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Conservation Officer (CO) Jenni Hanson assisted Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Commission CO Jason Higgins with teaching a snowmobile safety course at the Watersmeet School.

COs Brian Lasanen and Zach Painter assisted the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers from the Wakefield Post with a fatal car accident in Ewen. The driver of the car died from their injuries after colliding with a semi-truck.

CO Phil Helminen and PCO Zack Cardinal were on patrol when Dickinson County Dispatch put out a call for a 13-year-old boy who had crashed into a tree on his snowmobile and was injured. The COs responded to the scene and found the child with injuries to his leg. The COs assisted until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived and transported the child to the hospital. The child had been driving a snowmobile on his property when he lost control, ran into a tree, and was ejected from the machine.

In Menominee County, CO Steve Sajtar attended the annual Marinette – Menominee Area Career Opportunity Expo. Approximately 300 high school students from Marinette, Menominee, Peshtigo, Stephenson, and Wausaukee attended the event. The Career Opportunity Expo is an annual event designed to enlighten students of career opportunities in the region and clarify what each career entails. CO Sajtar informed the students what a day in the life of a conservation officer is like and how each day is different. CO Sajtar also explained the hiring process to become a conservation officer and what students could do to prepare themselves for success. CO Sajtar answered questions from students and interacted with members of the community.

In Menominee County, CO Steve Sajtar was checking successful anglers at Hattie Street Dam when he heard a call over the radio of a two-car personal injury accident. CO Sajtar responded to the accident only a couple blocks away from Hattie Street Dam. Upon arrival, CO Sajtar assisted local law enforcement with securing the scene. Both drivers were treated for minor injuries at the scene and released.

CO Shannon Wicklund responded to a CPR in-progress call regarding a male who had returned to his residence and collapsed in the bathroom. CO Wicklund and other first responders administered life-saving measures. Unfortunately, the male was declared deceased at the scene by medical personnel.

COs John Kamps and Jackson Kelly were on patrol when they found a deer carcass dump site. The COs counted several deer that were processed and dumped in produce boxes from a grocery store. Further down the road, the COs found several more deer dumped in the same produce boxes. CO Kelly was able to develop a suspect based on past complaints and contacts. The COs went to the suspect house and immediately observed the same produce boxes in the driveway. After a brief interview with two individuals, the COs received a full confession for the dump site and for processing deer without a license. The COs were able to document the ledger for the deer processed during the 2023 deer season along with additional evidence. The two individuals received citations for littering and for commercially processing deer without a license.

COs John Kamps, Jackson Kelly and Sergeant (Sgt.) Mark Leadman conducted a snowmobile patrol along Trail 417 in Chocolay Township. The section of trail has a strictly enforced 35 miles per hour (mph) speed zone due to the residential area surrounding the trail. Several warnings were given along with two citations for exceeding the speed limit.


COs Steve Butzin and Brandon Maki interviewed an individual who was suspected of a deer hunting license violation. Upon interviewing the individual, he confessed to shooting a 10-point white-tailed deer before purchasing a valid 2023 deer license. The hunter stated he realized his mistake after he had shot the deer, so he went to the store and purchased a license. The 10-point rack was seized, and a report will be submitted to the Menominee County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Brandon Maki interviewed an individual who was suspected of a deer hunting license violation. The individual confessed to shooting a 4-point white-tailed deer and stated that after he shot the deer, he realized he had not purchased a license. He then went to the store and purchased a license, returned to the deer he had shot in the woods and tagged it. The deer head was seized, and the suspect was informed a report would be submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Alger County Prosecutor's Office authorized charges for an illegal deer from 2022. CO Andrea Dani subsequently issued the suspect a citation for take of antlered deer (spike) without a license.

CO Justin Vinson attended the Eastern Upper Peninsula Snowmobile Council meeting, along with the Alger, Luce, Chippewa, Mackinac, and Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Departments. The council meeting provides an opportunity for both the grooming clubs and law enforcement organizations to discuss concerns from both riders and groomers, as well as review past enforcement efforts and their success.

CO Cole VanOosten received disposition of a 2022 trapping case involving the trapping of an over-limit of fisher out of season. The suspect pled guilty, paying $1,150 in restitution for the four fisher that were illegally harvested.

CO Cole VanOosten, Sgt. Tim Rosochacki and acting Lieutenant Mark Papineau assisted in conducting an “Interactive Wildlife Crime Scene” for a high school CTE class at Lake Superior State University. The three-day program gave students a glimpse into the job of a conservation officer and demonstrated investigation skills and report writing.


CO Duane Budreau was working a busy snowmobile trail intersection at a county road crossing in northern Emmet County when a group of snowmobiles approached the stop sign. The first machine came to a stop before proceeding through the intersection. The second operator must have assumed all was clear and crossed the roadway intersection at about 40 mph. The second operator noticed CO Budreau at the intersection as he blew through it. He attempted to alert the next guy in line by reaching back and pointing toward CO Budreau. The third snowmobile came to a skidding stop coming to rest in the middle of the intersection. CO Budreau met the group at the next road crossing and ticketed the second rider for careless operation of a snowmobile and issued a warning to the operator that stopped in the intersection.

CO Tim Rosochacki was patrolling for snowmobile activity in Cheboygan County when he observed a snowmobile disregard three separate stop signs along the trail. Upon making a stop, the subject stated he thought they were just yield signs. It was further discovered the driver had an expired registration, no trail permit, and had a revoked license. A ticket was issued.

CO Tom Oberg investigated a complaint during the firearm deer season regarding a subject who was a felon that was hunting deer with a firearm. CO Oberg compiled a report requesting charges for a felon in possession of a firearm and the Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office authorized the charge and issued a warrant. CO Oberg, along with the assistance of Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers, located the subject who was arrested on the felony warrant without incident. The subject was lodged at the Otsego County Jail.

CO Jack Gorno conducted an interview with a subject in Cheboygan County who was suspected of sharing deer kill tags. CO Gorno was able to obtain a confession that the subject bought licenses for his dad. CO Gorno went straight to the subject’s father’s residence and conducted another interview. The father admitted to borrowing kill tags and shooting three bucks during deer season. CO Gorno seized two sets of antlers, venison, and is seeking charges through the Cheboygan County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Sidney LaLonde was patrolling on her snowmobile in Montmorency County when she saw a single snowmobile track that had turned off the snowmobile trail onto the powerline. CO LaLonde knew this was a wet spot that likely hadn’t frozen over yet. CO LaLonde continued down the trail and then drove in from the opposite direction on the powerline to make sure the operator had made it out of the swampy area. CO LaLonde could see the headlight of the snowmobile no longer moving. CO LaLonde drove her snowmobile in as far as she could while staying on higher grounds. CO LaLonde then walked through the cattails to the snowmobiler who was stuck in a deep hole. They both then started working on getting the snowmobile out of the water. CO LaLonde took off the windshield on the snowmobile and the two attempted to roll the sled over. The muck was so deep, it made it tough to flip on its side. The CO and snowmobiler then used the windshield as a shovel to put snow under the track for traction. The snowmobile continued to slowly sink in the swamp. A separate group of snowmobilers came by, so CO LaLonde waved them down to ask for assistance. After an hour of work, one of the group members assisted in helping roll the snowmobile over onto higher ground. The operator was very grateful that CO LaLonde had the foresight to check in on him and help him to get unstuck.

COs Dan Liestenfeltz, Sidney LaLonde, and Tyler Sabuda were on their snowmobiles patrolling southern Montmorency County when a single snowmobile personal injury crash was dispatched through Montmorency County Central Dispatch. The COs responded to the scene and spoke with the individual involved in the crash and monitored injuries until emergency medical personnel arrived. It was determined that the operator was attempting to jump their snowmobile over a very steep hill and lost control mid-air. This caused the operator to jump off the snowmobile and land on the ground. The operator suffered a broken leg in the crash and was transported to Gaylord Otsego Memorial Hospital by ambulance. CO Liestenfeltz handled the crash report and investigation.

COs Dan Liestenfeltz and Tyler Sabuda were on their snowmobiles patrolling southern Montmorency County when a two-snowmobile personal injury crash was dispatched through Montmorency County Central Dispatch. The COs responded to the scene and spoke with both individuals involved. It was determined that one of the operators attempted to cross the roadway and crashed into a friend’s snowmobile traveling the same direction. The operator had minor back pain and refused transportation to the hospital. CO Liestenfeltz handled the crash report and investigation.

COs Jon Sheppard and Alex Bourgeois received a phone call from a local bobcat hunter stating that his dog was stuck in a marshy area near Devils Lake in Alpena County. They were unable to retrieve the dog safely due to ice conditions and open water between them and the dog. CO Sheppard advised them to contact the Alpena Fire Department to help assist with a cold-water rescue because the dog owner would attempt a rescue regardless of any help arriving. COs Sheppard and Bourgeois utilized their snowmobiles to move rescue swimmers to the area the dog was at. Deep snow made the area inaccessible to conventional trucks. The dog was eventually rescued cold but unharmed.

CO Alex Bourgeois was parked near an intersection on snowmobile Trail 992 in Alpena County when he observed a snowmobile enter the roadway and start doing donuts in the middle of the road. The snowmobiler did multiple donuts before he flipped his snowmobile with it landing on top of him. CO Bourgeois headed over to the snowmobiler who had since then flipped the snowmobile over and was not injured. The man driving the snowmobile stated that he was not doing donuts and was looking for his friend behind him. CO Bourgeois issued the man a ticket for careless operation.


COs William Kinney and Amanda Weaver were investigating complaints of camper trailers that had been abandoned on state land. Efforts to locate the owners were futile and the number of complaints generated by these campers continued to increase. The COs were able to secure funding through the DNR’s Adopt a Forest litter initiative to have the campers impounded and disposed of at the dump. A local towing company volunteered it’s time to assist in the removal of these campers and they are no longer left to clutter Michigan’s state-owned lands in Benzie and Grand Traverse Counties.

Prior to the firearm deer season, COs William Kinney and Logan Turner located an illegal deer bait site established on state-owned lands. Several trail cameras were placed by the hunter to monitor the bait site. On November 15th, the COs attempted to contact the hunter, who jumped out of the stand as the COs approached. The COs located a vehicle parked near the tree stand and called the registered owner. The hunter denied having any knowledge of the tree stand and bait. The COs returned to the illegal bait site and seized the trail cameras. Photographs showed the hunter the COs talked to, hunting on November 15th, and placing bait on numerous occasions. The COs reinterviewed the hunter who admitted to placing the bait but would not admit to hunting the location. Charges are being sought through the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office.

Acting Sgt. Angela Greenway was conducting a stationary patrol in Paris along the Rails to Trails for snowmobile activity. Sgt. Greenway stopped a snowmobile that was not displaying a current snowmobile registration. As the operator got off the snowmobile and took his helmet off, he said, “I’m going to jail.” Sgt. Greenway asked the operator “Why, do you have a warrant?” He said “Yes.” Sgt. Greenway ran the subject and the snowmobile through central dispatch and confirmed he had a valid warrant. It was also confirmed that he had valid registration for his snowmobile. The subject was placed into custody and lodged on the warrant.

CO Kevin Bunce was patrolling Lake County when he encountered two individuals operating a side-by-side that appeared to lack the required ORV license. CO Bunce attempted to stop the ORV which increased its speed exceeding the county’s ordinance of 25 mph and was operating in the middle of the snow-covered roadway. CO Bunce eventually caught up to the side-by-side and saw it performing “donuts” in the center of the roadway. A citation was issued for the violations.


Acting Sgt.’s Brad Bellville and James Garrett were working together in rural Roscommon County when a call came out for an unconscious male at his residence. The COs quickly realized that they were only a few miles from the address and advised Roscommon Central Dispatch that they were responding to the call. The COs arrived on scene in under three minutes and rushed into the residence to begin CPR and deploy an AED. The COs continued CPR for nearly ten minutes until EMS arrived on scene to take over. The COs stayed on scene and assisted EMS until the subject was stable enough to be loaded into the ambulance and transported to a nearby hospital.


While on patrol in Bay County, PCO Kyle Romzek and CO Adam Beuthin observed a fire burning near the Pinconning area. Upon further investigation, it was determined that tires and other illegal materials were being burned. The COs contacted the property owner and advised him of the illegal materials being burned. The COs instructed the owner to put out the fire. Enforcement action was taken, and the property owner was issued a citation for unlawful disposal of solid waste.

While patrolling the Saginaw River and checking ice anglers, PCO Kyle Romzek and CO Adam Beuthin discovered multiple violations regarding ice fishing. The COs issued five citations including two for possessing short walleye and three for fishing without a license.


No Report


CO Nick Thornton was on patrol and noticed several individuals on a field edge wearing hunter orange and carrying firearms. CO Thornton turned around in the roadway and drove back to contact the individuals. CO Thornton noticed the individuals had spread out and no longer had firearms. CO Thornton initiated a friendly conversation with the individuals and learned one gentleman was a convicted felon. The individual eventually admitted he was shooting clay pigeons knowing he was not allowed to possess a firearm. CO Thornton seized his firearm and will be requesting criminal charges through the prosecutor’s office.

CO Chris Reynolds and PCO James Rowley were on a lake in Hillsdale County contacting ice anglers for licenses. CO Reynolds and PCO Rowley contacted one person who was actively fishing. The person presented their license and was evasive when asked how many panfish they had caught. Upon counting the fish, the person was found to have well over the 25 panfish limit. A citation was issued for taking and possessing an over-limit of panfish.

CO Cullen Knoblauch completed a taxidermy inspection where he found a deer that required additional follow-up with the hunter. CO Marc Mankowski interviewed the hunter who admitted to buying a license and giving it to his friend to tag the deer he had shot. CO Mankowski then interviewed the other hunter and gained a confession that he had shot three bucks this year, two of which were without a license. Further questioning uncovered an illegal deer taken without a license in 2022. Charges will be submitted to the Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office.


CO Joshua Salas followed up on an ongoing baiting investigation from deer season. The CO was able to obtain a search warrant and search a trail camera that was seized from a baited hunting area. Through the search of the trail camera, the CO found several individuals who were placing and hunting over bait. The CO reached out to the MSP and had their Digital Analysis and Identification unit analyze a photo of the suspect and give a possible suspect. Thanks to the help from the MSP, the CO was able to learn the suspect's identity. COs Salas and Cody Bourgeois interviewed the individual, who admitted to shooting two deer over the bait. Through the interview, the COs also discovered two more deer had also been shot over bait by another individual. One from this season and one from last season. Charges are being submitted to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

CO Justin Muehlhauser and PCO Zach Smith responded to the Holloway Dam on a report of a subject snagging walleye. While observing the angler, he packed up and went to the parking lot. The COs contacted the subject at his vehicle and asked if he had any luck catching fish. The subject responded that he had not. When questioned if any fish were in his five-gallon bucket, he stated that he had caught a catfish and offered to show them. After checking the bucket, the COs observed six walleyes along with a catfish. All six walleye were found to be undersized, with two being foul hooked. Enforcement action was taken for over-limit, undersized, and retaining foul hooked fish. The walleyes were seized.

CO Justin Muehlhauser and PCO Zach Smith were checking anglers at the Holloway Dam. When walking through the parking lot, the COs observed an uncased AR 15 rifle laying on the front passenger seat of a vehicle with two magazines sitting on the center console. The owner of the vehicle was found while checking the anglers. After questioning the subject, he stated he was transporting the rifle to a residence to put it away for the season. He did not have a case for the rifle but made the decision to transport it anyway. He then stopped at the dam to fish with a friend on the way to the residence. Enforcement action was taken for uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. The COs secured the rifle in their patrol truck, followed the subject to the residence, and turned the rifle back over to him.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll received a complaint from an individual stating that his neighbor was feeding deer for the third year in a row. CO Ingersoll responded to the residence and located a pile of apples that the suspect had placed. After speaking with the suspect, he admitted to placing them out for the deer. The suspect stated that he thought that he wouldn’t get caught because they were hidden in the corner of his property. CO Ingersoll advised him he clearly was able to see them from the roadway and the neighbor’s property. After warning him in the past, CO Ingersoll advised the neighbor he was going to be cited for feeding the deer. A citation was issued, and the individual accepted his consequences for getting caught.

CO Sydney Griffor was patrolling when she came across a rollover crash with a vehicle on its hood on westbound I 94 near Moran Avenue in Detroit. CO Griffor arrived on scene simultaneously with Detroit Fire Department. CO Griffor and Detroit Fire were able to safely remove a mother and her two young children from the inside of the flipped over vehicle. The three occupants of the overturned vehicle were wearing their seatbelts and were checked out by EMS. They did not sustain any injuries. The driver of the other vehicle involved was also uninjured. CO Griffor stayed on scene until MSP troopers arrived and the crash was turned over to them.

CO Griffin Korican conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for careless driving. When he approached the vehicle, the driver was found halfway into the backseat. After extensive questioning, the CO discovered no individual out of the three inside the vehicle had a valid driver’s license. All three had various traffic warrants out of the 36th District Court. The driver was issued a citation for driving while license suspended and given a warning for no insurance. A family member who was near and had a valid driver’s license drove the vehicle away.


Corporal (Cpl.) Chris Lynch and CO Steve Butzin spoke on a local radio show segment “Behind the Badge.” Topics included ice safety and fishing regulations. The segment is aired numerous times throughout the day for approximately 2 weeks.

Cpl. Troy Van Gelderen was patrolling Oceana County when he saw two subjects walking out of the woods with shotguns. Neither of the subjects had any required “hunter orange” clothing. Cpl. Van Gelderen discovered that the subjects were rabbit hunting, and the hunters informed him that they thought that wearing hunter’s orange was merely a suggestion, and not required. Citations were issued, and the law was explained.


Detective Quincy Gowenlock received a complaint from Drinking Water Environmental Health Division staff referencing a Bay County subject who had been constructing a campground without a permit. Det. Gowenlock responded with staff in April of 2023 to conduct a site inspection. During the inspection, one glaring issue was septage waste. When the suspect was asked what his plan was for septage, he related the following: It was going to be pumped to a lagoon adjacent to the golf course which he also owned. Then he was going to use the liquid to irrigate the golf course and discharge the rest to a drain that led to Lake Huron. After hearing this and finding several other violations/issues, the suspect was told to immediately stop work. He was instructed to hire a licensed engineer and to come up with an actual plan. Prior to leaving, Det. Gowenlock told the suspect not to open the campground until he came into compliance and to expect a follow up compliance visit.

On May 5, 2023, Det. Gowenlock returned to the site and found it was in operation with several campers hooked up to the utilities. The owner was contacted and said he thought he had his permit. The suspect had also failed to hire an engineer and was continuing with his original plan to pump septage to unpermitted holding ponds. The suspect was cited for the following: Constructing a campground w/o a permit and operating a campground while unlicensed. 

As this case worked its way through court, Det. Gowenlock received word that the suspect was again operating the campground. On October 11, 2023, Det. Gowenlock returned and to his amazement, found the campground was open and several RVs were onsite. He located the suspect and when asked why he was open he stated the following, “I thought I was good to go because you already gave me a ticket.” The suspect still did not have an engineer and was working off of his own plans. 

The suspect was cited a second time for the same violations and ordered to close the campground. After several months of litigation, the suspect finally agreed to a plea deal. 

On January 9, 2024, the suspect pled guilty to two counts of operating an unlicensed campground. In exchange for his plea, the two counts of constructing a campground w/o a permit were dismissed. The suspect was ordered to pay $250 in fines and put on probation for 1 year.