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Conservation Officer (CO) Brian Lasanen was called to assist the Houghton County Sheriff's Office with a vehicle that left the roadway, went through a garage, and landed on the ice at Rice Lake. The vehicle was pulled from the lake, vehicle pieces cleared from the lake, and the driver walked away from the accident with no injuries.

In Menominee County, CO Steve Sajtar assisted with recovering an injured hunter from his elevated deer blind. The injured hunter called 911 after dislocating his hip in the elevated blind. First responders were unsuccessful in locating the hunter’s camp as it did not have a physical address. CO Sajtar was first on scene after using a series of trails to navigate to the camp. After locating the injured hunter, CO Sajtar assisted emergency medical services (EMS) with lowering the hunter to the ground and transporting him to the ambulance. The hunter was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries.

CO Steve Sajtar conducted a commercial processor inspection at a local meat processing facility in Menominee County. While completing the inspection, CO Sajtar overheard a call from Menominee Central Dispatch of an unresponsive male subject experiencing a seizure. The male subject was in the grocery store adjacent to the meat processing facility. CO Sajtar ran to the adjacent building and administered first aid. After a few minutes, the unresponsive subject became responsive. CO Sajtar kept the subject conscious and responsive until EMS arrived. The subject was taken to the hospital by EMS and treated for his injuries.

CO Steve Sajtar partnered with Wisconsin Conservation Warden Gavin Brault to speak at the Marinette – Menominee Great Lakes Sport Fishing (MMGLSF) meeting. At the MMGLSF meeting, the COs presented the latest fishing regulations for both Michigan and Wisconsin. Both COs answered questions about current regulations in their respective states. In addition, CO Sajtar and Warden Brault explained boundary water regulations that pertain to the boundary waters between Michigan and Wisconsin.

COs Jeremy Sergey and Jackson Kelly had obtained information that an individual illegally trapped a fisher and a pine marten and failed to register them back in the 2022 season. The COs interviewed the individual and obtained a full confession. During the interview, the COs also discovered three more traps set on the individual’s property and determined the individual failed to obtain a license for the 2023 season as well. A citation was issued for trapping without a license for the traps set in 2023 and a report is being submitted for the fisher and the marten that were harvested the year prior. The COs seized the mounted fisher and pine marten that were taken illegally. 


CO Steve Butzin investigated an individual who had possibly taken a 10-point whitetail deer without possessing a license. The allegations were found to be accurate, and a report is being submitted to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office requesting the individual be charged with taking a deer without a license. If found guilty, this individual could be ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,000.

CO Mike Olesen responded to a complaint that a dog was caught in a trap on private property in Mackinac County. The trapper had been having issues all fall with the same dog running at large on his property. CO Olesen and a deputy from the Mackinac County Sheriff's Office were able to remove the dog from the trap and returned it to the owner who lived approximately seven miles away. There were no violations on the part of the trapper. A citation was issued to the owner of the dog for allowing it to run at large.


CO Tom Oberg was on patrol when he observed an oncoming vehicle passing another oncoming vehicle at a high rate of speed. CO Oberg used his RADAR to get a speed measurement. The vehicle was travelling approximately 90 miles per hour in a 55 mph speed zone. CO Oberg turned his patrol truck around and was eventually able to catch up to the vehicle that was still doing almost 90 mph. CO Oberg conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver. CO Oberg questioned the driver on why they were going so fast. They stated they wanted to pass the vehicle in front of them and wanted to get some distance between them because they didn’t like how they were driving. A ticket was issued to the driver for the excessive speed.

CO Sidney LaLonde was off duty when she received a complaint on New Year’s Day of a suspicious person driving around a well-known poaching area in Presque Isle County. CO LaLonde quickly suited up and responded to the scene. The complainant then called back stating they heard a gunshot on private property. CO LaLonde hid her truck in the area and went out on foot to watch the subjects. Just then, a recklessly operated vehicle came through the intersection and almost rolled over. CO LaLonde ran back to her patrol truck and followed the vehicle. The vehicle then picked up a passenger who was running with a gun from the woods and swamp. CO LaLonde immediately stopped the vehicle and interviewed the subjects. Two loaded rifles were found in the vehicle at the time. The subjects admitted to seeing deer in the road and thought they could quickly fill their freezer. The driver of the vehicle dropped the passenger off on private property they did not have permission to hunt on. The property was farmland and posted as private. The subject walked past several “No Trespassing” signs and laid in a field. Once the deer came into the field, the subject shot at a doe. The driver of the vehicle at this time realized there may have been someone watching them. He panicked and told the shooter to meet him out at the road. This is where CO LaLonde was able to stop them. CO LaLonde traced the shooter’s steps in the snow and found he had trespassed on two private properties. A bullet casing from one of the rifles was found in the field. There was no blood found at the scene and no evidence of a dead deer. The guns were placed into evidence and a report was submitted to the prosecutor’s office for several charges, including the two loaded guns in a motor vehicle, two counts of recreational trespass, no hunter orange, and attempt to take deer illegally.


COs Josiah Killingbeck and Kyle Publiski responded to a Report All Poaching complaint of a subject keeping a live coyote in his barn and running an illegal taxidermy business. The COs contacted the suspect, who denied having a coyote. The subject offered a tour of his barn. Upon walking out of the back of the barn, the subject said, “See, there is nothing here.” CO Killingbeck turned around, looked around a corner, and observed a coyote looking at him in a pen. The COs asked the subject what was in the kennel and the subject admitted to having a coyote and doing taxidermy without a license. Numerous violations were addressed, the coyote seized, and citations issued.

CO Josiah Killingbeck followed up on a deer processor inspection and a suspicious deer license purchase. CO Killingbeck contacted the subject who had purchased the license and asked if a deer had been harvested. The subject said that he had shot a 4-point buck in Mecosta County. When asked when he shot the deer, the hunter told CO Killingbeck a date prior to when he purchased his hunting license. The subject told CO Killingbeck that he had not hunted in several years, made a last-minute decision to go hunting, and decided he would not buy a license unless he shot a deer. The subject said he shot the buck and then went to the store to get a license. The subject stated that he did not want the meat and just wanted to kill the deer for the thrill of it. The subject said he did not eat venison, so he donated it to a family member. A report is being sent to the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

COs Zack Walters and Josh Wright contacted a river drift boat with four passengers on a river in Benzie County. The COs discovered there were only three personal floatation devices (PFDs) on board the vessel and two of the occupants did not have their fishing licenses in possession. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for failing to provide adequate PFDs and two warnings were issued for failing to exhibit fishing licenses. The COs patrol encompassed approximately 11 miles of river with a total of 25 anglers contacted with an additional warning issued for failing to display a fishing license.


No Report


While on marine patrol, CO Paul Lyden noticed multiple watercrafts going faster than a no wake speed in a no wake area on the Saginaw River. CO Lyden stopped both vessels and advised both operators that the area they were operating at that speed in is a no wake area on the river. CO Lyden also pointed out multiple slow no wake signs. Both operators were cited for exceeding a slow no wake speed.

While on patrol in the state forest area of Midland County, COs Jake Daniel and Paul Lyden encountered multiple ORVs in an area closed to ORVs. In addition to operating in the closed area, it was found that the operators were causing erosive conditions, had no ORV stickers, and had littered. The operators were issued citations to address the various issues.

During a patrol in the Flat River State Game Area (SGA), PCO Chris Kravitsky and CO Mike Haas contacted multiple small game hunters and other outdoor recreationists taking advantage of the mild weather. Two subjects the COs encountered were squirrel hunting in full camouflage and lacked required hunter orange garments. The COs explained the safety concerns due to the large number of people out in the woods hunting and issued a citation to address the violation.

CO Adam Schiller assisted the Midland and Gratiot County Sheriff’s Departments in the search for an individual who was involved in a multiple county pursuit. The suspect fled from Midland County deputies to Gratiot County where Gratiot County deputies joined the pursuit. CO Schiller was not in position to assist in the pursuit but while he listened to radio traffic, advised the pursuing officers that the suspect was likely headed to a section of state forest land based on the suspect’s direction of travel. Shortly after, the suspect turned into a two-track of the Gladwin Forest Management Unit and fled on foot. CO Schiller arrived on scene and assisted in the search for the suspect with the Gratiot County K9 unit. With the assistance of a drone, the suspect’s location was pinpointed, and the suspect was taken into custody shortly after.


CO Zach Bauer was on patrol observing anglers along the St. Joseph River. When one of the anglers spotted CO Bauer, the man attempted to quickly release a fish into the river. However, the fish did not swim away as planned. CO Bauer scooped up the fish and contacted the anglers. The anglers stated they were getting ready to leave and released it. CO Bauer advised them this was not his first day on the job, and measured the fish which was undersized. The anglers admitted they got nervous when they saw CO Bauer and ultimately, tried to get rid of the evidence. A citation was issued for the violation.

CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint of a subject cutting trees down in the Allegan State Game Area (SGA). The CO arrived on scene and located the suspect actively cutting downed trees with a chainsaw next to his truck that was illegally parked/driven in the SGA. Upon identifying the suspect, the CO learned he had a revoked driver’s license, the plate on his truck was improper, and there was no insurance on the vehicle. A tow truck was called to have the vehicle removed from its location. The CO conducted an inventory search of the vehicle and located three double edged, non-folding knives in the vehicle. Charges are being requested through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office for carrying a concealed weapon.

PCO Ryan Jager and CO Carter Woodwyk heard a complaint dispatched in Allegan County of a subject shooting a firearm from a motor vehicle. While in route, an Allegan County deputy located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. When the COs arrived on scene, they discovered the two occupants, a father/son duo, were part of a squirrel hunting tournament. Multiple squirrels were in the bed of their truck which put them two squirrels over their daily possession limit. The COs asked both subjects if there were any other squirrels and both indicated there were not. The juvenile subject appeared to get very nervous and further investigation revealed he was concealing two additional squirrels in his coat pockets. Citations were issued for the over-limit of squirrels.

CO Mark Reffitt was on patrol in Ionia County when a be-on-lookout (BOL) call came out through Ionia County Central Dispatch for a suspect who fled a domestic violence incident. The suspect was armed with a shotgun and had reportedly made suicidal threats before leaving the scene of the incident. CO Reffitt was familiar with the suspect and his vehicle due to the individual’s recent deer hunting violations and patrolled to the area where he thought the suspect might be headed. After approximately 20 minutes, CO Reffitt spotted the suspect vehicle broken down in the roadway and contacted the individual. An Ionia County Public Safety Officer and an MSP trooper arrived on scene to assist, and the subject was arrested and transported to the Ionia County Jail. An uncased 12-gauge shotgun was found in the subject’s vehicle and turned over to Ionia County Sheriff’s Office deputies who arrived on scene and were handling the investigation. Charges are being sought with the Ionia County Prosecutor's Office for domestic violence, possession of an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle, and felony possession of methamphetamine.


CO Elliot Worel responded to a recreational trespassing complaint in Calhoun County with waterfowl hunters. He went to the boat launch where the hunters had parked to conduct a check upon their return. While the CO waited, he noticed that one of the hunters capsized his kayak. Shortly after, the capsized hunter capsized his friend’s kayak while attempting to climb onto it for safety. CO Worel prepared for a water rescue and used his loudspeaker, directing the remaining hunter to paddle ashore. The CO provided the hunter with spare life preservers and a throw rope and advised him to tow his friends to shore. The CO assisted the hunters to land and provided them with thermal blankets and hand warmers. Once everyone was safe and secure, the CO conducted his checks and found that one of the hunters had lead shells in his blind bag. The CO issued a citation for possession of lead shot while waterfowl hunting. The hunter acknowledged his mistake and stated that he was just glad to be back on land and warm.


COs Joshua Salas and Cody Bourgeois were on patrol when they received a complaint of an individual baiting. The COs responded to the area and were able to locate the individual sitting in a blind over a large bait pile hunting with a crossbow without a license. The COs also discovered the individual was sitting in the blind drinking. The individual was issued a citation for the bait and while the individual was not intoxicated, the COs stressed the importance of safety and not handling weapons while intoxicated.

CO Luke Robare received a call from the Davison Township Police Department about a trespassing complaint. The complaint was that three hunters trespassed on a farm field and were goose hunting a pond in the middle of the property. The landowner went to confront the trespassers and they fled on foot for a waiting vehicle on the road. CO Robare investigated the situation and found that the trespasser had shot two geese just before they were run off the property. The landowner had gotten the license plate number off the fleeing vehicle and CO Robare started his investigation into the registered owner. CO Robare identified all three hunters that were in the field as well as the driver. All the individuals involved were minors under the age of 18. The landowner wished to press charges and CO Robare will submit charges to the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.

CO Danielle Zubek was contacted by CO Mark Siemen about an illegal 10-point that was taken with a rifle. CO Siemen received a complaint that the suspect shot the buck with a rifle during the late antlerless season. CO Zubek provided surveillance on the residence until CO Siemen could arrive. Both COs then interviewed the suspect who admitted to shooting the deer with a rifle. The suspect then cut off the head of the 10-point, kept it, and dumped the body by the side of the road. Several charges will be issued with a report to the prosecutor’s office for review.

CO Joseph Deppen received a complaint in Macomb County, during the January Urban Deer Management archery season. The caller was out archery deer hunting when he heard a nearby gunshot. CO Deppen responded and upon arrival, observed two subjects looking for blood with flashlights. The deer was never recovered, and the subjects left. Feeling confident that the subjects would return the following night to hunt again, CO Deppen set up surveillance on the property. At approximately 4:00 PM, two subjects arrived and walked out to their blind carrying firearms and a white plastic bag. Neither subject was wearing hunter orange. CO Kris Kiel was called to wait down the road. At three minutes before the end of legal shooting hours, one of the subjects shot. CO Deppen observed the subjects return to their vehicle dragging a deer with blood on their hands. CO Kiel drove his patrol truck to the back of the property where the subjects were as CO Deppen walked in to simultaneously make contact. The subject who had shot the small doe admitted to shooting the deer with a .450 rifle, without wearing hunter orange, and brought in apples for bait that were originally observed in the white plastic bag. The second subject was hunting without a license, hunted with a firearm during the archery season, had the loaded firearm in a case in the bed of the truck, hunted over bait, and failed to wear hunter orange. The deer was seized, and a report will be submitted to the prosecutor for the multitude of charges.

CO Nicholas Ingersoll contacted a hunter finishing up his evening hunt. While CO Ingersoll checked the hunter’s firearm, it was determined that the gun was still loaded 20 minutes after shooting hours. CO Ingersoll continued to speak with the hunter who admitted to shooting a deer during the early bow season. CO Ingersoll checked the hunter’s licenses and compared that to the hunter’s story he was telling him, and it was determined after a short interview, that the hunter had shot a 7-point without a license. The hunter admitted to shooting the 7-point without a license and stated that he thought it originally was a doe. Charges for taking a deer without a license will be sought through the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office. 


CO Dan Walzak was following a vehicle down Central Avenue on Belle Isle and, approaching a cross street with a stop sign, watched as the vehicle made little, if any, attempt to stop. CO Walzak caught up with the vehicle, activated his emergency lights and brought the offending vehicle to a stop. When CO Walzak contacted the driver and explained the reason for pulling her over, the driver responded, “Oh, my gosh – I thought I stopped.” CO Walzak further explained that she barely slowed down while going through the intersection. The driver was issued a citation for disregarding a traffic control device / failing to stop at a stop sign.

CO Joshua Salas was running RADAR on Belle Isle when he spotted a vehicle going 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. The CO conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and upon checking the driving status of the individual, dispatch notified the CO that the individual had a suspended driver’s license and had seven outstanding warrants. CO Brad Silorey and PCO Zack Cardinal arrived to assist, and the COs took the individual into custody on the outstanding warrants.

CO Joshua Salas was on patrol on Belle Isle when he spotted a car going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone and failed to use turn signals. The CO conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and upon checking the driver through the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), the CO learned the driver had three outstanding warrants. The driver was taken into custody on the outstanding warrants and his vehicle was impounded due to not having a licensed driver to operate it.

COs Danielle Zubek and Sydney Griffor were assigned to work Belle Isle on New Year’s Eve. A 5k run was taking place on the island. Both officers provided lights and assistance with traffic flow for the safety of all the participants. During the race, a call came over the radio for a runner down with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in progress. Both COs Zubek and Griffor arrived on scene. CO Zubek provided an automated external defibrillator (AED) and medical kit. On arrival, the man was unconscious and not breathing. CO Zubek placed the AED pads on the patient while CPR was in progress. CO Griffor was instructed to lead EMS on the island to navigate the race obstacles and road closures. Nurses and medical personnel who were participating in the run assisted with CPR and breaths to the man until EMS arrived. The man was breathing upon arrival of EMS.

While observing traffic entering Belle Isle, CO Brandon Vacek spotted a sport utility vehicle (SUV) towing a small trailer loaded with junk. The CO followed the SUV from a distance until it turned out of sight. After checking the surrounding areas, the vehicle was found well inside the gated storage area near the White House/Garage. CO Joseph Closser arrived to assist with contacting the driver and passenger who claimed they were looking for a fishing spot and thought they could turn around in here. The COs advised the driver of the large sign on the gate advising, “No Unauthorized Entry,” then issued a citation for enter/occupy where posted against. The COs escorted the SUV off the island due to safety concerns with the attached trailer.


Corporal (Cpl.) Mike Hammill responded to a complaint of a possible gillnet set on an inland trout lake in Schoolcraft County.  Cpl. Hammill responded and agreed with the complainant that the looks of the drilled holes mimic what it would look like when someone set a gillnet.  After an inspection of the area, it was clear it was someone just checking the ice thickness.

Cpl. Tom Peterson checked multiple recreational ice fishermen throughout multiple patrols on various bodies of water as ice conditions continue to improve. On two different occasions, Cpl. Peterson contacted groups of anglers fishing a closed trout lake in Houghton County. After contacting the groups no fish were retained and both parties were groups of young high school and college-aged anglers. Cpl. Peterson used this contact as a teaching moment and educated both parties on the importance of knowing what areas are closed to fishing throughout the season.