kill-tag afield with him and had to go back to his residence to retrieve it. A citation was issued for failing to immediately validate and affix a kill-tag to the deer.
CO Chris Holmes received information that a subject had shot and killed two deer with a firearm and then left them in the woods so he could “go buy cigarettes.” CO Holmes followed up on the information and found the subject did not have any current hunting licenses. Upon further investigation and interviews, it was found the subject was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm. Charges have been forwarded to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Chris Holmes assisted an MSP trooper on a traffic arrest of a driver. The passengers refused to exit the vehicle so that the vehicle could be impounded. After repeated warnings, deputies were able to convince the passengers to exit. As one backseat passenger got out of the vehicle, CO Holmes noticed a handgun under the subject’s left leg. After further investigation it was found that the handgun was stolen, and the subject was a convicted felon. The subject was taken to jail on multiple felony charges.
CO Richard Cardenas received a complaint of a hunter who attempted to give away an antlered deer. The complainant stated that the suspect said they were out of antlered deer tags. CO Cardenas along with CO Justin Ulberg arrived at the suspects’ residence and observed three antlered deer heads near the driveway. The COs eventually contacted the suspects and found they did not possess any deer hunting licenses for the 2020 deer hunting season. Multiple deer parts were seized, and a report is being submitted to the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Richard Cardenas observed two hunters on an ORV transporting a deer back to a residence. CO Cardenas pulled into the driveway of the residence and while waiting to contact them, observed a puppy go into a pole barn and come back out with a deer leg in its mouth. When the hunters arrived at the residence, it was found the successful hunter was from out-of-state and did not possess any Michigan hunting licenses. The puppy reappeared and led CO Cardenas to a trash bag with additional antlered deer parts inside of it. After some more questioning, it was found that the suspect had hunted and harvested a deer during the archery season as well. Multiple charges are being sought through the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Kyle McQueer responded to a request for back up from a local township officer to assist in locating a suicidal subject who had fled on foot. After attempting to ping her cell phone, they located her after hearing a voice in the distance. When she saw the officers approach, she again led them on a foot chase but eventually sat down against a tree and refused to cooperate. After several minutes of rest and negotiation, she stood up and attempted to run away again. The two officers were attempting to escort the female out of the woods when she decided she did not want to walk anymore, kicked her feet out from underneath her, landed on the ground, and proceeded to assault both officers by kicking them. Officer Keeler and CO McQueer then placed the female into protective custody and escorted her back to the residence. The female was then transported to the hospital where she was petitioned for a mental evaluation.
CO Robert Slick patrolled the Grand River for the last weekend of the regular waterfowl season when he stopped at Indian Channel boat launch to check hunters. There were a good number of boats coming back, but the success rate was low. CO Slick spoke with a group of four hunters that returned to the launch and they stated that the birds just weren’t flying. CO Slick then inspected their gear and found that two hunters did not have plugs in their shotguns. CO Slick issued a citation for the violation.
While patrolling Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers spotted a subject at a field’s edge who appeared to be getting ready to hunt. CO Beavers stopped his patrol truck and contacted the subject. CO Beavers asked the subject if he was getting ready to hunt and he said he was. CO Beavers asked the hunter if he had permission to hunt the field and if he knew that there was only a half hour left of legal hunting hours. The subject stated he did, and he was aware of the time. CO Beavers then asked for the subject’s hunting license, which he provided. While looking at the license, CO Beavers asked the subject for his birth year, and when he answered, it did not match the year on the license. CO Beavers informed the subject of the discrepancy and asked the subject if he had a hunting license. The subject told CO Beavers that he had already used his deer tag on a doe during archery season and that the tags he now had were his wife’s tags. He went on to say that he had her buy the tags for him to use. CO Beavers explained to the subject not only is it a violation for using another’s tags, but his wife could be cited for purchasing deer tags for his use. The subject was cited for the violation.
CO Jeremy Beavers spotted what appeared to be bait near a deer blind. CO Beavers observed the area with his binoculars and saw multiple broken pumpkins and a salt block directly in front of a deer blind. CO Beavers checked the area on foot and observed a trail camera placed near the bait. CO Beavers contacted the property owner and told him he was there regarding the bait. The subject stated he knew bait was illegal, but it was just pumpkins he was discarding from Halloween. CO Beavers asked if that was the case, why did he place them directly in front of his hunting blind with a trail camera pointing at the bait. CO Beavers went on to explain that even if the pumpkins were not maliciously placed, he still had a salt block next to the pumpkins and camera. CO Beavers further explained that baiting has been illegal in Ionia County for several years. The subject was cited for baiting deer in a prohibited county.
In Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers received a complaint regarding cruel and inhumane treatment of female deer by two subjects. A video of the incident was included in the complaint. The video shows two subjects in an ORV who come across a sick or injured doe on the side of the road that was still alive. The passenger, who recorded the video, encouraged the driver to run over the doe. The video showed the subjects running over the doe, laughing the whole time. The video also showed the subjects double back after running it over leaving tire marks on the deer. The subjects then load the doe in the bed of the ORV while it is still alive. They return to the party they referenced in the video and multiple people came out of a pole barn. At that point, the doe was standing and jumped out of the ORV. She then staggered for a few steps, appearing to walk away as the video ends. The video was then uploaded to Snapchat. The subject who recorded the video’s identity was provided in the complaint and CO Beavers was able to determine the identity of the driver using social media. CO Beavers then contacted both subjects who admitted to the actions in the video. At first, the subject who recorded the video tried to mislead CO Beavers, by claiming the doe was already dead when they came across it. CO Beavers then informed the subject that he had the video and knew what occurred. CO Beavers obtained statements from the suspects as well as witness statements from people who were at the party. All information obtained during CO Beavers investigation will be forwarded to prosecutors for review.
CO Casey Varriale received a complaint about a subject shooting a buck from his motor vehicle near Lowell in Kent County. The complainant submitted vehicle and license plate information. CO Varriale interviewed the suspect who admitted to shooting the buck from his truck because he had “buck fever”. CO Varriale took possession of the buck and submitted it to evidence. Additionally, a report was written and submitted to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. Charges were authorized.
COs Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg received a complaint about an individual taking a deer in the limited firearm zone with a high-powered rifle near Lowell in Kent County. The COs went to the address of the suspect and located two untagged deer hanging in the barn. The COs interviewed the two suspects and they admitted to forgetting to tag the deer. One suspect stated he killed the deer the night prior and was eventually going to tag the deer but forgot. The other suspect admitted to failing to tag the deer for the same reasons and to shooting the deer with a high-powered rifle in the limited firearm zone. Both individuals were issued citations.
CO Casey Varriale received a self-report from a suspect who claimed he shot a 3-point buck in Ionia County. The suspect was in violation of APRs restrictions in Ionia County. CO Varriale interviewed the suspect who turned out to be a first-time hunter, the hunter admitted to the mistake and was willing to accept a ticket for the violation. CO Varriale instead took the opportunity to educate the hunter on the importance of knowing the hunting laws while hunting. A verbal warning and a stern lecture were issued to the suspect for the violation.
While on patrol in Ottawa County, CO Jackie Miskovich and Corporal (Cpl.) Ivan Perez heard a call of a deer being taken in the city of Muskegon and the vehicle was leaving the area. CO Miskovich contacted Muskegon Dispatch to let them know she was headed to the area, to assist if the vehicle was located and stopped. While almost to the area, CO Miskovich was contacted by Muskegon Dispatch and informed the suspect was stopped at a house in the city. Arriving at the address, CO Miskovich and Cpl. Perez observed a bloody bumper on a car and a bloody tarp in the driveway. Two individuals were standing towards the back fence about to hang the deer up. It was found the individual had several violations including hunting without a license, loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle, recreational trespass, discharge of firearm in city limits, and others. A citation was issued for the illegal taking of a deer and for possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. The deer was seized and donated to a local family.
While on marine patrol on Lake Michigan, COs Jackie Miskovich and Anna Cullen observed a vessel with unreadable registration coming in from duck hunting. The COs initiated a stop to investigate. It was found that they did not have any PFDs. A citation was issued for not having any PFDs, unreadable/damaged registration numbers, and failure to transfer title within 15 days.
CO Daniel Prince assisted the Unadilla Township Police with an investigation of a subject shooting himself in the ankle with his shotgun while climbing up to his tree stand.
While on patrol in Ingham County, CO Todd Thorn observed a vehicle with a severely broken windshield fail to stop at a stop sign. CO Thorn also noticed that the driver’s window was down and there was no plate on the vehicle. CO Thorn stopped the vehicle and contacted the driver. He observed a brick on the passenger seat and broken glass all over the floor and the driver’s seat. CO Thorn asked for a license, registration, and proof of insurance but was told that the vehicle was just purchased from someone down the road. The driver did not have his identification with him and gave a name and date of birth which was not accurate after being checked with DNR Dispatch. CO Thorn explained to the driver that he would be placed under arrest for not having an operator’s license on person if he did not give an accurate name. The driver stated he did not have to give his name to a conservation officer because they cannot make traffic stops. CO Thorn corrected the individual who hesitantly gave his real name. The man was found to have a warrant for obstructing police out of Ingham County with a $50,000 bond and a suspended license. The man initially resisted arrest but relented and was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for observation after complaining he was not feeling well. The vehicle, which belonged to the driver, was impounded.
CO Katie Baker conducted a follow up investigation on a suspect believed to have taken four antlered deer without licenses. Together, COs Baker and Larn Strawn were able to determine the firearm the deer was shot with, located the firearm and ammunition, and submitted DNA evidence to help support their case. The suspects refused to speak with the COs regarding their investigation. Confessions were previously recorded in a report taken by the MSP when one of the suspects was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm. A case report is being submitted for four counts of take deer no license, wanton waste, and recreational trespassing.
CO Katie Baker conducted a follow up investigation on an antlered deer that was taken without a license while the suspect was recreational trespassing. Contact was made with one of the defendant’s friends who was found to have purchased a license at the same time as the defendant. The suspect admitted to hunting with the defendant the morning the deer was shot. The suspect stated he was using a spear in attempt to take deer as he was a registered felon and could not be in possession of firearms. He also admitted to placing bait on the defendant’s property but denied hunting over it. A supplemental report is being submitted for attempt to take deer using an illegal method and baiting in a restricted county.
CO Jason McCullough had captured the image of a U-Haul truck on a trail camera he had set up near the Fort Custer Recreation Area to address some trespass activity. The next day, CO McCullough received a complaint of many tires dumped in the same area. Several more tire dumping sites were soon located in Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties. CO McCullough was able to identify a suspect who had recently purchased a piece of property that had an abandoned go-kart track on it and about 1,200 tires. A confession was obtained, and charges are being sought.
CO Jason McCullough arrested a vehicle driver in Calhoun County for OWI. A blood search warrant needed to be obtained and the driver was too intoxicated to be lodged at the county jail. The driver was taken to the local hospital to be medically cleared before he was lodged.
CO Nick Wellman received a call from MSP detectives who conducted a knock and talk at a residence in Branch County. During a consent search of the property, the MSP located several deer carcasses in a barn without tags. The detectives notified CO Wellman and he went to the residence later in the day to follow up. CO Wellman was assisted by CO Chris Reynolds. Upon arrival, the four untagged deer were seen from the driveway and shortly after that contact was made with the suspect. After a brief interview, CO Wellman was able to receive a full confession on one the bucks being killed from a truck with a .308 rifle. The man had been known for this type of activity for years. COs Wellman and Reynolds seized the deer and the man’s rifle. Several charges are being sought through Branch County.
COs Kris Kiel, Keven Luther, Joe Deppen, and Sgt. Shane Webster patrolled the Macomb County waters of Lake St. Clair checking vessels for marine, waterfowl, and fishing violations. Eight vessels were stopped during the patrol with a total of thirteen contacts. COs had three misdemeanor arrests where citations were written, one for take/possess undersized muskellunge and two for fishing with more than three lines. One civil infraction citation was written for no fire extinguisher. Three warnings were also issued during the patrol, two for no fishing license on person which is a misdemeanor and one for failure to register vessel which is a civil infraction.
CO Keven Luther was contacted by two Brownstown officers regarding a trespassing complaint. CO Luther made the location and determined the hunters were trespassing, but the property was not properly posted. Verbal warnings were issued to both individuals and a citation was issued for loaded after hours to one of the hunters.
CO Tom Peterson observed three subjects waterfowl hunting in a small lake in Oakland County. The CO observed some abnormal behavior displayed by the hunters. The hunters were driving back and forth in the lake before they decided to sit for the remaining minutes of shooting light. The CO made the decision to monitor the individuals before making contact. During the course of the hunt, the individuals shared a half-pint of whiskey. The CO contacted the subjects at the launch. During a check of the individuals’ boat, it was discovered that the individuals did not have any PFD onboard nor did they have navigation lights, which are required for night-time operation. The boat was also unregistered. In addition to the marine violations, CO Peterson located one loaded firearm in the motorboat and the empty half-pint of whiskey. The CO could smell intoxicants on two of the individuals. Upon further investigation and prior observation, it was determined that two of the three individuals had intoxicants present in their system. The CO cited one individual for loaded firearm in a motorized vessel. The other two were cited for carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol and the owner of the boat was cited for failing to provide PFDs.
CO Jacob Griffin was patrolling Oakland County when he received a complaint regarding a subject hunting deer in an area closed to hunting. CO Griffin was able to immediately respond to the given location. After arriving, CO Griffin checked the area on foot and discovered two people in a portable ground blind hunting in the closed area. While making the initial contact with the two subjects inside the blind, CO Griffin discovered that only one subject was in fact hunting with a firearm but was not wearing hunter orange. The subject was written a citation for hunting in a closed area and educated on which areas are open to deer hunting.
CO Danielle Zubek was contacted by an Oakland County detective on a possible poaching case. During interviews and investigation, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department had possible charges of criminal trespass and three counts of uncased firearms in a motor vehicle. CO Zubek is looking to charge the suspect with two counts of recreational trespass, no hunter orange, illegal equipment - a rifle in the limited firearms zone, baiting, and illegal take of a Whitetail buck. Investigation is pending and a report will be submitted by both departments to seek charges.
CO Danielle Zubek received a RAP complaint from dispatch regarding a hunter entering a “no hunting” or sanctuary in the Highland Recreation Area. CO Zubek arrived in the area locating the vehicle described in the complaint. The vehicle contained a couple garments of hunter orange in the back seat. CO Zubek began a search in close proximity to the vehicle. CO Zubek requested assistance from her partner CO Jacob Griffin. CO Griffin arrived on scene just before dark and both COs were able to search the surrounding area for the suspect. Shortly after dark, the COs were able to contact the suspect. The suspect was found to have a loaded firearm in possession after legal hunting hours, hunting in a sanctuary, and hunting without/improper wear of hunter orange. Citations were issued to the suspect for hunting in a closed area and loaded firearm after hunting hours.
CO Justin Muehlhauser received a call from Genesee Township Police Department regarding a traffic stop that they were on. Officers stated they had received a suspicious vehicle call at a church on Mt. Morris Road. When they arrived, the vehicle was leaving so they conducted a traffic stop and noticed an untagged deer in the bed of the truck. CO Muehlhauser arrived to address the DNR violations. The man stated that he was so excited about shooting the doe that he forgot to tag the deer. However, upon close investigation, it was determined that the man did not even have a valid tag to possess the deer. CO Muehlhauser addressed the violations and cited the man for transporting an untagged deer, failing to immediately attach and validate a kill-tag, and taking or possessing a deer without a valid license.
CO Justin Muehlhauser was monitoring a field with a suspected hunter when a vehicle quickly approached from behind and swerved around the CO’s patrol vehicle. The vehicle then rolled through a stop sign and continued west bound from the intersection. Another motorist approached the CO and advised that the vehicle needed to be stopped before he “kills somebody” and stated that he almost crashed three times going down Silver Lake Road in Argentine Township. CO Muehlhauser caught up to the vehicle and observed erratic driving and conducted a traffic stop, it quickly became apparent that the operator was highly intoxicated. After conducting field sobriety tests, the operator was taken into custody. The operator was .23 blood alcohol content, nearly three times the legal limit. The operator was lodged at the Genesee County jail for OWI.
The Flint Township Police Department requested a conservation officer to assist with a complaint of a possible hunter with a firearm in the retail district on Miller Road. CO Justin Muehlhauser arrived and checked the area. A baited hunt site was discovered, and Officers were met by a man claiming to have permission to hunt the location. CO Muehlhauser pointed out violations which included attempting to take deer over bait and violating the Flint Township local hunting control for hunting with a firearm. The hunter was cited for violating the hunting control.
COs Justin Muehlhauser and Luke Robare were contacted by the Montrose Township Police Department regarding a trespass situation along the Flint River. A man claiming that he found a deer along the river was trespassing to try and recover it. CO Justin Muehlhauser took over the investigation. Upon conducting interviews with the property owner and witnesses, multiple charges will be sought. The investigation revealed that the suspect float hunted the river and shot the deer on property that was posted, and he did not have permission to hunt on. Further, he later returned to recover the deer and trespassed on a second property that was fenced, posted, and was told he could not enter. The deer, a large 10 point was seized, and the meat was donated.
CO Justin Muehlhauser received a call from the Flint Township Police Department regarding a deer they suspected was poached. While arresting a man for domestic violence, the man alerted the officers to a deer which was hanging in his back yard. The suspect stated something along the lines of, “I poached that deer last night, why don’t you charge me for that too.” They obliged and advised him that they would be contacting the DNR. CO Muehlhauser arrived and investigated the complaint. The deer was tagged with the suspect’s tag however, CO Muehlhauser located a bait pile in the back yard with solar lights around it. There was a blood trail leading from the bait into the woods about 30 yards. While investigating further, the CO located another baited hunt site on the vacant lot next door. There, CO Muehlhauser located a tuft of hair on the baited site. It is unsure which site the deer was taken at, either way, the suspect will face an additional charge for taking deer over bait. The deer was seized and donated via Jerry B’s Processing in Flint.
While checking waterfowl hunters coming out of the Harsens Island Management Unit, CO Ben Lasher found that one of the two hunters on the permit to enter the area was not listed. A ticket for hunt/enter area without a permit was issued and two verbal warnings for marine violations.
CO Ben Lasher was working a trespass complaint and heard a shot just before the end of hunting hours. Minutes later, he saw bright lights. CO Lasher drove around the section to locate where the vehicle had come into the field. While watching from the road, he watched the subject appear to be looking for blood or sign of a deer. After a half hour, another shot was fired and again the same subject could be seen looking for something on the ground. The vehicle was moved, and the lights were turned off. Using a thermal scope, CO Lasher could see deer coming toward the vehicle and the front lights of the vehicle would be turned on for a few seconds then off, again and again. After an hour or more of watching, CO Lasher contacted the suspect back in the field and found an uncased/loaded .450 in the back seat. One ticket issued for the loaded weapon in a motor vehicle.
COs Bob Watson and Breanna Reed were on waterfowl patrol on the last day of duck season when they contacted a boat that was underway. The COs conducted a waterfowl check on the hunters and discovered one of the hunters was in possession of a loaded firearm. CO Watson issued the hunter a citation for having a loaded firearm while underway.
CO Bobby Watson received a complaint of a possible hunter who had taken multiple deer without the proper licensing. The CO responded to the suspect’s residence and interviewed the hunter. The hunter admitted to shooting a deer that night which was still in the bed of his truck. The hunter had one valid antlerless tag which he had failed to validate and attach to the antlerless deer. CO Watson issued the hunter a citation for failing to tag his deer.
CO Bobby Watson was on patrol and watching anglers in the St. Clair River when a vessel with Canadian registration caught the COs attention. The CO recognized the boat from a previous encounter in which the anglers aboard were very close to the International Border but lacking the proper Michigan fishing license. CO Watson directed the men to hold up Michigan fishing licenses. One Canadian angler was unable to provide a valid fishing license. Border Patrol assisted, and CO Watson issued the man a citation for fishing without a license.
CO Bobby Watson joined a Zoom sentencing hearing for a shining with weapons in possession case from earlier in the fall. The subject plead guilty and was ordered to pay the maximum penalty of $500 in fines, was sentenced to 10 days of community service with an additional $150 in fees and ordered to forfeit his crossbow and night vision optics.
CO Jaime Salisbury was patrolling the Lapeer SGA after shooting hours when he noticed two hunters coming in a bit later than most. Upon contacting the hunters, they mentioned that they had gotten turned around. They were also concerned about the other hunter, an older man, who’s truck was still parked in the lot with no sign of him being nearby. CO Salisbury ran the license plate and was able to get a phone number associated with the potentially lost hunter. CO Salisbury called the man and was told that he had gotten a bit turned around but found the path and was on his way out. CO Salisbury cleared the scene to assist with a personal injury accident nearby. CO Salisbury was first on scene and secured the scene and rendered first aid to the injured occupants. Once CO Salisbury turned the accident over to the MSP, he contacted the concerned hunters about the lost man. They informed him that he still had not come out of the woods. CO Salisbury again responded to the location. With the assistance of Lapeer County Central Dispatch, an exact location of the lost man was obtained by pinging the cell phone he was carrying. With the location in mind CO Salisbury set out on foot to locate the man in the woods, now well after dark. After searching for about 20 minutes, CO Salisbury located the man about three-quarters of a mile back in the woods. He was healthy and in good spirits but also confused and shaken by being lost. “Boy am I glad to see you!” the man exclaimed to CO Salisbury. CO Salisbury assisted the man out of the woods back to his patrol truck. The man was evaluated by emergency medical services (EMS) and then turned over to his family members.
CO Jaime Salisbury assisted Lapeer County Sheriff’s deputies with an in-progress overdose. CO Salisbury provided a dose of NARCAN and assisted with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). When CO Salisbury arrived, the subject was not breathing and did not have a pulse. After multiple doses of NARCAN and CPR the subject regained a strong pulse but was still not breathing on their own. She was transported to Lapeer McLaren by EMS.
CO Jaime Salisbury took a complaint in Tuscola County about a hunter not wearing hunter orange and being intoxicated while hunting. Upon arrival, CO Salisbury noticed a man lying on the edge of the field not wearing any hunter orange. CO Salisbury walked up to the man and found him to be sleeping on the ground next to several empty alcoholic beverage containers and his firearm. CO Salisbury grabbed the firearm, unloaded it, and then woke the man up from his nap. CO Salisbury asked the man how much he had to drink, and he said, “a little bit.” CO Salisbury could smell the odor of intoxicants coming from the man. After conducting field sobrieties, the man was determined to be intoxicated. A PBT revealed a possible blood alcohol content of .121. A voluntary blood sample was taken for official analysis. The firearm the man was using was seized as evidence and charges are being sought for hunting without hunter orange and hunting while intoxicated.
Shortly after checking into service on the last day of waterfowl season, CO Brad Silorey received a call from DNR Dispatch regarding possible over-limits of waterfowl being taken. CO Silorey arrived in the area shortly after the complaint was received. After reviewing possible points of entry, CO Silorey set out on foot along the railroad tracks towards the sound of gunfire. CO Kris Kiel also arrived on scene and was able to set up nearby, waiting for the hunters to finish for the day. CO Silorey set up surveillance on the suspect hunters in some thick brush behind a fallen tree to observe the subjects shoot and kill multiple geese. Shortly after, the subjects finished their hunt, and began to pick up their decoys and equipment. With CO Kiel blocking their only exit, CO Silorey contacted them. After making contact, both COs Kiel and Silorey conducted a check of the subject’s hunting licenses and firearms. After gathering all the waterfowl scattered around the pond, the subjects were clearly over their daily possession limit of geese. After further investigation and searching the surrounding area, three separate additional piles of waterfowl were found hidden nearby in a brush line. Additionally, corn was located in the water and around the perimeter of the pond. One subject admitted to placing a 50 pound bag of corn a few days prior and stated that he wanted his hunting party to have a “good hunt.” In total, the subjects had taken 23 Canada geese,14 over-limit; 16 mallards, seven over-limit and eight of which were hen mallards, two over-limit and all of which were illegally taken with the aid of bait. All waterfowl and firearms were seized as evidence, and all subjects are being charged with the taking of an over-limit of geese, over-limit of mallards, over-limit of hen mallards, hunting waterfowl over a baited area, and one subject was charged with placing bait for the purpose of taking waterfowl. Charges on all three subjects are being sought through the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Brad Silorey was conducting waterfowl checks at a local DNR access site, when a group of four hunters came in for the day. Upon contact with the first hunter, CO Silorey asked him for his hunting license. The subject stated immediately that he was from out-of-state and he did not purchase a license. CO Silorey interviewed the subject, who stated that he was being “lazy,” and that he got “frustrated” with the DNR website. Both the other hunters successfully purchased their license on the first day they arrived in Michigan, three days prior. After further questioning, the three subjects from Georgia stated that they had guided hunts on Lake St. Clair for the last three days. CO Silorey questioned the subject who failed to purchase a license, about how many ducks he had taken in the last three days. In total the subject had taken 12 ducks over the course of three days and had them all whole at the cabin nearby. CO Silorey seized the ducks that were taken that day and the additional waterfowl that were taken the previous two days. CO Silorey issued a citation for taking waterfowl without a Michigan waterfowl license.
While checking hunters in Macomb County, COs Joseph Deppen and Kris Kiel received a complaint of a hunter heading out in the woods to hunt deer with a firearm when it was archery season. The complainant even told the suspect that muzzleloader season was closed for few more days, and the hunter responded, “I don’t care, I probably won’t see anything anyway.” The COs responded to the area and found a hunter in his blind with a shotgun loaded with lead slugs. The COs asked the hunter what he was doing, and he said he was out deer hunting. When informed for a second time that muzzleloader season was a few days away, the suspect responded, “Yeah, I just looked at the guide and found that out.” The suspect admitted he thought the person who told him it was closed earlier in the day was trying to ruin his hunt instead of giving him sound advice. The hunter was escorted out of the woods and was issued a citation for hunting deer with a firearm during archery season.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll received a complaint that someone witnessed a vehicle stop in the middle of the roadway where an individual stepped out of the vehicle and took three shots at deer standing in a nearby field. COs Ingersoll and Keven Luther were able to respond to the area and locate a vehicle matching the description pulling out of the suspect’s residence. CO Ingersoll was able to stop the vehicle and talk with the driver who was brutally honest. The individual stated that he wanted some deer meat and saw some deer in the field. He knew there was some sort of hunting season for deer open, but unsure what season. He stated that he drove around the field, stopped his Jeep in the roadway, shined the field, and shot at three deer with his shotgun. The individual stated he missed his three shots and that is when he went back home. The COs checked the field for evidence of a deer being hit in the freshly fallen snow and did not locate any signs of a deer being shot. The COs located three spent buck shot shells lying in the roadway where the individual said he had shot at the deer. The individual admitted to not having permission in the field either and said he did not know the landowner. The COs also located bait on the individual’s property while looking for evidence of any deer being shot. Charges are being sought through the Monroe County prosecutor for recreational trespass, hunting without a license, shining with a weapon in possession, attempting to take animal during closed hunting hours, and baiting.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was following up on a complaint received of an individual who had dumped approximately a 50-pound bag of corn in a field in Monroe Township. CO Ingersoll was able to obtain a photograph of the suspect dumping bait and checked with the nearby apartment complex. The suspect was identified as a maintenance employee at the complex. An interview was conducted, and the subject confessed to feeding deer and not having permission to be in the farmers’ field. Further, it was discovered the suspect had killed an antlerless deer without a license earlier in the season. Charges are to be sought through the prosecutor’s office.