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Conservation Officer (CO) Byron Parks parked his patrol truck and followed two sets of footprints a half mile to a small inland lake. When he arrived at the lake, CO Parks could see a pop-up ice fishing shelter and multiple tip-ups set out. He counted eight tip-ups set out on the ice. As CO Parks approached the shelter, he observed a northern pike laying on the ice that was less than the required length. CO Parks addressed the multiple violations with both subjects, eventually issuing one subject a citation for possessing an undersized northern pike and the other subject a citation for fishing with too many lines.

COs Steve Sajtar and Shannon Wicklund patrolled Lake Michigan and the Menominee River for the annual spring walleye run. Although the bite was slow, the COs contacted many successful anglers with brown trout and steelhead aboard their vessels. COs Sajtar and Wicklund contacted a vessel well into Michigan waters trolling for brown trout. When asked for their fishing licenses, the two men aboard the vessel admitted to not having Michigan fishing licenses, only Wisconsin fishing licenses. The two men had one brown trout in their possession that was taken from Michigan waters without a valid license. The fish was photographed for evidence and the men were each issued a citation.

COs Shannon Wicklund and Steven Sajtar followed up with an unlicensed taxidermist who was advertising his business on local social media groups. The taxidermist admitted to running his business without a permit for over a year. The taxidermist was cited for operating a taxidermy business without a permit.

CO Shannon Wicklund and Sergeant (Sgt) Brian Bacon patrolled the Menominee River for fishing activity. One individual was observed fishing off the break wall. When asked for a fishing license, the subject replied that he failed to purchase one because he slept the whole way to Menominee and did not have time. He was issued a citation for fishing without a license.

CO Alex VanWagner responded to a playground in Caspian for a call regarding a six-year-old child stuck in a fence. Upon arrival, the child had fallen between the rungs of a curved ladder on a piece of playground equipment. The mother was holding her child up as the rungs were stuck between his hips and chest, and his feet were suspended from the ground. CO VanWagner grabbed a 5-gallon bucket from his patrol truck to support the child’s weight. Mom and the CO told the child to push down on the bucket while they shuffled his hips and were able to get the child free. No injuries were sustained.

Sgt. Mark Leadman was patrolling near Goose Lake in Marquette County when he heard gunshots coming from the closed Skoglund-Erickson Shooting Range. Sgt. Leadman approached and observed two subjects shooting rifles and handguns at the closed range. All the posted rules at the range were not being followed. Their footprints in the snow showed where they crossed over the gate that had a large sign posted “Range Closed.”  Both subjects were issued citations for using the closed facility.


CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of damage to state land in Masonville Township. CO Butzin responded and discovered several cut trees, discarded vehicle parts, ruts in the soil from vehicle tires, burned tires, and many empty beer cans. Evidence was located at the location which led to the identity of at least one suspect. Video was also obtained from a local business of the individual purchasing alcohol which was discovered at the scene. An interview was conducted on the suspect, they admitted to having a fake identification (ID) as they were under 21 years old. A citation was issued to the suspect for minor in possession of alcohol, operating a wheeled motor vehicle in an area not designated for such use, and littering. A warning was given for possessing a fake state ID card.

COs Robert Freeborn and Michael Evink assisted local agencies with persons who had fallen through the ice on Indian Lake in Schoolcraft County. A total of four individuals were in the water at one time. Local agencies were able to save all but one of the anglers. It was found that a snowmobile carrying two passengers was operating at night, on poor ice conditions, when it drove into an area that had been open water two days earlier. Once the individuals went through the ice, two bystanders tried to assist when they themselves became victims. The Michigan State Police (MSP) is handling the incident.

COs Michael Olesen and Scott Pankow conducted a snowmobile patrol in the Trout Lake area with the focus being on careless operation. The COs observed two individuals completely disregard a stop sign at a high rate of speed. Both individuals were cited for careless operation of a snowmobile.

COs Scott Pankow and Jason Ruth conducted a snowmobile patrol near Paradise. With a recent snowfall, activity was moderate. The COs issued several citations for failing to attach registrations and for failing to obtain a snowmobile trail permit. Verbal warnings were given for other minor violations.

COs Jason Ruth and Sgt. Calvin Smith checked several ice anglers on Brevort Lake who were enjoying some success. The COs came across a very elderly couple who were just getting ready to leave the access site. The couple stated that they had some good success the last two days for perch and showed the COs their catch. After counting all the perch, the couple was over their daily possession limit by two. The COs educated the couple on the laws of possessing fish from the previous day and issued a verbal warning for the violation.


CO Nathan Beelman received a complaint of a mallard duck with fishing line and a hook wrapped around its wing. CO Beelman responded and removed the hook and line from the wing of the duck. The duck had little damage to its wing from the hook and was released back to Lake Charlevoix where it eventually flew away.

CO Andrea Albert served two subjects condemnation orders after arresting them both last fall for attempting to take salmon with a bow and arrow and possessing a spear on a trout stream. One of the subjects had a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear on the original fish charges. The subject also had a second warrant out of a nearby county for contempt of court. CO Albert arrested and lodged the subject on the outstanding warrants.

COs Jack Gorno and Tim Rosochacki were on patrol in northern Cheboygan County. The COs contacted three snowmobiles near Douglas Lake. Multiple snowmobile violations were observed, including unregistered snowmobiles, no trail stickers, and fail to transfer title within 15 days. The subjects admitted to the violations present. Tickets were issued.

CO Jack Gorno contacted CO Dan Liestenfeltz in Montmorency County for follow-up on a deer license purchase in Cheboygan County. CO Liestenfeltz conducted an interview with the suspect and obtained a full confession on taking an 8-point buck before purchasing a 2023 hunting license. CO Gorno is seeking multiple charges through the Cheboygan County Prosecutor's Office.

CO Kyle Cherry received notification from the court that a felony arrest warrant was authorized from an incident that occurred during the firearm deer season in Otsego County. CO Cherry and CO Tom Oberg located the subject at his residence and served the arrest warrant for the charge of felon in possession of firearm. The subject was arrested and lodged in the Otsego County Jail without incident.

CO Sidney LaLonde followed up with a snowmobile that went through the ice on a Montmorency County lake. The snowmobiler was able to make it out, however, the machine sunk. A recovery company was able to remove the snowmobile the next day.

CO Jon Sheppard checked Beaver Lake for fishing activity while on patrol in Alpena County. As CO Sheppard entered the boat launch, he used binoculars to observe the anglers from shore. One angler was observed reeling up a tip-up that was concealed behind a jet sled. CO Sheppard counted the tip-ups near the angler and counted four including the one that he was reeling in. CO Sheppard walked on the ice and contacted the angler. The fishing line was wet, and the anglers admitted to trying to hide the extra tip-up. CO Sheppard issued a ticket for fishing with more than three lines.

CO Jon Sheppard observed two foothold traps thrown behind a restroom in the Thunder Bay River State Forest Campground. CO Sheppard checked the trap tags and they belonged to a trapper in the area who had reported the traps missing or stolen weeks before. CO Sheppard returned the traps to their owner.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling the area of Long Lake in Montmorency County when he observed several anglers on the ice. Upon further observations, CO Liestenfeltz determined that one of the anglers was tending a total of five tip-ups, putting the total line limit for the group over by two. CO Liestenfeltz began walking out to the group and the anglers began quickly running to the tip-ups, removing two of them from the water. CO Liestenfeltz contacted the subject, who admitted to having a total of five lines. CO Liestenfeltz issued the subject a ticket for fishing with more than three lines.

CO Dan Liestenfeltz conducted multiple patrols focusing on snowmobile, fishing, and predator hunting activity. Due to the weather, the ice is melting very quickly and there has been a large decrease in fishing and snowmobile activity. CO Liestenfeltz contacted multiple predator hunters in late February who had success bobcat hunting, but stated it was much harder this year with the lack of snow.


CO Josiah Killingbeck responded to a “be on the lookout” for a vehicle that an intoxicated and unlicensed driver was reportedly operating. CO Killingbeck arrived in the area and located the suspect vehicle. CO Killingbeck stopped the vehicle for several motor vehicle code violations. The driver was suspended, and CO Killingbeck began an operating while intoxicated (OWI) investigation. The subject refused standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) and a search warrant was drafted for a blood draw to determine his level of intoxication. The subject was arrested for OWI and lodged in the Lake County Jail.

CO Josiah Killingbeck responded to a complaint of a vehicle off the roadway and an intoxicated person getting out of the vehicle. It was also reported that a rifle was lying in the backseat. CO Killingbeck arrived in the area and, after speaking with a witness, was able to locate the suspect who admitted to driving and being intoxicated. The subject failed sobriety tests and was placed under arrest for OWI. The suspect had the cylinder of a handgun in his pocket along with rifle ammunition. The subject admitted to throwing a handgun. A Michigan State Police (MSP) K9 was requested to the scene and a rifle and handgun were found hidden in the woods near the vehicle, both were loaded. A report has been submitted to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office for multiple charges.

CO Josh Reed was dispatched to a large grass fire in the village of Morley in Mecosta County. The suspect had started a pile of garbage and debris on fire in his yard and the fire quickly spread on his property and onto the neighboring property. Several fire departments were on scene fighting the fire along with fire officers from the DNR Forest Resources Division. The fire had consumed several acres, along with the neighbor’s salvage yard which is also a tow company. A report will be sent to the prosecutor’s office for review and potential charges.


CO Jacob Hamilton was checking ice anglers on Bear Lake in Kalkaska County when he contacted two subjects fishing towards the west side of the lake. Before approaching, CO Hamilton observed the subjects from shore with his binoculars and observed a male subject standing outside a shanty tending to four tip-ups. CO Hamilton approached and spoke to the angler, who had just caught a trout. CO Hamilton asked if anyone was in the shanty, and the male angler said his girlfriend was. When the angler opened the shanty door, CO Hamilton observed two lines in the water and a third that had just been reeled up and was dripping with water. Upon further inquiry, it was asked they produce a fishing license. Citations were issued for the violations, and the male subject was taken into custody on a misdemeanor warrant out of Grand Traverse County.

CO Kyle Bader inspected a taxidermy business at a local taxidermist in Ogemaw County. CO Bader followed up with a hunter on the details of his harvest based on the details given when dropping off the antlers. The hunter, currently living in California, confessed to killing his 8-point buck before he purchased a kill-tag. Charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor's Office.

CO Kyle Bader assisted the Ogemaw County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) with a double fatal crash outside of West Branch. CO Bader assisted the OCSO with follow-up in identifying the occupants and delivering death notifications.

CO Josh Russell was on patrol in Gladwin County when he observed a pickup truck doing donuts in a clearing on state land. CO Russell contacted the driver and discussed his reasoning for tearing up the state land. The driver stated he did not know he couldn’t do donuts and tear up the state land. While doing a file check on everyone in the pickup, CO Russell was advised a passenger out of Gratiot County had an active warrant. The driver was issued a citation for the violations and the passenger was arrested and jailed.


While patrolling areas of the Vestaburg State Game Area (SGA), CO Mike Haas witnessed large amounts of black smoke a short distance away. The CO located the source of the smoke and contacted subjects behind an old farmhouse near a very large pile of burning refuse. One subject took responsibility for the fire and explained that he had cleaned out the fully furnished house and was burning everything. The fire included furniture, garbage, insulation, and other unidentifiable material. CO Haas instructed the group to contain the fire since it was spreading across a dry field towards a wooded area. A citation was issued to address the open burning violations.


CO Matt Page received information about a subject trapping with untagged traps as well as illegally setting 330 conibear traps. CO Page was able to locate the illegal traps and later observed a vehicle matching the suspect’s vehicle description enter a two track. CO Page and CO Travis Dragomer contacted the trapper. In total, six untagged traps were observed as well as several illegally set 330 conibear traps. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Nick Thornton noticed a suspicious deer license when conducting a deer processor inspection in Branch County. CO Thornton learned it was an Indiana deer license and an individual had harvested an antlered deer in Indiana before transporting the whole animal to a Michigan deer processor. CO Thornton contacted an Indiana conservation officer and together they interviewed the suspect. A confession was obtained, and criminal charges are being sought for illegally transporting a cervid across state lines.

CO Chris Reynolds concluded an investigation regarding the theft of trees off multiple properties in Hillsdale County. CO Reynolds was able to gather a significant amount of evidence, including cell phones, that will be examined by the MSP. CO Reynolds identified and interviewed the suspect who confessed. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office for the larceny on two properties and railroad trespass.


CO Robert Watson responded to a complaint of target shooting at Hewitt Pit within the Port Huron SGA. Contact was made with three shooters who acknowledged they had walked right past the signs which clearly state “No Target Shooting.” The individuals stated they assumed the signs were intended to deter people from shooting in the parking lot, but that shooting elsewhere would be acceptable. A citation was issued for violating the newly passed land use order, which prohibits all target shooting throughout the entire Port Huron SGA.

CO Mike Drexler was working an afternoon Belle Isle shift when he observed two four-wheelers riding up the roadway coming towards him. As the machines got closer, CO Drexler realized there were two adult operators and three children on the machines, the youngest child being seven months old. A traffic stop was conducted, and the CO learned that the married couple had driven onto the island with their three children from downtown Detroit. Sgt. Damon Owens arrived on scene and assisted. The violations included no helmets, fail to license ORV, operate ORV on the roadway, careless ORV operation, and exceeding capacity of the machine. Citations were issued to each operator and the COs stood by until the machines were loaded onto a trailer and removed from the island.


Corporal (Cpl.) Jon Busken was passed at a high rate of speed in a no passing zone by a vehicle with a broken windshield. Contact revealed that the 19-year-old operator was in possession of alcohol and marijuana. Enforcement action was taken.

Cpl. Nick Atkin completed numerous pet store inspections looking for violations. During the inspections, he discovered a few of the pet shops failed to register/report the sale of aquatic organisms. Cpl. Atkin followed up with them to get them on track with registering and reporting as provided by law.