1/9/2022 - 1/22/2022
While on patrol in Gogebic County, Conservation Officer (CO) Zach Painter and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Paul Lyden conducted a stop on a snowmobile for careless operation. Upon talking with the individual, CO Painter noticed several signs of intoxication. CO Painter conducted standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) on the operator. The operator was placed under arrest for operating while intoxicated (OWI) on a snowmobile.
COs Zach Painter, Ethan Mapes and PCO Paul Lyden assisted the MSP with a felony warrant pick up. The subject was placed in custody without incident.
CO Brian Lasanen and PCO Cody Bourgeois were working the Hancock Fairground cross country ski trails for illegal snowmobile operation in Houghton County. The COs observed three snowmobiles in the closed area. Two of the three snowmobiles fled out of the area when they observed the COs walking toward them. One of the snowmobiles was stuck and the COs were able to contact the operator. The rider was advised that they were operating illegally and had driven right past a “no snowmobiles” sign. The rider was cited for the violation.
CO Ethen Mapes patrolled for illegal snowmobile activity in Ontonagon County on a high traffic weekend. CO Mapes witnessed three snowmobilers run a stop sign. CO Mapes followed two of the snowmobilers to a local restaurant where they tried running into the building from the parking lot. Unfortunately, they tried to enter the door to the kitchen. CO Mapes found the two snowmobilers out of breath and apologetic. One adult was issued a citation for failing to stop for a law enforcement officer as well as careless operation for failing to stop at a stop sign and his juvenile son was given a verbal warning.
CO Ethen Mapes was traveling from Marquette back to Ontonagon when he received a report of a snowmobiler who had broken down while riding alone off trail. CO Mapes assisted the Spur Township Rescue Team locate the snowmobiler who was able to walk to a nearby camp and start a fire.
CO Ethen Mapes was traveling from Marquette back to Ontonagon when he received a report of a snowmobile accident along Trail 8 near King Lake Road. CO Mapes responded to the scene to assist but the snowmobiler unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. The scene was preserved and turned over to the Baraga County Sheriff’s Office. Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the accident.
COs Jenifer Hanson, Zach Painter, and PCO Paul Lyden responded to a snowmobile crash in Gogebic County. A 73 year old male operator failed to negotiate a curve, left the trail, and struck a tree. The operator was pronounced dead at the scene. A 71 year old female passenger was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
CO Phil Helminen observed an angler ice fishing in Dickinson County. CO Helminen asked the angler how the fishing was going as he approached the individual. The angler stated, “Better before I saw you.” CO Helminen asked what he meant by that, and the angler stated that he had driven into Michigan that day from Wisconsin and did not purchase a fishing license. A license check confirmed that a license had not been purchased. A ticket was issued for fishing without a license.
PCO Sydney Griffor and CO Jeffrey Dell conducted an ice fishing check on a shanty with three tip-ups set in front of it. Upon approaching the shanty, the COs observed a fourth line inside the shanty. The occupant attempted to deceive the COs and even purposefully broke the line while pulling it up out of the water. A citation for fishing with more than three lines was issued.
COs Shannon Kritz, Jeff Dell, and PCO Sidney Griffor gave a presentation at the Meyer Township meeting in Menominee County. The COs went over ORV, snowmobile, and ice fishing laws to educate members about safe recreational use on Hermansville Pond.
CO Jeremy Sergey and Sgt. Mark Leadman were conducting a speed enforcement patrol on Trail 417 with a radar gun. They encountered an individual going 60 miles per hour (mph) in a heavily populated 35 mph zone. The operator stated he did not observe the 35 mph speed signs that were posted along the trail. A citation was issued for speeding on the snowmobile trail in violation of the Director’s Order that is in place to control speed.
CO John Kamps was able to complete an investigation for an antlered deer taken without a license. CO Kamps interviewed two people involved with the illegal take of the deer. It was determined that one of the individuals was at deer camp when he spotted the buck feeding on a bait pile outside camp. The individual did not possess a deer tag for the 2021 deer season and shot the deer with a rifle. After the deer was shot, he contacted the other individual to purchase a tag for the deer. A full confession was obtained from both individuals. A report will be filed with the Marquette County District Court for taking a deer without a license, loan/borrow deer tag, and failing to immediately affix/ validate deer tag.
Charges have been issued by the Alger County Prosecutor after an investigation by CO Andrea Dani and acting Sgt. Mark Zitnik into the loaning and borrowing of deer licenses. The COs interviewed the license loaner (mother) and obtained a confession that she had never shot a deer, despite there being records of her deer license attached to a 5-point deer taken to a local meat processor. The license borrower (adult son) was later interviewed and confessed to using his mother’s license on the first antlered deer (5-point) he killed, and then using his own single deer license on a spike-horn buck he killed later in the season. Charges for the borrower include taking an over-limit of antlered deer and using another’s deer license. The license loaner was issued the charge of permitting another person to use her deer license.
CO Robert Freeborn received a warrant for an illegal deer case from the fall. The suspect was located and served the warrant for taking a deer without a license. His court date will be the following week.
CO Freeborn observed two fishermen drilling holes and getting gear set up to fish. When CO Freeborn made contact and asked for fishing licenses, one of the fishermen stated he didn’t have a license and wasn’t fishing. When asked about his freshly drilled hole and Garmin graph he had set up, the fisherman still stated he wasn’t fishing. Further investigation found that the two fishermen were renting a sleeper shack approximately a half-mile away and had a buddy still fishing there. A check of the sleeper shack revealed that their buddy, who had remained there, had too many lines out. After talking with all three fishermen, it was determined that the fishermen without a license had tip-ups out at the sleeper shack. A citation was issued for fishing without a license.
While off duty, CO Robert Freeborn received a call from local dispatch advising of a Polaris Ranger with tracks that had broken through river ice and was partially submerged with two occupants. The location was in a remote location on a pipeline that was only accessible by snowmobile. CO Freeborn responded, along with the local Sheriff's Office and an MSP trooper. The Ranger was found, and the occupants were removed from the Ranger. The occupants were checked out by emergency medical services (EMS) on the scene and released. The Ranger was removed from the river by a local towing company.
CO Steve Butzin was conducting follow up from this past deer season when he encountered several violations which led to two separate cases. These violations involved four different individuals for taking two deer without licenses, loaning and borrowing licenses, as well as taking an overlimit of bucks. Reports have been submitted to the 94th District Court of Delta County pending charges. If convicted, these individuals could face a total of $8,000 worth of reimbursement to the fish and game protection fund.
CO Cole VanOosten responded to a call at approximately 4:00 am of a stranded snowmobiler in northern Luce County. CO VanOosten responded to the area and located the individual after approximately eight miles on a snowmobile trail. The rider stated that they had gotten up north to ride snowmobiles in the early hours of the morning and he couldn’t contain his excitement, so he decided to go for a late-night snowmobile ride alone. The rider became stuck in deep snow and walked approximately four miles before being located. The subject was evaluated, and it was determined that he was healthy after his night in the woods. CO VanOosten returned the individual to his cabin where he was reunited with his family.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol in Luce County when he encountered two snowmobilers operating against the flow of traffic on a busy roadway. A traffic stop was conducted, and the individuals stated that they were just following the snowmobile tracks on the side of the road. CO VanOosten showed the individuals the tracks that were also on the other side of the road and explained that the tracks they were following were probably from snowmobiles driving the other direction on the correct side of the road. In addition to the operating against the flow of traffic, it was determined that neither snowmobile had registration stickers displayed and one snowmobile had not been registered for over two years. Citations were issued to the individuals for failure to display registration and warnings were issued for operating an unregistered snowmobile and for operating against the flow of traffic.
PCO Marissa Hassevoort and CO Cole VanOosten conducted a snowmobile patrol in Luce County. Two individuals were contacted for disregarding a stop sign, the individuals admitted to going 30 to 40 mph through the stop sign and said they weren’t worried about it because it was dark out and they would detect headlights. Two citations were issued for the safety violation.
COs Justin Vinson, Colton Gelinas, and PCO Cameron Wright conducted a sound meter patrol north of Newberry, in response to receiving several noise complaints. Several snowmobilers were contacted. Common violations witnessed included: failing to display registration, operating with an expired registration, and exceeding the legal noise emissions level. Several citations and warnings were issued.
Sgt. Mark DePew was on his department issued snowmobile when a large traffic crash occurred on southbound I-75 during whiteout conditions. The MSP troopers asked dispatchers to have responding officers close the on-ramps to I-75 near Gaylord to prevent additional crashes. Sgt. DePew proceeded to the exit 279 on-ramp, activated the emergency lights on his snowmobile, and closed the on-ramp to further traffic.
COs Kyle Cherry and Tom Oberg were finishing up a snowmobile patrol in Otsego County when an Otsego County Sheriff’s deputy had contacted them requesting assistance locating a reckless side-by-side. The tracked side-by-side was allegedly being operated on a local golf course, causing damage. The COs responded to the area in patrol trucks and began assisting the deputy in checking side roads in the area. During the search, the COs located lights on a wooded trail. Getting closer, the COs were able to identify the lights were attached to a side-by-side matching the description of the one they were looking for. Upon seeing the patrol trucks, the operator of the side-by-side immediately turned around and drove through narrow trails on private property. CO Cherry was able to call out the direction the side-by-side was heading over central dispatch. After hearing radio traffic, a Gaylord City Police officer was able to spot the side-by-side turning into a cabin on a nearby road. The occupants were contacted, and an OWI investigation was conducted. The Otsego County deputy ultimately arrested the driver for OWI.
CO Jessie Curtis was checking anglers on Fletcher’s Pond in Alpena County when she checked an angler fishing without a license. The angler tried to give CO Curtis another angler’s fishing license. CO Curtis issued the angler a ticket for fishing without a license.
CO Jessie Curtis received a complaint of an injured elk that was unable to move. Upon further investigation, the elk appeared to have been gored by another bull and was too injured to stand up. The elk was euthanized, and the meat was donated to the soup kitchen in Alpena County.
CO Jessie Curtis was patrolling Alpena County when she observed a truck pass with non-working brake lights. CO Curtis ran the license plate through central dispatch and the plate did not match the vehicle and there was no insurance on the vehicle. After conducting a traffic stop and further investigation, the truck was not registered and had a license plate from another vehicle on it. Additionally, the driver had an expired license and a current felony warrant. CO Curtis issued tickets on the violations and the driver was lodged at the jail on the felony warrant.
CO Sidney Collins attended a National Wild Turkey Federation meeting in Montmorency County. CO Collins answered questions about turkey feeders, turkey numbers in Michigan, and hunting questions.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and PCO Todd Bunce were on patrol on a lake in Lake County. While approaching a fishing shanty, the COs observed a subject suddenly come out of the shanty and quickly try to reel up two tip-ups. The COs contacted the subject and discovered that he had five lines in the water. The subject said that his “friend” had just left which was why there was still five lines in the water. The COs advised the subject that they had been on the lake for nearly a half hour and saw no one leave. The subject was cited for fishing with too many lines.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and PCO Todd Bunce were checking subjects ice fishing when someone alerted the COs to unattended tip-ups near a residence with a flag up. The COs observed no name on the tip-ups and that the tip-ups were frozen in the ice. The COs contacted a residence on the lake and the subject initially said that he had just checked the tip-ups. It was pointed out to the subject that there were no tracks in the snow. The subject soon admitted that he had put the tip-ups out the night before and was not checking them. There was a small pike on one of the tip-ups and the other had a bass on it. Both fish were released, and the subject was cited for unattended lines.
While patrolling a lake in Mason County for ice anglers, CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Elisabeth Killingbeck, came across a subject ice fishing on the far side of the Lake. While approaching the subject, they noticed four tip-ups set outside a one-person portable shanty. Contact was made and an additional three lines were located inside the portable, as well as an undersized walleye. The fisherman was cited for the use of seven lines.
While doing a taxidermy inspection on a taxidermist in Mason County, CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Elisabeth Killingbeck, located an undersized buck that appeared to have been harvested in Mason County. The buck, a 3 point, did not meet the minimum requirement of three points on one side to be legal with the antler point restrictions (APR)in Mason County. A phone interview was conducted by the two COs due to the hunter being in Illinois and a confession was obtained. A warrant is being requested for taking a buck in violation of the APR restriction.
Checking a lake for ice anglers in Mason County, CO Kyle Publiski and PCO Elisabeth Killingbeck located two anglers. The two subjects were from out of state and had a residence on the lake. While talking to one of the subjects, he stated they fish the lake quite a bit. When asked for his fishing license, he was unable to locate his fishing license. A license check revealed the subject had not purchased a fishing license in Michigan since 2018. A citation was issued for fishing without a license.
CO Tim Barboza received a Report All Poaching complaint of too many tip-ups out on a Newaygo County Lake. CO Barboza patrolled to the lake and located the tip-ups with no one around. CO Barboza approached and looked for a name on the tip-ups and most of them did not have one. The owner of the tip-ups came out on the ice with an ORV and CO Barboza asked who else was fishing since there were six tip-ups out; the individual said he was, and another person was back on shore. CO Barboza then asked who set all the tip-ups and had the other person been out on the ice at all that day. The angler stated he set had them and that the other person had never gone out. Ultimately a ticket was issued for no name and address on the tip-ups and a warning was given for fishing with too many lines.
CO Josh Reed was conducting fish checks on Lake Mecosta. While walking up to a lone fisherman, CO Reed observed the fisherman go to a hole and pull up a mesh net with fish in it. CO Reed approached the fisherman and observed two crappies in the net. The fisherman unzipped the net and released the crappie through the hole. When CO Reed asked to see the fisherman’s fishing license, he said that he had forgotten it. A license check with dispatch revealed that the subject had not purchased a fishing license since 2012. The fisherman was cited for fishing/possess fish without a license.
CO Josh Reed and PCO Jackson Kelly were checking anglers on a lake in Mecosta County. CO Reed and PCO Kelly contacted a group of three subjects packing up and getting ready to head back to the shore. The subjects were contacted and all three had close to their limit of panfish. One subject could not produce a fishing license. The subject was run through dispatch, and he had not purchased a 2021 fishing license. The subject also had 19 panfish in his possession. The fisherman was cited for fishing/possess fish without a license and the panfish were seized.
Sgt. Mike Bomay conducted a presentation to Ferris State University’s ‘Ready for Life’ program describing the duties of a conservation officer. The district fur kit was presented, along with several training videos for the students.
CO Jeff Ginn was presented with Michigan and U.S Regional American Legion Officer of the Year awards at the recent Natural Resources Commission meeting. Sgt. Mike Bomay and Lt. Joe Molnar were present, along with Assistant Chief David Shaw and Chief Gary Hagler, to support CO Ginn on his accomplishment and dedication to protecting the natural resources and the people who enjoy them.
District 5 COs worked the annual Tip Up Town winter festival on Houghton Lake. Temperatures were brutally cold with low wind chills. Despite the environmental challenges, the event still seemed to draw a large crowd. Many violations including licensing and permits, helmet use, exceeding machine capacity, careless operation, and possession of open intoxicants were enforced for ORVs and snowmobiles. Two arrests were also made for operating ORVs while intoxicated. One citation for fishing with too many lines was also issued.
CO James Garrett was patrolling during the first weekend of Tip Up Town when he was dispatched to an ORV rollover accident on Houghton Lake. CO Garrett responded via snowmobile to find a four-seater Polaris RZR upright on three tires and pieces of the machine sprawled all over the ice surface. CO Garrett identified the driver who had minor bleeding coming from his eyebrow. The driver stated he lost control when he attempted to turn too sharply, causing the machine to roll multiple times. CO Garrett could smell the odor of consumed intoxicants exuding from the driver. The driver was asked how many alcoholic drinks he had consumed throughout the day. The driver stated three to four, but his last one was about an hour ago. CO Garrett escorted the driver to shore to complete field sobriety tests and be checked over by EMS. At shore, the driver’s facial cut was tended to by EMS and cleared of any head injuries. SFSTs were completed on the driver who was found to be twice the legal bodily alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle. The driver was arrested for operating an ORV while intoxicated and lodged in the Roscommon County Jail.
CO Matt Zultak and PCO Marc Mankowski were conducting a Tip Up Town patrol in the area of Houghton Lake. The COs observed a Polaris RZR operating at a high speed, fishtailing down a county roadway. They observed the side-by-side turn and operate down the side of highway M-55. The ORV continued to operate carelessly. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle while it was doing “donuts”. During the investigation, the operator was showing multiple signs of intoxication. PCO Mankowski ran the subject through SFSTs. Multiple signs of intoxication were detected there as well. The subject was arrested for operating an ORV while intoxicated. The subject was lodged in the Roscommon County Jail.
CO Matt Zultak was patrolling Houghton Lake when he observed a snowmobile operating after dark without a headlight. Further investigation showed the passenger of the snowmobile was also not wearing a helmet. CO Zultak conducted a traffic stop on the machine and began talking to the driver. It was apparent that the driver had signs of intoxication. After conducting SFSTs, the man was arrested for OWI and lodged in the Roscommon County Jail.
CO Tyler Sabuda was patrolling Iosco County when he observed a vehicle nearly go off the road on a curve. CO Sabuda followed the vehicle that was swerving all over the road. A traffic stop was conducted, and the operator of the vehicle was put through SFSTs. The operator was arrested for OWI and transported to the Iosco County Jail.
While sitting in a remote spot in the woods and trying to complete his daily paperwork at the end of his shift, CO Kyle Bader observed a side-by-side ORV nearly collide with another side-by-side he was riding with. The two shouted back and forth at the intersection and the driver who was nearly hit kept telling the other driver to, “Let her drive.” CO Bader activated his emergency lights and contacted both drivers. After conducting SFSTs, the driver of the ORV who nearly crashed into his partner was arrested for OWI.
CO Josh Russell and PCO Cheyanna Langworthy were patrolling Clare County when they observed a side-by-side ORV operating on highway M-61. The ORV pulled into an empty parking lot and stopped. The COs contacted the subjects, who stated they were lost. Upon further investigation, two open intoxicants were found in the ORV, and it was discovered that the driver had a suspended license. The COs issued a citation for the open intoxicants and a warning was given for the suspended license. The licensed passenger took over the driving responsibilities.
COs Jeff Goss and Ryan Weakman were conducting a taxidermy inspection where they discovered three bobcats that appeared to have been taken illegally. The original suspect had dropped off all three bobcats. Two of the bobcats had obvious trapping marks on the hide. However, each of the bobcat kill-tags indicated that they were harvested by firearm during the hunting season. After coordinating with CO Danielle Zubek from District 9, several interviews were conducted by COs Goss, Weakman, and Zubek. A confession was obtained for trapping two of the bobcats during the closed season. A confession was also obtained on the third bobcat. The subject admitted to picking up the third, road-killed bobcat and shooting it in the back to make it look like it had been taken while hunting. CO Zubek obtained confessions from two accomplices in southeast Michigan for loaning out their bobcat kill-tags to the original suspect. Charges will be sought through the Gladwin County Prosecutor’s Office. Possible charges include trapping bobcat during the closed season, taking bobcat without a license, taking bobcat by illegal method (snaring), taking an overlimit of bobcat, fail to register bobcat, and borrowing and loaning of bobcat kill-tags. CO Goss will be seeking reimbursement for all three of the bobcats detailed in this case.
CO Jeff Goss located a bobcat at a taxidermist that appeared to have been harvested illegally. The bobcat had trapping marks on its foot; however, the kill-tag indicated the method of harvest was hunting. The suspect tried to tell CO Goss that his beagle put the bobcat up a tree while they were out walking through the woods. After being confronted with the obvious evidence, the suspect confessed to catching the bobcat in a trap during the closed trapping season. The suspect shot the bobcat in the trap and made it appear as though it was harvested during the hunting season. Warrants are being sought through the Gladwin County Prosecutor’s Office. Reimbursement will also be sought for the illegally harvested bobcat.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol checking ice anglers when he walked up to an ice shanty to check for fishing licenses. When the CO contacted the individual fishing in the shanty, he observed several walleye laying on the ice. The CO measured one of the fish to be 12 ¼ inches in length. The size possession limit for walleye in that specific section of the Saginaw River where the individuals were fishing is 13 inches. Enforcement action was taken, and the individual was issued a citation for possessing an undersized walleye. During the next several days over a dozen violations for possessing undersized walleye were addressed.
CO Mike Haas and PCO Jacob Hamilton contacted an angler fishing a secluded lake in the Stanton SGA. While approaching the angler the COs noted that there appeared to be three tip-ups on the ice around him and he was also actively jigging with a fishing pole. When the angler saw the COs, he put away his jigging pole and attempted to deny any wrongdoing. After the COs pointed out they had seen him fishing and retrieved his fishing pole, the angler admitted that he knew better and apologized for using too many lines. Other minor violations were discovered while checking the angler and a citation and multiple warnings were issued.
CO Sam Schluckbier received a complaint of an over limit of squirrels posted to Facebook. The subject had posted a photograph of seven squirrels he had shot, along with a caption claiming he had just killed all of them. When someone advised him through his post that he committed a violation, the subject claimed they were a nuisance. CO Schluckbier located the teenaged subject and conducted an interview. The subject admitted to killing two more than his daily limit. After a lengthy conversation about the laws and related conservation efforts, CO Schluckbier confiscated the squirrels. Charges will be sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Sam Schluckbier received a call from a local trapper in Allegan County. The trapper had gotten into an argument with a subject who was trespassing in the wildlife refuge. After he left the area, the trapper found his trap sets had been tampered with and triggered. CO Schluckbier was able to locate the trespasser and confront him about the traps. The subject admitted to the act of trapper harassment and stated he would never go back to the area. Charges are being sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO James Nason received a phone call from a Comstock Township officer in reference to a blight complaint he received. While he was conducting his investigation of the property in question, he witnessed a deer hanging in a tree on the north side of the residence. CO Nason and the Ordinance Officer arrived at the residence later that day. After the blight issues were addressed, CO Nason questioned the man about the deer hanging in his yard. The man initially asked, “What deer?” When pressed harder, the man stated that the deer was a roadkill that he had picked up a few days’ prior. He also stated that he did not obtain a salvage tag for the dead deer, as required by law. Upon further inspection of the deer, CO Nason could not find any evidence that the deer had been hit by a car. In fact, only the right front shoulder area had been partially processed which was suspicious. A citation was issued to the man for possessing an untagged deer.
CO Kyle McQueer and Acting Sgt. Rich Cardenas checked anglers coming off Jordan Lake. CO McQueer checked one angler who came off the ice stating he caught his limit. After checking his fishing license, CO McQueer counted the individual’s fish. The individual was found to be over the 25 daily limit. A citation was issued for possessing an over limit of panfish.
Acting Sgt. Rich Cardenas received an anonymous complaint in Allegan County of a possible felon who was in possession of firearms and who took an antlered deer. Acting Sgt. Cardenas confirmed the subject had in fact lost their firearm rights and organized a group patrol to investigate this complaint based on the subject’s criminal history. Acting Sgt. Cardenas along with COs Kyle McQueer, Sam Schluckbier, Justin Ulberg, James Nason, and PCO Michael Eovaldi contacted the subject. The subject initially attempted to be dishonest but ultimately became cooperative. Consent was obtained to search the subject’s home and an illegal deer was located, a confession was obtained, and a report will be submitted to the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling northern Muskegon County when she observed two vehicles parked in an area with consistent recreational trespassing issues. The anglers will use this posted property to illegally access a bayou for ice fishing purposes. CO Cullen observed a single shanty on the lake and began counting tip-ups. CO Cullen counted 12 tip-ups around the shanty. Contact was made with the two anglers and several violations were found including, too many lines (14 total), possession of largemouth bass out of season, fishing without licenses, and recreational trespass. All violations were addressed, and a citation was issued for being over their allotted three lines each.
CO Anna Cullen was checking ice anglers in northern Muskegon County. CO Cullen observed a shanty and noticed there was only one individual fishing out of the group of three. Contact was made with the angler who advised he has a fishing license but forgot it in his other wallet. Due to radio issues, CO Cullen could not verify this right away. CO Cullen took a photo of the angler’s driver’s license and continued to ask where his fish were, assuming he had some. Reluctantly, the angler lifted a jacket that was covering a northern pike on the ice. The fish was obviously too short and had been out on the ice for a while. CO Cullen measured the fish to be 21 inches, three inches short of the 24 inch minimum. The angler was determined to not have a fishing license as well. A citation was issued for possessing a northern pike less than 24 inches.
PCO Michael Eovaldi and CO Justin Ulberg responded to a safety zone complaint where the complainant stated hunters were hunting about 50 yards from her residence. PCO Eovaldi and CO Ulberg were able to locate the hunters and determined they were well within the safety zone of the complainant’s house. When questioned about the safety zone violation, the hunters appeared aware of the law but thought they were outside of the home’s safety zone. Luckily for the hunters, the property owner did not want to pursue charges but wanted the hunters educated about hunting close to homes.
CO Nick Wellman assisted an Indiana Conservation Officer with a deer investigation. CO Wellman was able to locate info on the suspects in Michigan. Full confessions were received for illegally taken deer, with the information forwarded to the Indiana officer.
CO Nick Wellman received a complaint of an ice angler who was leaving unmarked tip-ups on the ice all day and night unattended. CO Wellman went to the location and was able to establish that the fisherman was in fact not in control of his lines. The tip-ups were tripped and had frozen into the lake overnight. There were no names on any of the tip-ups and his permanent shanty was not properly marked. CO Wellman issued a citation for the unattended lines and issued warnings for the remainder of the violations.
CO Nick Wellman was called to assist the Branch County Sheriff’s Department at their jail when an inmate broke glass, cut his wrists, and was trying to fight corrections deputies. CO Wellman assisted in securing the man in a padded observation cell after he spit at deputies and resisted being restrained.
CO Jason McCullough assisted the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department in a cold case homicide investigation using Retail Sales System records. A few new leads have surfaced after looking at license purchases from the early 1980’s.
CO Cullen Knoblauch made a traffic stop on a pickup truck that was tailgating his patrol truck on M 50 in Jackson County. Two of the three subjects in the truck had warrants, one a felony warrant for probation violation and the second a friend of the court warrant. The subject with the felony warrant was arrested and transported to the Jackson County Jail by an assisting agency. The subject with the friend of court warrant was advised and released due to Covid protocol.
CO Danielle Zubek arrived at an address listed for a feeding complaint. CO Zubek recognized the house from prior complaints. In previous years the suspects were educated about feeding laws and warned for placing feed down for deer and other animals. As CO Zubek was speaking with the resident, several turkeys and deer were standing only 10 feet away eating the corn and sunflower seeds spread on the ground. CO Zubek issued a citation for feeding in a closed area.
Sgt. Jason Becker checked ice anglers on Pontiac Lake. While approaching an ice shanty, a woman quickly exited and shouted, “I’m not fishing!” Sgt Becker observed two chairs in the ice shanty with two holes on opposite sides of the shanty that still had lines in the water and the woman was the only subject in the shanty. The woman’s fishing partner was outside on the ice checking a tip-up. Sgt. Becker interviewed her fishing partner who stated he had two tip-ups set and one line inside the shanty. Sgt. Becker pointed out that if the woman was not fishing, then her partner was fishing with too many lines. The woman admitted to fishing without a license and a citation was issued for fishing without a license.
CO Bob Watson received a complaint of trespass on a privately owned abandoned gravel pit. CO Watson responded to the area and contacted the four fishermen. The father of the group admitted to knowingly guiding his kids and kid’s friends to the pit even though he was aware it was privately owned. A citation was issued for the recreational trespass.
CO Jaime Salisbury stopped by Holloway Dam to check for activity. There was only one angler fishing. CO Salisbury observed the man fish for about 10 minutes and watched him throw five fish into his bucket. CO Salisbury contacted the angler and looked in his bucket that was nearly overfilled with fish. CO Salisbury asked the man how many fish he had caught, and he stated, “I’m not sure.” CO Salisbury removed the fish from the bucket and counted 25 crappie and three bluegill. CO Salisbury asked the angler if he knew what the limit on sunfish was and the angler replied saying “Yes, its 25. How many do I have.” CO Salisbury issued the man a citation for possessing an overlimit of panfish and fishing without having his license in his possession.
CO Brad Silorey was on patrol checking anglers after dark at a local marina in Harrison Township. CO Silorey observed two anglers packing up and getting on their snowmobile to leave. CO Silorey flagged down the anglers and checked their fish and fishing license. CO Silorey cautioned the anglers on the ice thickness and advised them to travel safely. As CO Silorey was getting back to his patrol truck, he heard ice cracking and anglers yelling in distress. CO Silorey turned his spotlight on and pointed it at the two anglers who had broken through the ice and were in the water. CO Silorey grabbed his throw bag and immediately notified local dispatch of the situation. CO Silorey then ran over to the nearest dock and got down on the thicker portion of the ice to get closer to the anglers in distress. The anglers were able to crawl out of the water and were still standing on thin ice. CO Silorey threw his throw bag to one angler to ensure he safely made it back to the thicker ice and onto the docks. The driver of the snowmobile who was submerged to his shoulders was brought over to CO Silorey’s truck to get out of the wind until medical arrived. EMS arrived on scene several minutes later. The anglers were cleared by medical and were transported back to their vehicles. CO Silorey advised the anglers of their recovery options, as the submerged snowmobile is required to be removed from the bottom of the lake.
CO Joseph Deppen received a complaint about anglers taking over limits of perch at a local marina. One angler caught his limit and left the ice. A few minutes later, the angler returned and started fishing again. CO Deppen arrived at the location and found the angler who matched the description. CO Deppen contacted the angler on the ice and asked him how many fish he had. The angler responded, “about 20”. CO Deppen took the anglers fish and counted them out on the ice, and he had 29 perch. CO Deppen interviewed the angler about his earlier catch, and he initially denied catching any other fish. CO Deppen accompanied the angler to his vehicle where there was another bucket full of perch. The angler finally admitted to catching those fish earlier so that he would have a full freezer. The angler said, “I watch all those game warden shows, and I see all those idiots catching too many fish and I make fun of them, I guess now I am one of them.” CO Deppen agreed with the angler’s assessment. The perch were seized, and the angler was issued a citation for over limit of perch.
CO Joseph Deppen was conducting surveillance on a group of anglers at a local canal. CO Deppen observed an angler with an unknown number of fish already in his bucket. With the sunlight shining on his bucket, CO Deppen could see fish flopping inside, but he could not get an accurate count. Then the angler put 20 more sunfish that were laying on the ice into his bucket. On his way out he stopped at a few other anglers and the angler put some more fish in his bucket. CO Deppen gave the clothing description to Sgt. Chris Maher and asked him to stop the angler as he exited the ice to see what he had in his bucket. Sgt. Maher stopped the angler as he was about to put the bucket of fish in his vehicle. The angler had one perch and 55 sunfish. The angler also had a felony warrant for cocaine possession. A citation was issued for over limit of sunfish, and he was advised and released on his warrant.
CO Mike Drexler was checking anglers on Cedar Lake when he observed two anglers with an ORV near their shanty. Closer inspection of the ORV revealed the registration expired in 2019. When checking fishing licenses, one angler told CO Drexler he bought one but did not have it on him. Then the angler revealed it might be expired because he purchased it last year. A computer check revealed the only purchase in the angler’s history was in 2013. A citation was issued for the expired registration and the angler chose to purchase a license online prior to dropping his line in the water.
After checking out of service with MSP, Station 20 and clearing Belle Isle, COs Dan Walzak and Martin Lawrence were called back to the island on a report of an assault where a knife was involved. Dispatch informed the COs that Detroit EMS was notified and would also be responding. In addition, the COs were advised that the caller would be waiting in a car near the corner of Central and Inselruhe. Upon arrival back on the island, the COs and Detroit EMS found no vehicles at the location given. CO Walzak requested confirmation from dispatch as to the description of the vehicle and the location that the vehicle was to be found. Dispatch confirmed the information and advised the COs that they had attempted to recontact the caller by telephone, but the call went unanswered. Conducting a search of the immediate area turned up no vehicles matching the description given. The search was expanded to the entire island, but the units were still unable to locate the caller. The COs advised dispatch that they were unable to locate the caller and all units cleared.
CO Bob Watson had a Belle Isle patrol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. One complaint was made of a young female wearing only sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt, who had not moved for approximately three hours, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. COs Watson and Keven Luther contacted the female who was unable to answer basic questions and was visibly shivering from the cold. EMS was called and the female was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
In June of 2018, Det. Chris Bowen received the complaint of a liquid industrial waste hauler that almost exploded in Traverse City. A Grand Rapids based company, a Liquid Industrial By-Product hauler, picked up product from a Williamsburg area machining company. That product picked up turned out to be hazardous waste and identified as Sodium Hydroxide, with a pH level of 13. The Williamsburg business was not licensed as a Hazardous Waste Producer and the Grand Rapids hauler was only licensed as a liquid industrial waste hauler. The hauler picked up the hazardous waste and transported it through Grand Traverse County without being licensed to transport hazardous waste. The aluminum tanker truck had a chemical reaction with the waste. The tanker came very close to a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion). With the help of local fire and HazMat crews, the explosion was avoided.
Charges were filed under Part 111 against the truck driver for Transporting Hazardous Waste without a License in the 86th District Court of Grand Traverse County, the case was adjudicated. The charge against the driver was reduced in the court and then he plead guilty to Violation of Basic Speed Laws and paid $155 in fines and costs. Charges were also filed against the owner/operator of the Williamsburg business for Operating a Hazardous Waste Facility without a License. This charge was reduced in the court and the owner/operator plead guilty to Litter and paid $500 in fines and costs.
Prior to the Criminal complaint a substantial civil fine was paid by the hauling company to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
In November of 2019, Det. Bowen received the complaint from DNR-LED of a possible burning of illegal materials. Det. Bowen responded and found that a Cheboygan County man was burning illegal materials when the fire escaped, spreading to a very large tire storage area. Hundreds of tires were burned in the fire. CO Theunick of DNR-LED also responded to the fire and subsequently turned the case over to EIS for further investigation. The suspect admitted to the fire and burning construction debris and the escape of the fire. He was charged with Unlawful Disposal of Solid Waste under Part 115. The man plead guilty and paid $1148 in fines and costs in the 89th District Court of Cheboygan County.
GREAT LAKES ENFORCEMENT UNIT (GLEU)
Cpl. Mike Hammill spoke with a sport angler that reported seeing a neighboring shack with a flag up on a tip up. The angler reported he yelled for the anglers as he drove by their portable shack to alert them of their flag. Hammill responded to the unoccupied shack, and 21 unattended setlines were tallied in the area. Hammill stayed with the shack for a few hours until just before dark, when he noticed headlights heading his way from a distance. Hammill contacted 7 anglers who had been partying at a nearby motel and made their way out every couple of hours to check their tip-ups. Citations were issued for unattended lines.
Cpl. Nick Atkin conducted an AIS organisms-in-trade (OIT) patrol in Southeast Michigan. No violations were located during the patrol.
Cpls. Pat Hartsig, Brett DeLonge, and Troy Van Gelderen, along with Acting Lt. Nick Torsky, conducted Fish Identification and Enforcement training for the newest group of Probationary Conservation Officers. Species identification was the focus, with the students learning how to identify both game and non-game fish of Michigan. Along with ID, the PCOs were taught about AIS boating initiative and organisms-in-trade enforcement, baitfish regulations, and patrol tactics for working and checking anglers in our state.