November 23, 2013 –DAY 10 dawns: a crispy, nose-hair-stiffening 8 degrees this morn, wind at 15 mph G 29, chill factor WAY BELOW ZED, a day to test the sangfroid (and sangfreud) of all hunters. Wisconsin’s deer season opens this morning. My hotel is filled with them, the border being only 6 miles distant. Michigan hunters will be lined on our side of the Brule River. When the full-body punkin’ suits start shooting over in Cheesieland the deer will hustle en masse through the river to the imagined safety of Michigan, and be met by more salvos. If you are down by the river you can actually hear the deer crossing on both sides of where you stand. I will be so glad to be mostly inside the truck with a heater. The only factor that reduces river-crossing slaughter is that much of the land along the river is privately owned and this will reduce the number of ambushers. My last day in a truck up here for the year, but more ahead below the bridge. I found it odd that I saw not one mention of the JFK assassination on Facebook yesterday. Weird. It was all over the television at night. Over.
Friday, November 22, 2013 — DAY 9 is in the books. Photos of the last two days follow. This is sure a beautiful place. Over.
DAY 6 complete, trucks parked. We rolled this morning to the District office and picked up the unmarked truck. Then up to Watersmeet to drop some information on cases to the USFS law enforcement officer. Lunch at the casino, then up throug…h Gogebic to Ontonagon County. Were were the only truck on in four counties today and worked our way up through the B Wolf Management Unit. Ran into one hunter with a license, and heard of a second one who was out in his blind where a wolf had been seen. We saw 8 deer alive on the day. Up to Bergland for fuel, then up the 400 road to the Norwich Road where we found a grandfather and grandson hunting the road, the boy with no license; he claimed it was in his dad’s truck.. Warned the kid and grandpa the boy had to to have it with him.. From there north to Onty to the sheriff’s department. En route we encountered a camp of 11 hunters who had taken 8 bucks, 5 of them 8 points or more. Everything tagged properly and tin order. AFter Onty, we sailed south through Rockland and out the Victoria Cutover where we immediately ran into two side-by-sides, everything legal, the hunters from around Otsego. Told them I was from Portage and they wanted to know how I got up ther and I told them I walked and we drove away. Shortly thereafter we encountered a vehicle with five hunters, all guns unloaded and in back and a couple of 50 yr old plus passengers with open intox, which we had them dump. Beginning to darken fast. and up the road we ran across two young men smoking dope, which we confiscated, and with open intox, which we had them dump. Their rifles were unloaded. Gave them a verbal warning and moved on. This is deer season and this was the bewitching hour for hunters coming out of the woods, so we moved on across and reversed our route and stopped at a truck parked up a power line. We had seen it earlier and no sign of the hunter yet, so we backed into the weeds and sat on the truck, sensing we might have a loaded gun. What we got was a giant 10-point, the biggest deer the guy had ever shot and he was still shaking so badly he couldn’t use his knife to tag the deer, so we settled him down and watched him take care of it. He should have tagged it in the woods, on the spot, but he was too shook up and we reminded him of the law and moved on. We followed a vehicle eas and watched him run a stop sign and pulled in behind him and my partner gave him a talking to. Turns out one of our NRC members hunts out of the camp. We then got a call from CO Doug Hermanson. A hunter from Rockland had seen a kid shoot a doe off his bait pile. No doe permits there. The hunter called the RAP line who called Doug who called us and we went to the house and retrieved the deer from the family. Dad will get a ticket for failure to supervise, the 14 yr old, who just finished hunter safety lost his deer, but we told them it would go to a needy family, and instead of a $1500 fine, they would just lose the animal to a good cause. Then we shot south to see an older fellow with cancer, who can’t hunt anymore and who is getting monthly blood transfusions. Not sure why, but he and his wife have two young grandchildren living with them and neither of them can work. They were very pleased to have the meat. We probably checked 20 or more hunters today, almost all of them doing things right, which is how it should be. The exceptions have been noted. Out again today. Photos that follow are from patrol days 5 and 6. Over.
As the Author Himself might have related a CO’s encounter with violators during deer season (as it might have appeared in Finnegan’s Wake, and with my apologies to Mr. James Joyce, Himself).
“Aye, bettoon the blaettherers, the goos, and all their banks from Banagher, the lads are facing down the mouldystoneed botheared, denying all, hearing none, doing as they please, half of em crawsick and noodynaddy, or spoutin’ arthin suir sloother, gatching for their mates, we tell them twig it, lads, what was going on here this moment, your wee crans, not ere yesterweek and don’t be thinking of legging a bail from the hames at hand.
Translation: All right, between boasters, fools and all their super-lies (whoppers), the COs are confronted by drunks mumbling and partially dead or spinning lies, half of them hung-over or hesitant in speech one moment and absolutely certain in the next, showing off for their pals, and we tell them get to the point boys, what’s happening her right now, none of your little dodges and tricks, and not the week before last, and don’t be thinking of making a run for it from this mess you’ve made.
Or something like this. The words won’t matter, the attitudes and body language and tones will reveal all for what it is, not what it’s purported to be.
Randy Clarke and I have been trying to help the DNR Law Enforcement Division compile a list of all the men and women who have ever worn the badge of conservation officers for the state. We recently acquired a photo said to be from the Mancelona area, (north of Kalkaska). If you can identify the CO in the photo, please send an email via the website. Thanks, Much.
In other matters, Randy just found a state report from 1895 which contains some very interesting information about conservation officers.
“It has been easy enough heretofore to secure the conviction of alien or non-resident violators in the Upper Peninsula, but successful prosecution of residents have been few and far between. Consequently the conviction of resents of Delta and Dickinson Counties obtained this month with no unusual trouble indicates to me the growth of a healthy sentiment, which in time will mean much more for game preservation. The winter is now drawing to a close has been, like it’s predecessor, one of unusual hardship for the very poor, and this fact has greatly stimulated the violation of game laws. The investigation of several complaints this month proved the violators were taking fish and game contrary to the law, it is true, but for the sole purpose of obtaining food. In instances of this kind, where arrest would only mean additional suffering and county charge, I am frank in stating the offenders have been simply reprimanded. It is my opinion that those who take fish and game to keep the wolf from the door, and who do not waste it or sell it, are not the ones who exterminate or are likely to exterminate our fish and game. They may contribute in some small measure, but in times of distress I feel that the end justifies the means.”
I see this as clear-minded leadership, putting the buck right on the chief warden’s desk and reflecting a kind of common sense often uncommon in our leaders. 1895, 118 years ago, and we think we moderns have a lock grip on smarts and such? FYI, our COs today know who in their communities are hurting and continue this policy of reprimands rather than citations when the circumstances permit and warrant. Course some one with a #$50K truck, new snowmobile, four wheeler, $500 blind and brand new weapons, and all the toys of course would have a hard time making the case of hardship. All COs maintain lists of individuals who can use confiscated fish or game and I’ve participated in too many deliveries to count. It is so routine to help folks the officers rarely talk about it. They just do it, and as far as I’m concerned this qualifies as true thoughtful public service. Michigan is fortunate to have so many fine officers working in our mutual behalf. Next time you meet on, tell them you appreciate what they do. Back to loading the truck. Over.
Here tiz. Over.
It is always a challenge to gather gear for my trip north to work with COs. Have had deer seasons in the 70s and in the teens. No snow, and 25 inches overnight. You have to prep for everything! Photos capture the start of the process. Over.
CO Paul Higashi and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers, stopped by minutes ago with dead deer recovered from neighbor’s back yard. They stopped by to check my bow and arrows (CO humor). The animal died within the past 24 hours (the eyes tell us this) and probable age is 5-7 years — can guess from graying muzzle and leg hairs, but a tooth will give precise age. Probably shot and survived until last night. Neighbors have seen it limping around since Weds. The COs recovered the broad-head and the case is open, though most likely a poor shot, and one that “got away.” The shot needed to be back a few inches. This looks like it hit the shoulder and the razor point if quite bent. The madness/silliness begins. The COs were headed from here to Richland on a complaint.
We’ll be about 20 or so miles from the mouth of the Pesheke River next year. Last time we fished it I caught a pike on 3 wt. rod and dragged the fish ashore to release it. Fish was 20-22 inches, small. Also drove by this scene today and couldn’t not stop and get a picture. Latest example of “in practice, the theory is different.” Which is often the case with theories. Random pix for UR plez. Over.