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Conservation Officer (CO) Jenni Hanson attended a Lost Person Behavior course put on by Superior Search and Rescue. The training taught first responders the statistical facts of where lost people will likely be due to demographic, location, sport, etc. Other agencies involved were the Alger County Sheriff’s Office, Ontonagon County Sheriff's Office, Marquette County Sheriff's Office, Houghton County Sheriff's Office, Keweenaw Search and Rescue, and Superior Search and Rescue.

CO Jenni Hanson presented at a college career fair at Gogebic Community College. The high schools in attendance were Bessemer, Ironwood, Wakefield-Marenisco, Ontonagon, and Ewen-Trout Creek. CO Hanson talked to junior and senior students about the job duties as a conservation officer.

CO Jenni Hanson assisted in the instruction of an off-road vehicle (ORV) safety course at the Ewen-Trout Creek middle school. The local ORV club, Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and Environment (MI-TRALE), put on the course to 6th grade students.

CO Anna Viau observed two pickup trucks parked alongside a road that led to a boat launch in southern Iron County. One of the trucks had a trailer hooked to it with ORV tracks leading onto the property next to the road. There was a short strip of private property, then a large section of property owned by a local power company. The power company allowed hunting and fishing on its property, but not ORV activity. CO Viau hiked through the deep snow following the tracks through both pieces of property and out to the lake. From shore, CO Viau observed the anglers and noticed one ORV did not have a license. CO Viau also noticed several small trees had been cut near shore to gain access to the lake with the ORVs. CO Viau contacted the subjects and discussed the multiple violations including both ORVs not having a license. Both subjects were cited for failing to license their ORV and were given warnings for the other violations. 

CO Anna Viau spoke at a local youth event put on by Hardcore Scripture Outdoors that was teaching local kids about gun and archery safety. CO Viau spoke to the group of about 35 kids and adults about a conservation officer’s job and the variety of calls she responds to throughout the seasons. Both kids and adults had many questions for her. After CO Viau finished speaking, the kids had opportunities to shoot several different types of firearms and bows.

CO Jeremy Sergey and Sergeant (Sgt.) Mark Leadman were patrolling on snowmobile Trail 8 in Champion at a road crossing when they observed an individual ignore a stop sign. The subject was stopped a short distance down the trail and questioned about the stop sign. They admitted they saw it but did not stop, or even see the CO’s vehicles in the middle of the road, until it was too late. A citation was issued for careless operation of a snowmobile.

CO John Kamps and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Steve Sajtar were dispatched to help locate a runaway juvenile off County Road 545 in Marquette County. After canvasing the area where the juvenile was last seen, COs Kamps and Sajtar decided to go back to the juvenile’s home where they were able to find footprints leaving the driveway. With temperatures below freezing and dusk approaching, time was of the essence. The COs continued tracking the footprints to the end of a dead-end road and into the swamp surrounding Foster Creek. After tracking the juvenile for over a mile in thigh-deep snow, COs Kamps and Sajtar found the juvenile, wearing only a shirt and pajama pants, sitting on the bank of Foster Creek. The juvenile had removed his wet shoes and socks because he had fallen into the creek. The juvenile wrapped his wet feet in his jacket to warm them. The COs conducted a quick first aid assessment of the boy, noting the boy had lost pigmentation and some feeling in his feet. The juvenile stated he was very cold but was able to walk. COs Kamps and Sajtar guided the juvenile out of the swamp for approximately 275 yards where emergency medical services (EMS) was staged. EMS transported the juvenile to Upper Peninsula (UP) Health System Marquette where he was treated for cold exposure and released.

COs John Kamps, Cody Smith, Jackson Kelly, and PCO Steve Sajtar attended the U.P. Boat, Sport, and RV Show at the Superior Dome in Marquette. The COs handed out new fishing guides as the 2023 fishing season kicked off. The COs engaged with the public, answering many fish and game related questions as well as boating and ORV laws.


CO Robert Freeborn responded to a call for backup from a local department on a traffic stop. The local officer had a subject on a traffic stop who was possibly operating under the influence of narcotics and driving on a suspended license. The driver was also known for erratic behavior and was getting agitated. The subject was arrested for operating under the influence of drugs (OUID) and driving with a suspended license. CO Freeborn also assisted the local officer at the hospital during the blood draw.

CO Robert Freeborn received a complaint about a pile of old ceiling tiles on state land. COs Freeborn and Michael Evink located the pile and documented the scene. CO Freeborn noticed two holes in the tiles that appeared to be from can lighting. The box that contained some of the smaller pieces had an address that came back to a local residence. CO Freeborn verified the owner through dispatch and the FedEx tracking number that was still on the box. The COs went to the residence and when the owner opened the door, new ceiling tiles were observed in the living room with two can lights. When asked what happened to the old tiles, the owner stated a random gentleman that she did not know, stopped, and asked if he could get rid of the tiles on the porch for her. CO Freeborn advised the homeowner that the scenario she had just mentioned does not randomly happen. The homeowner was issued a citation for litter and was told to pick up the tiles.

Sgt. Mark Zitnik along with COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani attended an active shooter training in Marquette General Hospital put on by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Emergency Services Team. The officers responded to several controlled scenarios of active and non-active shooter situations.

A report submitted to Alger County by CO Andrea Dani for the illegal take of a 6-point buck resulted in a warrant being issued and a guilty plea with $1,300 in fines costs and reimbursement along with license revocation through 2028.

After a snowstorm, CO Brandon Maki assisted vehicles that were stuck on back roads. CO Maki shoveled and packed a trail using his patrol truck to assist the vehicles getting free from the deep snow.

COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin spoke on a local radio show “Behind the Badge” and talked about ice safety conditions and laws pertaining to fishing.

CO Todd Sumbera was dispatched to a residence where the owner reported he was being held captive by a bobcat that was pawing at his door and wouldn’t leave. The bobcat could not be scared off and was eventually euthanized. The animal either had been habituated and released or had some other issue, it is being sent to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Laboratory for follow up testing.


CO Adam LeClerc attended a Petoskey City Council meeting regarding urban deer management. CO LeClerc was there to answer questions from the community regarding laws and other options that are currently happening around the state. Representatives from DNR Wildlife Division presented options for deer management which may be explored by the council at a later date.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling northern Otsego County when he received a call about an accident on I 75 less than a mile from his location. Otsego Central Dispatch stated that a deer had struck a vehicle causing significant damage with full airbag deployment. CO Liestenfeltz arrived on scene and made sure there were no injuries to any of the passengers. The vehicle was towed from the scene and CO Liestenfeltz handled the investigation and traffic crash report.

Shortly after finishing up a car versus deer accident in northern Otsego County, CO Dan Liestenfeltz heard a call on the radio about a single vehicle injury accident on I 75 less than a half mile from his current location. Otsego County Dispatch stated that a vehicle was in the trees and a female subject with a large face laceration was lying in the snow near the vehicle. CO Liestenfeltz responded to the scene and began general first aid monitoring to the subject. The subject was conscious and alert but had many injuries, none of which were life threatening. EMS arrived on scene and took over care. Shortly after, an MSP trooper out of the Gaylord Post arrived on scene and took over the investigation. CO Liestenfeltz assisted with picture taking, information gathering and traffic control until the scene was clear.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling through Otsego County when a vehicle traveling opposite his direction completely crossed the centerline of the roadway. CO Liestenfeltz had to quickly maneuver his patrol vehicle out of the way to avoid a head-on collision. CO Liestenfeltz turned around, caught up to the vehicle, and initiated a traffic stop. Once speaking with the driver, CO Liestenfeltz noticed obvious signs of intoxication. The subject also did not have a valid driver’s license. CO Liestenfeltz conducted standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) about which he failed. The subject blew almost twice the legal limit in the preliminary breath test (PBT) and was placed under arrest. The subject would not consent to the data master at the jail and a search warrant for his blood was obtained. The blood draw was performed at Otsego Memorial Hospital with no issues. The subject was charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) and operating on a revoked driver’s license. The subject will be charged with OWI 4th pending blood results.

COs Sidney LaLonde and Dan Liestenfeltz were checking anglers at boat launches in Montmorency County. At one of the launches, a subject driving a vehicle approached the COs. The subject was showing signs of intoxication and had an open beer in the vehicle. When asked how much the driver had to drink, he admitted he had several beers throughout the day. The driver failed SFSTs and blew a .173 in the PBT. The driver was arrested for OWI.


CO Amanda Weaver was on patrol when a complaint came in through the Report All Poaching (RAP) dispatch center of an individual fishing a closed section of the Platte River. CO Weaver responded to the location and located the subject, who had one steelhead in his possession. A citation was issued for the violation and CO Weaver educated the angler about the special regulations for fishing the Platte River.

CO Josiah Killingbeck checked a boat on the Pere Marquette River with several anglers. It was determined that the boat had no personal floatation devices (PFDs) on board. The owner of the boat told CO Killingbeck he had no idea that PFDs were required on a boat under 16 feet. The subject was educated on marine regulations and a citation was issued.

CO Scott MacNeill responded to a complaint on the Manistee River, near Tippy Dam, of an individual keeping walleye out of season. The complainant provided a description of the suspect, as well as a description of the vehicle the angler was putting the walleye in. This vital information allowed CO MacNeill to locate the individual and vehicle shortly after arriving on scene. Contacting the suspect, he showed CO MacNeill the two walleyes in his cooler that he had taken the hour prior. The suspect was informed that walleye season was closed on the Manistee River. The two walleyes were seized, and the angler was cited for possessing walleye during the closed season.

CO Troy Mueller responded to a RAP complaint of multiple tree stands left out on the Marion State Game Area (SGA). CO Mueller, with the assistance of CO Kevin Bunce, was able to locate the stands and the owners. Over the next few weeks, the CO were able to contact all the owners, educate them on the violation and charges authorized by the prosecutor’s office.

CO Kevin Bunce investigated an individual suspected of hunting without a license over the course of the 2022 firearm deer season. Upon interviewing the subject, the individual claimed they had gone hunting on opening day, only to realize they had not purchased any licenses for the two does he shot when it came time to validate his kill-tags. A report is being completed and will be submitted to the Osceola County prosecutor for review.

COs Micah Hintze and Tim Barboza received a complaint of an angler fishing a closed trout stream in Oceana County. When the COs arrived, they observed a subject fishing at the reported location and watched him for some time. Upon approach, the subject observed the CO causing him to drop his fishing gear and run into a nearby residence, leaving an additional set line still in the water. The COs watched the man come back out of the house in a completely different wardrobe and stare down at the river. The COs contacted the suspect who stated he had friends that were fishing there earlier but didn’t know who the pole belonged to. The man was confronted that he had been observed fishing before he finally admitted to fishing the closed river. The man stated he knew it was illegal and had been cited in the past for the same offense. The man was cited for fishing without a license, fishing a closed trout stream, and given a warning for unattended lines.

CO Jeff Ginn and PCO Brandon Benedict assisted with a hunter education field day in Croton Township. The COs spoke to approximately 75 students.

CO Jeff Ginn and PCO Brandon Benedict assisted the DNR Fisheries Division along the Muskegon River during the annual walleye egg take. They encountered several anglers and watercraft during their patrol. No violations were located.

CO Angela Greenway responded to a complaint of a non-permitted Jeep ride. CO Greenway contacted the event coordinator to discuss future permit requirements and altered the route to avoid closed areas to ORV traffic on state land.


COs James Garrett, Matt Zultak, and Jack Gorno attended an event at Houghton Lake High School to discuss the career of a Michigan conservation officer with 9th through 12th grade students. The COs brought in a fur kit, showed training videos, and discussed the hiring process with students. They also shared additional advice to help students better their resume for a potential career with the DNR down the road.

CO Craig Neal was out patrolling along Saginaw Bay when he noticed anglers catching perch at a very fast rate. After watching for a couple of hours, he noticed an individual take a bucket of fish back to his vehicle and head back out to begin fishing again. CO Neal contacted CO Jeff Goss to assist with the contact. As the angler started packing up for the evening, CO Neal watched the man count 25 perch into his bucket. CO Neal notified CO Goss and had him pull up to the front of the angler’s vehicle. When the angler saw CO Goss pull up, he attempted to dump his bucket full of perch into the ditch. When asked why he did that, he stated, “In case I counted wrong and had too many.”  CO Goss questioned the angler if he had additional fish in his vehicle. At first, he denied having any additional fish; however, he finally admitted there were more in his vehicle. The angler stated the fish were in his cooler. Altogether, he was in possession of 50 perch, which is twice the daily limit. CO Neal issued a citation for possession of an over-limit of perch and the additional fish were seized.


COs Mike Eovaldi and Jake Daniel were checking walleye anglers on Saginaw Bay when they contacted an angler at a boat launch. The angler and his 17 year old daughter had five walleye in their possession. When asked, the anglers admitted that they had both been fishing that day. When asked to produce a fishing license, the angler was not able to locate his. Further investigation revealed that the angler had not purchased a fishing license since 2021. The 17 year old was also found to not have a fishing license. CO Daniel issued a citation to the angler for possessing fish without a license. The 17 year old angler was given a warning for fishing without a license.

PCO Jake Robinson and CO Mike Haas received a complaint regarding an illegal trap containing a dead mink in the Flat River SGA; mink season ended three weeks prior. The COs recovered the trap in question and then located additional traps containing dead mink and muskrat. Eventually, the owner of the traps was located, and the trapper admitted to five additional traps in the area. The subject and the COs walked the state game area and removed all the traps along with one additional dead muskrat. The animals and traps were seized, and various charges are pending with the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office.

Driving through Gratiot County along the Pine River, PCO Jake Robinson and CO Mike Haas witnessed a vehicle operating southbound in the northbound lane. The COs caught up to the vehicle and paced it at 80 mph in the 55 mph zone. The vehicle failed to remain in their lane continuously crossing the center line and fog line. The COs conducted a traffic stop and the driver admitted that she had been distracted and was not paying attention to the roadway nor her speed. A citation was issued to address the driving violations.


CO Sam Schluckbier and PCO Pete Shambaugh responded to a large oil tanker fire near Wayland in Allegan County. The COs responded after hearing radio traffic from Allegan Central Dispatch and seeing a large plume of black smoke. The COs closed roads and helped disperse onlookers and traffic from the area to assist local law enforcement and fire response.

While patrolling Van Buren County during the spring steelhead run, CO Tyler Cole checked a popular area for fishing. While checking anglers, a fishing pole with illegal gear attached was found by CO Cole in the bushes. No anglers along the creek accepted ownership of the pole. Approximately three hours later, CO Cole covertly observed the same popular fishing area. CO Cole observed a subject whom he had talked to earlier fishing in the same location. CO Cole contacted the subject and observed the subject fishing with the identical illegal gear setup that he had seen on the unowned pole found earlier. The subject was cited for fishing with illegal gear and fishing without a license.


CO Cullen Knoblauch responded to a RAP complaint in Jackson County of a subject in possession of a flying squirrel. CO Knoblauch contacted two subjects who admitted to having a flying squirrel in their house. CO Knoblauch explained the laws about possessing wild animals and the squirrel was turned over to him. The squirrel was then turned over to a licensed rehabilitator.


CO Brad Silorey was patrolling areas along the Clinton River when he observed two anglers fishing on private property. CO Silorey pulled into the private parking area that was heavily signed “no trespassing” and fenced. CO Joe Deppen had recently taken a complaint from the landowner wanting enforcement action on all the trespassing anglers. CO Silorey contacted the two subjects who stated they knew they shouldn’t have parked there. Two citations for recreational trespass were issued and the subjects left the property.

CO Joseph Deppen handled a complaint about deer feeding that has been ongoing. The suspect was given three warnings about feeding deer within the past two years. CO Deppen arrived at the suspect’s residence and behind his house were piles of bird feed and corn placed in specific piles. The ground was trampled heavily with deer traffic. The man was reminded of all his previous encounters with COs, and this time, the man was cited for feeding/baiting deer.

CO Joseph Deppen responded to a complaint of a building company coming too close to a bald eagle nest and allegedly saying they would knock it down. CO Deppen responded to the area and found a good size nest up in the trees, but not quite the size of a bald eagle nest. CO Deppen worked with a local DNR wildlife biologist locating the nest and found it to be a red tail hawk nest. CO Deppen advised the building company of regulations surrounding the nesting birds and the company advised they were leaving the wooded area as a conservation easement.

CO Jaime Salisbury and PCO Griffin Korican observed a truck stuck in the mud in a Lapeer City Park. Upon further investigation, the driver of the vehicle had multiple child support warrants for his arrest. The warrants were confirmed and were found to be valid. The COs placed the man under arrest and transported him to the jail.

Sgt. Seth Rhodea and CO Danielle Zubek were patrolling on Harsens Island checking panfish anglers. While talking with one angler, Sgt. Rhodea was told to make sure to check several anglers further down the road, as they had been catching a lot of fish. As Sgt. Rhodea began approaching the anglers, they started gathering their gear to leave the area. Upon contacting the anglers and counting their fish, one of the anglers was found to be in possession of an over-limit and was cited for the violation.

COs Nicholas Ingersoll and Brandon Vacek received a complaint regarding individuals cast netting in Union Camp Marsh. The COs watched one of two individuals utilize his cast net to take several fish. The COs contacted the anglers and located several game fish and non-game fish taken with the cast net. The angler who was utilizing his cast net to take fish illegally was cited for taking fish with an illegal method and warned for not having a fishing license on his person. All fish were seized.

Following up on a complaint concerning trespassing at the old zoo at Belle Isle, COs Ariel Young and Danny Walzak located three of the subjects. When questioned, all subjects admitted to being at the zoo on the days in question. Each subject was issued a civil infraction for entering the area when it is posted against. Other subjects will be contacted when information can be found.

While at Belle Isle, CO Ariel Young and Sgt. Damon Owens received and responded to a complaint via MSP dispatch of a deceased individual found in the park. After arriving at the scene, CO Young checked the scene for safety, assessed vitals, and verified that the subject was indeed deceased. The investigation was turned over to the MSP.

CO Joseph Deppen and Sgt. Damon Owens were working Belle Isle. They observed a vehicle on the island traveling at 57mph in a 25mph zone. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle. The driver and passenger rolled down their windows and marijuana smoke came billowing out so that COs could not see each other on opposite sides of the car. Both driver and passenger admitted to smoking marijuana and handed over the blunt to the COs. The driver and passenger had multiple warrants. The driver was cited for driving while license suspended, no insurance, and using marijuana in public. The passenger was cited for using marijuana in public and was given a verbal warning on minor in possession. The vehicle plate was confiscated, the vehicle was impounded, and the driver was advised of his warrants. A friend came to pick them up off Belle Isle.

While patrolling on Belle Isle, CO Sydney Griffor observed a vehicle attempting to drive across a grass area near Central and Vista Avenues, eventually getting the vehicle stuck in the mud. CO Griffor spoke with the driver with CO Martin Lawrence assisting. After further investigation, it was concluded the driver did not have a valid license and the vehicle did not have insurance. The driver was issued citations and the vehicle was towed.

CO Jaime Salisbury and PCO Griffin Korican worked an eventful Belle Isle shift. The COs had multiple fishing contacts on the island and issued a fish with no license citation to an individual. Later in the shift, the COs were notified of an individual who was throwing and breaking objects at the rowing center. The COs arrived on scene and witnessed an individual attempting to break into the building by destroying windows. The COs apprehended the man and arrested him for destruction of property, breaking and entering, and resisting/obstructing a police officer.


Cpl. Pat Hartsig spoke to delinquent minnow catchers regarding late or absent reporting. Most did not fish at all, and others failed to report for the months they weren’t in town or didn’t fish.

Cpl. Pat Hartsig attended the Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee meeting at Belle Isle. Cpl. Pat Hartsig discussed recent updates to GLEU and the unit, as well as a brief chat about recruit schools and fish ID school efforts.

Cpls. Justin Vanderlinde and Troy Van Gelderen continued to inspect pet shops in Central, Southwest, and Southern Michigan in response to potential prohibited crayfish species being included in feeder fish shipments. The team spent many days on this detail and covered a large portion of the state. They also investigated several commercial bait harvesters for delinquent catch reporting along the way.

Cpl. Jon Busken contacted several fish wholesalers who were delinquent in their February reports and assisted one business in voiding an unused license.

Cpl. Mike Hammill checked numerous perch anglers taking advantage of late ice this year. Several perch over 14 inches were on the ice the day Cpl. Hammill was patrolling. Also, Cpl. Hammill took photos of the few permanent ice shacks left on the bay with the removal date fast approaching.

Cpl. Mike Hammill received a call from an individual that hit a bald eagle. Cpl. Hammill recovered the eagle then drove to the site where the bird had been feeding on a road-killed deer. Cpl. Hammill dragged the deer away from the road so that 5 other eagles in a tree near the carcass didn’t meet the same fate.