Department of Natural Resources
Conservation Officer (CO) Ethen Mapes responded to a residence to assist the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Office with a missing subject. The subject was a 17-year-old nonverbal autistic male who had wandered off into the woods from his residence. The area in which he was lost consisted of thick forest, as well as swamps, rivers, and marshes. 14 conservation officers from District 1, hundreds of volunteers, and multiple agencies assisted throughout the search period in snow, rain, and freezing temperatures. Sadly, he was located deceased on day four of the search and appears to have succumbed to the effects of hypothermia.
CO Zach Painter was on patrol and responded to assist the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Department with the report of a domestic in progress. The suspect fled the scene on foot and was located a short while later and placed under arrest for domestic violence.
CO Jenni Hanson responded to assist with a search and rescue in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. An elderly female failed to check out of her hotel room, and her vehicle was located at the state park. Officers involved contacted the family who advised they had not heard from her in two days. CO Hanson, along with a U.S Forest Service law enforcement officer, the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Department, and Porcupine Mountains Park rangers conducted a half-day search for the missing woman. CO Hanson was part of the group that searched the shores of the park by boat. The woman was located on the shoreline in good health and good spirits. She was returned to her vehicle without incident.
CO Jeffrey Dell responded to a forest fire call from central dispatch. Shortly after the call, central dispatch advised a truck had passed multiple fire trucks in route to the fire. Upon arriving at the scene, CO Dell observed a truck matching the description parked in the driveway. Several acres around the residence had been burned and had to be put out. It was later determined that the subject who passed the fire trucks was responsible for the fire and was rushing back home after he heard it had escaped. The man had not taken the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the fire and had left it unattended for several hours. Charges are being sought through the county prosecutor's office.
CO Shannon Kritz was on patrol when she noticed a vehicle parked near a closed trout stream. CO Kritz walked along the stream and observed a subject fishing in the stream. CO Kritz approached the subject and asked if he was aware the stream was closed until the last Saturday in April. The angler gave CO Kritz a variety of excuses including that he did not know he could not catch and release in the stream, that he had confused the stream with one that was open, and that he was not aware it was a trout stream at all. CO Kritz instructed the fisherman on how to look up designated trout stream maps online and issued him a citation for fishing in a closed trout stream.
COs John Kamps and Josh Boudreaux were discussing litter investigations when CO Kamps mentioned not being able to locate a suspect who was responsible for an ice shanty that fell through the ice. As the pair talked, CO Boudreaux asked what the guy's last name was so he could assist in locating him. As CO Kamps told him the name, CO Boudreaux looked up in surprise. CO Boudreaux had been looking for the same individual for an unrelated illegal dumping incident on the other side of the county and it turns out that both COs had been making repeated efforts to contact the same individual. The COs paired up and using a description of the suspect's vehicle and general location they drove around until they located him at a residence in Ishpeming. The individual confessed to both incidents and was issued two citations for littering.
CO John Kamps responded to an automated external defibrillator (AED) incident in Marquette County. CO Kamps arrived at the residence to find a husband doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on his wife. The AED was utilized but no shock was administered. CPR was continued until emergency medical services EMS arrived shortly after. Unfortunately, the woman did not survive. Just moments later, CO Kamps responded to a suicidal female who had cut herself. CO Kamps and the Forsyth Police Department located the female at a nearby residence, who was bleeding profusely. Forsyth Police and CO Kamps secured the scene until EMS arrived and transported the subject to the hospital for treatment.
CO Andrea Dani received a complaint from Station 20 stating that a turkey had just been shot from the road on posted private property. CO Dani contacted the vehicle owner and his girlfriend who were still in possession of the turkey. The shooter stated she did not know private property signs mattered on the county road right-of-way, and that she did not see the signs until afterward. The turkey and suspect's shotgun were seized. A report is being submitted to the Prosecutor's Office for the recreational trespass and safety zone violation.
While on routine patrol, CO Robert Freeborn observed what appeared to be smoke coming from a remote location of an ORV trail. As CO Freeborn arrived at the location of the smoke, he observed an active forest fire that was beginning to climb the trees and was spreading quickly due to the high winds. CO Freeborn advised local dispatch and proceeded into the woods to find the possible source. Once in the woods, CO Freeborn heard a power line shorting out on the ground several times. CO Freeborn immediately went back to his patrol truck and waited for the fire department and power company. After several hours, the fire was put out and power was restored. CO Freeborn was assisted by the MSP and Sault Tribal Police.
CO Mike Olesen assisted the MSP in investigating an abandoned vehicle in the Hiawatha National Forest that was discovered to be connected with a missing person from Illinois. The driver of the vehicle was found by two citizens after they checked on one of their hunting blinds. It was determined that the missing person was staying in a deer blind a couple miles from the location in which the vehicle was abandoned. Other than being hungry the individual was in good health and reunited with his family.
CO Cole VanOosten was on patrol of northern Luce County for trout opener when an ORV sped around a corner coming at him, failing to maintain his vehicle on the right side of the roadway nearly hitting CO VanOosten's patrol truck. A traffic stop was conducted, and the operator admitted to driving around the corner at over 50 miles per hour (mph) and stated that if the CO's patrol truck were any closer it would have hit it. A citation was issued for carless operation of an ORV.
CO Cole VanOosten assisted members of District 25 with the serving of three warrants for an individual that was caught taking steelhead with a dip net in Schoolcraft County. CO VanOosten issued tickets for three misdemeanor counts of taking fish with an illegal method as well as taking an over-limit of steelhead.
CO Andrea Albert observed a four-wheeled ORV being operated at a high rate of speed along a state highway closed to ORV use. Upon making a traffic stop on the vehicle, a passerby stopped to complain that the operator was driving recklessly, spinning out and throwing gravel onto passing cars. A ticket was issued for operating on the closed highway and warnings were issued for failing to transfer the registration within 15 days of purchase and for railroad property trespass.
CO Andrea Erratt received a complaint from an Antrim County Sheriff's deputy about a man who was driving a green and yellow ORV stealing timber from the Glacial Hills. CO Erratt drove around the area and located a John Deere tractor with a trailer hooked on back parked by a garage. CO Erratt talked to the owner who had a dead and down wood permit from the Antrim Conservation District for the Glacial Hills property. CO Erratt thanked the man for keeping the emergency access trails open and called the complainant to explain that the man had a permit.
CO Adam LeClerc wrapped up an investigation that lasted over half a year. CO LeClerc received a complaint of a bear taken during bear season on private property where the hunter did not have permission. After multiple warrants and interviews, the Emmet County Court issued arrest warrants for six individuals involved in the incident. The six suspects presented themselves to the court, satisfying the warrant, and have received arraignment dates.
Sergeant (Sgt.) Bill Webster was patrolling on Lake Charlevoix the night before the walleye opener. He was in the mix of many boats and lots of anglers were sitting waiting until midnight to start fishing. One boat that showed up started trolling at 11:30 PM, so Sgt. Webster started following the boat. After lines were set, Sgt. Webster watched the anglers catch two walleye prior to the midnight opener. Sgt. Webster contacted the anglers at 12:03 AM and issued a ticket for keeping walleye during closed season. Both anglers knew they were cheating the other anglers and said they did not think anyone would be out to check them.
CO Tim Rosochacki responded to assist a Cheboygan County Sheriff's deputy in a foot pursuit with a male subject who ran from a traffic stop. The male subject had taken off into a swamp. The CO arrived on scene and helped with setting up a perimeter. Several minutes later, the CO observed the male subject running through the woods. CO Rosochacki pursued the subject into the backyard of a nearby residence where the subject stopped and stated, "You caught me." The subject was taken into custody without incident and turned over to the sheriff's department for lodging.
CO Tom Oberg assisted MSP troopers and Otsego County Sheriff's deputies regarding a domestic dispute call. The male half of the party was highly intoxicated and quickly became very aggressive towards officers. The subject ended up getting a rifle into his possession but was convinced to turn it over to law enforcement on scene. The intoxicated subject kept threatening to fight officers on scene and was taken into custody once he tried lunging at one of the deputies. The subject was transported to Otsego Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation. CO Oberg responded to the hospital as well to assist in subject control.
CO Paul Fox responded to a forest fire south of Millersburg. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fire units, along with the Case Township and Onaway Fire Departments, responded to the fire, which burnt approximately 25 acres. Due to dry conditions and wind, the fire quickly got out of control from an individual who had a campfire. CO Fox and DNR fire officers investigated the scene and determined that the fire jumped a campfire ring and spread. A ticket was issued for failing to prevent the spread of a fire.
CO Jon Sklba observed a vehicle stuck in a sandy parking area near Shoepac Lake. CO Sklba was able to help the stranded motorist out of the sand. The occupants were grateful for the COs assistance.
CO Sidney Collins reported the outcome of a trespass and illegal deer case from last fall in Montmorency County. The subject pled guilty to recreation trespass and was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution.
CO Sidney Collins assisted the Montmorency County Sheriff's deputies with a domestic 911 call. The caller stated they were being attacked. Once CO Collins was on scene, the parties were separated and there was no physical assault. A family was ordered out of another family member's home due to conflict. CO Collins stood by and kept two young children occupied while their parents retrieved all their things from the home. CO Collins learned all about the children's bikes, soccer balls, and chalk paintings on the driveway.
CO Sidney Collins retrieved a dead bobcat from the DNR Wildlife Division in Montmorency County. The DNR employee stated the subject that dropped off the bobcat had two different stories when trying to get a permit for the bobcat. First, the subject stated the bobcat was found while he was turkey hunting. Then when the subject dropped off the bobcat, he stated he accidentally hit it with his vehicle. With concerns the bobcat was poached, CO Collins preformed a necropsy. The bobcat was found to have a broken neck and fractured skull. It was determined the subject's story changed while attempting different ways to receive a kill-tag for the bobcat.
CO Jessie Curtis was patrolling Alpena County when she received a complaint of a fire on a burn ban day that had escaped control. Multiple local fire departments responded, along with CO Curtis. The subject was burning illegal waste and household material. A ticket was issued by CO Curtis for failing to prevent the spread of a fire and a warning issued for unlawful disposal of solid waste.
CO Sheppard received a report of an injured hawk in the city of Alpena. CO Sheppard responded to the area where he found a small Sharp-shinned hawk that was unable to fly. After a brief foot pursuit CO Sheppard was able to catch the hawk. One of its wings looked to be injured, so CO Sheppard took it to the Alpena Animal Control for the night while he attempted to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. The next morning, CO Sheppard picked up the hawk and turned it over to a raptor rehabilitator.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz responded to a two-vehicle rollover crash east of Atlanta in Montmorency County. CO Liestenfeltz arrived on scene with Montmorency County Sheriff's deputies. After determining there were no life-threatening injuries, CO Liestenfeltz assisted on scene by directing traffic while the deputies investigated the crash. Two subjects were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz responded to a small grass fire in southern Montmorency County that was started by a downed powerline. CO Liestenfeltz was first to arrive on scene and observed a fire in the ditch that was approximately 30 yards in length and 15 yards in width. With the help of the passerby who called in the fire, CO Liestenfeltz was able to use his shovel to put the grass fire out and keep it from spreading further before members of the fire department arrived on scene. Members of the fire department doused the burned area to make sure the fire would not restart.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz assisted MSP troopers arresting a subject with a felony warrant in Montmorency County. Once the subject was placed into custody, family members became agitated and began crowding the officers near the patrol car. When troopers were searching the subject before placing him in the car, they located a single pill in the subject's pocket. When the trooper pulled the pill out of the pocket, the mother of the arrested subject grabbed the pill from the trooper and attempted to swallow it but was unsuccessful. After a brief struggle to get the subject to drop the pill, troopers were able to get it back into their possession. It was determined that the pill was a pain pill that no one had a prescription for. The troopers on scene will be requesting charges on the woman for attempting to destroy evidence. The rest of the scene was cleared without incident.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling Albert Township in Montmorency County when he observed a truck commit a traffic violation while pulling onto the highway. He ran the license plate on the vehicle, and it was determined that the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver's license as well as a statewide warrant out of Montmorency County. CO Liestenfeltz initiated a stop on the vehicle. Upon contacting the driver, CO Liestenfeltz could immediately smell alcohol and freshly burned marijuana. CO Liestenfeltz asked the driver to step out of the vehicle and asked the driver and passenger how much they had to drink, to which they replied, "A few." The driver also admitted to smoking marijuana while driving approximately 10 minutes before the traffic stop. CO Liestenfeltz conducted standardized field sobriety tests on the driver in which they did not pass. CO Liestenfeltz gave the driver a preliminary breath test (PBT) which was a.084 blood alcohol content (BAC). CO Liestenfeltz arrested the subject for operating while intoxicated. The subject was lodged at the Montmorency County jail and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) 3rd offense and driving on a suspended license.
While walking his dog off-duty, Sgt. Dan Bigger observed some subjects struggling in kayaks to reach the shoreline. When the first subject made it to shore, she advised that her two friends were with her, but she did not know if they could make it back due to the 20-plus mph winds and waves. Sgt. Bigger observed a second kayak a couple hundred yards out and waited until that subject made it to shore, to see if she knew where the last friend was. She said that the last she had seen of her was across the lake near an island. She went on to say that she knew she could not help her, so she continued across to try and get help. Sgt. Bigger returned home and returned with his patrol truck and gear. After notifying Station 20, Sgt. Bigger utilized a canoe that was near a residence to attempt to locate the last subject. The winds were extremely high, and the canoe made it difficult to get across the lake, but the subject was observed within approximately 15 minutes. Sgt. Bigger was able to assist her in getting back to shore and reunited with her friends.
CO Troy Ludwig received a complaint of traps left out during the closed season along the Clam River near the City of Cadillac. The CO responded to the area and located a total of seven traps that were or placed out of season or illegally placed. The traps were tagged so the CO was able to contact the owner. The trapper admitted to placing them and stated that he believed that he had forgotten some of the traps and believed that some had been stolen. Enforcement action was taken for several trapping violations.
CO Troy Ludwig received a complaint of anglers trespassing on private property to access the Pine River on the morning of the trout opener. CO Ludwig contacted the anglers when they returned to their vehicle and were trespassing on private property. The anglers advised that the had been using the trail they were on for over 40 years. The CO asked if they had observed the no trespassing signs, they had walked past to access the private property, and they admitted they had. Enforcement action was taken for recreation trespass.
While investigating a complaint of timber theft in Lake County, CO Ryan Andrews set up a cellular trail camera overlooking the exit from the area along the Little Manistee River where individuals were illegally cutting and taking cedar logs and stumps. While patrolling the area several days later, CO Andrews received a photograph from the camera showing activity in the area. After receiving additional photographs, including one showing a truck with a trailer fully loaded with cedar logs and stumps leaving the area, CO Andrews contacted the individuals in the truck as they were leaving the scene. The operator of the truck admitted to taking the cedar trees from along the river in an area that permits are not authorized from. Additionally, it was discovered the operator had an outstanding warrant. A citation was issued for the timber theft.
Working an area known for ORV trespass in Mason County, CO Kyle Publiski hid his patrol truck to watch the area. After no activity for nearly an hour, CO Publiski watched as a pickup truck approached the area. The pickup attempted to trespass, but the sand was too deep for the pickup to make it onto the property. So as the pickup started to leave the area, CO Publiski watched as the driver threw a beer bottle out the window and left the area. While CO Publiski was trying to get back to his patrol truck, the pickup truck drove back by at a high rate of speed tearing up the county road. Back in his patrol vehicle, CO Publiski caught up to the vehicle and could see through the back window of the pickup truck the driver was holding a blue Bud Light beer bottle, the same as he had thrown from the vehicle. CO Publiski stopped the vehicle and contacted the driver and his girlfriend, along with two very young children who were not seat belted or car seated. The driver denied having an open beer in the vehicle until CO Publiski explained he could see the beer in his hand through the back window of the truck. The driver then grabbed the open beer from in between his girlfriend and young child and handed it to CO Publiski. CO Publiski performed field sobrieties and determined the subject was not intoxicated, but his other violations included, no insurance, driving while license revoked, litter, careless driving, open intoxicant in motor vehicle, no seatbelts, and failing to register a motor vehicle. The subject was cited for open intoxicant in motor vehicle and no insurance.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while working an illegal ORV trail leading along a lake shore in Lake County, was able to contact three ORVs at the end of the illegal trail. CO Killingbeck walked up as one of the ORVs had buried his ORV in a swampy area of the lake. Another ORV was operating with open intoxicants. CO Killingbeck determined the driver of the stuck ORV was in possession of open intoxicants as well. The subjects said that the illegal trail looked fun, but they knew they were not supposed to be there. CO Killingbeck educated the subjects on ORV regulations and citations were issued for open intoxicants and operating an ORV in a wetland.
CO Josiah Killingbeck responded, along with CO Ryan Andrews and a Lake County Sheriff's deputy, to an ORV crash. CO Killingbeck was first to arrive on scene and determined that the ORV had been driving too fast into a curve and the rider lost control and was ejected from his ORV. The subject had traumatic injuries, and after dressing the subject's wounds, CO Killingbeck transported the subject out of the woods as EMS was unable to get into the area due to trail conditions. The subject was turned over to EMS and ultimately transported to a down state hospital for his injuries.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol, was clearing a traffic stop when a vehicle drove past him with several motor vehicle code violations. As CO Killingbeck was attempting to catch up to the vehicle, the vehicle turned into a driveway. As CO Killingbeck drove past, the subject backed out and went the other way. CO Killingbeck turned around and the vehicle attempted to pull in and hide in a private campground. CO Killingbeck drove down the road, and shortly after the vehicle pulled out and drove off. CO Killingbeck began attempting to catch up to the vehicle and the subject began driving recklessly, taking side streets and disregarding stop signs. CO Killingbeck was able to get the vehicle stopped and after having the driver step out of the vehicle, the subject said, "I wasn't trying to duck you, but I just want to get home." CO Killingbeck interviewed the driver and learned that a pistol was hidden under a seat and the subject did not have a concealed pistol license. CO Killingbeck located the handgun and lodged the subject in the Lake County jail for the Carrying a Concealed Weapon violation.
While on patrol in Manistee County, CO Kyle Publiski noticed a vehicle ahead of him drift into the other lane of travel and continue in the south bound lane almost hitting a vehicle head-on before it drifted back into its lane of travel. Now approaching a curve, the vehicle drifted into the other lane of traffic again, almost hitting another vehicle. CO Publiski activated his emergency lights and tried to stop the pickup truck, but it continued north bound failing to stop for nearly 1.5 miles. CO Publiski could see in the mirror of the pickup that the driver appeared to be an elderly subject and figured it was a medical issue, not a subject failing to stop. The driver of the vehicle finally pulled the vehicle over and CO Publiski contacted him. The subject had just left the hospital from a medical procedure and was disoriented. CO Publiski contacted EMS and the subject was treated at the scene and transported home by his wife.
CO Jeff Ginn was dispatched to a hunter harassment complaint. The complainant stated he was actively hunting turkey on public land when the neighboring landowner came out to express concern of the property lines and her livestock nearby. He informed her he knew of the property line and her livestock. The following day the same incident occurred, and the hunter felt her actions were harassing and were preventing him from harvesting a turkey. Upon contacting the landowner, she admitted to contacting him about her livestock and property line, but the second day she was merely looking for mushrooms. This incident is being reviewed by the local court.
CO Jeff Ginn responded to a large fire and attempted to extinguish the blaze. The fire was spreading quickly and had crossed property lines. The woods were so thick it made it difficult for fire trucks to extinguish the fire. CO Ginn remained on scene, assisting with the suppression of the fire, until the multiple on-scene fire departments had it contained. CO Ginn determined the fire rekindled and spread from an old pile of brush the suspects were burning two days prior.
CO Angela Greenway responded to a complaint of a subject suspected of hunting turkeys without a license and hunting over bait. CO Greenway conducted surveillance of the location near the suspect's hunting blind. After remaining stationary for several hours, CO Greenway observed a vehicle driving across the field towards her position. A few minutes later a subject walked to the blind, set it up, it had blown over in the wind, looked at the field in front of the blind where the bait was, and then left. A short time later, the subject returned with a shotgun and decoys. The subject set the decoys right in the middle of the corn and sunflowers that were spread in front of his blind. He started using a box call for turkeys. Upon contacting the hunter, he stated that he was just feeding the birds with the corn and sunflowers. CO Greenway then asked him if turkeys were a bird, the hunter did agree with that. The subject did not have a license on him. Through a Retail Sales System check, it was discovered he had purchased a tag for a different hunt. A citation was issued for both offenses.
CO Angela Greenway was stationary at a DNR boating access site checking a boat coming in off the Muskegon River. This was the second day of the walleye/trout opener. The boat owner quickly stated that he was not fishing because he did not have a license, as he was securing the fishing rods in the vessel. Both subjects stated they did not catch any fish. The passenger in the boat showed his license. CO Greenway asked the owner of the boat to show the personal floatation devices (PFDs), he pulled out one life jacket and quickly put it back in the cubby and said there were two in there. He was then asked to pull them both out. He pulled the same one back out but could not find another PFD in the boat. He was also asked about having the boat registered, since the license being displayed was expired. He said it was up to date. CO Greenway then pointed out where the expiration date was, checked with Station 20, and verified it was expired. A citation was issued for failure to provide a sufficient number of PFDs and warning was provided for operating a vessel with an expired registration.
CO Ben Shively was conducting an off-road vehicle (ORV) patrol and conducted a traffic stop on a four-wheeler which was operating in a closed area and operating in a careless manner. As CO Shively contacted the subject, another four-wheeler came up the roadway and immediately turned around and left the scene. The subject stated that he met the other rider out here and supplied his name and age. CO Shively cited the subject for operating in a closed area and began his search for the second ORV. After approximately 20 minutes, CO Shively met a four-wheeler head on and conducted a traffic stop. The subject admitted he was riding with the first four-wheeler and CO Shively found the first subject had given him a false name on the second subject, who had ridden to the area together. The second subject was cited for operating in a closed area and given a warning for an expired ORV license.
CO Troy Mueller responded to a litter complaint called in by a mushroom hunter. CO Mueller located a trailer load of trash dumped on state land. CO Mueller went through all the bags of trash and found one piece of paper with a name and address of a possible suspect. CO Mueller located the subject and conducted an interview. The suspect admitted to dumping the trash. A citation was issued for littering, and the subject cleaned up all the trash on state land.
CO John Huspen responded to an ORV personal injury accident on a Crawford County ORV trail. CO Huspen arrived and assisted local EMS with loading the injured operator into a 4x4 transport to get to the ambulance waiting at the main road. CO Huspen's investigation of the accident noted it was a single vehicle accident resulting in lower leg trauma for the operator. No citations were issued.
CO John Huspen responded to a wildfire complaint near I 75 just south of Grayling. The fire was caused by a downed powerline after a tree fell on the line from the strong winds. The fire was burning in an area where the 4 Mile Fire burned back in 2008, the fire was putting up a lot of smoke causing a traffic slow down on I 75. The fire burned approximately five acres.
CO Charlie Jones was dispatched to a missing 12-year-old at Smithville Landing on the Manistee River in Kalkaska County. Upon arrival, CO Jones began interviewing the father of the missing child. The father's statements were not making sense and his fidgety actions caught the attention of CO Jones. After having dispatch place several calls, a relative advised the child was at a family friend's house safe and unscathed. Upon further investigation, consent was given to search the father's vehicle. The Kalkaska County Sheriff's Department along with a K-9 and officer from the Kalkaska Village Police Department, discovered methamphetamine (meth). The child had never been missing and the father was hallucinating while under the influence of meth. The father was taken into custody for possession of meth and filing a false police report.
Sgt. Brian Olsen responded to an ORV trespass complaint in the Saint Helen area of Roscommon County. Upon investigation, a large homemade bridge was discovered going across Cedar Creek. The suspect admitted to placing the bridge to gain access to a large area of state land. Posted signs were also located on state land at the bridge to keep others from following the illegal trail and ending up in the suspect's backyard. Sgt. Olsen has submitted a report to the Roscommon County Prosecutor's Office addressing the trespass and wetland violations.
CO Chuck McPherson investigated a littering complaint on state land in Roscommon County. CO McPherson observed some court paperwork in a bag at the site. CO McPherson was able to locate the subject at an address a few miles from the litter site. The subject admitted to littering. CO McPherson issued a citation for knowingly littering on state land and advised the suspect to clean it up.
COs Breanna Reed and Jeremy Cantrell were patrolling Hopkins Creek in Missaukee County on the evening before the trout opener. During the patrol, the COs contacted many camps. Upon arrival to one camp, the COs located two anglers who had lines in the water well before the start of season. The anglers stated they thought it was close enough and they wanted to see what would bite. The COs educated the anglers on the importance of season dates and regulations. Two citations for fishing a closed stream were issued.
CO Kyle Bader stopped at a local lake in Ogemaw County on a windy day to check for any marine or fishing activity and to talk to people about the consequences of not cleaning their vessel between lakes. CO Bader observed a large floating object with a man standing on it being pushed through the rough water by a narrow flat-back canoe with an outboard motor. Due to the wind, the trip was extremely slow going for the pair. CO Bader contacted the two when they reached the dock at the public access and learned the object was a floating dock they were taking out. There were no PFDs on board the vessel. It had also not been registered since 2012. The owner of the canoe was issued a citation for not providing an adequate number of PFDs and warned for the registration violation.
CO James Garrett was off duty scouting for turkeys near the end of legal hunting hours when he observed a hunter entering the woods with a shotgun and decoys at 8:00 PM in Roscommon County. CO Garrett sat in his vehicle nearby waiting for the hunter to exit the woods at the end of hunting hours, 8:06 PM, but the hunter did not emerge from the woods. CO Garrett contacted an on-duty MSP trooper from the Houghton Lake Post for backup as he entered the woods to find the hunter. CO Garrett found the hunter with a loaded shotgun at 8:22 PM. CO Garrett made the hunter aware he was an off-duty conservation officer and showed the hunter his department issued identification and badge. CO Garrett informed the hunter he was hunting well past legal hunting hours and the hunter stated he thought hunting hours ended at 8:30 PM. CO Garrett unloaded the hunter's shotgun and observed a 3.5-inch Federal Premium Blackcloud with BB shot in the chamber. CO Garrett informed the hunter he was also hunting with illegal ammunition and could only use shotgun shells loaded with Number 4 shot or smaller. The hunter stated he thought they were just like geese so he could use whatever size. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Jesse Grzechowski responded to a personal injury vehicle accident while on ORV patrol in Alcona County. CO Grzechowski was the first to arrive on scene and observed the bottom of the vehicle's engine compartment on fire. The driver was stuck in the vehicle while pinned up against a tree line in a ditch. The driver was conscious, breathing, and responsive but needed immediate medical attention. The fire was extinguished by a deputy and CO Grzechowski was able to wedge the driver side door open enough to assess the driver's injuries. First responders assisted and held the driver's neck straight to support C-spine. While assessing the driver's injuries, CO Grzechowski observed the driver's breathing become labored. The driver went unconscious, started agonal breathing, and eventually lost a pulse. CO Grzechowski performed CPR with chest compressions while the paramedics prepared to extract the driver from the vehicle. CO Grzechowski assisted the paramedics in extracting the driver from the vehicle where he was put into an ambulance and transported to a nearby hospital. Within an hour of leaving the scene, CO Grzechowski was notified the driver was conscious, breathing normally, and recovering.
CO Casey Pullum received a complaint through the report all poaching (RAP) Hotline of an angler along the AuSable River attempting to snag fish in Iosco County. CO Pullum contacted CO Jeff Panich for assistance and devised a game plan. CO Pullum was in contact with his complainant the entire time and received a text that the suspect had just snagged a fish but released it. CO Pullum was dropped off by CO Panich and snuck into a location upstream to conduct surveillance on the suspect. After only a few minutes, the suspect foul hooked another fish, brought it to shore, and kept the fish. CO Pullum received a text from the complainant relaying the same information. COs Pullum and Panich contacted the suspect. He denied foul hooking the fish even after he was notified CO Pullum witnessed the entire incident. The fishing gear and fish were seized, and charges are being sought through the Iosco County Prosecutor's Office for retaining a foul hooked fish.
COs Josh Russell and Jeff Goss were patrolling the Lame Duck hunting area when they observed a vehicle parked at a gate that leads back to a food plot. Hunting hours for turkey season had already ended. The COs tracked the subject to the food plot and could hear him calling for turkeys. The COs observed the subject in a blind and could also see the decoys that were in use. After several more minutes, the subject finally retrieved his decoys and the COs moved in and made contact. In addition to hunting after hours, the subject also was using shells with an illegal shot size. The subject was given a turkey digest along with an explanation of the violations. A citation was issued for hunting after hours and a warning was given for using illegal shotshells.
CO Jeff Goss was called to investigate a large wildfire in Gladwin County. According to the landowner, he had been burning in a fire ring earlier in the day. He left for a period of time and when the landowner got back home later that day, heavy winds had caused the fire to spread outside the ring. The fire proceeded to burn approximately 15 acres on multiple adjacent properties. Charges are being sought for allowing a fire to escape through the Gladwin County Prosecutor's Office.
CO Jay Person was checking anglers along the Tittabawassee River during the walleye opener when he happened upon a family returning to their car. They had one lone walleye on a stringer that measured 15 inches exactly. CO Person was informed that a four-year-old girl caught it and it was her first fish. She was so excited and thanked CO Person for looking at it. The fish also had a jaw tag from this year.
COs Adam Beuthin and Seth Rhodea were on marine patrol working walleye anglers on the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County the morning of the opener. The COs observed a vessel operating with two sets of red and green navigation lights instead of a red and green on the bow of the vessel and a white light on the stern. When the COs approached the vessel, they could smell freshly burnt marijuana and discovered a case of beer that was almost empty on the floor of the vessel. CO Beuthin asked the operator of the vessel how many drinks he had and when the last time he smoked marijuana was. The individual replied that it had been about an hour and had too many drinks. After running the operator through standard field sobriety tests, it was determined he was under the influence and was arrested for boating under the influence where he was taken to the Saginaw County jail.
While patrolling the Flat River State Game Area (SGA), CO Mike Haas was contacted by a turkey hunter who stated his hunt had been interrupted earlier by ORVs that were operating in a closed area. CO Haas checked the area later in the evening and encountered multiple machines that were operating in the closed area. One subject told CO Haas that he thought the trail was open to motor vehicles. CO Haas pointed out that having to bypass a locked gate by driving through the woods and over berms should have been a good indication that the trail was closed. Citations were issued to address the illegal operation of motor vehicles in a closed area.
CO Travis Dragomer located a pile of trash in the Boyle Lake SGA. As CO Dragomer was looking through the pile, he located a property inventory from the Berrien County Jail which also contained information from a prior inmate. CO Dragomer and CO Zach Bauer spoke with the possible suspect at a nearby residence. The subjects stated that they paid an individual to take the trash as they do not have a truck. The COs obtained information from the subject they paid. CO Bauer followed up with the new suspect who stated that he was placing the trash there temporarily until he could find a better location for it. A litter citation was issued for the violation.
COs Jeff Robinette and Zach Bauer assisted Girl Scouts out of Three Rivers who were volunteering their time to pick up trash in a Wetland in Three Rivers. The COs sat on each side of the road with their emergency lights activated to provide safety for the Girl Scouts.
While patrolling Hunter Access Program (HAP) land in Berrien County, CO Travis Dragomer observed three ORVs illegally operating on the property. CO Dragomer issued three citations for the illegal use of ORVs upon HAP Lands.
COs Matt Page and Jeff Robinette patrolled the Three Rivers SGA and observed two turkey hunters exiting the woods. Upon checking the hunters, it was found that their public land license had expired. After speaking with the hunters, the male half stated that he had only been turkey hunting one season and didn't know much about the laws. After a quick licensing check, the hunter had several turkey licenses for the same unit which led officers to believe he knew a little more than he led on. A citation was issued for hunt without a valid license. The new hunter in the group was given a verbal warning for the violation.
CO Matt Page responded to a complaint of trespassing after the landowner located seven beaver carcasses and evidence of trespassing. A possible suspect was brought up from past conversations with the neighbor. After speaking with the suspect, he claimed that he needed to trap the beavers because they were causing the water level to rise in his hunting spot. At the time, the property did not meet the trespass posting requirement, however a citation was issued to the individual for littering.
CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint in Allegan County of a group of people unloading trash from a pickup truck in the Allegan SGA. When he arrived on scene, four subjects were observed preparing for a bonfire and drinking alcohol. One of the subjects was scheduled to be released from probation in three days and was prohibited from consuming alcohol. The subject stated he made a mistake and started celebrating his release too soon. The subject submitted to a breath test showing a BAC of .179. All the information was turned over to the subject's probation officer for further action.
CO Kyle McQueer received a complaint of a vehicle that had been driven off-road in the Barry SGA and became stuck in a wetland area. The vehicle had gone down a very steep embankment on a power line easement causing damage to the undercarriage of the vehicle and was leaking transmission fluid. Further, the suspects trespassed onto private property and cut down trees to access the vehicle to remove it. With the suspects gone and knowing they were going to return, CO McQueer deployed his trail camera. A few days later, the complainant contacted CO McQueer stating that subjects drove down his driveway to retrieve the stuck vehicle. By the time he arrived, both vehicles were gone. CO McQueer then checked his trail camera and obtained a license plate number on one of the vehicles. Follow up interviews resulted in confessions to the off-road violations and the damage to property. Citations were issued under the state land use rules.
CO Sam Schluckbier investigated a wildfire that had occurred in Allegan County. The investigation revealed the fire spread from a burn pile that was left unattended. The responsible party was interviewed, and charges are being sought through the Allegan Prosecutor's Office.
CO Casey Varriale was on patrol in the Rogue River SGA in Kent County when he saw a vehicle with two unaccompanied toddlers in it. Approximately 20 feet from the car with the toddlers, another vehicle was parked with a male and female in it. CO Varriale noticed neither vehicle had license plates on them. CO Varriale made a U-turn and noticed the male subject got out of the female's car and drove off with the toddlers. CO Varriale caught up to the female and conducted a traffic stop. The female admitted to not having a driver's license or a registration for the vehicle and told CO Varriale she was on bond for a drug charge. During a short investigation CO Varriale also discovered she had a warrant for her arrest out of Montcalm County. Montcalm County advised to advise and release on the warrant and the female was issued a ticket for her motor vehicle issues.
COs Justin Ulberg and Casey Varriale investigated a complaint of two turkey carcasses being dumped on private property in Kent County. The COs located the turkey carcasses in a wooded area and discovered one of the carcasses still had a kill-tag attached to the leg. Upon responding to the subject's house, the hunter claimed that he only killed one of the turkeys and that his friend killed the second turkey and was responsible for dumping the carcasses on the private property. Following up on the second subject, a full confession was obtained. When asked why, the hunter stated that the turkeys were shot on his grandfather's property and he did not like the carcasses dumped on his property. The COs informed the young hunter that other property owners did not want the carcasses dumped on their property either. The hunter was educated on proper disposal of the carcasses and was issued a citation for littering.
COs Anna Cullen and Jackie Miskovich were patrolling the Muskegon River when they observed a vessel in a weedy portion of the river. The COs contacted the angler to find out he had been checked previously by them. During this previous contact, the angler received a couple warnings for the marine violations he had present. The angler was instructed to fix these issues but failed to do so. A citation was issued as a result.
CO Anna Cullen received a wood cutting complaint regarding the illegal harvesting of wood from the Huron Manistee National Forest. The suspect in question cut multiple trees and cleared large areas of the forest for reasons that are unknown. CO Cullen contacted the United States Forest Service and is now assisting them with the investigation.
CO Anna Cullen and other district officers participated in instructing at the state marine academy in Ottawa County. The officers instructed students from all over the state on basic boat operations, docking skills, and other necessary skills to perform their patrol duties on the water this coming marine season.
While out on patrol in Muskegon County, CO Jackie Miskovich received a RAP complaint about an individual who was possibly shooting muskrat. CO Miskovich patrolled up to the area and talked with the complainants, who informed her who they thought was the one shooting. CO Miskovich contacted that individual, and it was found that he was indeed shooting muskrats. The individual stated that the muskrats were trying to eat the ducklings in the area. CO Miskovich had the individual show her the muskrats that he had killed. A citation was issued for taking muskrat out of season and a warning was issued for unlawful method of take.
CO Nick Wellman was off duty when he received a complaint from a deputy who had just been dispatched to several swans that had just been shot from the road. The deputy responded and updated CO Wellman on the situation. The deputy took several evidence photos and interviewed the complainant for CO Wellman. The following day, CO Wellman spent several hours in the area looking for the suspect vehicle which he had a very good description of. At approximately midnight, CO Wellman located the vehicle at a nearby farm. CO Wellman was assisted by CO Jeff Robinette and several interviews were conducted. CO Wellman was able to receive a full confession from the shooter on killing four trumpeter swans, all with a .223 rifle from the roadway. Several charges are being sought.
While working on a wildlife complaint in Branch County, CO Nick Wellman overheard a sheriff's deputy call out that a suspect in a complaint the sheriff's department was working on had taken off on foot. CO Wellman responded to the area to assist. CO Wellman was able to utilize his night vision goggles to help in tracking the individual through a large field. CO Wellman and a deputy located the suspect hiding behind a large dirt pile. CO Wellman took the suspect into custody and turned him over to the sheriff's deputies on scene.
CO Nick Wellman was off duty when he received a complaint from a man who stated there were a couple of people keeping Smallmouth bass out of season at the Union Dam. The complainant stated that the men were catching the smallmouth, then running them up and putting them in a cooler in the cab of their truck. CO Wellman was unable to respond but got ahold of the assistant chief of Union City Police Department who was able to go to the dam and assist. Once the assistant chief arrived, he contacted the men, gathered the fish and photos for evidence as well as confessions from the men. Charges are being sought.
CO David Schaumburger was sitting at a local ORV pit when he heard machines approaching. The CO met a pair of ORVs at the trail entering the pit and made a stop. The operators said they lived a few miles away and have been coming to the spot for a long time. Of the three operators, no one was wearing a helmet, one of the ORVs had two riders for a single ORV, they were both lacking the proper ORV registration, and were both trespassing. CO Schaumburger issued a ticket for operating without a helmet and issued a few stern warnings. The operators stated they knew a lot of people that rode back there and were going to help spread the word they are not welcome anymore.
CO David Schaumburger was checking walleye anglers in the wee hours of the morning when he came across a boat with four anglers docked at a private marina. The anglers stated they had a "Four-man limit" of walleye, and the CO proceeded to count the fish. The CO counted the anglers 17 walleye they already had in their bag and then checked the live well where there were 20 more walleye. The owner of the boat said it was his fault because he "forgot to count". A citation was issued for possessing more than the daily limit of walleye. Reimbursement for the walleye will be requested for $390.
CO David Schaumburger viewed an angler pull into a private dock in the early morning hours and contacted the man. The angler stated he had his limit, however, after counting the walleye, he had one more than the limit of seven walleye. The angler stated that he was a good Christian man, and he did not intend to take more than the limit and it was an honest mistake. The CO agreed that it was a mistake, but he should have counted the fish before coming to the dock. A citation was issued for possessing more than the daily limit of walleye.
CO Keven Luther attended a Kids Fishing Derby within the City of Canton. CO Luther and the Canton Police assisted very excited youth anglers. CO Luther contacted over two hundred participants.
CO Justin Muehlhauser assisted CO Josh Wright with an interview on subject who was hunting turkey in Tuscola County. CO Wright located an illegal ground blind on state land and discovered corn at the site, possibly used to hunt turkey. CO Muehlhauser interviewed the subject who stated that he did shoot a turkey, but he wasn't using that blind at the time. The subject did state that the blind belonged to him. He said he just sat on a log on his friend's property and shot the bird. Charges are being sought for the illegal ground blind.
CO Justin Muehlhauser investigated a compliant from RAP where a subject shot a turkey without a license. The subject's father posted photos on Facebook stating that he was proud of his daughter for shooting her turkey. However, RSS showed that she never purchased a license. Charges are being sought.
While travelling on I 96, Sgt. Becker observed a vehicle approach him at a high rate of speed and was tailgating him for approximately a mile. The vehicle abruptly changed lanes to pass on the right. Sgt. Becker was able to pace the vehicle over 90 mph and then it swerved back in front of Sgt. Becker, nearly causing a crash. Sgt. Becker conducted a traffic stop and asked the driver why she was in a hurry. She stated that she was in a hurry to get home. Sgt. Becker learned that the driver did not have a valid driver's license with her and did not have insurance on her vehicle. The driver was cited for speeding and no proof of insurance.
CO Ben Lasher followed up on information of a baited turkey blind. The suspect did not hunt opening weekend but showed up on Monday. The suspect claimed he thought all the bait was gone and it would be ok to hunt the area. One ticket issued for hunting turkey over bait.
CO Kris Kiel cited a driver for careless driving. The driver was speeding at well over 90 mph and dangerously swerving in and out of traffic on I 94.
CO Joseph Deppen was headed home from marine patrol when he could see a vehicle approaching him at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was clocked at 120 mph in a 70 mph zone. A traffic stop was conducted. The subject said he was having a really bad day and that was the reason he was speeding. CO Deppen issued the driver a citation for speed 120 mph in a 70 mph zone and verbal warning for careless driving.
CO Joseph Deppen was on an aquatic invasive species (AIS) patrol in Macomb County, when he noticed a group of three anglers catching and keeping live gobies. The anglers were contacted, and they were in possession of live AIS and were using them for bait. CO Deppen issued each angler a citation for take/possess live aquatic invasive species.
CO Deppen was checking anglers at a local fishing pier. CO Deppen noticed an angler toward the end with a stringer in the water. CO Deppen checked his fishing license and the angler pulled up his stringer. On the stringer was a Smallmouth bass. CO Deppen informed the angler that he cannot keep Smallmouth bass during the closed season. The angler said, "You guys should really make a book with all these rules we have to follow." CO Deppen said it's the 2021 fishing guide and they are widely available on his smart phone or paperback. The angler was issued a citation for possession of Smallmouth bass during the closed season.
COs Joseph Deppen and Brad Silorey were checking anglers along Lake St. Clair. CO Deppen checked two anglers who did not have any fishing licenses. The pair of anglers were asked to provide identification and they could not remember their own names or correct dates of birth. CO Deppen was given multiple false names, but one subject finally produced an out of state driver's license. The subject had an outstanding warrant for OWI in a neighboring county. The COs called US Border Patrol to assist, and they ended up identifying the second subject. Neither were United States citizens. The two anglers were cited for fishing without a license. The male was arrested on his outstanding warrants and lodged at the Troy Police Department. The female subject was turned over to Border Patrol for processing.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was checking anglers on Summit Street near the state line when he spoke with an angler and asked to see his fishing license. The angler stated that it was not a problem and provided CO Ingersoll with an Ohio fishing license. CO Ingersoll advised the angler he was in Michigan and asked for his Michigan license. The angler stated he thought he was in Ohio, and CO Ingersoll advised he was almost a half mile into Michigan at this point. CO Ingersoll issued the angler a citation for fishing without a license.
CO Brandon Vacek responded to a complaint in Wayne County of an angler keeping several Largemouth bass out of season. CO Vacek was able to locate a suspect and vehicle matching the complainant's description with assistance from CO Ariel Young. The COs questioned the suspect about the fish and found 11 Largemouth bass in a cooler inside his vehicle. The suspect stated he was new to fishing, was given some of the fish by another person, and did not know he could not keep them. The CO issued the suspect a citation for possession of Largemouth bass out of season. The suspect will also be charged reimbursement to the state for a total of 27 pounds of bass possessed out of season.
CO Brandon Vacek received an in-progress RAP complaint of subjects riding ORVs at Pointe Mouillee SGA in Monroe County. The CO quickly patrolled to the location of the complaint and was able to observe an all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike operating on the trails of the game area. The CO was able to stop both subjects at a trailhead as they proceeded to exit the game area. The subjects told the CO they were not allowed to ride ORVs in their city, so they figured the game area would be a better spot. The CO advised both subjects that the game area is posted against ORV use in several locations. After explaining the numerous violations observed, the CO issued each subject a citation for operating an ORV on state-land where prohibited and failure to license their ORVs. Both subjects were also issued verbal warnings for not wearing helmets.