October 31, 2015

From TheTimesHerald.com

The start of firearm season may still be two weeks away, but that won’t stop some gun-toting hunters from trudging into the woods for some early action.

But if they do, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are ready.

The department in 2014 made 8,085 arrests statewide and handled about 13,127 complaints.

In 2014, a Riley Township man was fined more than $15,000 for illegally taking a trophy buck. And, in Sanilac County, three served jail time and paid about $2,000 each after they were caught shining and shooting from their vehicle.

Dean Molnar, assistant chief of the DNR law enforcement division, said it’s not unusual to see an uptick in poaching violations during hunting season and in the weeks leading up to it.

Scott Malinowski was ordered to pay $15,510 in restitution to the state for an 18-point buck in November 2014. The deer was Malinowski’s third antlered deer of the season, but hunters are allowed to kill no more than two antlered deer during deer hunting season.

In September 2014, four people were stopped after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter spotted them shining and shooting deer in Sanilac County’s Forester Township.

CBP notified authorities in Sanilac County, and deputies and conservation officers responded to the scene. They found four people in a vehicle at the scene. They had two rifles, one dead spotted fawn and parts of another deer.

Three people were sentenced on two counts of violating the wildlife conservation act. The fourth was turned over to U.S. Border Patrol for immigration violations.

The three prosecuted in Sanilac County were sentenced to nine days in jail, a year probation, and more than $2,000 in fines. They are barred from obtaining a hunting license through 2018.

In 2014, the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s office charged a total of eight people with violations of wildlife conservation laws.

In 2014, the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s office handled six cases where people were shining deer from vehicles and a total of 22 DNR violation cases, according to chief assistant prosecutor Steve Guilliat.

Other incidents mentioned in the DNR’s bi-weekly law enforcement reports in fall 2014 and 2015 include:

  • Citations for multiple off-road vehicle violations in St. Clair and Sanilac counties.
  • A September 2014 incident in which someone was found baiting and shooting deer within a St. Clair County condominium complex.
  • An October 2014 incident related to a woman who shot a seven-point buck in Presque Isle County and bought a license the next day. The woman transported the buck back to Richmond, where officers confronted her about the claims.
  • She admitted to shooting the buck without a license.
  • A September 2015 investigation into a permanent camp set up on state land at the Port Huron State Game Area.
    A man fishing without a license in September 2015 at Kimball Township Park.
  • Citations issued to people hunting unauthorized waterfowl after hours in Sanilac County in September 2015.
  • Two incidents at St. Johns March in October 2015, in which hunters were pursuing waterfowl without proper licensing and after hours.

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