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10/17/2021 - 10/30/2021
Conservation Officer (CO) Jenni Hanson presented as a guest speaker to a class of law enforcement students at Gogebic Community College. CO Hanson spoke to the group of seven students about the DNR academy, what it takes to become a conservation officer, and how a career in DNR law enforcement differs when compared to traditional law enforcement throughout the state.
CO Jeremy Sergey was patrolling near Big Bay when he encountered an individual road hunting in a side-by-side. The individual had his shotgun case partially open and was drinking alcohol while operating the ORV. The individual received a citation for possessing open intoxicants in an ORV and a warning for the uncased firearm and not having his hunting license on him.
CO Jeremy Sergey and Sergeant (Sgt). Mark Leadman checked a group of waterfowl hunters on Lake Levasseur. A check revealed that two of the three hunters only purchased the federal duck stamp and not the state waterfowl license required for waterfowl hunting. The hunters stated they asked the clerk to give them what they needed to duck hunt when they purchased their licenses. The young hunters were new to duck hunting and had worked very hard in cold and wet conditions all morning just to harvest two mallards. The COs educated the young hunters on what they needed to be properly licensed to waterfowl hunt and the hunters traveled to the nearest license agent and purchased the rest of their required licenses.
CO John Kamps checked a group of waterfowlers as they pulled their boat up to the launch. A routine check determined that the owner of the boat did not have enough personal floatation devices (PFDs) for the passengers on board and he was in possession of lead shot shells. A citation was issued for the lack of PFDs and the lead shot.
COs Todd Sumbera and Tim Rosochacki from District 3 conducted a joint waterfowl patrol with members of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) St. Ignace Station in the Straits area. Multiple groups of waterfowl hunters were contacted and surprised to see COs on a USCG vessel checking hunters. The COs observed multiple marine violations, such as failing to provide a PFD, and two unregistered vessels. Citations were issued for the marine violations. Overall, it was a very productive patrol and a great opportunity to work with the USCG on a joint enforcement patrol.
CO Justin Vinson was patrolling northern Luce County when a call for an armed suicidal male went out over the radio. While CO Vinson was enroute to assist the responding Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper, the subject left his residence in a vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted by the trooper and CO Vinson arrived shortly thereafter to assist. The subject was ultimately taken into custody without incident.
CO Cole VanOosten was returning from a late-night patrol of Mackinac County when a Be on The Lookout (BOL) was issued for a vehicle that was being driven by a subject with known mental health issues. CO VanOosten was the only unit nearby and observed the vehicle. A stop was made to conduct a well-being check. The driver sped away at a high rate of speed and extinguished his headlights. CO VanOosten followed the subject until backup arrived. A traffic stop was attempted by a Sault Ste. Marie Tribal officer, which led to a high-speed pursuit that terminated when the subject's car ran out of gas. COs Mike Evink and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Brandon Maki arrived on scene and assisted in attempting the arrest the subject. The subject assaulted the tribal officer, attempted to steal a police vehicle, and ran off into the woods where searchers looked for approximately eight hours before locating him in the daylight the following morning. The subject again tried to flee but was apprehended by Acting Sgt. Steve Butzin and an assisting MSP trooper. The subject was arrested and brought to a secure facility where a mental health evaluation could be conducted. A report was generated for the prosecutor's office to review that included multiple charges (reckless driving, flee and eluding, resisting, and obstructing, unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, and assault on a police officer.)
CO Michael Evink and PCO Brandon Maki responded to a trapper who, while checking his traps, had located a sow bear in the first trap on his trap line. The COs contacted DNR Wildlife Division staff and met them and the trapper at his property. The COs assisted the Wildlife staff in safely releasing the bear from the trap.
COs Andrea Dani and Mark Zitnik assisted Acting Sgt. Steve Butzin with a Hunter Safety Course at the DNR Pocket Park at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds. The students were taught ethics, rules and regulations, safety and survival basics, and firearm handling skills. The class had a 100% pass rate.
CO Andrea Albert and PCO Jack Gorno were patrolling the Jordan River Valley when they heard a vehicle revving its engine from across the valley. Following the noise, the COs eventually caught and contacted a subject off-roading in a Jeep. The subject was destroying state land with his Jeep by doing burnouts in the grass field and deep mud. The COs ticketed the individual for careless operation of a motor vehicle.
CO Nathan Beelman was the first on scene for a rollover accident in Charlevoix County. The accident was reported by a passerby who came upon the accident. While arriving on scene, it was discovered that the driver of the vehicle, who appeared intoxicated according to a witness, had left the scene of the accident. CO Beelman conducted interviews at the scene and contacted a female who claimed to be the driver. The female was unharmed, despite there being blood in the vehicle from the crash and both airbags deployed. The female continued to insist she was the driver until it was ascertained that the actual driver was her daughter. CO Beelman and a Charlevoix County Sheriff's Department sergeant were unable to locate the daughter that night. Charges are being submitted through Charlevoix County prosecutor's office for leaving the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident, and providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
COs Nathan Beelman and Chad Baldwin attended the annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event in Boyne City. The COs handed out candy to over 900 children while speaking with parents and answering questions. The windy and rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of those looking to fill their bags with candy and sweets. The COs were well received by the community and thanked for their service by many.
CO Duane Budreau attended a "Field to Fork" event hosted by the Emmet County Conservation District. The event was geared toward adult hunter recruitment with a focus on crossbows and their application to the sport of deer hunting. To get more adults interested in hunting, a crossbow demonstration and education was provided to those in attendance. The theory is that the ease of use and the lack of recoil and report makes the crossbow a less intimidating piece of hunting equipment for beginner hunters. CO Budreau was invited to the event because the DNR shares a vested interest in hunter recruitment.
CO Duane Budreau was working afternoon waterfowl hunters on a small lake in northern Emmet County. CO Budreau observed the hunters from shore while they continued hunting well after legal shooting hours. The subjects shot at birds more than a half hour after hunting hours. CO Budreau waited at their vehicles for them to return. Over an hour after legal hunting, the three subjects reached the shore. Surprised to see CO Budreau awaiting their arrival, the nervous hunters fumbled for their licenses and attempted to explain that they had a difficult time navigating in the dark. The subjects only had two birds in their possession. CO Budreau informed the shooters that flying birds are not only easier to hit during daylight hours, but they are also easier to identify, since one of the birds was a protected species. While CO Budreau was checking their shot and firearms for plugs, one of the hunters admitted that he did not have a plug in his gun. He was unfortunately the same hunter that mistakenly shot the grebe thinking it was a coot. He did not have a license or any identification with him. His vehicle parked at the access did not have a plate on it. When asked about the vehicle registration, he stated that he had insurance on it and therefore it did not need a registration. CO Budreau educated the young man on the rules regarding vehicle registration requirements. CO Budreau issued several tickets for hunting waterfowl after hours, taking a protected non-game bird, and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun. Warnings were given for no PFDs and the owner of the vehicle was required to leave the unregistered vehicle parked until properly registered.
CO Tom Oberg assisted an MSP trooper on a call regarding a domestic violence issue. The female caller stated she was in a vehicle with her boyfriend, who was armed with a pistol and acting suicidal. The armed suspect began threatening to kill her and then himself. The female was able to get out of the vehicle at some point and run into the woods to hide and call 9-1-1. The trooper and CO Oberg responded and were able to locate the female in good condition. After a search of the area, the male subject and suspect vehicle was not able to be located. The female was transported to a nearby town by the trooper to make arraignments to be picked up by family members. MSP will be following up with the male suspect.
COs Tom Oberg, Tim Rosochacki, Matt Theunick, and Dan Liestenfeltz, along with Otsego County Sheriff's deputies, responded to a call of a missing hunter in the Pigeon River State Forest. CO Oberg contacted the caller who stated he and his 84-year-old father were camping in the area and went out hunting in the afternoon. The caller advised his father had not returned and it was now nearing 11 pm. The officers met with the caller and got a better location of his possible whereabouts and formed a search plan. Once the officers arrived at the location to begin a search, they were assisted by several campers who could hear someone yelling after they used their vehicle horn to locate the lost hunter. One of the campers followed the direction of the voice about a quarter mile back into the woods and located him. The officers assisted in escorting the elderly man out of the woods whose only complaint was being tired from walking too much. The elderly man did not have a cellphone or flashlight and freezing temperatures had already set in. The elderly man was evaluated by emergency medical services (EMS) and was returned to his campsite in good condition.
CO Tom Oberg and Sgt. Mark DePew received a RAP complaint regarding a deer that was shot during archery season and was never tagged. CO Oberg went to the address of the suspect to conduct an interview. During the interview, the suspect admitted to shooting a deer earlier in the week. When CO Oberg questioned him if he tagged that deer, the suspect stated he did not. CO Oberg verified that the suspect currently had both of his deer kill-tags intact. CO Oberg seized the venison, along with the crossbow used to shoot the deer. A report is being compiled and submitted to the Otsego County Prosecutor's Office for a review of the charges.
CO Tim Rosochacki and PCO Jack Gorno attended the North Country Sportsman's Club banquet for their "Handicap-able" hunt which occurs during the Independence Hunt. The club hosts around 20 to 30 individuals each year with varying disabilities, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a safe hunt and hopefully harvest a deer. The COs spoke with the hunters regarding safety and regulations they must follow.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz received a complaint about a subject who had intentionally driven off the roadway to hit and kill a deer. The complainant had a video of the incident on Snapchat. After interviewing multiple witnesses and the suspect, everyone involved admitted that the deer was intentionally hit and left on the side of the road for no good reason. Charges will be sought through the Montmorency County Prosecutor's Office.
COs Dan Liestenfeltz and Sidney Collins were patrolling Montmorency County when they received a complaint from Montmorency County Dispatch. Dispatch advised the COs that a subject had called 9-1-1 after witnessed a poaching incident. The complainant was sitting in their tree stand when they saw a truck drive slowly down a road, turn around, and then shoot at a deer with a crossbow from inside the passenger side of the truck. The truck then fled the scene. COs Liestenfeltz and Collins were able to get a good enough vehicle description and responded to the area. Miles from the scene, they passed a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction matching the suspect vehicle description. The COs then turned around and initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. When interviewing the passenger on the side of the road, it was determined that the suspect did shoot at a deer but stated it was from the bed of the truck. The COs confiscated the crossbow and crossbow bolts. The COs then followed the suspect to the location where the incident occurred. The COs found a small amount of blood where the deer was standing and located the bolt that had struck the deer. The deer was unable to be located as it was determined it was not a lethal hit. Charges will be sought through the Montmorency County Prosecutor's Office.
CO Jon Sklba responded to a medical situation of an unresponsive subject call in Presque Isle County. CO Sklba was not far from the call and was first on scene. CO Sklba utilized his automated external defibrillator and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until other first responders arrived. Unfortunately, the subject was unable to be revived.
CO Jon Sklba responded to a call from a complainant of a subject actively baiting in Presque Isle County. CO Sklba was able to respond to the location and contact the suspect just as he was leaving his property. The subject has been contacted three years in a row for baiting that same property. The subject admitted to just having placed bait. During contact with the subject, a deputy arrived to assist. While enroute, the deputy advised that someone with a scanner who heard the call contacted him to advise that the subject had been placing lots of bait at several of his properties. A ticket was issued for the violation. The suspect advised that he would continue to bait because he felt that it was a stupid law.
COs Paul Fox and Dan Liestenfeltz investigated an unlicensed taxidermist in Presque Isle County. The individual was conducting commercial taxidermy on an expired taxidermy license. The investigation continues and charges will be requested.
COs Paul Fox and Dan Liestenfeltz were on patrol after dark near Atlanta when they observed a vehicle stopped in the roadway shining. The COs pulled up next to the vehicle and inquired as to why they had stopped in the middle of the road. The occupants stated they were shining deer and elk. Upon further investigation, it was found that the individuals were in possession of a firearm and transporting open intoxicants. Tickets were issued for numerous violations.
CO Sidney Collins assisted the Montmorency County Sheriff's Department with a suicidal subject situation. CO Collins, along with the deputies, responded to a 9-1-1 call of an intoxicated subject who hit a parked vehicle in front of his home. The call escalated when the subject put a pistol to his head. The officers at the scene were able to get the subject under control and retrieve the handgun. After interviewing subjects and the suspect, the officers arrested the male subject and transported him to the hospital for a mental evaluation for making threats to kill himself. Charges will be sought by complaint and warrant for operating vehicle while intoxicated, concealed carry weapons violation, and possession of a gun while intoxicated.
CO Sidney Collins assisted a trapper in Montmorency County safely release an accidentally trapped bobcat. CO Collins taught the trapper some techniques to release such animals without harming them.
CO Sidney Collins was on a traffic stop in Montmorency County when a subject not related to the traffic stop walked up on CO Collins and seemed distraught. CO Collins ended the traffic stop and assessed the subject's situation. CO Collins determined that the subject had dementia and walked away from their home. CO Collins drove the subject home and contacted family members to make them aware of the situation.
COs Sidney Collins and Dan Liestenfeltz assisted a local farmer with releasing a badger out of a foot hold trap.
CO Tim Barboza responded to a RAP complaint of a baited tree stand. CO Barboza contacted an individual at the residence where the bait was located who stated that he had shot the deer he was processing across the road from his house and that he had a tree stand out back behind the pole barn. CO Barboza asked about the bait, which he admitted he put out. CO Barboza then asked where the tag was for the deer in the barn and the individual stated in his wallet and pulled out a tag that had not been validated. CO Barboza confirmed the deer in the barn was untagged and issued a citation for failing to immediately validate/ attach kill-tag citation and a warning on the bait and instructed him to clean the bait up.
CO Angela Greenway was following up on tip that a group of small game hunters were hunting the Haymarsh State Game Area (SGA) without wearing blaze orange. CO Greenway was able to locate the three subjects, who were now wearing blaze orange. CO Greenway contacted them and checked their hunting license through Station 20 and was able to confirm that one hunter did not have a license. A check of the animals harvested confirmed 13 squirrels were taken and all of them were being possessed by one hunter. CO Greenway issued a citation to the one subject hunting without a license, seized three squirrels illegally taken and allowed the two licensed hunters to keep five squirrels each. A verbal warning was provided for the blaze orange violation and the novice hunters were educated on combining bag limits.
CO Angela Greenway attended a job fair at Ferris State University with Corporal Brad Dohm. CO Greenway spoke to several interested candidates.
CO Josiah Killingbeck responded to a call of a child who had been accidentally shot in his home. CO Killingbeck responded and was the first law enforcement officer to arrive on scene. CO Killingbeck assisted in rendering first aid to the child and was asked to assist with medical care in the ambulance. The child was flown via helicopter to a down state children's hospital for treatment.
CO Josiah Killingbeck stopped a vehicle for a motor vehicle code violation. Upon contacting the driver, CO Killingbeck learned that there was no insurance on the vehicle and that the driver was suspended. CO Killingbeck then learned that the driver had a warrant for her arrest after missing a court date. After detaining the subject CO Killingbeck began talking with the passenger and after running the passenger in law enforcement identification network discovered that the passenger was a parole absconder and had another warrant. The passenger was arrested as well. While searching the vehicle, CO Killingbeck discovered a large knife concealed where the passenger had been sitting. The knife was seized, and a report was sent to the prosecutor for review.
CO Ryan Andrews was following up on a baited hunting site from the 2020 season that he was never able to catch anyone in. After seeing fresh activity going into the site, he did a quick check and contacted a hunter at the stand. The hunter admitted that he had hunted the stand a year earlier and had left it out all year. He then stated he had never baited before this year and had just given in to the temptation. CO Andrews then informed him he was working the site the previous year and it was baited the same way. The hunter was stumped by this and couldn't provide a logical explanation. He was cited for hunting over bait and given a warning for not properly labeling and removing the stand.
CO William Kinney received a complaint from a hunter who had found a cased and unloaded shotgun while out scouting for waterfowl in Grand Traverse County. The hunter met CO Kinney and turned the shotgun over. The serial number on the shotgun did not come back to a registered owner. With no information available, CO Kinney advised the local county dispatches around the area of the lost shotgun. Later that evening, CO Kinney was contacted by the local dispatch indicating the hunter had called to report the missing shotgun. The hunter stated he was loading his gear that morning after his waterfowl hunt. He told CO Kinney after loading his hunting dog, he must have forgotten to load his gun. CO Kinney was able to verify the shotgun through photographs and other information provided. The gun was turned back over to the hunter who was thankful for the individual who had reported it.
CO Amanda Weaver was on patrol when she heard a complaint come through Leelanau County Central Dispatch of a boat that ran ashore into someone's backyard without anyone on board. While CO Weaver was in route to pick up a patrol boat, it was determined that two individuals had been ejected from the boat and were in the water without PFDs. A kayaker who happened to be fishing in the area witnessed the boat accident and was able to locate one of the subjects and provide her with a PFD, which ultimately saved the woman's life. The second individual, however, could not swim and was unable to make it to shore. CO Weaver, along with COs Patrick McManus and Justin Vanderlinde, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park rangers and Glen Lake Fire Department launched boats in attempt to rescue the individual. The USCG and Leelanau County Sheriff's Office also responded with ground and air support. After several hours of searching, the mutual-aid dive team was deployed, and CO Weaver conducted a search pattern towing divers behind her boat. Shortly before sunset, the individual was located using an underwater ROV. This tragic incident is a reminder of water safety practices especially during cold-weather months and stresses the importance of always wearing a PFD.
COs Patrick McManus and Amanda Weaver were on scene at Leland Harbor to assist with monitoring and checking in almost 200 hunters for the annual special deer hunt held on North Manitou Island in Leelanau County. Throughout the day, the COs were accompanied by law enforcement rangers from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and reported that the process went very smoothly. The deer hunters will remain on the island for up to a week and will do so with only the gear and supplies they initially brought out. Area COs and National Park rangers will conduct frequent patrols of the island during the hunt to ensure safety, legal compliance, and the well-being of each hunter.
CO Charlie Jones received a complaint of a subject actively dumping shingles on the side of the road in Kalkaska County. CO Jones was out of position, but Kalkaska County deputies arrived on scene and held the suspect until CO Jones could arrive. CO Jones arrived on scene and observed a large pile of roof shingles and building materials on the side of the road. The suspect was issued a citation for littering and taken into custody on outstanding warrants from Leelanau County.
CO Kyle Bader spoke to 150 students at Whittemore Prescott School during three separate presentations on October 6th. Each year, the school puts on a safety day and multiple departments and agencies put on various presentations and demonstrations for the kids. CO Bader covered topics including firearm safety, PFD requirements on watercraft, helmet requirements on ORVs, hunter orange requirements during the upcoming hunting seasons, and wilderness survival.
While on patrol in Alcona County, CO Jesse Grzechowski was notified by Alcona County Central Dispatch of a domestic violence in progress where the male suspect had fled the area in a truck in an unknown direction. CO Grzechowski was out of position where the incident occurred but patrolled to a main intersection on a state highway running through the county. CO Grzechowski located the suspect vehicle pulling into a gas station and contacted the man. Further investigation determined he had a felony warrant out of Alcona County for child abuse as well as the pending investigation regarding the domestic abuse. CO Grzechowski arrested the suspect on the felony warrants and he was turned over to the MSP for transport and further investigation.
CO Brad Bellville was assisted by the MSP and Ogemaw County Sheriff's Department as he responded to a 9-1-1 call of hunter harassment and assault in Ogemaw County. Once on scene, it was determined that an assault did occur between the two hunters. The MSP troopers arrested one of the individuals for the assaultive crime. CO Bellville followed up with the complainant in the woods where the assault occurred and learned both parties were hunting over bait. Both hunters were also hunting on private property and did not have permission to hunt there. The blinds were located approximately 50 yards apart with the bait piles only 20 yards from each other. CO Bellville educated the two parties on safe hunting and shooting practices as well as trespass laws. Citations were issued for baiting deer.
CO Kyle Bader received a RAP complaint about a camp on state land that had trash all over as well as three vehicles that were in various states of disrepair. CO Bader had a good idea of who the camp owner was, as the man has generated similar complaints all summer. CO Bader located the camp and found it exactly as reported and confirmed that it was the same camper from the previous complaints. CO Bader met with the camp owner and issued three citations for state land violations. CO Bader advised the man that since his camp had been there for the allotted 21 days, he had three more days to remove the broken-down vehicles before they would be impounded.
CO Kyle Bader received a complaint from a concerned landowner indicating that her neighbor was illegally baiting and shooting deer too close to the surrounding houses. CO Bader located the suspect on a piece of property less than one acre in size. There was a pile of sugar beets and carrots between the man's house and the main road. There was also a crossbow and bolts with broadheads leaning up against a vehicle near the house. The suspect was in the front yard and when CO Bader contacted him; he observed a pistol holster on the man's hip. CO Bader asked the man if he was carrying a pistol and he said, "No, I use that for tools," and began putting screw drivers in the holster. While talking to the suspect and another man that was with him, CO Bader observed a revolver in a five-gallon pail that was on the ground near the suspect. The man was issued a citation for baiting/feeding deer in a closed county and charges will be sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor's Office for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
CO Josh Russell was doing a routine processor inspection when he found a buck that had a suspicious tag. The tag was purchased well after dark and was brought in shortly after being purchased. CO Russell contacted the suspect and quickly gained a confession. The suspect stated, "I was too busy and did not know if I was going to hunt, so that is why I didn't buy a license." Charges are being submitted to the Clare County prosecutor for taking a deer without a license.
COs Josh Russell and Josh Wright received a complaint of bait and possible over-limit of bucks in Clare County. The COs located the bait, tree stand, and area where there had been deer hanging nearby. After speaking to the property owner, the COs located the subject who had been hunting on the property. They contacted the hunter and received a full confession that he shot his first buck without licenses, shot two more bucks, and used other hunters' tags, and shot them over bait. A report is being submitted to the Clare County Prosecutor's Office for charges.
CO Jill Miller was on patrol when she got a complaint from the RAP hotline of a subject shooting their limit of pheasants in the morning and returning to hunt the same day in the afternoon. The complainant stated that the subject was out hunting again at the same location and had another two male pheasants. COs Miller, Mike Haas, and PCO Cullen Knoblauch contacted the subject regarding their hunting activity and a confession was obtained. A citation was issued for take/possess an over limit of male pheasants.
CO Jay Person and the Midland County Sheriff's Office responded to a call of a bow hunter who had fallen backwards out of his stand and was hanging by his feet. Upon arrival, the bow hunter was located hanging backwards from his stand and his feet were being held by the foot straps of the self-climber stand. The hunter was cut loose from the stand and fire rescue was able to break his fall to the ground without further injury. The hunter was evaluated by EMS and refused transport to the hospital. The hunter was hanging from the stand for about an hour before being freed.
CO Matthew Neterer followed up on a deer baiting complaint from 2020 on state land near Bay Port. While on patrol, he observed a vehicle parked on the side of the road that matched the vehicle description of the accused from the year prior. CO Neterer followed the hunter's marked trail to a baited ground blind. The hunter claimed to not know about the baiting ban but discussed a bill that had been recently vetoed that would reverse the bait ban while CO Neterer was filling out his citation.
COs Seth Rhodea and Matt Neterer were patrolling on Saginaw Bay when they stopped and watched an angler who appeared to be fishing with too many lines. The COs then approached the angler who attempted to reel in his extra line as the COs contacted him. The angler admitted to fishing with too many lines and was cited for the violation.
CO Joshua Wright was refueling his patrol truck when a call from Tuscola County Central Dispatch came in of two people stabbed and the suspect took off on foot. CO Wright was right around the corner and assisted the Caro Police Department with a search for the suspect. CO Wright along with two deputies from the Tuscola Sheriff's Department went to an address where the suspect used to live. When contact was made with the homeowner, it was discovered that the suspect was in the residence. He was taken into custody with minimal resistance and lodged in jail. After the suspect was in custody, a third victim called in who was stabbed. All three victims received non-life threating injuries.
CO Mike Haas and PCO Cullen Knoblauch received a RAP complaint of a large antlered deer that may have been poached. CO Haas and PCO Knoblauch responded to the area where the buck was believed to have been killed and located a fresh blood trail that originated from a bait pile in front of a hunting blind. The COs interviewed several witnesses and identified the suspect. The suspect was interviewed and after changing his story several times eventually admitted to killing the buck over his bait. The 10-point buck rack and cape were seized. The case will be forwarded to the Isabella County Prosecutor's Office for charges.
While on patrol on the Maple River, COs Adam Schiller and Adam Beuthin contacted two waterfowl hunters that were traveling down the river in a motorized boat. Upon contacting the hunters, the COs noticed two shotguns sitting on the bench style seats of the boat. When the hunters were asked if the firearms were loaded, they both stated yes. The firearms were secured by the COs and unloaded. After the firearms were secured, the COs continued their check of the waterfowl hunters. During the inspection, it was found that the vessel had no PFDs onboard. The COs lent two of their extra PFDs they had on their patrol vessel to the individuals so they could make it back to the boat launch safely. Once at the launch, the individuals were issued citations for traveling under power in a vessel with a loaded firearm, fail to provide PFDs, and warned for unregistered watercraft.
While on patrol in the Maple River SGA, COs Adam Schiller and Adam Beuthin noticed a vehicle parked in the middle of a field within the state game area. The COs approached the vehicle and found no one around. The COs began to search on foot for the owner of the vehicle. After searching the field and woods nearby, the COs spotted a pop-up ground blind located in the woods. The COs contacted the hunters. Upon further investigation a bait pile was found in front of the hunting blind which the hunter admitted to placing the bait there. The hunters were issued citations for parking where prohibited and hunting over bait.
During a patrol on the Maple River, COs Adam Schiller and Dan Robinson contacted two waterfowl hunters. Upon contact, the COs observed the waterfowl hunters were hunting from a dike system. Once the COs secured the hunters' shotguns, it was found that one hunter had an unplugged shotgun, and the other hunter was hunting with two shotguns. While checking the waterfowl that had been harvested, the COs discovered that one of the hunters shot a dove and admitted to the COs of doing so. The hunters were written citations for the firearm violations, taking non-game species, and warned for hunting from a dike.
CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint from the RAP hotline of a trespassing incident that occurred a few days prior in Allegan County. The CO arrived on scene, and along with the complainant, was able to trace the trespassers trail through the complainant's property, to a gut pile, and back to a tree stand on the Allegan State Game Area. The CO discovered a possible name and address for a suspect and conducted a follow up interview with them. Throughout the interview, the CO learned the suspect had been hunting this area for many years. The suspect stated he did drag his deer out to 118th Avenue, which was all through the complainant's property. Charges are pending with the Allegan County Prosecutor's Office for recreational trespass.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County when he observed a suspicious vehicle backing out of a grassy area along a commercial barn. The CO was familiar with the owner of the barn and property and knew this vehicle did not belong there. The CO contacted the driver, who claimed to be 17 years of age, but he did not have identification on him. Throughout the COs investigation, it was discovered the driver gave a false name, and was a 14-year-old juvenile who had just been reported as a suspect in a stolen vehicle case out of the City of Holland. The juvenile had stolen his grandmother's vehicle and met up with his girlfriend. The juvenile was turned over to the Holland Department of Public Safety and the vehicle was turned over to the owner.
CO Justin Ulberg received a RAP complaint of a possible deer being shot after legal hunting hours with a firearm during archery season. CO Ulberg spoke with the complainant who stated that she heard several gun shots after dark and then observed flashlights going across a cut corn field. CO Ulberg investigated the complaint and after speaking with the property owner, came up with a possible suspect. CO Ulberg interviewed the suspect and obtained a confession. The subject admitted to shooting two deer after hours with a .22 LR. CO Ulberg submitted a report to the county prosecutor and charges were issued for the illegal taking of the deer.
While checking waterfowl hunters in the Ottawa Marsh in Allegan County, CO Sam Schluckbier found one hunter was not in possession of a PFD while using his kayak. The hunter was cited for the violation and was escorted back to the launch safely.
CO Chris Holmes received the Award of Excellence for Bravery by Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller. The award was for an incident where CO Holmes, Kalamazoo County Deputies, and a Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Lieutenant responded to a vehicle accident on I 94 where a victim had been stabbed. Upon arriving on scene, it was determined that the stabbing suspect was attempting to steal and drive away a semi-truck. Unable to operate the semi-truck and not wanting to unlock the door for officers, the suspect turned to self-harm and began stabbing himself. CO Holmes and other officers made forcible entry into the semi, disarmed the suspect, and took him into custody. It was later learned that the suspect had murdered two people in Battle Creek shortly before CO Holmes and other law enforcement officers contacted him on I-94.
CO Anna Cullen received an in progress recreational trespass complaint in Muskegon County. CO Cullen was nearby and responded to the area where she contacted the complainant. The complainant explained that the suspect was still on the property and did not have permission to be there. CO Cullen observed multiple, "No Trespassing" signs on the property and contacted both property owners to confirm that the individual did not have permission to be on the property. Contact was made with the suspect, and it was found that he had shot two antlered deer, an 8-point, and a 6-point. The individual failed to validate the license for one of the deer and attempted to use his girlfriend's tag to tag the second antlered deer. Both deer were seized along with the crossbow used in the taking of the deer. Charges are being sought for recreational trespass resulting in the taking of two antlered deer and licensing violations.
While patrolling the Chinook salmon run in Van Buren County, CO Tyler Cole spotted two subjects fishing along the Black River. From a concealed location, CO Cole watched the two subjects' fish for approximately 30 minutes without catching anything. The subjects appeared to get frustrated and switched their tackle to a bare oversized treble hook with sinkers and began to attempt to snag the salmon out of the river. CO Cole watched for another 20 minutes and then observed one subject hook a fish in the tail and proceeded to put it on a stringer. Contact was then made with the subjects who denied snagging or keeping a foul hooked fish. CO Cole informed them that he had been watching them for quite some time and that he had observed multiple fishing violations. The foul hooked salmon was seized, and citations were issued for retaining foul hooked fish and for the illegal gear.
While checking various popular fishing spots in Van Buren County, CO Tyler Cole observed a female subject actively fishing and attempting to snag salmon in a very narrow creek. CO Cole contacted the subject to conduct a license check. While checking for a fishing license and after speaking with the subject, CO Cole recognized this individual as a subject who had two DNR warrants for fishing in a closed stream and fishing with no license from last fall. The warrants were confirmed through dispatch and the subject was taken into custody for the warrants. The subject posted bond for the two DNR warrants and was issued additional citations for fishing without a license and attempt to snag.
CO Katie Baker responded to a RAP complaint of a trespasser who retrieved a deer on the complainant's property, using an ORV. Interviews were conducted with the assistance of CO Peter Purdy and a confession as obtained. The suspect admitted to shooting an 8-point white tailed deer over bait, trespassing through three people's yards to track it, and using an ORV to retrieve it. A warrant is being sought for the violations.
CO Nick Wellman responded to a water rescue call in Branch County when two elderly males who were out bluegill fishing on Halloween morning had capsized their boat and were hanging onto the overturned vessel. CO Wellman along with several county deputies and two local fire departments responded to the scene. The two men were safely removed from the water and were treated for hypothermia by EMS.
CO Jason McCullough received a report of an injured owl on a subject's porch. CO McCullough went to the residence and determined the owl was a Short-Eared owl, an endangered species in Michigan. CO McCullough transported the owl to a wildlife rehabilitator where it is expected to make a full recovery.
Checking waterfowl hunters after shooting hours, CO Dan Walzak rolled up on two subjects to check. The subjects had walked into the marsh to hunt and had reached their vehicle almost an hour after hunting hours had ended. As CO Walzak was walking up to them, he observed one of the subjects taking the shells out of his shotgun. As an explanation, the subject offered up that he was just making sure that the shotgun was empty before putting it away in his vehicle. The subject was issued a citation for possessing a loaded firearm after the legal hunting hours.
CO Dan Walzak, the Monroe County Sheriff Department, and Estral Beach Fire and Rescue responded to 9-1-1 call from three duck hunters who were stranded in the Pointe Mouillee marsh. The trio was trying to move from one location to the other and the starter rope snapped on the boat motor. The hunters were able to work their way to the downwind side of the reeds and the wind began to cause a slow drift toward the location of the responders. Estral Beach Fire deployed a small collapsible rowboat and was able to assist the vessel the rest of the way in. The vessel was pulled up onto the dike and the occupants were transported back to their vehicle. CO Walzak escorted them back to their vessel where the hunters were able to load it onto the trailer for their trip home.
COs Danielle Zubek and Keven Luther assisted the communications and outreach department with an online Facebook Live question and answer with the DNR about upcoming hunting season. The group answered more the 60 questions within the two-hour time frame.
Sgt. Jason Becker received a RAP complaint of subjects hunting deer over bait. After checking the location several times, Sgt. Becker was able to contact the hunters in their blind. The two subjects were sitting in a blind near a pile of corn, sugar beets, and apples. When contacted the subjects stated that they knew baiting was illegal. Both subjects were issued citations for hunting deer with bait.
Sgt. Becker assisted the MSP with an ORV crash on an Oakland County Road. The operator was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Sgt. Becker was able to assist the MSP trooper with ORV violations to complete his report.
CO Ray Gardner checked on a baited area in the Lapeer SGA. While approaching, CO Gardner found the suspect hunter in the tree stand. When asked about the bait, the suspect stated he put apples out in front of his trail camera to get pictures of deer in the area but wasn't hunting over it. CO Gardner pointed out that the trail camera was only 20 yards from the suspect and was visible from the tree stand. He then asked about the rest of the apples, carrots, and sugar beets in front of the tree stand. The suspect said he only noticed those this morning and that he didn't put the rest of that there. CO Gardner issued the suspect a ticket for using bait while hunting deer.
CO Jaime Salisbury checked waterfowl hunters on Harsens Island. Citations issued included failing to provide PFDs, loaded shotgun in a motorboat, having a gun capable of holding more than three shells, and operating an unregistered vessel.
COs Jaime Salisbury and Ray Gardner checked a waterfowl hunter at the Lapeer SGA. During the check, it was discovered that the hunter only had a federal duck stamp and did not have a current year base license or waterfowl license. The man was issued a citation for hunting waterfowl without a license and not having a PFD on his kayak. The Ring-necked Duck the man had shot was seized and reimbursement is being sought.
COs Brad Silorey, Kris Kiel, and PCO Martin Lawrence responded to a complaint of a subject who was observed shooting at deer at night with a firearm behind his residence. The anonymous witness observed two subjects then drag what appeared to be a deer back to a barn. COs Silorey, Kiel and PCO Lawrence contacted the suspect at his residence. CO Silorey asked the suspect if he had been target shooting or hunting recently at night. The suspect became very nervous and stumbled on his words stating something about boars escaping and hunting coyote at night. The suspect stated that he thought that he was out-of-state on the night of the incident, but later stated that he was home. CO Silorey examined a carcass pile on the suspect's property and found a fresh deer carcass that showed signs of being shot with a firearm and was missing the head. The suspect stated that it was a roadkill, but that was later found to be a lie. The suspect later confessed to shooting it with a Ruger .450 Bushmaster the evening prior. The suspect also confessed to the incident of shooting the deer at night with his cousin. The cousin was later interviewed and confessed to shooting two antlered deer at night with a firearm. In total two firearms were seized along with three antlered deer. Charges are being sought through St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office.
CO Kris Kiel and PCO Martin Lawrence were checking for hunting activity at St. John's Marsh Wildlife Area where the use of toxic shot is prohibited. The COs checked a pheasant hunter who possessed multiple lead shot shells. The hunter stated that he had seen the signs that prohibited the use of toxic shot, but thought they were meant only for waterfowl hunting. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Brad Silorey conducted follow up with a hunter who had claimed to have an encounter with a Black bear while archery deer hunting. The hunter had claimed to have observed a Black bear eating on and dragging a deer that he had just taken minutes prior. The hunter's deer had what appeared to be claw marks on the side, and a large portion of the hind quarters were eaten. No additional evidence was found to confirm the sighting.
CO Joseph Deppen was conducting surveillance on two subjects hunting deer over bait and in a prohibited area. CO Deppen observed the hunters enter the area and a few hours later CO Deppen heard the shot of a crossbow. CO Deppen observed the subjects dragging a deer to a wood line and place it in the trunk of a vehicle. CO Deppen made his approach, identified himself and the two subjects initially tried to run, but then were apprehended and detained. Both subjects were hunting over bait, failed to tag the deer, and were hunting in a prohibited area. All hunting gear was seized, the deer was donated to hunters for the hungry and multiple charges are being sought through the prosecutor's office.
CO Brandon Hartleben was patrolling Washtenaw County for hunting activity when he observed what appeared to be several Canada geese decoys along the edge of a field adjacent to a small piece of township property. CO Hartleben had never seen any hunting on the property before and stopped to observe the area. CO Hartleben quickly noticed three layout blinds on the edge of the field. After observing the hunters, CO Hartleben contacted the group to see how they had done. While checking licenses and equipment CO Hartleben discovered that two hunters in the group did not have their licenses with them. An inquiry with Station 20 revealed that in fact neither hunter had purchased any hunting licenses for this year. Both subjects were cited for hunting migratory birds without a base license and for hunting without a federal migratory bird stamp. Warnings were issued for no state waterfowl license and no harvest information program registration.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was patrolling Monroe County when he observed a yellow Ford Ranger with ratchet straps and broken pieces of wood falling out of the back of the truck leaving a pile of trash that was dumped along the side of the road. CO Ingersoll stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver who he suspected of dumping the truck load of household remnants into the ditch. CO Ingersoll questioned the driver who admitted to dumping the wood and other items and stated this was a normal thing for him and he did not see the issue. CO Ingersoll advised the driver to return to the pile and pick up the debris that he just dumped. The driver cleaned the debris up and was cited for littering.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll received a call from a previous complainant stating that he had an individual trespassing in his bean field, and they had shot a deer. CO Ingersoll responded to the area and observed a dark object which was determined to be the hunter who was trespassing dragging his 6-point buck he had shot walking down the edge of the field. CO Ingersoll contacted the hunter who was trespassing and questioned him on his hunt and examined his deer. The hunter admitted immediately that he had made a very dumb mistake and should not have hunted in the field and been trespassing. CO Ingersoll spoke with the complainant who stated he did not want to pursue charges on the 22-year-old hunter for trespassing and the charge possessing an untagged deer would suffice. CO Ingersoll issued the hunter a citation for possessing an untagged deer. The deer was seized and donated to a local family.
CO Andrew Monnich received a tip from Sgt Jason Smith from District 8 that a subject had been observed not tagging a deer in the Lost Nation game area. The witness had obtained a license plate and the suspect was found to live in Lenawee County. CO Monnich contacted the suspect who immediately became very defensive stating he had done nothing wrong. The suspect demanded CO Monnich get a search warrant and stormed into his home closing the door. CO Monnich requested another officer to respond and was assisted by a Lenawee County Sheriff's deputy. Shortly before the deputy arrived the suspect came back out of the house and stated his wife had told him to comply. The suspect showed CO Monnich the parts of the deer he had taken and confessed that he had not tagged it, hoping to save his tags for antlered deer. The deer parts were seized, and charges were filed for possession of an untagged deer.
GREAT LAKES ENFORCEMENT UNIT (GLEU)
Acting Cpl. Jeffrey Dell investigated a 30-acre forest fire on state land. Investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Acting Cpl. Jeffrey Dell checked two Wisconsin waterfowl hunters hunting on the Michigan side of a boundary water. The hunters were only licensed for Wisconsin. One hunter did not have her license or duck stamp in her possession. CO Dell was able to verify the female hunter had purchased a duck stamp and Wisconsin Waterfowl license. Verbal warnings were issued for all violations.
Acting Cpl. Justin Vanderlinde assisted the Glen Lake Township Fire Department in the recovery of a drowning victim on Little Glen Lake. Cpl. Vanderlinde was able to operate the Fire Department's 28-foot response vessel, allowing the Fire Department to use their personnel for other tasks. The victim was recovered after five hours of searching.
Cpl. Craig Milkowski followed up on an abandoned sailboat that was towed into the harbor and left two months ago at Hammond Bay. The boat has been removed by a salvage company per the family's request.
Cpl. Kevin Postma assisted Parks and Recreation Division with transporting individuals to Lime Island for the purpose of bidding on an improvement to the island's docks.
Several members of GLEU virtually attended the bi-annual Great Lakes Fishery Commission Law Enforcement Committee meeting. Several AIS and information-sharing topics were discussed.
Lt. Mike Feagan and Acting Lt. Nick Torsky attended multiple virtual AIS meetings, including the monthly AIS Core Team meeting, Organisms-in-trade (OIT) and AIS Task Force subcommittee meetings, the monthly meeting of the DNR Division leads on AIS and individual meetings with Executive Senior Water Policy Advisor Tammy Newcomb, and the bi-annual meeting of the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species.