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COs Zach Painter, Phil Helminen, Alex VanWagner, and PCOs Mike Anderson and Peter Schambaugh conducted a combined fisheries and snowmobile group patrol in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties. Approximately 200 contacts were made during the patrol. The COs issued 17 citations and 59 verbal warnings. Violations that were addressed included fail to attach trail permit, fail to display registration decal, improper placement of registration decal, failure to obtain trail permit, no registration, careless operation of snowmobile, fish no license in possession, no name/address on tip-ups, and possession of undersized walleye.
CO Zach Painter and PCO Mike Anderson were on patrol in Gogebic County and responded to the report of a single snowmobile accident on Lake Gogebic. Once on scene, the COs provided medical attention until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived. The subject was transported to the hospital by EMS.
COs Zach Painter, Brian Lasanen, and PCO Mike Anderson were conducting a snowmobile patrol in Ontonagon County. The COs contacted a group of snowmobilers, and one subject showed several signs of intoxication. CO Painter conducted standard field sobriety tests (SFST) on the subject. The subject was arrested for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated.
CO Jenni Hanson was patrolling Trail 2 in Gogebic County when she observed a snowmobile with no registration decals or trail sticker. When CO Hanson contacted the operator, he stated his dog ate his registration and his missing trail permit had been lost when his windshield broke off. However, there was a windshield attached to his snowmobile. A check through regional dispatch showed the operator to have a suspended operator’s license. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Jenni Hanson had just checked out of service when Regional Dispatch called her on the phone to request her assistance with two lost hikers in the woods. Two elderly females were out snowshoeing when they got turned around and lost the trail right around dusk. CO Hanson responded to the location, and with the help of a Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper, local neighbors, and a few snowmobiles the women were located and extricated from the woods without incident.
CO Phil Helminen and PCO Pete Shambaugh were checking anglers ice fishing when they observed a group on snowmobiles drive around the lake and then leave. The COs observed several tip-ups and ice fishing equipment where the snowmobiles were driving. The COs went to the area and waited for the snowmobiles to return. After almost an hour, the two individuals returned on snowmobiles to check the tip-ups. The two individuals stated they had run home to take care of a few things and were gone for about 10 to 15 minutes. The COs advised them they had been there for almost an hour waiting. The two men stated that was more accurate and they knew they made a mistake. Enforcement action was taken for unattended fishing lines.
CO Phil Helminen and PCO Pete Shambaugh were notified by an MSP trooper that he went to a call about shots fired at night at a residence. The trooper advised that based on what he had observed the homeowner may be hunting deer at nighttime. The COs gathered hunting license information on the residents and then went to speak to them. It was determined that the man suspected of nighttime shooting was gone during the suspected time, but he was found to have shot two antlerless deer without a license. The man shot the two deer and used his wife’s deer licenses to tag the deer. The man’s wife stated she does not hunt and after purchasing licenses, used them on deer her husband shot. Deer remains were seized from the property and a report was submitted to the Dickinson County prosecutor for charges of taking deer without a license and tagging violations.
CO Shannon Wicklund responded to a medical call of an elderly man who had passed out and was in and out of consciousness. CO Wicklund and a Menominee County Sheriff’s Department deputy provided medical care to the patient until paramedics arrived. The man was transported to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
CO Alex VanWagner initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle while working in Iron County. The female driver of the vehicle had two warrants out of Ontonagon County for fail to appear on harboring a fugitive and a traffic offense. A male passenger in the vehicle also had a warrant out of Ontonagon County for fail to appear on assault charges. The vehicle was coming from Wisconsin and the male subject also was on bond, in which he was not allowed to leave the state or use alcohol. The male subject had consumed alcohol that evening as well. The female was arrested by CO VanWagner on the warrants and turned over to the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office to be lodged in the Ontonagon County Jail. The male subject was arrested by MSP troopers for the warrant and bond violation and lodged at the Iron County Jail.
CO Alex VanWagner responded with an MSP trooper to a single vehicle crash with air bag deployment and entrapment. Upon arrival, the vehicle was stuck in a swamp nearly on its side after leaving the roadway on a curve. The subject was successfully removed from the vehicle and transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
CO Alex VanWagner received a complaint that a snowmobile was stranded in the woods near an ungroomed snowmobile trail in a remote location in Iron County. The snowmobiler was able to contact a relative and supply a few details which were passed onto CO VanWagner. He was riding alone when his snowmobile experienced mechanical problems and he believed he was about five miles from any traveled areas. He was able to supply a general location to a relative and didn’t know if he could walk out due to the high volume of snow. CO VanWagner located a road that led to the general area until it wasn’t plowed any further and continued by snowmobile for a few miles to the area described by the subject. The subject was located and transported out safely.
CO Jared Ferguson and PCO Peter Shambaugh worked snowmobile activity in high traffic areas in Ontonagon County due to complaints regarding careless operation, trespass, and high speeds. At the end of the day, citations were issued for careless operation, expired registration, fail to obtain trail permit, and improper placement of registration. Throughout the day 20 warnings were given as well.
CO John Kamps and PCO Steve Sajtar contacted an individual during deer season who had placed several bales of alfalfa and large amounts of corn around his residence to feed deer. The COs estimated that there were approximately 300 deer feeding around the house. Supplemental feeding is not allowed to take place during deer season and the subject had been feeding throughout all deer seasons. A citation was issued for feeding deer greater than two gallons.
While patrolling Sporley Lake in Marquette County, CO John Kamps and PCO Steve Sajtar observed two individuals kicking trash into their ice fishing holes before leaving the lake. When confronted about the litter, both individuals denied leaving any trash on the ice. CO Kamps and PCO Sajtar followed the individuals out to their ice fishing holes and found discarded pop cans, batteries, and candy wrappers. The two individuals cleaned up their mess and received a citation for litter.
CO Jeremy Sergey and Sergeant Mark Leadman worked a speed enforcement patrol on the Chocolay trail. Over 60 snowmobiles were checked for speed with the highest speed found to be 47 mph in the posted 35 mph zone.
CO Jeremy Sergey discussed ice safety tips on a live interview on TV6 news. Topics included signs of safe ice versus unsafe ice, how to traverse uncertain ice, and self-rescue techniques.
CO Cody Smith was patrolling a major snowmobile trail intersection when a large group came through at dusk. The last two sleds in the group failed to stop at the stop signs and proceeded through the intersection at roughly 25 to 30 mph without looking or attempting to stop. When they did this, CO Smith activated his patrol truck’s emergency lights and motioned the sleds toward his vehicle. The sleds continued down the trail gaining speed. CO Smith returned to his vehicle and stopped the large group at the next intersection. The riders of the sleds that blew through the intersection were identified and asked why they did not stop at the sign. They stated they were just following the group. When asked why they did not stop for the emergency lights they stated that they did not see them. Enforcement action was taken, and citations were issued to the riders for careless operation.
CO Cody Smith was on a patrol when he observed a snowmobile approaching his location with no headlight. CO Smith stopped the sled and the rider instantly stated that the lights were not working for him. When observing the sled, CO Smith noticed a lack of registration and trail permit. When asked about these issues the rider produced a trail sticker in his wallet. When asked about the registration the rider stated there wasn’t one. The subject admitted to owning the snowmobile for roughly five years. The rider was issued a citation for an unregistered snowmobile.
COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani investigated the harvest of a spike horn white tailed deer near the Alger-Marquette County line. The hunter admitted he purchased the deer license the day after he shot the deer. A report is being submitted to the Alger County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Andrea Dani and Brandon Maki received an anonymous tip that a hunter shot a white-tailed spike horn deer and used his regular combination deer license. The COs arrived at the suspect’s residence and asked him about his deer season. He stated he shot a spike horn behind his house and tagged it with his combination tag. The suspect brought the COs the spike horn skull cap with the attached regular combination tag. The COs then notified the hunter in order to shoot a buck with his regular combination tag it was required to have at least three points on one side. The hunter stated he was unaware of such rule and thought it was a new rule change. A report will be submitted to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Steve Butzin was on patrol in Garden Township when Delta County Central Dispatch put out a call of a one vehicle accident with entrapment and stated the vehicle was on fire. CO Butzin was able to respond to the location in under a minute and discovered that the driver of the vehicle, an elderly gentleman, was in good health and the smoke was not a fire but steam from a broken radiator. The driver left the roadway and struck a tree resulting in the damage to the vehicle. It was determined that during a snowstorm, an oncoming vehicle failed to dim their high beams which made the driver lose sight of the road. The driver refused any medical attention. CO Butzin gave the driver a ride back to his residence and his vehicle was recovered by a local towing service.
CO Cole VanOosten located a large 330 conibear trap placed directly on the ground on state land. There were no identification tags on the trap. With the area being frequented by hunting dogs, CO VanOosten set off the trap to ensure that no domestic dogs were caught in the illegal set. A suspect was determined, and an interview was conducted. It was found that the man was new to trapping and had multiple illegal sets in the area including traps that were targeting rabbits. CO VanOosten educated the man on the laws regarding placing conibears on state land and that rabbits were not a species that were legal to trap. A citation was issued to the man for possessing/using an untagged trap and warnings were issued for the additional violations.
CO Cole VanOosten and Sgt. Calvin Smith attended a meeting with Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division personnel to plan a trapping event in Newberry for children to attend. The goal of the event is to educate up to 25 youth in the community about trapping and the ethics and laws about trapping.
COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten teamed up with the Luce County Sheriff’s Department for a snowmobile patrol. Due to an increase in snowmobile related incidents, the officers focused heavily on intersections and corners for careless operation. Not long after arriving at an intersection that crosses a county roadway the officers observed two snowmobilers go through the intersection at a high rate of speed. A stop was conducted, and the individuals stated to the COs that they didn’t even see the stop sign at the intersection. Citations were written for careless operation.
CO Cole VanOosten was on snowmobile patrol in a busy section of Luce County where a recent fatal accident occurred. CO VanOosten encountered two snowmobiles operating against the flow of traffic. A traffic stop was initiated, and it was determined that they also did not have trail permits. A citation was issued to the lead operator for no trail permit. A warning was issued for careless operation.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol when a call of an attempted suicide came out nearby. CO VanOosten responded and assisted the MSP until EMS arrived. The woman had taken numerous pills and had several lacerations on her wrists. The woman voluntarily went to seek treatment.
CO Todd Sumbera assisted the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department and MSP in searching for a suspect who was in a physical altercation with a female. It was reported that the male grabbed the steering wheel of the vehicle they were driving in causing the car to leave the highway and come to rest in the ditch. The male then fled the area on foot before law enforcement arrived. CO Sumbera, a trooper, and a deputy were able to successfully track the man down and learned that he had a personal protection order against him from the female he was with. He was lodged in the Mackinac County Jail.
CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint of a gate closed on a snowmobile trail blocking access to the trail. The locked gate was located, and the local snowmobile club was advised. The landowner was contacted and stated he shut it after the snow melted due to vehicles driving his property, but since the last storm and the snow depth he was unable to make it back out. Due to the amount of water on parts of the trail, CO Freeborn assisted the groomer operator in accessing the gate through an alternate route to avoid getting the groomer stuck.
CO Robert Freeborn attended an active shooter training with the local police department. The training was held at the local school with multiple agencies attending.
CO Michael Evink was patrolling state land on New Year’s Day 2023 when he observed a parked vehicle and determined that someone was hunting in the area. CO Evink continued to patrol and returned closer to the end of shooting hours to wait and check on the hunter. CO Evink gave the hunter close to 20 minutes past legal hunting hours then walked in. CO Evink contacted the hunter approximately 30 minutes after shooting hours sitting in his blind and still hunting with a loaded rifle. The hunter was very surprised to see him working on the holiday and admitted that he was aware when hunting hours ended. Additionally, he did not have any hunter orange with him. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Chris Lynch was on patrol when a call came out for an unresponsive person and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was in progress. CO Lynch was the first on scene and continued performing CPR on the person along with attaching an automated external defibrillator (AED) until EMS arrived. CO Lynch continued assisting EMS with rendering first aid to the person. Unfortunately, the person passed away.
CO Chad Baldwin received information that a deer had likely been taken illegally near the end of deer season. COs Baldwin and Duane Budreau interviewed the suspect who admitted that for the past 25 years he would only purchase a license after shooting a deer. After a short discussion, a 7-point buck was located in the suspects barn that was untagged. The COs seized the deer, and the suspect was ticketed for possession of a deer with no license.
CO Adam LeClerc was the first on scene to a multiple vehicle accident in the village of Alanson on US 31. The three-car accident was blocking the northbound lane of the highway. CO LeClerc established that no medical assistance was needed and started to gather driver and vehicle information. The crash was turned over to the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department and CO LeClerc assisted with traffic control until the roadway was cleared.
CO Duane Budreau obtained a felony warrant from a case that he and CO Ryan Cox previously had worked on together. The felony warrant was for weapons/ammunition possession by felon. CO Budreau went to the home of the suspect, placed him under arrest, and transported him to the Emmet County Jail. Since this was the second time CO Budreau arrested the subject in a two-week period, the man questioned why he always gets arrested on a Friday night. He was concerned about spending another weekend in jail. CO Budreau explained that there was no coincidence as the arrest could only occur with a valid warrant, which is what he was served.
CO Andrea Albert received information from CO Steve Butzin, located in the Upper Peninsula, that a taxidermist he was following up with in Antrim County for a case was conducting taxidermy work without a permit. CO Albert interviewed the taxidermist at his shop and determined he had taken in several animals and had mounts in progress over the past few years. His last permit expired in 2017. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office for conducting a taxidermy business without a permit.
Sgt. Bill Webster was patrolling Antrim County when he came upon a semi-truck that failed to negotiate a curve and slid off the road causing it to roll onto its side. No injuries were reported, so Sgt. Webster directed traffic while the Antrim County Sheriff's Department completed the accident investigation.
CO Tim Rosochacki was the guest speaker before the start of the 5th Annual Carl VanderWall Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Petoskey High School. The tournament honors the memory of CO Carl VanderWall who passed away from brain cancer in 2016.
COs Tom Oberg and Kyle Cherry were notified from Otsego County Central Dispatch of an individual who got their vehicle stuck in deep snow off a trail in a desolate area. The individual had a cell phone that was dying and did not have warm enough clothes to attempt to walk to the nearest road in the freezing temperatures. CO Cherry responded in his patrol truck and communicated with central dispatch in order to get a better fix on the location. CO Oberg happened to be on a snowmobile at the time and responded. CO Oberg met with CO Cherry and obtained an approximate global positioning system coordinate that the individual was able to provide. CO Oberg operated his snowmobile through deep snow-covered trails and was able to locate the individual still in his vehicle and in good condition. CO Oberg transported the individual to the nearest road where a friend picked him up. The individual was very thankful for the COs efforts in getting him out safely.
CO Alexander Bourgeois responded to a complaint of a poached 8-point buck on New Year’s Day that was called into Alpena Central Dispatch. The deer was shot inside the city of Alpena where there is a no discharge of firearms ordinance. CO Bourgeois is working with the Alpena Police Department and the investigation is continuing.
COs Sidney LaLonde, Dan Liestenfeltz, and Sgt. Mike Mshar were on snowmobile patrol in Otsego County when they came across a snowmobiler stuck in a tree line. The snowmobile went off the trail on a corner and got stuck in the deep powder. The COs assisted the rider in getting his snowmobile unstuck and back on the trail to catch up with his group.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz contacted several anglers on West Twin Lake after dark. After observing a large number of fishing devices, it was determined that one of the subjects was fishing with a total of five lines, putting them two lines over the legal limit. CO Liestenfeltz also was able to observe the subject’s smoking marijuana in and around the ice shanties. CO Liestenfeltz issued the subject a ticket for fishing with too many lines and written warnings for failing to have a name on tip-ups and for using marijuana in a public place.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling in Otsego County when he assisted the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department with locating stranded and lost snowmobilers west of Otsego Lake. CO Liestenfeltz and a deputy attempted to locate an area best suited to make physical contact with the subjects. The deputy was able to contact the subjects on the phone and their location was narrowed down. CO Liestenfeltz unloaded his snowmobile and drove into the woods looking for the subjects. CO Liestenfeltz located snowmobiles that were completely buried and stuck, but no one was around. CO Liestenfeltz advised Otsego Central Dispatch of his findings and soon after, Otsego Central Dispatch advised that the subjects were able to make it out of the woods and would come back in the morning to retrieve their snowmobiles.
CO William Kinney responded to a fatal snowmobile crash in Wexford County. The snowmobile operator had left the trail and hit a tree. The crash is still under investigation with the assistance from the MSP.
CO Josiah Killingbeck assisted CO Angela Greenway with a complaint of a subject taking an over-limit of deer and hunting with the aid of bait. The COs interviewed the suspect, and a confession was obtained for taking a 6-point buck with the aid of bait. A report is being submitted to the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Josiah Killingbeck stopped an ORV that was being operated against the flow of traffic and it did not have an ORV license. The subject told CO Killingbeck they were using the ORV to take their dog for a walk. CO Killingbeck asked the operator about the lack of an ORV license and the subject told CO Killingbeck that she was not using the ORV off road and did not need one. CO Killingbeck explained ORV regulations to the subject and issued a citation for failing to license the ORV. Upon issuing the citation, the subject became more agitated and told CO Killingbeck that he needed to “lighten up” and only “give warnings.”
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol in Lake County, observed a vehicle pass another vehicle through a busy intersection in a no passing zone. CO Killingbeck stopped the vehicle and the driver said that the vehicle in front of him was driving too slowly. While speaking with the subject, CO Killingbeck observed a beer can in the back seat next to an open cooler with beers. CO Killingbeck determined that the can was empty but recently opened. CO Killingbeck found the passenger in possession of open intoxicants. A citation was issued to the driver for the passing zone violation and a citation was issued to the passenger for possessing open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was patrolling an area where he had previously received complaints of road hunting. CO Killingbeck observed a vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway with a passenger standing outside of the vehicle. The passenger ran back to the vehicle, jumped in and the vehicle began driving. CO Killingbeck activated his emergency lights, and the vehicle fled from CO Killingbeck and eventually lost control and went into a ditch. The driver fled the vehicle on foot. CO Killingbeck detained the passenger and eventually determined that the driver had warrants for her arrest. CO Killingbeck, along with deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, tracked the driver through the snow where she was taken into custody without incident. Methamphetamine was recovered from the driver and the operator was lodged in the Lake County Jail on numerous felony charges.
CO Tim Barboza responded to a complaint of people hunting ducks on Fremont Lake during the closed season. CO Barboza located the hunters and observed them shooting at ducks. CO Barboza asked the hunters what zone they were in and one of them replied “the middle zone.” CO Barboza advised the group they were in the south zone which was closed and asked if they had looked at the guide. The group said no they were just told that it was the middle zone. CO Barboza showed the hunters the map in the guide. CO Barboza began checking the hunter’s equipment and found one unplugged shotgun and several ducks. CO Barboza issued citations for taking waterfowl during the closed season and for hunting with an unplugged shotgun.
COs Tim Barboza, Jeff Ginn, and PCO Brandon Benedict responded to a call on Blanch Lake of a male who had fallen through the ice in the middle of the lake yelling for help. The COs put on personal floatation devices (PFDs) and crawled onto the ice, CO Ginn contacted the victim and attempted to secure a rope around the victim when the ice gave way under CO Ginn. CO Ginn was able to grab ahold of the victim and keep him afloat. CO Barboza crawled up and attached a rope through CO Ginn’s PFD and passed the rope to PCO Benedict. The Newaygo Fire Department connected a second rope and attempted to pull CO Ginn and the victim out of the water but was unsuccessful. During the attempt to pull them out of the water, CO Ginn was pulled out of the water without the victim and crawled back into the water help keep the victim from going under the water. CO Barboza kept tension on the victim’s lifeline to keep him from going under until the Newaygo Fire Department personnel in a cold-water survival suit were able to secure another line around the victim and put him in an inflatable raft. CO Ginn was pulled out of the water shortly afterwards. Both CO Ginn and the victim were transported to nearby hospitals for mild hypothermia symptoms.
CO Jacob Hamilton was observing anglers on Manistee Lake when he noticed two of them with six tip-ups set up. The anglers were standing outside their ice shanty and when CO Hamilton approached, one of them turned around and quickly began reeling up a jigging pole just inside the shanty door. CO Hamilton asked how many lines they had out and the angler nearest to the shanty said he had three tip-ups out and was just checking the depth with the jigging pole; the second angler admitted to having three tip-ups out, as well as a jigging pole that was hidden in the corner of the ice shanty. A citation was issued for fishing with more than three lines.
COs Josh Russell and Mike Haas had been looking for the responsible party who dumped a junk boat on state land in Clare County. Through interviews, they discovered the boat had changed hands several times since it was last registered. After several interviews, the COs finally located a father and son who supposedly purchased the boat together. The son admitted to dumping the boat a few miles from his house on state land because his dad no longer wanted the boat and had instructed his son to get rid of it. A citation was issued for littering on state land and the suspect will be required to remove the boat.
CO Charlie Jones received a complaint from central dispatch that a subject in Kalkaska County was attempting to disturb a beaver lodge by using chemicals. COs Jones and Jacob Hamilton arrived in the area to check the beaver lodge. Upon arrival, the COs noticed footprints in the snow leading to the lodge. A small hole was observed at the top of the lodge and a strong smell of ammonia came from the hole. The COs interviewed the suspect at his residence a few minutes later. The suspect admitted to pouring a full gallon of ammonia into the lodge in hopes of driving the beavers from the area. The suspect was advised of the laws pertaining to disturbing the den or home of an animal. A report has been submitted and is pending review at the Kalkaska County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Casey Pullum was travelling between lakes checking fishing activity in Oscoda County when he witnessed a vehicle operating toward him illegally pass two vehicles in a no passing zone. CO Pullum made a traffic stop and noted signs of intoxication when the driver was contacted. SFST’s were conducted, and a preliminary breath test (PBT) was given. Due to the signs of impairment and a PBT result of .19 the driver was taken into custody for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and lodged at the Oscoda County Sheriff's Department.
CO Kyle Bader and PCO Nick McNamee checked a truck parked on state land at a canoe access site on the Rifle River in Ogemaw County in late December. There were bags of corn in the back of the truck, a gun case, and .30-06 ammunition on the seat in the truck. Suspecting someone to be deer hunting with a rifle out of season, the COs contacted the owner of the truck when he came out of the woods at dark. The man was wearing camouflage but did not have a firearm or bow. He claimed to be taking pictures of squirrels. Having no reason to detain the man further, the COs let him be on his way. Then the COs commenced to search the state land around the parking lot locating a .30-06 leaning against a tree about 75 yards into the swamp. The COs re-interviewed the hunter who changed his story and confessed to hunting deer with the rifle after the firearm deer season. The firearm was seized, and charges are being sought for hunting deer out of season through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office.
CO Ethan Gainforth had received a baiting complaint on public land. Upon checking the location, CO Gainforth followed the subjects’ footprints in the snow out to their ground blinds. CO Gainforth met the subjects as they were walking out. The one subject possessed a pump shotgun and immediately laid the gun down when he saw CO Gainforth. CO Gainforth explained to the subject that it was archery deer season only on public land on this day. CO Gainforth issued citations for hunting deer with a firearm during closed season and failing to remove non-natural ground blinds after every hunt in Zone 3 on a State Game Area. Verbal warnings were given for placing bait and failing to attach identification to the blinds.
While patrolling sections of the Maple River State Game Area (SGA), PCO Jacob Robinson and CO Mike Haas contacted a subject checking his raccoon traps. The COs assisted the subject with checking his trap line and then followed him back to his vehicle to check his fur harvester license. At the vehicle, it was discovered that he did not have a valid trapping license, had a loaded/uncased rifle on the back seat of his car, and the vehicle lacked registration and insurance. Further investigation also revealed the subject had a felony warrant and two misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. He was ultimately arrested and lodged at the Gratiot County Jail for the warrants and received a citation for the licensing and firearm violations.
PCO Jacob Robinson and CO Mike Haas contacted a predator hunter in the Flat River SGA. The hunter was violating the hunter orange requirements and possessed a rifle magazine that surpassed the round capacity limit. The hunter was educated on the various rules and received a citation and warnings to address the issues.
CO Anna Cullen received several complaints of a group of waterfowl hunters hunting a posted nature preserve in Muskegon County. CO Cullen contacted the group, who admitted to hunting the area. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Joshua Salas was patrolling the Gourdneck State Game Area when he came across two vehicles parked side-by-side at the end of the game area near the boat launch. The CO contacted two individuals sitting in one of the vehicles and upon contacting them, the CO could smell the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. The two individuals were asked how old they were, and they stated that they were 19 and 20. The CO searched the vehicle for marijuana and found several containers with marijuana in them. One of the individuals took ownership of the marijuana and a citation was issued to the individual for minor in possession.
CO Joshua Salas was patrolling the Gourdneck SGA when he came across an individual parked and sitting in his truck. The CO contacted the individual and noticed two half-empty whiskey containers in the vehicle's passenger seat. The CO asked the individual about the containers and the individual attempted to hide them. The CO asked the individual to step out of his vehicle to which the individual complied. The CO searched the vehicle for any other open alcohol. No other alcohol was found, and the CO issued the individual a citation for open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.
CO Zach Bauer was on patrol when he located a vehicle parked in the roadway near an intersection. CO Bauer contacted the driver who was making erratic movements and could not maintain a conversation. The driver kept asking CO Bauer the same questions and did not know where he was or how long he had been there. CO Bauer did not observe the odor of intoxicants. After further investigation, CO Bauer determined that the operator could be having a diabetic reaction. CO Bauer called for an ambulance. The ambulance arrived on scene where the patient was treated for low blood sugar.
CO Cameron Wright was patrolling through his county when a complaint from central dispatch came out advising of a vehicle parked at a boat launch that had been left running for the past six hours. The caller was not sure if someone was inside of it. CO Wright was just around the corner when the complaint came out and arrived on scene minutes later. CO Wright located the driver of the vehicle passed out behind the wheel and noticed a cigarette container and a knife between the man’s legs. CO Wright was able to wake the driver and ordered him out of the vehicle to get him away from the knife. CO Wright then gained consent to search the driver and located a meth pipe and torches in the man’s coat. CO Wright detained the driver and searched the vehicle where he located another pipe, more torches, and a bag of meth. Charges are being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling the Fennville Farm in Allegan County for goose hunting activity. Upon checking a group of hunters, the CO discovered one of the hunters had a firearm that was unplugged and capable of holding more than three shot shells, was hunting without a state waterfowl license, and failed to sign their federal migratory bird hunting stamp. Enforcement action was taken.
CO James Nason, with the help of Sgt. Chris Holmes, concluded a year-long investigation on a subject who had been shooting deer illegally over the past two years. A 10-count warrant was issued out of Kalamazoo’s 8th District Court for various violations, to include hunting illegally, and using others’ kill-tags.
PCO Wes Butler and CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint of an 11-year-old girl killing a white-tailed deer during the archery deer season without a valid license. PCO Butler spoke with the young hunter’s father who explained that he thought he had purchased a deer license and realized his mistake when he went to tag the deer. The father somehow managed to purchase three base licenses while attempting to get a 2022 deer license. Once the father realized his mistake, he purchased the correct deer license the following day. PCO Butler educated the father on making sure he had the proper licenses before heading a field. No further action was taken.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling the Muskegon SGA when she heard shooting down the road. CO Miskovich proceeded to the location and observed four individuals target shooting while standing right in front of a “No Target Shooting” sign. CO Miskovich contacted the individuals and they said that they would “take the chance” of getting caught and they also mentioned how there never used to be as many “No Target Shooting” signs around the area. CO Miskovich issued a citation for target shooting in a closed area.
CO Mark Reffitt was patrolling Portland SGA for wildlife activity when he noticed a truck parked in a popular deer hunting location. Initial investigation revealed a plainly visible open gun case in the back of the vehicle. CO Reffitt parked and waited approximately 20 minutes before observing an individual dressed in orange and carrying a deer rifle emerge from the woods. The hunter stated that he was out hunting for deer on state land but had not had any luck. CO Reffitt asked to see the individual’s tags, but the hunter was unable to produce them until they got back to the truck. The CO explained that firearm deer hunting was currently closed on state land and that the late antlerless season applied to private land only. The hunter was given a copy of the Michigan Hunting Digest and a citation was issued addressing the violations.
In Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers received a complaint that subjects were shining and shooting deer from ORVs. The complaint was called into Ionia County Central Dispatch and originally sent to a trooper from the MSP. CO Beavers met with the trooper who stated that spotlights were seen in a field where three shots were heard. They then patrolled to the location where they found three subjects in an ORV with a doe in the back that had been field dressed. The doe did not have a kill-tag on it. CO Beavers identified the subject who shot the deer. CO Beavers and the trooper questioned the subject regarding the time he shot the deer and if it was done so legally. Although the three subjects story varied, it became apparent that the deer was initially shot during legal hours and was tracked after the close of hours and dispatched once they came upon it. At the end of the investigation, the subject who shot the doe was cited for failure to immediately validate and attach deer kill-tag.
While on patrol in Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers and PCO Wesley Butler spotted a large plume of black smoke which typically accompanies an illegal burn. CO Beavers patrolled to the location where the COs observed two leather couches that were on fire. CO Beavers pulled into the residence of the fire and saw a deer head at the end of a long stake that appeared to have been burned. They also saw two subjects next to a barn. As the COs approached the barn along the drive, one of the subjects grabbed the stake with the deer head and tossed it into the barn. CO Beavers explained why he initially came to the residence but first the deer head needed to be discussed. The subject stated it was from a deer that had been hit by a car. The subject pointed out the carcass and CO Beavers examined it. It did appear to be roadkill and CO Beavers asked if he had a salvage tag or filled an online tag out. The subject stated he did not, but his uncle gave him a deer kill-tag to attach. CO Beavers explained that was not how it worked and asked to see the tag, but one could not be located. CO Beavers educated the subject on salvage tags and procedures on recovering roadkill deer. Then he questioned the subject about the fire, and he stated he was burning some old leather couches. He went on to explain that he was told not to burn the couches by his uncle but did so anyway. CO Beavers showed the subject what could and could not be burned on the DNR website. CO Beavers cited the subject for the illegal fire.
CO Lisa Taube responded to a RAP complaint of recreational trespass in Shiawassee County. The landowner heard someone on his neighbor’s property shoot a gun at 9 PM on December 16th. The next morning, he discovered the imprint of a deer with a large blood spot on his property. There were also drag marks with a blood trail leading back to the suspect’s residence. During the investigation, it was discovered the suspect was using a floodlight over a bait pile when he shot the deer, after hours. A suspect has been identified and the investigation is ongoing.
CO Marc Mankowski responded to a trespass complaint where a gut pile was found by a landowner. CO Mankowski was able to follow tracks to a ground blind, with bait, where a deer had been shot. Tire tracks led to a nearby residence. An interview of the homeowner led to a different suspect who admitted to ignoring the no trespassing signs, not having permission to be on the property, shooting a 7-point buck over bait, and driving his truck on the land to retrieve the deer. The deer was seized, and charges are being sought in Eaton County.
CO Marc Mankowski was notified by Eaton County Central Dispatch that multiple deer carcasses were dumped at the end of a dirt road. A piece of mail was found under a carcass with the name and address of a suspect. CO Mankowski conducted an interview, and the suspect admitted the deer belonged to him, but that his hunting buddy was the one who dumped the deer. He then interviewed the hunting buddy who admitted to dumping the deer. A ticket was issued for littering and the individual retrieved the carcasses and disposed of them properly.
DNR Dispatch received a tip from Child Protective Services (CPS) in Eaton County that there was a deer taken unlawfully, dragged into a house, and body parts from the deer were scattered throughout the house. CO Marc Mankowski and the CPS worker conducted interviews and a woman admitted to CO Mankowski that she shot and dragged a deer into her house without tagging it. The deer was a 4-point buck and shot with a 30-06 rifle. Charges are being sought with the Eaton County prosecutor’s office.
CO Nick Thornton contacted an individual in Branch County suspected of operating a taxidermy business without a permit. CO Thornton gained consent to search the property and observed evidence of a taxidermy business. The suspect admitted he had been conducting a taxidermy business and had numerous customers. CO Thornton cited the individual for conducting a taxidermy business with no permit.
COs Olivia Moeller and Nick Thornton followed up on a deer carcass dumping complaint in Branch County and ultimately discovered a deer processing business where the individual did not have a permit. COs Moeller and Thornton gained consent to search the property and observed evidence of commercial processing. The suspect ultimately admitted he had been conducting a deer processing business without obtaining a permit. This complaint will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for the charge of operating a deer processing business without a permit.
CO Cody Bourgeois was on patrol when he observed two hunters in one of the Proud Lake State Recreation Area fields. CO Bourgeois noticed that the two individuals were carrying guns and were not wearing hunter orange. When CO Bourgeois contacted the hunters, one of the individuals was carrying a shotgun and stated he was deer hunting while the other individual was carrying a pellet gun. Furthermore, the individual carrying the pellet gun did not have his hunting license or state identification on his person. When the subjects were contacted, they were informed that state land is open to deer hunting for archery only. One hunter was issued a citation for no hunter orange and hunting with a firearm during archery season. The other hunter was issued a citation for no hunter orange and failing to provide a hunting license.
CO Cody Bourgeois received a complaint about bait and several blinds behind a house. CO Bourgeois arrived at the house and observed two blinds and two ladder stands on the property. CO Bourgeois contacted the hunter who was in one of the blinds approximately 25 yards away from the bait. The suspect stated he has been baiting all season and has had no luck yet. The individual was issued a citation for hunting over bait in a closed area.
COs Kris Kiel and Joseph Deppen received a RAP complaint of a subject who had shot an antlered deer with a firearm during the late antlerless firearm deer season. The COs arrived on the property and spent hours looking for blood and the deer. They were able to locate first blood and tracked the deer through heavy brush and a creek. The COs eventually located the deer, still alive, but the 8-point buck would not allow the COs to get close enough to put it down before making it off the property. The COs returned to the property that evening and located the suspect’s vehicle and attempted to contact him in his blind. No one was in the blind, so the COs patrolled the property and located the suspect hiding in heavy brush near the location where the first blood was found. At first, the subject stated that he was hunting in the thick brush, but eventually admitted that he was looking for blood from the doe that he had shot at. The subject also asked CO Kiel if he remembered him. CO Kiel remembered him from multiple incidents, including taking an antlerless deer without a license and shooting a second buck without having four or more points on a side. The subject stated that he does not do anything illegal since being caught. After a long interview, the subject would still not admit that he knew it was a buck that he had shot but blamed the incident on having cataracts. The subject’s firearm was seized, and a report will be submitted to the prosecutor for take/attempt to take an antlered deer with a firearm, during the late antlerless firearm deer season.
COs Brad Silorey, Kris Kiel, Joseph Deppen, Raymond Gardner, and Sydney Griffor participated in Toys for Tots collections at the Chesterfield Township. Cabela’s store. Well over 100 toys were collected for the cause and delivered to the drop off spot at Lakeside Mall.
COs Jaime Salisbury and Ray Gardner were checking a suspected out of season deer hunter on state land. While looking in the area for the suspected hunter, the COs heard multiple small caliber gunshots. The COs went to check the area of the gunshots and located a small game hunter hunting for squirrels. There was a language barrier but through some translation via phone call with a relative, the COs were able to uncover that the man was in possession of six squirrels. A citation was issued for taking an over-limit of squirrels.
CO Jaime Salisbury and PCO Griffin Korican received a RAP complaint for possible trespassing while recovering a shot deer. It was discovered that no trespass had occurred. While attempting contact with the suspect, the COs noticed a fresh gut pile in front of the barn door. Once the COs contacted the suspect, he denied having shot any deer. When the COs asked about the fresh gut pile, he then remembered that there was a deer hanging in the barn. The COs were shown a 6-point which did not have a tag on it. The COs asked to see photographs of the deer, which the suspect produced. The COs were given permission to look at other photos in the phone. While scrolling, there were multiple photos of other deer that had been shot. The phone was seized as evidence. Through the investigation, it was discovered that most of the deer had been shot at night over a bait pile under a flood light. The COs are combing through digital evidence and have uncovered four illegal deer so far with other offenses of night hunting, over-limits, and baiting.
CO Sydney Griffor received a complaint of hunting over bait and possibly hunting within the safety zone in November. It wasn’t until the end of December when CO Griffor was finally able to catch an individual hunting the location. It was determined the hunting blind was approximately 120 yards from an occupied dwelling. The hunter was issued a citation for firearm hunting within the safety zone and given a warning for hunting over bait.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was patrolling a well-known ORV trespassing spot in Erie State Game Area when he observed headlights coming towards his patrol truck. CO Ingersoll stopped the driver and advised him he was in a closed area. The driver said he always does it and did not see the problem. CO Ingersoll advised him of the continuous damage they are doing back in the game area and issued him a citation for no ORV licenses and warned him for operating an ORV in a closed area.
Wayne County COs assisted CO Keven Luther investigate an illegal meat processor operation which led to a multitude of deer carcasses being dumped unlawfully. The COs conducted in-person and telephone interviews on four different individuals obtaining three confessions. The deer carcasses have been removed and are awaiting proper disposal. A formal case report will be generated for formal charges for operating an illegal meat processor operation and submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Robert Watson received a complaint of a man that appeared to be living in a tent on a game area and possibly using drugs. CO Watson located the man who was a convicted sex offender and who indeed appeared to be living on the game area. No drugs were found, but the man was issued a citation for camping within the game area with no registration permit and instructed to leave. While on patrol later in the week, CO Watson overheard a call from local dispatch requesting a county deputy and MSP trooper to respond to a man camping within the game area who fit the description of the man that CO Watson had dealt with previously. The man was allegedly yelling and behaving erratically. CO Watson assisted the deputy and MSP trooper and discovered it was the same camper who had only moved locations within the game area. The man could be heard by the officers yelling and throwing objects within his tent as the officers approached. Once the man realized law enforcement had arrived to speak with him, he stated he was just upset because someone had messed with him by placing empty milk jugs outside of his tent. No drugs were found within the campsite. A second citation was issued for camping with no registration permit and the man was instructed to leave the game area.
CO Jamie Salisbury and PCO Griffin Korican were on Belle Isle and made a traffic stop on a subject speeding well over the posted 25mph speed limit. The driver had 13 traffic warrants which were advise and release. He was issued a citation for driving while license suspended and given a warning for speed.
Environment, Great Lakes, Energy (EGLE)
On January 3, 2023, a Bay County woman plead guilty to violations of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, PA 451 of 1994. She was charged with one felony count of Part 615 Oil Gas 324.61521– False Statements/Omitted information, and one misdemeanor count of Part 615 Oil Gas 324.61515 – Sell, purchase, or transportation of illegal oil. In June of 2021 Oil, Gas and Minerals Division personnel were checking abandoned well heads in Kawkawlin Township, when they came across an individual working on an oil well pump. In November of 2020, this pump along with several others owned by the suspect were found insolvent and turned over to the state. During Detective Gowenlock’s investigation, it was determined the suspect had been illegally selling oil and failed to report it to the state which is required by law. The defendant plead guilty to both counts and was given delayed sentence and ordered to pay $9,964.31 in restitution to the state.