Department of Natural Resources
Conservation Officer (CO) Brett DeLonge and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Breanna Reed assisted the Northern Michigan University Public Safety staff with their law enforcement exploration day for 100 fifth graders from surrounding elementary schools. The students learned about Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), handcuffing, fire extinguishers, and fingerprinting. The students asked questions about the duties of a conservation officer and participated in several activities.
CO Zach Painter received reports of a snowmobiler that was separated from his group and could not be located. They lost contact with the 70-year old subject earlier in the morning on Lake Gogebic. CO Painter was notified early in the afternoon and responded to Bergland where the subject had been seen earlier in the day. CO Painter located the man uninjured at a local bar looking for his group.
CO Zach Painter was on patrol in Gogebic County when he was dispatched to a head-on snowmobile accident in Ontonagon County near Bergland. CO Painter assisted other first responders in getting down the snowmobile trail approximately two miles in order to provide medical attention to the two operators of the snowmobiles. Both operators received non-life-threatening injuries.
CO Jeremy Sergey and CO Stephen Butzin attended a trapper’s workshop in Hermansville. The workshop was attended by over 150 people. There were several demonstrations teaching children the art and tradition of trapping. The COs answered many questions regarding the rules and regulations of trapping.
CO Brian Lasanen and PCO Byron Parks made an appearance at the South Range Snowmobile Club hill climb and talked to people attending the event. A lot of people were happy to see the conservation officers out on patrol on the snowmobiles.
COs of the District 1 area conducted a group snowmobile patrol over the weekend on Lake Gogebic. Officers set up a shanty up with markers set out at 100’ to address complaints of snowmobilers on the lake running over tip-ups and operating near shanties at high speeds. While at the shanty, officers used a radar gun to determine how fast the snowmobiles were going on the ice. COs also conducted testing near the shore for loud snowmobiles and general snowmobile violations. Officers contacted over 300 snowmobilers with tickets issued for careless operation, no registration, exceed noise level emissions, fail to obtain trail permit, and no fishing license.
COs Josh Boudreaux and Zach Painter responded to a snowmobile/car accident in K.I. Sawyer in Marquette County. The operator of the snowmobile turned left in front of a car that was travelling in the same direction and the car struck the snowmobiler throwing him from the sled. The operator of the snowmobile was transported by Upper Peninsula (UP) Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Marquette.
CO Josh Boudreaux had just checked out of service at his residence when he heard report of a single vehicle rollover accident with injuries in Champion. Being the closest unit, CO Boudreaux checked back into service and responded to the accident. UP Health EMS and Michigan State Police (MSP) units from the Negaunee Post responded as well.
CO Brett DeLonge and PCO Brianna Reed were patrolling Trail 82 near Ishpeming when they observed several anglers ice fishing on a lake along the trail. The officers conducted license checks on the anglers and found one angler that explained he had forgot his license at home. A quick Retail Sales System (RSS) check returned that the angler had not purchased a fishing license since 2016. The angler was issued a citation for fishing without a license.
CO Jared Ferguson and PCO Noah Thompson responded to a snowmobile fatal accident in Felch Township of Dickinson County. When they arrived, they transported MSP troopers, other EMS and first responders to the crash scene. It appears that the snowmobiles were traveling at a high rate of speed when the operators lost control resulting in the two snowmobiles crashing. A 19-year old Wisconsin man died from injuries sustained in the crash.
CO Jared Ferguson and PCO Noah Thompson patrolled the snowmobile trail system around Iron Mountain and the annual Pine Mountain Continental Ski jumps in Dickinson County. The COs were looking for OWI, careless operation, and registration violations.
COs Cody Smith, Jennifer Hanson, Zach Painter, Johnathan Kamps, and Josh Boudreaux attended a backcountry snowmobile and winter survival training in Mass City. The course taught officers how to better handle their snowmobiles in deep snow as well as how to get them unstuck in certain situations. The class also went over winter survival techniques of building shelters efficiently to get out of frigid conditions allowing maximum survival chances for themselves and others. The course was put on by the US Forest Service (USFS).
COs Cody Smith and Josh Boudreaux were at a snowmobile training in Mass City when they witnessed two snowmobiles run a stop sign. The officers conducted a stop of the snowmobiles and contacted the operators. When questioned if they had seen the stop sign, the two stated they did not recall a stop sign or the warning sign for the stop sign which they ran. CO Smith discussed with the riders the importance of riding right and a citation was issued for careless operation.
COs Cody Smith, Johnathan Kamps, and Josh Boudreaux were leaving training in Ontonagon County when a call came from central dispatch of a stabbing in Mass City. The COs responded to the call, being first on scene with an Ontonagon County deputy. The suspect was taken into custody at the local gas station. The victim of the stabbing drove to the nearest hospital where his injuries were addressed.
CO Brian Lasanen and PCO Byron Parks worked a snowmobile patrol around the Michigan Technological University (MTU) campus for the winter carnival all-nighter activities. The COs patrolled the trails and Portage Lake near the MTU campus. The COs observed a snowmobiler riding out on the Portage Lake and as they neared, it was observed that the driver did not have a helmet on, or a visible trail permit above or below the headlight. Contact was made and it was determined the driver had been drinking. CO Lasanen ran the driver through Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) and offered the driver a Portable Breath Test. After conducting a field investigation, the subject was arrested for OWI on a snowmobile. The driver was transported to the Houghton County. Data master results showed the subject to be two times over the legal limit.
CO Brian Lasanen and PCO Parks contacted a disabled snowmobile alongside the trail. One operator advised he was over-heating and his buddy ran to the store to get more coolant. A quick check revealed the driver failed to purchase a 2019 trail permit. The driver advised he does not ride the trails and that is reason for not buying a trail permit. Enforcement action was taken for failure to obtain a trail permit.
COs Jennifer Hanson and Zach Painter participated with USFS Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Josh Lopac and the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Department with a search and rescue of four lost snowmobiles near White Pine. The snowmobilers were operating on the Big Iron River when their sleds became stuck in slush. COs Hanson and Painter rode their snowmobiles to a point where they could go no further and then utilized snowshoes to hike up river in the dark. The COs located the subjects approximately three miles up the river and rendered immediate medical attention to the hypothermic patients before they were assisted out of the woods.
CO Jennifer Hanson assisted with a women’s snowmobile Clinic in Bergland. The course was put on by two local snowmobile clubs, North Country Snowmobile Club and Gogebic Area Grooming, to increase female riders’ knowledge and confidence while operating safely on and off the trail.
Conservation Officer Zach Painter and USFS LEO Josh Lopac responded to a snowmobile accident in Ontonagon County involving a female operator that failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree. The officers provided medical attention to the subject and directed other first responders to the scene. The operator suffered life threatening injuries and was air lifted for medical attention.
CO Calvin Smith and PCO Ariel Corr assisted Sault Ste. Marie City Police with a domestic disturbance at a local motel. COs helped provide back up and maintain a secure scene. Parties were separated, and the disturbance was defused.
CO Calvin Smith and PCO Ariel Corr were patrolling to Kinross when a trio of snowmobiles were observed driving along the plowed surface of M-80. A traffic stop was conducted, it was found that none of the three sleds displayed proper registration, one sled had the sportsman’s card placed instead of the trail permit decal, and the other two sleds had no trail permits. All the riders were from Ohio and had no idea that they were on a state highway and claimed they were only following directions from the gas station attendant about where to get some good food. Law enforcement action was taken.
COs Justin Vinson and Colton Gelinas received a call from Central Dispatch referencing a lost snowmobiler in northern Chippewa County. Three snowmobilers left Paradise earlier in the day to ride snowmobiles in the UP. The day quickly turned to panic when one of the snowmobilers went missing. With limited cell phone service and frigid temperatures, it became a desperate situation for the two snowmobilers looking for their lost friend. After a three-hour search and no luck, the two snowmobilers called 911. COs Vinson and Gelinas quickly loaded their snowmobiles and took off for the last known location of the snowmobiler before night set in. With luck on their side, the COs were able to contact the lost snowmobiler by phone. Having knowledge of the area the COs knew were the snowmobiler was located. The COs asked the lost snowmobiler if he could flag down a passing snowmobile, in which he did. The COs talked to the Good Samaritan and asked if they would escort the lost snowmobiler to safety, in which they did. The lost snowmobiler was safely reunited with his party.
COs Colton Gelinas and Justin Vinson were on snowmobile patrol in Luce County when they observed two snowmobiles without trail permits. The day before, CO Gelinas contacted these two snowmobilers for not having trail permits. CO Gelinas advised the snowmobilers to put trail permits on their snowmobiles. After seeing that the snowmobilers did not listen to his advice, CO Gelinas issued citations to both snowmobilers.
COs Calvin Smith, Mark Zitnik, Corporal (Cpl.) Kevin Postma & PCO Ariel Corr were on stationary patrol in Sault Ste Marie for the I-500 snowmobile parade which consisted of hundreds of snowmobiles and people. The parade was trying to break a Guinness Book of World Records for the most snowmobiles in a parade. Everyone was happy to participate and were full of smiles and waves. The COs enjoyed interacting with the crowd and being part of the fun even though the parade fell just short of the world record.
COs Calvin Smith, Mark Zitnik, Colton Gelinas, Justin Vinson, Chris Lynch, Rob Freeborn, PCOs Todd Sumbera, Ariel Corr and Mike Olesen, Lieutenant Skip Hagy, Sergeant (Sgt.) Mark Leadman, Cpls. Jon Busken & Kevin Postma patrolled Chippewa County during the I-500 weekend. The COs made numerous contacts with snowmobilers riding area trails. Enforcement action was taken on several snowmobiles for registration violations, as well as careless operation, fail to obtain trail permits, exceed noise emission levels, and use marijuana in a public place. Overall during the weekend event CO teams patrolled 490 miles of trails, made over 400 contacts, gave 37 verbal warnings and issued 21 citations.
CO Mike Evink and PCO Todd Sumbera responded to a domestic east of Manistique. Upon making contact, the COs assisted Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department in handling the situation. Subjects were separated and one was removed from the premises, resolving the disagreement.
CO Mike Evink and PCO Todd Sumbera were checking ice anglers when they received a radio call of a suicidal subject at the diner on Main Street in Naubinway. The subject had made multiple cuts to his wrist and forearm with a razor blade and left on foot toward the public marina. With quick response, COs Evink and Sumbera were on scene with a Mackinac County Sheriff’s deputy. The officers established the individual did not want to end his life but was just angry. First aid was rendered until EMS arrived on scene.
CO Mike Evink and PCO Todd Sumbera set out with plans to patrol a relic ride, north of Manistique. Plans quickly changed when radio traffic came through of a snowmobile accident on Trail 7 where the rider had failed to navigate a corner, left the trial, and hit a tree five feet in the air. It was reported that the rider was bleeding from his ears and losing consciousness. The two COs arrived with Deputy Sam Grahovac from the Alger County Sheriff’s Department not far behind. Contact was made and aid rendered to prevent the rider from losing consciousness. The subject was air lifted to the Marquette General Hospital. Shortly after wrapping up the first accident, the officers responded to another snowmobile accident a half mile away. The three officers arrived to render aid. The rider struck a tree breaking his leg, alcohol may have been a factor. While returning to the patrol truck, another snowmobile accident was called out. A third snowmobiler had struck a tree, the result was another broken leg. CO Mike Evink and PCO Todd Sumbera arrived on scene to direct traffic until all parties involved could safely vacate. The COs then returned to Schoolcraft County to finish up the night patrolling the relic ride.
CO Mark Zitnik was dispatched during the State of Emergency to a vehicle stuck on a road near his residence. The CO responded on snowmobile due to the rapidly accumulating snow fall. When CO Zitnik arrived, he encountered three individuals sitting in a car waiting for help. The CO questioned why they did not walk to the nearest home for help, and the subjects revealed that they were wearing sandals and jeans, not adequate for weathering the snow storm. CO Zitnik requested a tow truck, but dispatch advised since Highway M-28 was closed due to weather, no tow vehicles were able to respond. CO Zitnik located a neighbor who was able and willing to tow the subjects to a safe location.
CO Mark Zitnik was patrolling Munising Bay on snowmobile, checking ice anglers, when he was dispatched to the scene of a fire in the town of Munising. A garage downtown was engulfed in flames. When the CO responded and reached the scene, the fire had spread to a nearby motel. Munising and AuTrain fire departments quickly extinguished the flames. No one was harmed during the blaze.
COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin received a complaint of a pick-up truck stuck on a snowmobile trail. The snowmobile trail has a director’s order prohibiting wheeled vehicles wider than 65 inches to operate on the trail. The COs drove their snowmobiles to the location of the pick-up truck and contacted the operator who rutted the trail. He then drove his unlicensed ORV down the trail attempting to get his truck unstuck. When asked why he drove down the trail, the subject stated he knew he should not have, but wanted to follow coyote tracks. The subject was cited for violating the directors order and operating an unlicensed ORV.
CO Chris Lynch recently had a case adjudicated in court where subject pled guilty to four charges stemming from a two-month long investigation. The subject pled to taking deer with firearm closed season, two counts of taking deer without a license, and loaning a deer tag to another. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail, hunting privileges revoked for five years, fined $1650, ordered to pay $8000 in restitution, and the firearm used in the poaching was forfeited. In total, 16 charges were brought on three different suspects, for ten deer that were in violation over a three-year period as a result of the investigation. The other two subjects each plead guilty to two lesser charges.
CO Chris Lynch recently had a case adjudicated in court where a subject pled guilty to four charges to include taking two illegal deer and borrowing two deer licenses from another person. The charges stem from the 2017 and 2018 firearm deer seasons. The subject was sentenced to ten days in jail, hunting privileges revoked for five years, fined $1400, ordered to pay $12500 in restitution, one year of probation, and the firearm used in the poaching was forfeited. This is a result from a trespassing complaint that COs Chris Lynch and Steve Butzin investigated. The hunter illegally shot a deer and then was confronted by hunters who were leasing the property to hunt on. After a verbal altercation ensued the hunters leasing the property made a complaint.
CO Chris Lynch was checking bear registration forms when he noticed a suspicious form. A hunter from Newaygo County had killed the bear in Marquette County on the same day he bought the license. However, the license wasn’t purchased until after dark that evening. CO Lynch passed the information on to CO Jeff Ginn and PCO Tim Barboza who interviewed the hunter. The hunter confessed to shooting the bear without a license. The bear and rifle used to kill the bear was seized. A report will be submitted to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Steve Butzin and Chris Lynch were patrolling the Gladstone area when they responded to a domestic assault in progress. Once on scene they were met by two Delta County Sheriff’s deputies. Investigation at the scene revealed that a male subject had physically assaulted a female subject at the residence. The male subject was arrested and lodged at the Delta County jail for Domestic Assault and Battery 3rd offence, a felony in the state of Michigan.
CO Robert Freeborn and PCO Michael Olesen were on routine patrol when a tip was received regarding illegal snares set on Commercial Forest Act (CFA) land. Following the information provided from the tip, two illegal snares and other traps were found. The next day, the COs were able to find the trapper attending his line. After a brief interview, the trapper admitted to placing the snares on CFA land. The snares were seized, and a citation was issued.
COs Duane Budreau, Chad Baldwin, Adam LeClerc, and PCO Anna Viau participated in the 10th annual Father-Son event at Camp Daggett in Charlevoix County. The event is intended to be a weekend for fathers and their young sons to spend quality time bonding and enjoying mother nature in northern Michigan. The COs conducted a presentation on Friday night educating the campers on wilderness survival skills as well as how to prepare for the unplanned. On Saturday, the COs returned and spent the day working with campers on their wilderness survival skills with hands-on training as well as hunter safety education. COs Budreau and Baldwin demonstrated what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a conservation officer with a simulated deer poaching investigation. The participants were able to follow along as CO Budreau led them step-by-step throughout the simulated investigation while CO Baldwin acted as the suspect in the case. There were over 70 participants at the camp.
While on snowmobile patrol in Emmet County, CO Adam LeClerc and PCO Anna Viau observed an individual operating a snowmobile without a helmet. Upon stopping the snowmobile, the COs observed that the snowmobile registration and trail permit had been expired for several years. Once the operator’s information was checked through Station 20, it was discovered that his operator’s license was suspended, and he had never transferred the title from the previous owner of the snowmobile. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Adam LeClerc and PCO Anna Viau received a complaint about a possible poached deer. Upon arrival to the area, blood was observed in the road and a drag trail was observed coming out of a field. The COs followed the trail and discovered clumps of coyote hair and several sets of canine prints, leading to the conclusion that it was the scene of a successful coyote hunt which included the use of hounds, not a poached deer.
After a detailed investigation, CO Andrea Albert and PCO Andrea Dani served an arrest warrant on a subject who had obtained numerous free military licenses over the past six years while not eligible. Full-time federal active duty military members who are called-up to service can obtain free hunting and fishing licenses under state law. This individual was obtaining the free licenses while not in active duty status. The state will be seeking reimbursement for over $600 in fraudulent license purchases.
CO Ethen Mapes has been working with multiple land owners in eastern Charlevoix County on snowmobilers trespassing on their lands. The trespass is occurring on a gas line that runs through multiple pieces of private land that is posted and some areas are even fenced. CO Mapes continues to follow up with patrolling the area.
Sgt. William Webster was patrolling local back roads when he saw a blur of orange and green fly over the road about quarter mile ahead of him. He drove to the area and located a snowmobiler that appeared to have just jumped the entire road into a field. The snowmobile drove up to Sgt. Webster and said, “that was stupid.” Sgt. Webster agreed with the operator and discussed safety issues.
Sgt. William Webster responded to two snowmobile trespassing complaints in Antrim County. Sgt. Webster was able to track back one of the snowmobile tracks to a neighboring barn. The neighbor was advised to stay off the other neighbor’s property per request of the complainant.
CO Tom Oberg was on snowmobile patrol focusing on snowmobiles carelessly operating through busy intersections with a lot of vehicle traffic. CO Oberg noticed a snowmobile operating at a high rate of speed approaching. The snowmobiler noticed CO Oberg was sitting there and tried to brake but was going too fast to stop in time and ultimately decided to completely blow through the intersection. CO Oberg was able to catch up and stop the snowmobile. Enforcement action was taken for the careless operation.
CO Matt Theunick and PCO Cole VanOosten responded to a complaint of a large boat dumped on state land with various trash inside. The COs were able to locate identification numbers on the vessel which led them to the registered owner who had given the boat away. The boat had changed hands several times, and the COs were able to track the possession of the boat to the last known owner. An interview was conducted, and a confession was obtained. Enforcement action was taken to ensure the boat was cleared from state land.
COs Matt Theunick, Sidney Collins, Jessie Curtis, and PCO Cole VanOosten were on routine snowmobile patrol when they discovered two snowmobiles with falsified trail permits. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Cherry responded to a personal injury accident with the driver entrapped in the vehicle. CO Cherry then assisted with securing the scene and shutting down necessary roadways until the accident scene was clear.
COs Sidney Collins, Paul Fox, and several other COs in the area executed a search warrant for a felon in possession of a firearm. The subject was found in possession of four firearms in the home as well as other wildlife violations. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Sidney Collins assisted the DNR Wildlife Division and Michigan State University in recovering elk collars that were being utilized as part of a joint research project on elk movement in the Pigeon River forest area. On a set date the collars are designed to fall off. The collars are then recovered by staff utilizing GPS tracking equipment
COs in Area 3, worked the Shivaree on Black Lake in Cheboygan and Presque Isle Counties. The Shivaree is an event for the annual sturgeon spearing season. The event draws anglers from all over the country hoping to harvest a sturgeon. The COs are on the ice to check every sturgeon speared until they reach the yearly limit and then notify anglers that the season is over. This year the season lasted 78 minutes before the quota was met.
Sgt. Mark Depew, COs Paul Fox, Sidney Collins, Jessie Curtis, Tim Rosochacki, Matt Theunick, Kyle Cherry, Thomas Oberg, and PCOs Dan Liestenfeltz, Cole VanOosten, and Jon Sheppard conducted a search warrant in Otsego County for a felon who was in possession of a firearm. While conducting the search, the COs found multiple firearms. The suspect also admitted to shooting deer the previous fall and not tagging them. Charges will be submitted to the prosecutor.
COs Paul Fox, Jon Sklba, Eric Bottorff, and PCOs Dan Liestenfeltz, Jon Sheppard conducted a patrol on Black Lake in Presque Isle and Cheboygan County the night before the sturgeon spearing season opener. The COs looked for violations regarding sturgeon as well as other fishing regulations. No issues were discovered.
CO Paul Fox and PCO Dan Liestenfeltz were patrolling the southern part of Presque Isle County when they came across a vehicle driving slowly. The vehicle then pulled off to the side of the road. CO Fox and PCO Liestenfeltz pulled next to the vehicle to make sure everything was ok. When talking with the driver, CO Fox noticed open intoxicants that were possessed by both the driver and passenger. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Bill Haskin patrolled Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, as well as local snowmobile trails for the North American Snow Festival. During patrol over 500 contacts were made with several warnings given and three citations for careless operation on a snowmobile.
CO Bill Haskin received a complaint of a hunter harvesting a ten-point deer in early bow season in Wexford County near Yuma. After several interviews and an investigation, an arrest warrant was issued and served for borrow deer license and take deer without a license.
CO Rebecca Hubers assisted Benzie County Sheriff’s Office as the closest available officer to a neighbor dispute with threats, a false 911 call of a barn fire, and assisted with traffic when a semi-truck became stuck half-way up a hill.
CO Rich Stowe and Cpl Sean Kehoe participated in the annual East Bay Calvary Sportsman’s Banquet, fielding questions and speaking with attendees, as well as taking the stage for a formal Q&A segment for the entire audience. The two-day event drew approximately 1450 sportsman from all over the state.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while patrolling Lake Cadillac in Wexford County during a fishing tournament, checked an ice fishing shanty where he found a subject frantically trying to reel in a fourth line before CO Killingbeck saw him. The subject told CO Killingbeck that he was fishing the tournament contest and was just trying another lure on a fourth line to see if the fish would bite that lure better. The subject was educated on fishing regulations and enforcement action was taken.
CO Josiah Killingbeck reported that a subject who had illegally shot a spike horn deer and blamed his wife as an excuse for shooting the illegal deer, was ordered to pay $2000 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next three years. The subject was also sentenced to five days in jail at the court’s discretion.
CO Josiah Killingbeck reported that a subject who had shot an antlerless deer in Lake County and put a Kent County antlerless deer tag on the deer was ordered to pay $1000 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next three years.
COs Troy Mueller, Jeff Ginn, Troy VanGelderen, Sgt. Mike Bomay, and PCOs Tim Barboza and Joshua Reed participated in the Cadillac North American Snow Festival Event working the area lakes and trail systems on snowmobiles. Citations were issued for fail to stop at intersections, expired registrations, and failure to display trail permits.
COs Angela Greenway, Troy VanGelderen, and PCO Joshua Reed participated in a career fair at Ferris State University that was put on by the Criminal Justice Department and attended by Criminal Justice students.
CO Angela Greenway contacted Big Rapids Public Safety and offered a refresher seminar on snowmobile enforcement for the city officers. The White Pine snowmobile trail system goes through the city limits and CO Greenway provided some newly hired officers the rules and regulations while enforcing snowmobile issues.
CO Troy Van Gelderen responded to a call of a man and two cows that fell through the ice on a pond in Oceana County. CO Van Gelderen was the first responder on scene just as the man was pulled out of the water by his family. CO Van Gelderen then assisted chopping the ice and helped pull the two cows to safety.
CO Troy Van Gelderen and PCO Josh Reed stopped three snowmobiles without any registrations or trail permits on a trail in Oceana County. The owner of the snowmobiles said that he thought there was registration on a couple of the snowmobiles. The COs found one registration from 1979. Citations were issued for the violations.
CO Jeff Ginn and PCO Barboza witnessed a vehicle strike another vehicle at a gas station in Newaygo County. Upon contact, the driver was found to be suspended and the passenger had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for assault and breaking and entering. The subject was lodged at the Newaygo County Sheriff’s jail.
CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jesse Grzechowski received a call from Kalkaska Central Dispatch about a snowmobiler who had struck a deer. The collision disabled the snowmobile and killed the deer, luckily the rider was uninjured. With one of the snowmobiles being completely disabled, the COs assisted the family by driving the two juvenile riders back to the snowmobile staging area.
CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jesse Grzechowski responded to a personal injury accident involving a snowmobile that had struck a tree on Trail 679 in Kalkaska County. Sgt. Brian Olsen was patrolling in the area at the time of the accident and was able to assist the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department secure the scene while EMS worked on the victim. A landing zone was established, and a life flight helicopter transported the victim to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. The crash remains under investigation.
CO Mike Hearn and PCO Jesse Grzechowski witnessed a snowmobiler not wearing a helmet while traveling against the flow of traffic on a county road in Kalkaska County. A stop was conducted on the snowmobile. The operator was extremely noncompliant and uncooperative. After a LEIN inquiry with Kalkaska Central Dispatch, it was determined that his license was suspended with three prior Driving with a License Suspended violations. The snowmobile was also unregistered. The operator was arrested and lodged at the Kalkaska County jail.
COs John Huspen, Mike Hearn and Chuck McPherson worked in conjunction with MSP, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and Lake State Railroad during Operation Life Saver. Operation Life Saver is a patrol with the focus on keeping snowmobiles from illegal operation on and crossing the railroad tracks. Lake State Railroad has asked for strict enforcement action on anyone who crosses the tracks anywhere other than approved road crossings. Numerous contacts and education took place. COs Huspen and Hearn issued citations for operating on railroad Right-of-Way, as well as trail permit violations.
CO John Huspen assisted the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department along with Grayling Township firefighters at a reported semi-tractor fire at a local business. CO Huspen was the first on scene and used his department-issued fire extinguisher to put the fire out while the responding deputy unplugged the block heater. The fire was determined to be electrical in nature.
CO Micah Hintze followed up on a complaint of an individual trespassing and trapping on private lands in Missaukee County. During the investigation, multiple snares that did not have “stops” to render the snare incapable of closing completely were located on both private and the adjoining public land. The snares were seized and after working through local tips, a suspect was developed and interviewed. The trapper admitted to placing the snares on both pieces of property and claimed to be unaware of the requirements that existed for a legal cable restraint. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kyle Bader received a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint regarding a subject that kept a bass out of season while ice fishing in Ogemaw County. The complainant saw a photo on Facebook that the suspect posted of his catch, which included the bass. CO Bader responded to the suspect’s residence after he identified the man through a search of Facebook and LEIN. During the interview, the suspect stated he took a picture with the bass and threw it back. He said the tail was curled up in the photo because the fish was still flopping. When CO Bader studied the photo, he saw another fish, a crappie, had the same tail up curve to it. The curve of both fish matched the curvature of a 5-gallon pail. The suspect later admitted that he kept the bass for a little while, but later threw it back. The time stamps on his photos indicated that he retained the bass for over two hours. Charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County Prosecutor’s Office for keeping a bass during the closed season.
CO Mark Papineau investigated an ongoing trespassing complaint involving hound hunters in Gladwin County. According to the complaint, the landowner was cutting wood when several gunshots rang out from nearby on his property. The landowner went to investigate and contacted several hunters attempting to flee in vehicles. After checking the area, several suspects were identified and eventually interviewed. The suspects confessed that while hunting for coyotes, they observed a bobcat run across the road onto the complainant’s posted property. Despite the “No Trespassing” signs, the hound hunters stated that their dogs were let out and treed the bobcat after a short pursuit. Immediately after shooting the bobcat, the suspects indicated they attempted to flee when they were contacted by the landowner. Further investigation revealed that the bobcat was shot without a license and a subsequent kill-tag was borrowed. Numerous warrants are being sought for recreational trespass, taking a bobcat without a license, and borrowing a kill-tag.
CO Ethan Gainforth patrolled Eight Point Lake in Clare County for snowmobile and fishing activity. Many anglers were contacted along with several snowmobile operators. CO Gainforth located a wooden permanent ice shanty with two tip-ups set about 15 yards from the shanty. Both flags on the tip-ups were ‘up’ and after inspecting the tip-ups it was found they did not have a name and address of the owner on them. Fortunately, the ice shanty had the name and address of an angler that lived on the lake. CO Gainforth retrieved the tip-ups and spoke with a nearby angler. The individual reported that the absent angler had driven out several hours earlier, set both tip-ups, and returned to the north shore of the lake and had not been back. CO Gainforth contacted the angler at his cabin where he admitted to running the unattended lines and confirmed ownership of the tip-ups.
CO John Byars received a RAP complaint about a possible illegally harvested bobcat. The CO conducted an investigation and made contact with the suspect. During the interview with the suspect, he admitted to illegally harvesting the bobcat. It was determined that the bobcat was taken out of season and was also not sealed. The suspect surrendered the bobcat and apologized. CO Byars issued a citation for possessing the unsealed bobcat.
CO Josh Jackson assisted the MSP on US-131 during a cold and icy morning with a car crash. The CO then witnessed a passenger car travelling northbound lose control and slide into the ditch. The CO activated emergency lights to slow the oncoming traffic. As the CO made contact with the driver, he noticed a second vehicle in the ditch. CO Jackson notified dispatch and assisted MSP as tow trucks helped clear the scene. Nobody was injured.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol checking ice anglers on the Saginaw River when he contacted two subjects coming off the river. After checking the angler’s fishing licenses, the CO asked how the fishing was. Only one of the two anglers claimed to have caught any fish. When CO Beuthin asked to see the fish, he noticed one of the fish was noticeably undersized. When measuring the fish, it was measured to be one inch under the size limit. A citation was issued for possessing an undersized walleye.
CO Adam Beuthin was on patrol checking snowmobilers in Saginaw County when he observed a group of snowmobilers in St. Charles. He noticed one of the sleds had an expired registration. When contact was made with the operator, the CO asked why there was an expired registration sticker on the sled. The operator told the CO he had the new one in his truck and could meet him back at his truck and watch him put it on. A ticket for failing to display a valid snowmobile registration was issued. In the same group of snowmobilers there was a sled that did not have a trail permit attached to it. When CO Beuthin asked the operator why there was no trail permit attached to the snowmobile, the operator told the CO he just didn’t get one for the season yet. A ticket for failing to obtain a snowmobile trail permit was issued.
CO Quincy Gowenlock responded to a call of an unknown injury accident at the entrance to Crow Island State Game Area (SGA) in Saginaw County. Upon arrival it was determined to be a property damage accident, and no one was hurt. When the CO spoke with the local deputy, he was informed that the driver had driven down the two-track too fast, and with the accumulation of ice from the previous week, the driver lost control and crashed in the ditch. CO Gowenlock remained on scene blocking the entrance until the disabled vehicle was removed.
CO Quincy Gowenlock was heading to the Shiawassee River SGA for patrol when he passed by a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. The CO turned around to check on the vehicle and found an elderly couple that had had run out of gas. With assistance coming, the CO remained until the elderly couple were on their way.
While on patrol in Huron County, CO Kyle Bucholtz observed three snowmobiles operating near a state highway. One of the snowmobiles was without a registration. CO Bucholtz stopped the riders and learned the snowmobile was registered, but the new registration had not been attached. The rider without the registration was given a verbal warning and educated on the law.
While on patrol in Huron County, CO Kyle Bucholtz was notified of a lost hunting dog. The caller was very distraught and thought maybe the dog had drowned. CO Bucholtz responded to the area to assist searching for the dog, unfortunately the dog was not located during CO Bucholtz’s search.
CO Robert Hobkirk contacted two coyote hunters in the Verona SGA in Huron County. Upon contact, one of the hunters disclosed to CO Hobkirk that he had a concealed pistol license but that he had mistakenly left it in his hotel room. The hunter had the pistol in his glove box. CO Hobkirk had the subject empty the firearm and put it in a case. He was given a warning for not having his permit with him.
CO Robert Hobkirk responded to a complaint of a hawk caught in a leghold trap. On arrival it was determined the hawk was caught by both legs in two separate leghold traps. CO Hobkirk was able to release the hawk and it flew away unharmed. Upon checking the traps, it was found that the trap set up and the trapper were legal.
CO Seth Rhodea made a traffic stop on a vehicle after observing it cross over the center line multiple times. Upon contacting the driver, it was determined that he was operating on a suspended license and had several warrants. The agency with warrants was unable to meet, so the driver was advised and released on his warrants but was cited for operating while suspended and operating left of center.
CO Mark Siemen worked a group snowmobile patrol in Sanilac County with other conservation officers from the district. During this patrol officers had contact with several snowmobile operators on the trail. During these contacts one citation was issued to an operator for not having a valid trail permit. Warnings were also given for defective equipment and failing to stop at roadway intersections. Also, during this patrol, a father and son became stuck in some deep snow and the COs assisted them by pushing them out.
COs Mark Siemen and Jason A. Smith conducted a patrol on the Saginaw Bay to check ice anglers. During this patrol, officers had contact with anglers on snowmobiles and four wheelers. Officers spoke with the subjects and checked their fish. No fishing violations were present, and warnings were given to a couple subjects for not having an ORV license.
While checking ice anglers in the Lexington Harbor, CO Mark Siemen had contact with a subject who was fishing in a shanty. CO Siemen asked the subject if the shanty was being removed at the end of the day and the angler advised that he had pulled it out on the ice the day prior and was going to be leaving it on the ice until he could no longer ice fish. CO Siemen gave the subject a warning and advised him to write his name and address on all four sides of the shanty.
CO Mark Siemen received a call from a subject in Sanilac County stating that he caught two of his neighbor’s dogs in his coyote traps. The caller stated he has been having problems with the dogs coming onto his property since last fall during hunting season. The caller stated last fall he contacted animal control and filed a complaint, but the dogs continued to come on his property. With this information, CO Siemen responded to the location, located the dogs and then went to the residence to speak to the owner. CO Siemen and the dog owner arrived at the complainant’s property and removed the dogs from the traps. After the dogs were released, CO Siemen issued a citation to the owner of the dogs for dogs at large.
In Tuscola County, CO Josh Wright was patrolling in the Deford SGA when he located a vehicle parked in a parking lot with two individuals sitting in it. As CO Wright walked up to the driver’s side of the vehicle, he could smell the strong order of burnt marijuana. Both occupants were less than 21 years old and received a citation for Minor in Possession of marijuana. The vehicle occupants also chose to walk home and come back for their vehicle hours later instead of going through the SFST process.
While on patrol in Tuscola County, CO Josh Wright found a vehicle stuck on state land without a registration plate on it. The Vehicle Identification Number came back to a person in Caro but had no plate assigned to it. CO Wright went to the address a couple times and no one would answer. CO Wright ended up putting an abandoned vehicle sticker on it for 48 hours. When he returned, the vehicle was gone.
COs Chad Foerster and Adam Beuthin were working the Saginaw Bay on their patrol sleds when they came across an ice shanty off the “beaten path.” Initial contact with the anglers found them attempting to shove walleye back down the hole upon recognizing the officers. The two anglers were found to be in possession of 30 walleye, 14 over their legal limit. They told the COs that they had some new-found friends from Wisconsin that were not doing so well fishing, so they were catching fish for them to take back home. Tickets were written for the over limit violations and reimbursement will be sought for the fish.
COs Chad Foerster, Seth Rhodea, Jason King, Jill Miller, Adam Beuthin, and Jay Person conducted a group snowmobile patrol on Saginaw Bay to check the hundreds of ice anglers out on Super Bowl Sunday. The patrol produced 14 tickets written for violations ranging from fishing, snowmobile, and ORV violations. There were 175 people contacted, 17 warnings handed out for various violations and $150.00 taken in bond money from non-resident anglers.
While conducting an ORV patrol on Loon Lake in Montcalm County, COs Mike Haas and Josh Jackson observed a side-by-side ATV displaying an expired ATV license. While attempting to catch up to the side-by-side, the COs witnessed the driver speeding, rolling thru numerous stop signs and operating down the middle of the road. Eventually the operator noticed the COs following him and stopped. Despite having an expired license on the vehicle, the operator stated that he never operated the side-by-side off his property, so he didn’t want to buy a license. Apparently, the COs just happened to catch him off his property the one day he decided to operate across the county. A citation was issued for operating an ORV on public roads without an ORV license.
COs Dan Robinson, Mike Haas, and Josh Russell were patrolling Midland County state land on snowmobiles when they encountered five ORVs using an illegal trail through the woods. The riders admitted to “just following the tracks” where snowmobiles had already made a path. The riders had their required ORV licenses, helmets, and eyewear. The individuals were shown maps of the area and the forest roads where the ORVs can be operated and tickets were issued for the illegal operation.
CO Jay Person was dispatched by Midland County 911 to a possible rabid opossum. The caller called in that she had a rabid opossum in her chicken coop and when it tried to attack her, she slipped on the icy conditions and refused EMS at the time. Before CO Person arrived, the subject called 911 again to report that an 11-year-old male had slipped while trying to deal with the opossum and EMS was dispatched to the location. CO Person arrived on scene the same time as EMS and all parties had a hard time getting to the residence due to the ice accumulation on the ground. Finally, CO Person was able to remove the opossum which was showing signs of distemper and EMS found no major injuries to the reporting parties.
CO Sam Schluckbier located several anglers on a remote lake in Allegan County. From a distance he watched as five anglers tended more than 15 tip-ups and jigging lines. CO Schluckbier watched the group catch several fish before eventually confronting them. During the license check, two individuals did not have fishing licenses and were from out of state. The group claimed they didn’t know the Michigan laws and requirements for ice fishing. A total of 17 fishing lines were in use all at once. Further investigation found an undersized Northern pike was kept by one of the anglers. Multiple citations were issued for the various fishing violations.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling the Allegan SGA when he approached a vehicle head on, on a narrow two track. CO Woodwyk pulled off the roadway and stood outside of his vehicle. The operator pulled up next to him and stopped. When CO Woodwyk looked inside the vehicle, he observed an open beer can in the passenger side footwell. Further investigation revealed a second open beer can and that the driver had a suspended license. Citations were issued.
CO Sam Schluckbier and CO Carter Woodwyk conducted a snowmobile patrol in Allegan County. During the patrol, multiple contacts were made, and several violations were addressed including; operating a snowmobile without a trail permit, failure to register snowmobile, underage operation, and snowmobile trespassing.
CO Sam Schluckbier made a stop on an ORV side by side after seeing the passengers were not buckled in as required by law. CO Schluckbier found the driver was operating the ORV on a suspended license. The passengers turned out to be his nine-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. None of the three were wearing safety belts while operating down a busy roadway in Barry County. Charges are being sought for the ORV violations and reviewed for possible child endangerment.
CO Sam Schluckbier was checking Swan Lake in Allegan County when he observed several individuals fall through the ice on their way in from fishing. The sunshine warmed the shoreline enough to thaw the access site. After the initial subjects were safely pulled onto shore, CO Schluckbier stood by and assisted until all the remaining anglers were off the ice.
COs Richard Cardenas and Cary Foster were patrolling the Barry SGA when they located a truck with two subjects actively dumping litter along a game area trail. The COs made contact with the subjects and neither possessed valid driver’s licenses, and one subject had an arrest warrant. Citations were issued for the littering.
CO Richard Cardenas was patrolling Barry County when he observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed near M-37. CO Cardenas was able to determine the vehicle was doing 90 plus miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone. CO Cardenas conducted a traffic stop and found the driver was also driving on a suspended license. A citation was issued.
COs Zach Bauer and Tyler Cole conducted a patrol targeting ice fishing activity. Multiple contacts were made on various lakes. While the COs were on patrol, they noticed a car stuck in the snow at an access site. The COs were able to push the car out of the snow.
COs Travis Dragomer and Zach Bauer conducted a patrol along snowmobile Trail 182 in Galien, Berrien County. The COs observed a snowmobile operating on the extreme right of the roadway. The COs observed that the snowmobile was not displaying a registration or a snowmobile trail permit. A citation was issued for not obtaining a snowmobile trail permit and the individual was given a warning for failing to register the snowmobile.
While patrolling Van Buren County, CO Matt Page and PCO Anna Cullen had contact with two individuals ice fishing on Keeler Lake. Neither subject had a fishing license, were in possession of three undersized Northern pike, and were fishing with too many lines. Citations were issued for fishing without a license and possessing an undersized pike.
CO Jeff Robinette and PCO Jackie Miskovich were on patrol in Saint Joseph County when they came upon a car containing two individuals that was parked on a county road. PCO Miskovich used Station 20 to run the individuals through LEIN. One of the individuals was arrested and transported to St. Joseph County jail where he was lodged on warrants.
CO Jeff Robinette and PCO Jackie Miskovich were on patrol in Saint Joseph County when they came upon an individual in the SGA who was told to vacate the area by another CO. A citation was issued to the individual for littering, due to trash being left at the site.
While patrolling inland lakes in Kent County, CO Justin Ulberg noted that good numbers of panfish were being caught on one of the lakes. CO Ulberg checked the lake over the course of the next couple days as anglers were coming off. Three anglers were checked and had over-limits of panfish. Citations were issued for taking over limits.
CO Justin Ulberg assisted the Montcalm County COs during the annual Crystal Lake Winter Festival. Numerous ORV, fishing, and snowmobile contacts were made. Citations were issued for licensing violations for illegal ORV and snowmobile use.
CO Casey Varriale received a complaint on Emerald Lake in Kent County about a possible angler keeping an over limit of bluegill. CO Varriale made contact with the only angler on the lake and only found seven bluegills in his possession. Upon further investigation, CO Varriale determined the angler did not have a fishing license or a valid driver’s license. The suspect admitted to driving himself to the lake so he could fish. A citation was issued for fishing without a license and a warning was given for driving without a valid license.
COs Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg patrolled the Musketawa snowmobile trail in Muskegon County. The COs had several contacts and issued citations for riders with no permits and invalid registrations.
CO Daniel Prince attended a pre-trial hearing at the 53rd District Court in Howell for a subject who killed a 9-point White-tail deer without a deer license. The man pled guilty to the crime and paid $6,675.00 in reimbursement and lost his hunting privileges for the next six years. The firearm used was also condemned.
CO Jeff Goss and PCO Nathan Beelman received a complaint about a video that had been posted to social media. The video showed two suspects beating an opossum to death with a metal baseball bat in the basement of a house. CO Goss and PCO Beelman contacted the suspects at the house where the incident occurred. Both suspects admitted to killing the opossum. Written confessions were taken, and charges are being sought for animal cruelty.
CO Nick Wellman attended the Branch County School Safety Task Force meeting along with other representatives of local law enforcement, fire service, and school leaders. These meetings are intended to create a universal safety plan for all schools and those who would respond to emergencies.
COs Chris Maher, Shane Webster and PCO Jim Nason responded to multiple citizen complaints regarding two wild boars that were seen running through yards in Columbia Township. The COs responded on foot near Jefferson Street and M-50. They located and pursued the hogs with catch poles. The boars are still at large.
CO Larn R. Strawn was contacted by CO Michael Haas with a request to assist with an investigation into the illegal killing of two red fox. CO Haas discovered two fox at a local taxidermist that were submitted by a subject without a license. CO Strawn located the person who submitted the foxes as well as an additional suspect who killed both foxes. CO Strawn conducted two interviews and was able to obtain confessions detailing the illegal take as well as the rifle used.
CO Todd Thorn was patrolling Eaton County during a snowstorm looking for snowmobile activity when an SUV drove up quickly behind him with its high beam lights on and then passed CO Thorn at a high rate of speed. CO Thorn caught up with the vehicle and made contact. CO Thorn found that the driver was intoxicated, had open intoxicants in the vehicle, had no identification, his operator’s license was suspended, and had no insurance or valid registration for the vehicle. A passenger had three warrants for his arrest and further investigation revealed that the driver had six prior OWI convictions, including two felony OWIs. Both were lodged at the Eaton County jail and the driver was charged with his third felony OWI.
COs Pat Hartsig, Ben Lasher, Brad Silorey, Joseph Deppen, and PCOs Tom Peterson and Jamie Salisbury conducted a group patrol focusing on snowmobile activity. COs encountered multiple snowmobiles throughout their patrol. Multiple citations were written including unregistered snowmobile, no snowmobile trail permit, fail to stop for a conservation officer, and operate snowmobile in closed area. Multiple warnings were issued for DWLS snowmobile and operating down the center of a roadway.
While checking for snowmobile activity along Lake St. Clair, COs Ben Lasher, Ray Gardner, Brad Silorey, Joseph Deppen, and PCO Jamie Salisbury encountered multiple snowmobiles operating along the lakeshore. Multiple tickets were written for unregistered snowmobile, careless operation, no trail permit, and operating within 100 feet of anglers in ice shanties. Multiple warnings were issued for juvenile offenses, snowmobile permits, and no helmets.
While checking anglers on Lake St. Clair, CO Joseph Deppen contacted two anglers fishing a few hundred yards offshore. The anglers each had two fishing poles in the water and were waiting to catch fish. One angler did not have a license. The anglers were issued citations for fishing without a license and given warnings for operating an ORV without helmets and riding double.
While returning to the ramp along Lake St. Clair, CO Joseph Deppen noticed two people on three wheelers operating their ORVs in a careless manner. The riders were given warnings for operating an unregistered ORV and issued citations for not wearing any helmets.
While on snowmobile patrol in Macomb County, COs Kris Kiel and Joseph Deppen noticed three snowmobiles operating in the center of the roadway. COs contacted the snowmobilers. The snowmobilers were written citations for unregistered snowmobile and no trail permit. One member of the party was advised of his outstanding warrants and released as they were confirmed but the agency would not pick up.
While checking anglers in Macomb County, CO Joseph Deppen noticed two anglers trespassing on private property to access another marina. CO Deppen contacted the anglers as they were exiting the marina. Both anglers were cited for recreational trespassing and one angler also had a warrant issued by the DNR in 2016 for fishing without a license. The angler was able to post bond to CO Deppen in lieu of going to jail.
CO Joseph Deppen is following up on a case with the assistance of Clay Township officers on a subject that gave false information to a peace officer when stopped. An outdoor enthusiast was stopped last week and gave CO Deppen the name of his brother as his own. The actual offender has DNR warrants and CO Deppen is opening an investigation and following up with additional charges through warrant request with the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s Office for giving false information to a conservation officer, operating at unreasonable speeds, and driving while license is suspended.
CO Joseph Deppen followed up with the prosecutor’s office about an illegal deer case. The subject has felony charges on his record and has never applied for his firearm rights to be reinstated. The prosecutor’s office is adding additional charges of felon in possession of a firearm to the charges.
COs Raymond Gardner and Joseph Deppen were on patrol on Lake St. Clair when they noticed a snowmobile and an ORV coming into the launch. When the operators noticed the officers, they turned around and started driving away. When COs Gardner and Deppen contacted the individuals, CO Gardner noticed that the most recent ORV sticker on the ORV was from 2010. CO Gardner asked the individuals why they turned around and the operator on the ORV stated that he didn't want to get a ticket. Citations were issued for unlicensed ORVs.
COs Raymond Gardner and Joseph Deppen were on patrol on Lake St. Clair when they noticed a snowmobile pass by without a 2018 snowmobile trail sticker on it. When the driver was contacted, he said he didn't know he needed one while operating on the lake. CO Gardner explained the law to the driver and a citation was issued for no trail permit.
COs Raymond Gardner and Brad Silorey were on patrol on Lake St. Clair when they noticed a man operating an ORV without a helmet. CO Gardner stopped the ORV and contacted the operator. Upon making contact, CO Gardner noticed that the ORV did not have a 2018 ORV sticker and the operator had an open Coors Light beer in his hand. When CO Gardner asked about the violations the operator stated he didn't realize that he had to wear a helmet, have an ORV sticker, and was not allowed to have an open beer in his possession. The subject was cited for no helmet on an ORV and not having an ORV sticker. A warning was given for the open beer in the subject’s hand.
COs Raymond Gardner, Robert Watson and Ben Lasher were on patrol on Lake St. Clair when CO Gardner noticed a snowmobile passing by and the both the operator and passenger were not wearing a helmet. Upon contacting them, CO Gardner noticed that the snowmobile’s registration expired in 2016 and it also did not have a current snowmobile trail sticker. When asked about the violations the owner stated he bought the snowmobile the day prior and did not have the chance to register it yet. CO Gardner explained the laws to the owner of the snowmobile and citations were issued for no trail permit.
CO Robert Watson was checking a local SGA known for target shooting when he observed two young shooters. CO Watson watched the shooters for some time, witnessing them using incendiary targets multiple times, using their firearms to shoot standing trees down, and eventually leaving all their empty casings and hulls behind as litter. CO Watson contacted the shooters and a citation was issued for the litter, along with having the shooters pick up all their trash left behind.
CO Robert Watson conducted multiple taxidermy inspections in St. Clair County. Follow up investigations were done on most parties of interest. Some investigations are still ongoing. Some warnings were issued to individuals for not properly validating tags, and to one husband and wife combination for mistakenly attaching a kill-tag other than the appropriate kill-tag for that deer.
CO Ben Lasher and other Area 3 COs had a group patrol for snowmobile activity during the first big snow storm of the year. Numerous contacts were made for operating in the roadway and other snowmobile related violations. One subject attempted to turn his machine around and avoid being contacted. CO Lasher had to pull up with his emergency lights on next to the subject, jump up and push his emergency stop button due to the subject continuing to turn his machine around. Enforcement action was taken for operating in the roadway and fail to stop for a conservation officer.
CO Ben Lasher stopped a father and adult son riding their machines in the St. Johns Marsh SGA. They had just put a new part on one machine and wanted to run them before going up north. Enforcement action was taken for operation in an SGA.
CO Ben Lasher stopped a snowmobile for "drag racing" and violating the 100-foot rule. Once stopped the machine did not have any registration stickers and after further investigation was found to be unregistered. The young adult driver stated, "it wasn't my fault, I didn't know" and continued to say the DNR should put cones out or something so people know. CO Lasher reminded the snowmobile rider that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” and that the regulation is for safety. A citation was issued for the 100-foot rule violation.
CO Ben Lasher contacted an ice angler who claimed to have bought his license but did not have it with him. Further investigation found the subject did not have a fishing license and a ticket was issued for the same.
CO Ben Lasher was patrolling near the Fair Haven Access Site when he saw a full-size Chevy truck doing "donuts" in between numerous parked vehicles, while hanging out the driver’s window. Obviously, a careless driving situation, CO Lasher stopped the vehicle and talked with the driver.
CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson participated in a group snowmobile patrol with fellow St. Clair County COs and Macomb County COs in the southern portion of St. Clair County on January 28th. During the group patrol many violations were cited including fail to stop for officers, fail to register snowmobile, fail to obtain trail permits, fail to transfer registration, and careless operation of a snowmobile. The group patrol was a success.
CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson conducted fisheries patrols throughout the week. During these patrols they came across many violations including fish with no license, fail to register ORV, and using marijuana in public.
CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson were on a foot patrol checking ice anglers on Lake St. Clair when they came across a group of individuals spearing perch. The one individual holding the spear did not possess a valid fishing license. Citations were issued for spearing yellow perch without a fishing license.
CO Pat Hartsig and PCO Tom Peterson were checking ice anglers coming off the ice at the Fair Haven Boat Launch, when they came across a man driving an ATV in a reckless manner. When the officers contacted the individual, they discovered that the individual did not possess a current ORV permit. A citation was issued for an unlicensed ORV.
COs Brad Silorey, Joseph Deppen, and PCO Jaime Salisbury were checking ice anglers at Lake St. Clair Metroparks. During a check a concerned angler informed PCO Salisbury that there was a man lying on the ice with their fishing equipment spread around them. The angler pointed out the man’s location to PCO Salisbury. With the aid of binoculars, the angler in distress could be seen laying on the ice. All three COs immediately responded. Upon contact, the man was observed laying on the ice with four inches of water on top. The man was very cold, and incoherent. The man stated that he was diabetic, taking medication, and had been drinking. When asked what he was doing the man stated that he was fine and that he was just “waiting for the night bite.” CO Deppen explained to the man that we were concerned for his well-being and that he could still get hypothermia despite the warmer weather. An ambulance was called to perform a medical evaluation. CO Deppen and PCO Salisbury assisted the man to his feet and helped him walk to shore where the ambulance was waiting. The man was evaluated but refused further medical attention.
COs Brad Silorey, Joseph Deppen, and PCO Jaime Salisbury were checking ice anglers at Lake St. Clair Metroparks while they observed a pair of snowmobiles operating along the shoreline and within 100 feet of ice angler. The COs were able to stop the snowmobiles and citations were issued for operating within 100 feet of an ice angler, operating an unregistered snowmobile, and operating a snowmobile without a trail permit.
CO Brad Silorey and PCO Jaime Salisbury were on patrol in a fishing hotspot in Macomb County. During the patrol they noticed several anglers who appeared to be having success catching panfish. From a distance the COs watched through binoculars and could see many fish flopping on the ice. The anglers began packing up their equipment and headed back to shore. The COs contacted the anglers at their vehicle and began conducting a check for fishing licenses and asked to see the fish they had caught. The anglers presented two buckets to the COs. One of the buckets contained 19 panfish while the other bucket contained more than the limit of 25 panfish. The COs asked the angler with the over limit if they knew what the daily limit of panfish was. The angler stated, “the limit is 25, but I was helping my buddy catch his limit since he was struggling.” The COs educated the angler that they could not catch and keep more than their daily limit of 25 panfish even if they were giving them to someone else. A citation was issued for taking/possessing an over limit of panfish.
CO Brad Silorey and PCO Jaime Salisbury received a tip from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department of a local pet store that was suspected to be selling native species of turtles. The COs met up with CO Kris Kiel and conducted an inspection at the pet store. Upon investigation, the COs discovered the store was in possession of a Snapping turtle, multiple Painted turtles, and several Red-eared sliders listed for sale. The case is pending further investigation.
While checking ice anglers at Frenchtown Harbor, CO Nicholas Ingersoll contacted an angler who was enjoying the warmer weather. CO Ingersoll asked the angler for his fishing license and the angler provided CO Ingersoll with a 2017 fishing license. CO Ingersoll asked for his 2018 and the angler advised he bought it but did not have it on him. After running the angler’s license history, CO Ingersoll determined that the angler did not have a 2018 fishing license. CO Ingersoll issued the angler a citation for fishing without a valid fishing license.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was patrolling a local area for late season goose hunters when he observed three individuals in a nearby field. While CO Ingersoll was approaching the three hunters, he observed a pile of corn in the middle of the spread of decoys. CO Ingersoll conducted his routine check and found that one of the hunters had an unsigned federal duck stamp. CO Ingersoll questioned the hunters about the bait, and the hunters stated they made a mistake. The hunters stated they piled up the corn and did not realize they could not hunt over a baited area. CO Ingersoll advised the hunters of the violations and issued citations for the hunting waterfowl over a baited area.
CO Keven Luther received a RAP complaint of two waterfowl hunters shooting at mute swans within the Pointe Mouillee SGA as they were attempting to exit the area. After a brief interview and check of the waterfowl hunter’s equipment, CO Luther determined that these two men were in fact the two hunters from the complaint. CO Luther identified that these men were novice waterfowl hunters and truly needed to be educated. CO Luther issued one citation for an unplugged shotgun and discussed waterfowl hunting and species identification with the two hunters. CO Luther recommended a few books and locations to help the two better identify different waterfowl species.
CO David Schaumburger went on foot patrol on Grosse Ile Airport Bay and contacted approximately 25 anglers. Each of the anglers had between five and 15 jumbo perch and all but three of them were able to produce fishing licenses. The three without licenses said they bought it but did not have it on them. A check of the anglers’ purchase history showed none of them having purchased a fishing license for 2018. A citation was issued to each of the anglers for fishing without licenses.
CO Dan Walzak was investigating a complaint of an angler allegedly using five lines to fish. CO Walzak observed a shanty with four tip-ups set in front of it. After a few minutes of watching, another angler walked up, the shanty opened, and a single angler emerged. As the two individuals conversed, CO Walzak observed the angler from the shanty tend all the lines. When the subject was contacted, he stated that he knew better, and he made a mistake. The subject was cited for fishing with too many lines.
Contacting several goose hunters in a farm field, CO Dan Walzak was told by one of the hunters that they had a great hunt, and everybody shot their limits. CO Walzak went through a routine check of licenses, stamps, firearms, ammunition, and bag limits. One federal migratory bird hunting stamp was unsigned, and that individual received a warning. The firearms and ammunition were in compliance. When the birds were counted however, there was an extra bird. A citation was issued for over-limit of Canada goose.
CO Jacob Griffin and PCO Brandon Vacek were patrolling Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Oakland County. The COs were on snowmobiles traveling across the ice when they observed a car parked near the boat launch. As the COs approached, the car turned around and drove off the road as the subject tried to leave the area. The COs stopped the vehicle and contacted the subject inside. After further investigation, the COs determined the subject had a suspended driver’s license, no insurance, expired registration, and a misdemeanor warrant. The subject also admitted to driving while using marijuana. Citations were issued, the subject was transported by local law enforcement, and the case will be turned over to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
CO Jacob Griffin and PCO Brandon Vacek were patrolling Oakland County for snowmobile activity. The COs conducted a stop on a snowmobile traveling toward them on a trail. The subjects had failed to attach a valid trail permit and the passenger was not wearing a helmet. Additionally, the snowmobile was not registered. The subjects were educated on the safety equipment and registration requirements to legally ride a snowmobile in Michigan. Citations were issued for failing to wear a helmet while riding a snowmobile and failing to display a trail permit.
CO Jacob Griffin and PCO Brandon Vacek were checking ice fishing activity in Oakland County. The COs contacted two subjects checking tip-ups. While conducting a routine fishing check, the COs discovered one subject did not have a fishing license in his possession. When the subject was asked for his fishing license, he stated he had a base license. The COs educated the subject on what license was needed for fishing. Further investigation revealed the subject had not purchased a fishing license for the 2018 season. A citation was issued.
On Pontiac Lake, CO Jacob Griffin and PCO Brandon Vacek observed an ORV parked near a shanty on the ice. The COs contacted the subjects inside the shanty to check fishing licenses. One subject was not in possession of a license. The subject stated he could return home on the ORV to retrieve his license. Upon further investigation, the subject had not purchased a license for the 2018 season and had failed to register his ORV. The subject was educated on the ORV laws and a citation was issued for fishing without a license.
Genesee County Central Dispatch advised of a situation where hunters were hunting too close to a nearby mobile home park. CO Justin Muehlhauser responded along with local jurisdictions. When the CO arrived, local officers were talking with the suspected hunters. All the hunters were properly licensed and advised that they were part of a local rabbit tournament. One hunter advised that he was the one who shot near the northern property line which bordered the trailer park. CO Muehlhauser asked how far he was away from the homes when he shot. The hunter replied, “I was too close.” It was determined that the hunter was standing approximately 50 feet away from one of the homes when he shot. The caller was able to provide video of the incident and the hunter was cited for discharging a firearm within a safety zone.
COs from Genesee and Oakland Counties patrolled Lobdell Lake during the annual Chili Cook Off. Weather conditions made for a very large turnout. It is estimated that there were roughly 1,500-2,000 participants this year. The COs addressed many violations and issued citations for operating within 100 feet of persons on foot, operating without helmets, and operating without ORV and snowmobile permits. For the first time in six years, there were no reports of vehicles that went through the ice.
CO Justin Muehlhauser checked anglers returning to the Lake Fenton boat launch. Two men advised that they had caught a few fish and showed the CO their catch. CO Muehlhauser asked to see fishing licenses. One of the anglers advised that he had not yet purchased a license. A check of the Retail Service Section showed that he angler had not purchased a license since 2016. The CO issued a citation for fishing without a license.
CO Justin Muehlhauser checked a group of anglers as they returned to the Lake Fenton boat launch. There was one man on a snowmobile who was transporting equipment and passengers from Cranes Cove. CO Muehlhauser noticed that the operator and passengers were not wearing helmets. The CO contacted the operator, who advised that the helmet was in his truck. The CO explained that a helmet must always be worn when operating in a public area and cited the operator for the violation.
CO Matthew Neterer and PCO Luke Robare were checking ice anglers on Belle Isle when they encountered two anglers with a Northern pike lying outside of their shanty. Further investigation revealed that one of the men had a warrant for his arrest and the other claimed he had caught the pike. PCO Robare told the angler that the Northern pike looked to be undersized and the man replied, “I measured it with a string, and it should be 26 inches.” When asked to produce the string the angler used as a measuring device, he stated, “it must have blown away.” PCO Robare measured the pike with a tape measure and found it to be 21.5 inches. Enforcement action was taken on the arrest warrant and the angler was cited for possessing a Northern pike less than 24 inches.