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COs Byron Parks and Thomas Peterson conducted a grouse decoy patrol in Ontonagon County. The location was a common spot for complaints of grouse hunters shooting from vehicles. During the patrol, the COs observed a pickup truck traveling slowly towards the decoy. As the truck got approximately 20 yards from the decoy it stopped. The COs then could see the driver pull out a firearm and load it while still in the truck. Contact was made and the subject was issued a citation for a loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Alex VanWagner responded to a report of an unattended bonfire that spread at a residence in Iron River. A subject admitted to starting the fire and then leaving it unattended when they left to go to town to get coffee. The fire spread to other locations near the residence and was able to be suppressed by the fire department. A citation was issued for failing to prevent the spread of fire.
CO Alex VanWagner and Sgt. Brian Bacon located an illegal ground blind and a bait that was in the no baiting chronic wasting disease zone. Later that afternoon the blind was checked, and contact was made with the hunter. When advised he was in a no baiting area, he stated, “Yeah, I know.” A citation was issued for hunting deer over bait in closed area and a warning issued for no identification on the ground blind.
CO Alex VanWagner contacted a vehicle on a back road while on patrol in Iron County. The driver stated he was out grouse hunting but did not have any luck in the snowy conditions. The CO observed two shotgun cases in the front passenger seat of the truck while speaking with the subject, one of which was unzipped with a double barrel 12 gauge in it. Upon further investigation, there were two shotgun shells loaded in the chambers of the firearm. A citation was issued for uncased/loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Shannon Wicklund presented at a career class at North Central High School in Menominee County. This class is an opportunity for students to learn about different career paths available in the area. CO Wicklund taught students about the conservation officer career as well as other job paths available through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
CO Anna Viau assisted Crystal Falls Police department and Aspirus emergency medical services (EMS) with a medical call of a woman who was unresponsive but breathing in Crystal Falls. The woman regained consciousness before being taken to the hospital by EMS.
CO Jeremy Sergey responded to a complaint of a dog caught in a leg hold trap. The dog was not injured and was safely removed from the trap. CO Sergey checked the trap and determined it was legally set.
CO Jeremy Sergey served a PR Bond warrant on a case involving an illegally harvested black bear. The subject was investigated earlier this season after harvesting a bear in the wrong bear management unit.
COs Jackson Kelly, Cody Smith, John Kamps, and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Alex Bourgeois worked a group patrol with a grouse decoy in Baraga County. It wasn’t long before a vehicle stopped, and the passenger pointed a 20-gauge shotgun out the window. The subject was stopped before pulling the trigger and the shotgun was found to be loaded. The subject was issued a ticket for the loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO John Kamps and PCO Alex Bourgeois received numerous complaints of trash being dumped at many different locations. The COs were able to develop a suspect and an interview was conducted. After multiple denials, a full confession was obtained by PCO Bourgeois for dumping the trash at all locations. The suspect received a citation for littering and was sent to pick up their trash.
CO Todd Sumbera received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of shots fired within the safety zone of a residence on Sugar Island. CO Sumbera investigated the scene and conducted interviews. It was found that two individuals both shot at a grouse on the side of the road that was well within the 450-foot safety zone of the complainant’s residence. A report will be compiled and forwarded to the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
COs Mike Olesen, Justin Vinson, and Sgt. Calvin Smith conducted two separate hunter safety field days that were both held in Chippewa County. Nearly 60 students received their hunter safety certificates.
CO Cole VanOosten and Sgt. Calvin Smith presented on the duties of a conservation officer to two separate classes at Sault Ste. Marie High School’s Law Enforcement careers class. After the presentation several students expressed interest in becoming a conservation officer.
CO Cole VanOosten conducted a presentation at Lake Superior State University for the Fundamentals of Natural Resources class. There were about 75 students, with approximately 20 of them interested in the job of a conservation officer. The presentation generated many students who were interested in ride-a-longs and internship opportunities.
COs Robert Freeborn and Steven Butzin were on patrol when they saw an ORV coming at them. While talking with the operator, it was determined that he was checking traps and was found to have several untagged traps in his possession. The COs asked the trapper to show them a few of his sets. The trapper showed the COs his coyote spot. After looking at both of his sets, it was found that those traps were also untagged. A citation was issued for the untagged traps.
CO Steve Butzin was on patrol in Wells Township when a “be on the lookout” was put out over the radio, for a vehicle all over the road. CO Butzin was able to locate the vehicle which was stopped at a green traffic light. The driver was found passed out behind the wheel and highly intoxicated. The driver was non-compliant and combative. Ultimately, the driver was arrested and charged for operating while intoxicated (OWI) third offense, as well as three counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer.
CO Mike Evink and PCO Ryan Cox were on patrol in Delta County when they saw a pickup truck driving in the woods, cross country in a closed area. While approaching the vehicle, the COs could see the bed of the truck was full of pine tree boughs. COs contacted the driver and told him to stop and step out of his vehicle. The driver got out and immediately notified the COs that he did have a loaded firearm in his truck. The COs observed the firearm, a 22-250 Rifle, that was also uncased in the vehicle, and it was in fact loaded. The COs asked the driver why he was driving around with a loaded firearm, and he informed them he had it for protection from coyotes. The driver was also asked if he had a permit for the boughs in his truck and he said he did not. He also admitted to cutting the boughs so he could sell them for money. The COs issued the driver a citation for operating in a closed area and for having a loaded and uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
COs Mike Evink, Rob Freeborn, and PCO Ryan Cox, participated in a Hunter Safety Field Day at the Manistique Public High School. The COs were able to instruct 40 participants the importance of firearm safety, hunting laws and regulations, and the different types of firearms that are often used for hunting. Every participant passed the written test and at the end were given hunter safety certificates.
COs Brandon Maki, Christopher Lynch, Steve Butzin, Robert Freeborn, Andrea Dani, Sgt. Mark Zitnik, along with Alger County Deputy King, and Michigan State Police (MSP) Trooper Kinnunen served a search warrant regarding the illegal take of a black bear. The warrant was served without incident.
COs Nathan Beelman and Chad Baldwin received a complaint of a hunter trespassing onto private property. COs Beelman and Baldwin contacted the hunter who was hunting over bait, on private property without permission, and did not have his licenses in his possession. The COs ticketed the hunter for the violations.
CO Andrea Albert responded to a grass fire that escaped from a burn pile that the fire department was called out to extinguish. CO Albert observed drywall, a tire, miscellaneous trash, and plastics burning in the pile. When the responsible party was asked what happened, the response was they were just roasting marshmallows over a fire. When confronted with the fact that no one would roast marshmallows over a toxic fire, they then admitted to burning the garbage from the barn. A ticket was issued for allowing a fire to escape and the subjects were warned for the illegal disposal of solid waste.
CO Chad Baldwin followed up on a complaint of suspected baiting on private property. CO Baldwin located several large bait piles consisting of sugar beets. While collecting evidence of the bait sites, CO Baldwin observed one individual driving out in a truck towards one of the blinds that overlooked the bait. The hunter was contacted, ticketed for baiting deer in the closed area, and instructed to clean up all bait before being allowed to continue hunting.
CO Andrea Albert observed a spin cast corn feeder from the roadway in the middle of a deer food plot. CO Albert contacted the landowner and asked why he would have to use a corn feeder in the middle of a food plot. The landowner claimed to not know feeding or baiting deer was illegal. The baiting and feeding laws have been in effect for four years. A ticket was issued to the landowner for the violation and a reminder that shooting a deer with the aid of bait could result in being charged with fines, restitution, and loss of hunting privileges.
COs Andrea Albert and Charlie Jones responded to a complaint of Atlantic salmon being taken illegally from the Torch River. The Atlantic salmon possession season is closed in the Torch River which is a Type 4 trout stream. The COs observed an angler make a snagging motion while fishing and upon contact found he was using an oversized hook. A ticket was issued for the hook violations and warnings were given for parking in a no parking zone and no recreation passport.
CO Andrea Albert received a complaint of a subject trespassing and hunting deer with bait on another person’s property. The subject had a tree stand with bait and a pop-up blind on the property. The suspect’s ORV tracks led to his residence. The subject was contacted at his residence, and he admitted to baiting deer. He said the landowners had not been around for years, so they were treating the property as their own. CO Albert reminded him the property was not his and that was the reason for the contact as the landowners did not want him on their property. CO Albert had him remove all his hunting equipment, clean up the deer bait, and trespassed him off the property. A report was submitted to the prosecutor’s office for the issuance of a summons for the deer baiting violation.
Sgt. William Webster responded to a 911 call about a vehicle that had been driven into Round Lake in downtown Charlevoix. Sgt. Webster was the first officer on scene and was able to establish the driver was still in the vehicle trapped underwater. Sgt. Webster entered the water and was able to open the passenger side door of the vehicle and pull the victim from the car and with help from a couple bystanders he was able to get the man onto a dock. Sgt. Webster was able to get the water out of the man’s lungs and get him breathing on his own again. The victim was taken to a local hospital for further treatment.
Sgt. William Webster was out patrolling state land in Antrim County when he walked up on a hunter in a valley carrying a bucket. Sgt. Webster observed the man dump the contents of the bucket onto the ground. Sgt. Webster identified himself and asked if the hunter was trying to be sneaky. The hunter turned around and said, “Oh man.” He admitted to knowing he shouldn’t bait but was tired of not seeing deer during bow season. A ticket was issued for the bait.
CO Tim Rosochacki responded to a lost female with dementia who had walked away from her residence and had been missing for approximately two hours. Upon arrival, CO Rosochacki met with the husband, and they began checking a trail near the residence. The female was quickly located in the woods adjacent to a trail. She had become disoriented on the property and was trying to return to the house. The female was evaluated by emergency medical services (EMS) and assisted into her home to warm up.
CO Tim Rosochacki was contacted by the Tuscarora Township Police Department who searched a residence for methamphetamine when they located two freshly processed deer outside of the residence. CO Rosochacki arrived on the scene and confirmed the deer had a gunshot wound. A follow-up interview was conducted at the jail with the suspect, who admitted to assisting with harvesting the deer and cutting them up for a buddy. A report will be submitted to the Cheboygan County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Tom Oberg was on patrol when he observed a subject on private property fishing on a designated trout stream that was seasonally closed. The subject said he didn't know he was on private property and didn't have a fishing license. A ticket was issued to the angler for fishing without a license, and a warning was given for fishing a closed stream and recreational trespass.
Sgt. Mark DePew assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) on a traffic stop in Otsego County after finding out the vehicle's operator had a four-count DNR misdemeanor warrant for multiple violations involving deer in Alpena County. Upon arriving at the scene of the stop, the sergeant placed the subject under arrest for the misdemeanor warrants and then transported him to Alpena County Jail.
CO Logan Turner and Lieutenant Joe Molnar were patrolling Grand Traverse County when they located a vehicle parked on state land. After looking at the vehicle, it was discovered that there was an uncased shotgun laying in the back seat, two spent shotgun shell casings in the driver’s cup holder, and empty bags of mineral lick in the back of the vehicle. After walking through state land for some time, the hunter was located. The individual took a long time to get down from his tree stand and was extremely nervous when talking. The hunter stated he had been hunting multiple times prior and was waiting for his deer tags to come in the mail. It was found that the out-of-state hunter had purchased his deer tags while the COs were approaching him. The individual was cited for hunting without a deer kill tag.
CO Logan Turner was patrolling Benzie County when a call of a possible drunk driver on state land came out. CO Turner responded and located a camper that was wedged in the trees off a two-track. CO Turner located empty beer cans outside of the window and an open beer on the dash of the camper. The suspect was sitting in the driver’s seat and appeared intoxicated. The individual was subsequently arrested for OWI and was turned over to Benzie County Sheriff's deputies.
CO Logan Turner was notified by Grand Traverse Central Dispatch of someone who was trespassing and fishing on a closed trout stream. Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s deputies were first on scene and located the suspect. The individual lied about his name and was detained. Shortly after, it was found that the suspect had a warrant out of Kent County. The suspect was arrested and transferred to Kent County on an active warrant.
CO Ben Shively and Corporal Troy VanGelderen were working a shining patrol in Oceana County when they observed a vehicle shining cut corn fields with two handheld lights after 11 PM in November. The COs watched as the lights worked the fields and then turned north. The COs were able to follow behind the car and conducted a traffic stop. The car was slow to come to a stop, and upon contact, they found a male driver, a female passenger, and three children in car seats in the back. As CO Shively contacted the female in the passenger seat, he observed a crossbow between her legs on the floorboard. Both subjects stated that it was not what it looked like. The crossbow was not cocked, and she said she had been hunting earlier and there was no room in the trunk for it. When asked where the bolt was, she stated it was in the trunk. CO Shively obtained permission and opened the door to remove the crossbow and once removing the crossbow, lifted the blanket the female was sitting on that covered the side of the passenger seat and located a bolt with a broadhead. CO Shively recognized the female from two years ago when she was found to be taking salmon by hand in a closed creek. The driver and passenger were cited for shining with a weapon in possession and shining in November. When asked to place the crossbow in the trunk of the car, she opened the trunk which had a large white tarp. She stated she wasn’t going to lie and that they were going to put a deer in the tarp.
CO Tim Barboza received a RAP complaint of trespass and baiting. CO Barboza met the caller who stated a neighbor was baiting and hunting on his property and showed CO Barboza the bait and tree stand. CO Barboza checked the suspect through Station 20 to see if he had a deer license and none returned for 2022. CO Barboza interviewed the suspect who told CO Barboza he had been hunting the property the day prior. When CO Barboza asked for his deer license, the suspect answered he did not have one. CO Barboza advised he would be submitting a report to the prosecutor for hunting over bait and hunting without a license.
CO Tim Barboza observed a truck parked at a closed trout stream in White Cloud. CO Barboza located an angler fishing the White River and made contact. CO Barboza checked the angler’s fishing license and advised the stream was closed and had him reel his line in. When asked if he had looked at the guide to see what is open to fish, he stated he hasn’t looked at it this year. CO Barboza advised the angler it is his responsibility to check what streams are open and check size limits. CO Barboza advised he would be receiving a citation for take/attempt to take trout during the closed season. The angler stated he wasn’t fishing for trout. CO Barboza advised that this is a trout stream, and it did not matter if he says he wasn’t targeting them or not.
CO Jeff Ginn was investigating a deer carcass complaint which resulted in locating two subjects who were responsible for dumping the carcass on private property. CO Ginn interviewed and obtained confessions from the suspects. They were both cited for the littering violation.
CO Angela Greenway was conducting a stationary patrol in the DTE gas fields in Mecosta County targeting trespass issues. About 20 minutes into the patrol, CO Greenway started to smell smoke, so she went out to the road to investigate. There she found a grass fire under the powerlines along the road. A tree had fallen on the lines and knocked a hot wire to the ground. The arcing of the electricity started the fire. CO Greenway called into central dispatch and opened a gate for fire fighters to access the fire from the back side if needed. CO Greenway then blocked the road and diverted traffic due to heavy smoke across the road which allowed the fire departments to safely do their job. The fire was contained and put out very quickly after burning about 15 acres.
CO Angela Greenway was called by Mecosta County Central Dispatch. They were reporting that a student had brought a live opossum to school, and it was in the student’s locker. The Big Rapids High School staff was requesting assistance in removing the opossum. CO Greenway arrived at the school and was led to the locker where the opossum was located. The opossum was found sleeping in a sweatshirt at the bottom of the locker. CO Greenway was able to remove the opossum with no issues. The student that brought the opossum to school said they had found it flopping on the side of the road and wanted to try and save it. CO Greenway acknowledged the student’s intent was honorable and then educated them on why it is better to call the DNR and not pick up a wild animal themselves.
CO Angela Greenway was dispatched to a complaint of a loud explosion in or near some public land in Mecosta County. CO Greenway called the complaint and got a general location of the explosion. CO Greenway suspected it was a camp that had set off some Tannerite. After patrolling the area, CO Greenway came to a house with people out around a campfire. She stopped to talk to them. While CO Greenway was talking to the group at the fire, she saw a bunch of blue confetti on the ground and thought it was interesting. She asked if they had set off some Tannerite and they said yes that they had. They used it to do a baby reveal. That explained the blue confetti, IT’S A BOY.
CO Kevin Bunce was patrolling state land on foot patrol when he came across an individual hunting over a pile of corn and apples. CO Bunce contacted the individual who claimed the bait was “already there.” When asked why his blind was so close and facing the direction of the bait, the subject quickly changed his story, claiming he was scared to tell the truth for fear of losing his hunting license. The subject was informed of current baiting regulations for the Lower Peninsula and cited for baiting in a closed area.
COs Kevin Bunce and Angela Greenway attended the Ferris State University Law Enforcement Career Day held at the school’s University Center. Area high schools and the university criminal justice majors had the opportunity to learn about the DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) hiring process, academy, and in-service training on the job.
CO Jeff Panich was patrolling Alcona County when he observed a deer standing/wobbling off the side of the road. When CO Panich stopped his patrol truck, the deer fell, and blood was visible on its chest. Confused by what he had just observed, he looked around and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. A few moments later, a golf cart with three men pulled out of the woods and approached CO Panich. CO Panich observed three astonished men’s faces as they looked at the deer and then to the uniformed CO. One man identified himself as the shooter of the deer. After CO Panich interviewed him, it was determined the deer had been shot over bait and the hunter did not have a kill-tag in his possession. One of the men commented that the deer could have run 350 degrees in any other direction, but their deer had to notify the DNR that she was shot illegally and ran out to meet the CO. The deer was seized, and a citation was issued to the hunter.
CO Jeff Panich received a RAP complaint from a dispatcher who had located a 7-point antlered deer harvested in Alcona County that was posted online. The RAP dispatcher located several photographs and times, then cross-checked the time the hunter purchased a deer license. It was determined the license was purchased over an hour and a half after the posted picture. CO Panich located a camp belonging to the suspects. CO Panich went to the property to locate the kill site and was met by the landowner who was standing near a bait pile on the property. CO Panich interviewed the individual and told him about the information the RAP dispatcher had provided. The individual admitted his daughter harvested the deer over bait and without a license. Charges for the illegal taking of the deer and baiting are being sought through the Alcona County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Kyle Bader checked a truck parked on state land and observed multiple bags of bait in the back of the truck. CO Bader noted the truck and the location and came back a week later to look for the baited stand. CO Bader did not locate any stands in the area the truck had been parked, so he left. About a mile down the road, CO Bader noticed boot prints in the middle of the trail and then saw a truck on the side of the road that looked familiar. He checked his notes from the week earlier and sure enough, it was the same truck. CO Bader followed the tracks in the road, onto an ORV trail for a while, and then finally through the woods until he came up to an elevated blind overlooking a bait pile. The hunter was surprised the CO found him that far in the woods. A citation for hunting deer with bait was issued to the hunter.
COs Jeff Goss and Josh Russell were working together recently when CO Russell showed CO Goss the location of an illegal deer bait on state land that he’d been working for two years and was unable to catch the suspect. CO Goss checked the bait periodically over the next week only to have the same results as CO Russell. Finally, early one morning, CO Goss went to the area and surprised the man just as it was starting to get daylight. CO Goss announced his presence and the suspect exclaimed loudly, “You guys’ suck.” The man was issued a citation for the illegal bait and given a warning for no name on his tree stand.
In Lexington Harbor, CO Paul Lyden and Sgt. Jason Smith were on snagging patrol. The COs observed an angler for a few hours who was unsuccessful in catching any fish. Eventually, the angler turned on his headlamp and attempted to snag salmon that were swimming close to the dock. The angler snagged a salmon and brought the fish into shore and snapped a picture of his fish which he retained. The angler continued to shine and made many attempts to snag another salmon however, he was unsuccessful and packed up his gear. While walking back to his vehicle, CO Lyden met the angler in the parking lot and asked if he had any luck. The angler admitted to snagging and showed CO Lyden a picture of his foul hooked fish. The angler was cited for hook/bait not willfully taken in mouth (snagging).
COs Mike Haas and Josh Russell worked a joint state land patrol along a section of state forest on the Isabella and Clare County line. The COs contacted multiple subjects hunting from stands on state land that were unmarked and utilizing illegal bait. Multiple subjects had also driven unlicensed ORVs to their hunting sites, making illegal trails through the woods. Numerous citations were issued for the hunting stand, bait, ORV, and licensing issues.
CO Adam Schiller responded to a complaint of a fire that started on private property but was spreading onto state game area land. When CO Schiller arrived on scene, there was a small chunk of state game area land on fire but was contained by the local fire departments. Two residences were evacuated for precautions and no deer camps within the state game area needed to be evacuated.
While on patrol in Gratiot County, CO Adam Schiller witnessed and stopped an individual shining a field filled with deer. CO Schiller contacted the driver and asked why their vehicle was turned sideways in the roadway. The driver indicated that they saw a buck run across the road and wanted to see what it was. He went on to say they located multiple deer in the field with their high beams and the buck they saw cross the road was a six point. A citation was issued for shining during November.
CO Travis Dragomer responded to a complaint of hunters taking an over-limit of waterfowl in Berrien County. CO Dragomer observed the hunters and contacted them once they finished hunting. The three hunters were in possession of nine hooded mergansers and a few ducks. Three citations were issued for taking an over-limit of hooded mergansers, a warning was giving for failing to retrieve dead waterfowl, and another warning for having more than one firearm while waterfowl hunting.
While checking pheasant hunters, CO Matt Page contacted a group hunting the Cornish State Game Area (SGA). One subject was not able to provide a hunting license but assured that he purchased it online. When CO Page asked for his identification and advised him that he would check, the individual made the comment, “Oh you can check that? That’s cool.” It was found that the individual had not purchased a license of any kind since 2020. Additionally, the subject was possessing toxic shot in violation of the joint waterfowl production area rules on Cornish SGA and had an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.
Following up on a RAP complaint, CO Tyler Cole checked a baited area in Van Buren County. CO Cole observed a subject hunting over an area that was previously heavily baited with corn and minerals and was still baited with a mineral block. Contact was made with the hunter, who admitted to previously heavily baiting the area. The hunter was also found to be hunting without a license. Citations were issued for the violations.
CO Cameron Wright received a complaint of a hunter who shot a deer during early antlerless season without a kill-tag. CO Wright was able to interview the suspect and locate the processed venison in the freezer of the funeral home that the suspect owns. The suspect was adamant that he did not shoot the deer since he does not have a deer license, but he did state that he went hunting the day the deer was shot. CO Wright then showed the suspect the photo of him posing with the deer with the gun in his hands and the man still denied shooting it. Charges are being submitted to the prosecutor.
CO Cameron Wright assisted with a group patrol in South Haven for the lake trout run. Two anglers were observed snagging and keeping multiple lake trout. They also ended up putting eight lake trout on their stringer when the limit is only three per person. Charges are being submitted to the prosecutor for retaining unlawfully hooked fish and taking over the limit.
CO Cameron Wright was working a shining patrol in St. Joseph County when he observed a vehicle traveling slowly on a backroad. CO Wright then observed a spotlight being shined from the passenger window. A traffic stop ensued, and an uncased 6.5 Creedmoor rifle was found in the backseat with shells attached to a stock holster. The subject stated he was just looking at the deer as he learned his lesson already because he had been charged with road-hunting deer out of Indiana a few years prior. The firearm was seized, and the man was cited for shining in November and transporting an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
In Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers received a complaint that a subject shot a 9-point buck and purchased his deer kill-tag afterwards. CO Beavers saw photos of the subject and the date he claimed to shoot the deer, which was before his kill-tag purchase. CO Beavers and his partner CO Mark Reffitt contacted and interviewed the subject at which time he claimed that the license was purchased first, then shot the deer. CO Beavers then explained to the subject that the date and time of purchase are on the tags. The subject then retrieved a tag from his house that were attached to antlers, a second deer he shot on a later date. CO Reffitt examined the tag, pointed out the date and time on the tag. The subject continued to say he bought the tag first. CO Beavers asked the subject what time he purchased the tag, and he said it was around 7:30 PM. CO Beavers then referred to the hunting guide and told the subject that hunting hours on the date in question ended at 7:36 PM, leaving him six minutes to leave the store, get to his hunting property, and kill the deer. At that time, the subject confessed that he shot the deer first then purchased his deer tag. CO Beavers explained that he will be submitting charges to the local prosecutor for an illegal deer.
COs Jeremy Beavers and Mark Reffitt were working a late-night patrol for shining activity in Ionia County when they responded to a call of a high-speed pursuit in progress. A deputy from Clinton County Sheriff’s Office was pursuing a vehicle into their county via I 96. The COs positioned their patrol vehicle near an on-ramp and joined the pursuit as the suspect fled past them. When the suspect exited the interstate and nearly crashed, the COs and the deputy initiated a felony traffic stop on the vehicle, ending the pursuit which had reached speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour (mph). The driver was taken into custody without further incident.
CO Mark Reffitt was patrolling northern Ionia County for hunting activity when he observed a side-by-side traveling well above the 25 mph ORV speed limit. During the ensuing traffic stop, CO Reffitt asked the driver why he was hauling more than three 55-gallon barrels full of sugar beets. After initially attempting to lie about his intentions with the beets, the driver eventually admitted that he was using them as bait for his deer blinds. The CO accompanied the driver to one of his blinds, which had previously been baited with beets, and cited the individual for baiting deer in a closed area. The driver also received a verbal warning for speeding.
CO Cullen Knoblauch responded to a RAP complaint in Sandstone Township for a subject hunting over bait. CO Knoblauch observed a subject in a tree stand hunting over a large pile of corn. The suspect admitted to placing the shelled corn out and stated he killed an 8-point buck a few days prior over the bait. CO Knoblauch conducted a search in MI-connect and determined that the suspect purchased his license about the same time he claimed to have killed the buck. When interviewed further, he admitted to killing the buck the day before he purchased his hunting license. Charges to follow by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Cullen Knoblauch and Sgt. Chris Maher responded to Tompkins Township for a trespassing and malicious destruction of property complaint. CO Knoblauch and Sgt. Maher contacted the suspects, and it was determined a buck was killed and tracked onto the victim’s field. The suspect trespassed and damaged a livestock fence to retrieve the deer. Three suspects were identified. Charges to follow from the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Ed Rice was searching an area for a report of two juveniles operating an ORV in a reckless manner. CO Rice was flagged down by a concerned citizen who provided a description, direction of travel, and mentioned stolen street signs in the bed of the ORV. CO Rice observed the ORV and conducted a stop. Two juveniles were in possession of several street signs from around the area. CO Rice reached out to the juvenile’s guardians and the road commission. Both agreed to have the signs returned to the proper locations to avoid larceny charges.
CO Olivia Moeller assisted the Branch County Sheriff’s Office with a roll over ORV accident. Four teens were riding in a field when their ORV flipped. Two were taken to the hospital. The sheriff’s office is handling the investigation.
CO Jason McCullough and PCO Nicholas Thornton stopped a vehicle for shining around midnight. During the investigation, a rifle was located. Citations were issued.
Sgt. Rich Nickols caught up with a subject for hunting Michigan MDOT property for the last two seasons. Sgt. Nickols had seen the subject in his vehicle at an MDOT property on October 1st and warned the subject not to hunt the property. The subject was found hunting from a tree stand within the fenced-in property. Citations were issued for recreational trespass, criminal trespass, and no identification on tree stand.
While patrolling the backroads of Monroe County, CO Nick Ingersoll observed a vehicle slowly rolling near a freshly cut corn field. While approaching the vehicle, CO Ingersoll noticed the driver rolling down his window like he wanted to talk with him. CO Ingersoll contacted the driver and while speaking to the driver, CO Ingersoll noticed he was not wearing his seatbelt and had an open 24-ounce beer can sitting in the cupholder of his truck. CO Ingersoll advised the driver to pull over and the driver advised CO Ingersoll he does this every day and why was he being bothered. CO Ingersoll advised the driver that drinking a beer and driving around without his seatbelt is illegal. CO Ingersoll educated the driver with a citation for no safety belt and warned him for having an open beer in his vehicle.
COs Brandon Vacek and Ariel Young responded to a call about an unresponsive passenger inside a vehicle parked near a fountain. When the COs arrived on scene, the subject’s friends were attempting CPR on the subject inside the vehicle. After making an initial assessment of the subject outside of the vehicle and speaking with the subject’s friends, the COs determined there was a possible opioid overdose occurring. The subject was administered two doses of Narcan and eventually became alert. Detroit EMS responded to the scene for further evaluation and the subject was later released after refusing additional medical treatment.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser checked a property in Davison which was reportedly baited. The CO encountered two juveniles hunting on the property. One of the juveniles was hunting in a ground blind which was confirmed to have bait present at the location. Further, the ground blind was placed on Davison Township Park property and was closed to hunting. The juveniles had permission to hunt the farm field but accidentally placed the blind on the wrong side of the property line. Rather than petitioning the young hunters, the CO educated them on recreational trespass laws and the laws regarding baiting and feeding.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser and CO Chris Knights patrolled a set of Consumers Energy powerlines in Atlas Township. CO Muehlhauser noticed a truck pull up to a tree stand on the neighboring property. The CO watched as a man exited and proceeded to bait the hunt site with sugar beets. The COs approached the residence and confronted the man as he was getting ready to hunt at the location. The hunter was cited for baiting deer.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser responded to a complaint about a tree stand that was possibly on YMCA property at Camp Copneconic. While inspecting the location of the tree stand, the CO noticed a large pile of corn at a hunt site on the neighboring property. The CO made contact at the residence and the property owner stated that his father-in-law has been hunting at that location. The property owner knew baiting and feeding was illegal. The property owner was cited for feeding deer in an area closed to feeding.
CO Brad Silorey was working when an in-progress safety zone complaint was received. CO Silorey was only minutes from the complainant’s residence and was able to witness multiple waterfowl hunters with weapons walking and shooting at waterfowl approximately 40 yards from several occupied residences. CO Silorey went and contacted the group of hunters who were packing up their gear. After advising the suspects that they were in violation of hunting within a safety zone, CO Silorey found multiple other violations. Multiple subjects were hunting without a state waterfowl license and hunting with lead shot. Citations were issued for safety zone violation, hunting with lead shot, and hunting without a state waterfowl license.
While CO Keven Luther was following up on a known baiting location, he observed a hunter attempting to load a deer into the bed of his pickup. CO Luther contacted the hunter and noticed the deer was untagged. CO Luther conducted an on-scene investigation and obtained a full confession that was consistent with the evidence on scene. A citation for take deer over bait and fail to immediately validate kill-tag was issued. The deer was seized and donated to a deserving family.
While COs Martin Lawrence and Keven Luther were investigating a baiting complaint, they located a bait pile with a fresh blood trail. The two COs followed the blood trail to a nearby residence and interviewed the resident. The two COs explained the situation and it was determined that her boyfriend took the deer over bait. CO Luther left his contact information and requested contact from the hunter. Shortly after the two COs cleared the area, CO Luther was contacted by the suspect and received a full confession. Formal charges will be sought through the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The original baiting complaint location was located, and a further investigation will be conducted.
COs Dave Schaumburger and Danny Walzak were on marine patrol when they came upon a boat walleye fishing. CO Schaumburger asked to see their fish and located one he thought to be undersized. The anglers stated that they measured it with their “device.” Their device was a paint stick with a mark for 14 inches, 15 inches, and 16 inches. When CO Schaumburger measured the fish, it was only 14 inches. He also measured it on their device, and it was also 14 inches. A citation was issued for possessing an undersized walleye.
CO Joseph Deppen was working a late-night, checking for shining activity. CO Deppen noticed a vehicle shining out of both the passenger and driver side. CO Deppen conducted a traffic stop and found a compound bow and crossbow loaded in the back seat. CO Deppen also found two separate spotlights. Verbal warnings were given for minors in possession of alcohol, various traffic violations, and excessive speed. Citations were issued for shining with weapons in possession and shining in November. The weapons and lights were seized, and CO Deppen is seeking condemnation through the court.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was finishing up a charter boat inspection when he heard Monroe Central Dispatch advising units that there was a suicidal male near a quarry off Sandy Creek Road. CO Ingersoll was familiar with the popular quarry along a set of railroad tracks that is a party spot during the summertime. CO Ingersoll drove the railroad tracks in his patrol truck and located the subject’s vehicle with the subject inside. CO Ingersoll spoke with the male until deputies arrived on scene to assist. The male was turned over to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and transported to the hospital for the help he needed.
CO Cody Bourgeois was patrolling the Holly State Recreation Area when he noticed some waterfowl hunters dragging kayaks out of a swamp. During CO Bourgeois’ check, he discovered several lead shot shells at the bottom of one of the hunter’s bags. The suspect began to state how he uses the bag for small game hunting and waterfowl hunting and the shells must have been left in there from the other day. CO Bourgeois explained the importance of using only non-toxic shot for waterfowl and how detrimental lead can be to waterfowl and the surrounding environment. The hunter understood and received a citation for possessing toxic shot while waterfowl hunting.
CO Cody Bourgeois started his shift patrolling Oakland County when he received a call from dispatch about a mute swan that was shot on Lake St. Clair. The caller who was guiding a layout hunt stated one of his clients ended up shooting a swan. The guide being a responsible outdoorsman, called the RAP Hotline to call in the incident. Upon arrival, CO Bourgeois met with the guide and hunters. CO Bourgeois interviewed the father and son who were trying to get into waterfowl hunting. The son who shot the swan stated he thought it was a goose. CO Bourgeois seized the swan and continued his investigation making sure the hunters were legally hunting with the right equipment and licenses. While inspecting one of the hunter’s ammunition belts, CO Bourgeois discovered two lead shot shells. After a full interview was conducted, CO Bourgeois believed the young hunter was sincerely sorry for the situation. Taking into consideration that the situation was self-reported, CO Bourgeois decided it best to take this opportunity and give the youth hunter a verbal warning for shooting the swan. However, the CO issued a citation to the father for allowing a juvenile hunter to possess toxic shot shells while waterfowl hunting. CO Bourgeois highly recommended that the father and son do an in-person or online waterfowl identification class before returning to the field.
CO Luke Robare investigated a trespassing complaint. The complainant found a blood trail and a gut pile on his property. CO Robare tracked the trail back to a property with an elevated blind in the middle of a back yard. CO Robare found two large piles of corn near the blind. CO Robare interviewed the suspect and they admitted to shooting an 8-point buck several days prior. CO Robare asked about the bait and the suspect admitted to maintaining the baited hunting site since the beginning of October. CO Robare will be submitting charges for taking a deer with the aid of bait.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser received a complaint about waterfowl hunters in a safety zone on Emerald Point on Lake Ponemah. The CO observed the hunters and noticed that one of them left through the woods on foot toward the subdivision. The CO found it suspicious as the other hunters continued to hunt. The CO patrolled to Emerald Point and observed an individual in his driveway at the tailgate of his truck wearing camouflage with a goose in the back. The CO contacted the hunter and asked if he was the one who just left the point. He claimed that he had just been hunting in a field several miles away and that it was just a coincidence. The CO asked about his hunting licenses. The man sorted through his licenses but failed to produce any waterfowl licenses. The CO confirmed through the retail sales system that the hunter had not purchased any waterfowl licenses for 2022. Charges will be sought for taking/possessing waterfowl without a license.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser responded to a complaint of a baited hunt site in Clayton Township. The CO was able to locate the site via access through a vacant field. There was a large food plot on the property but there was also a tripod feeder filled with corn and a salt block set in the middle of the food plot. The CO contacted the property owner and confirmed that no deer had been taken at the site yet this year. The property owner was cited for feeding deer.
Acting Sgt. Justin Muehlhauser checked a tree stand at Seven Lakes State Park which was confirmed to have been baited. The CO noticed that the tree stand was occupied. The CO contacted the suspect. The suspect did not deny baiting the site. There was corn, several sugar beets and some cabbage located just 20 to 30 yards from the stand. The suspect stated that he knew it was illegal, he was just pressing his luck. He was cited for baiting in a closed area.
While patrolling Belle Isle, CO Brandon Vacek conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was shown on radar as travelling 48 mph in a 25-mph zone. The driver stated to the CO that she was unaware of her vehicle’s speed, did not see any speed limit signs, and was just moving with the flow of traffic. The vehicle was also displaying an expired out of state license plate. The driver was issued a citation for speeding and given a warning for the expired license plate.
CO Dave Schaumburger was running radar on Belle Isle near Shelter 8 when he heard an engine revving towards the beach when suddenly, a blue muscle car drove past him at a high rate of speed. The CO activated his radar and found the car to be driving 66 mph in a 25-mph zone. A traffic stop was initiated, and the driver stated that he thought he was going 30 mph. During the stop, the driver’s friend, who was a local police officer walked up to the CO and tried to “badge” his friend out of a ticket. When the CO gave the driver a ticket for his excessive speed, the driver said his speedometer was acting up and he did not realize how fast he was going, but agreed he was going much faster than 25 mph.
While working on Belle Isle, Sgt. Damon Owens and CO Dan Walzak were dispatched to a complaint of a possible assault near the Livingstone Lighthouse. The subjects, a male and a female, were contacted, interviewed, and brought back up to the parking lot to their vehicles to continue the investigation. At the parking lot, both subjects were run through the Law Enforcement Information Network system, and it was found that the female subject had a warrant for her arrest for assault. Reports are being written on the incident and the female subject was transported to jail on the warrant.
While conducting a radar patrol at Belle Isle, CO Ariel Young observed a vehicle traveling nearly 20 mph over the speed limit. CO Young conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and the driver stated that they weren’t from around here and didn’t know the speed limit. CO Young also observed a small child in the backseat that upon contact, was not in their car seat and neither the driver nor the passenger was buckled up. After questioning the individual about the child not being buckled, the driver and the passenger stated that they had just unbuckled the child when they got pulled over to feed them. CO Young found this to be a very strange time to unbuckle and feed a child. After running the necessary checks for the stop, CO Young also found that the vehicle had an expired plate. The driver was cited for speeding and the expired plate. CO Young, who was unable to verify whether any of the occupants were using safety belts, gave warnings for the violation. Before leaving, CO Young insisted that the child needed to be buckled correctly. As CO Young watched them put the child in the seat, it became quickly apparent that the car seat had not been used correctly in some time. Once the child was safely and correctly buckled in, the vehicle was on its way.