The Official Site of Author Joseph Heywood The Official Blog of Author Joe Heywood
10 Dec


The headline word is Latvian for “wet crap,” which described the day here.

Yesterday in Midland, signing books at Little Forks Outfitters. Naturally it snowed – unpredicted 5 + inches of wet, slippyslickyslimy soupy-goo, US-127 down to one lane midmorning… Saw lots of old friends but not enough time to visit.  Snow, Ugh! Great signing. Thanks Bo. Always a pleasure to meet folks and sign bookw in front of a wall of fly rods.

Sundays are newspaper days: Kalamazoo Gazette, Chicago Trib, New York Times and Detroit Freep. Learned from them that Right to Work is not intended to disrupt or weaken unions. Really? and that Rocky Das Musical is now a rage in Chermany and lookink to move to Bratvay. News increasingly puts me into the scoldrums. Seems like our whole society’s view of history is beset by damnesia.

Some pix follow.  Couple of the pix borrowed from Facebook Friends. Over.

Comes the day when bears figure out what’s going on and reverse the game…

Minnesota Timber Wolf

Handsome visitor wants nothing more than a little TLC and ear-scratch.

Headed north to Midland the NPR commentators tell me “rain with a litrtle snow mixed.” Apparently “little” equals 5-6 inches..

Something calming to signing so close to so many fly rods….

Through the window, the snow continues to fall, as people keep coming to have books signed.

06 Dec

Orwell or Huxley?

Neil Postman’s 1985 book, AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.Still holds up after 27 years and is worth a read by everyone concerned about public discourse in this technological first world (sociologically, it’s third world) country we call home. The Foreward from the book follows:

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sag softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we , at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did no prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an extremely imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

            What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Huxley feared the truth would  be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of  the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared tghat what we hate would ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

            This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

            Very thought-provoking book with even more relevance to this time than ever before as the plethora of entertainment possibilities divide and grows like a cancer cell gone amok,. Over.

03 Dec

Blues and Such

I’m reading a book by Walt Harrington, called Crossings: A White Man’s Journey Into Black America. Great read, filled with interesting stuff. Published in 1992  by the University of Missouri Press. Some interesting comments on music origins:

W.C. Handy, born in 1873 in Florence, AL.  His father was a preache, “who believed that all but church music wqas the ‘devil’s plaything.  The rebellious Handy took formal music lessons and got to the point where he could play just about any instrument he picked up.” He ran away from home at 18.

Handy, who wrote Memphis Blues” and St. Louis Blues is considered the Father of the Blues; he lived down and out in St. Louis during the Panic of 1893, unable to find work, sleeping on the riverfront with an army of paupers. But his luck changed. Bands then were as plentiful as jukeboxes today, and handy’s musical talents eventually moved him through a series of different gigs, finally landing him in Clarksdale. There he found the distinctive form and feeling of “the  blues” — its twelve-measure strains and iats repeated chorus lines, followed by a single linhe of elaboration:

Oh, the Kate’s up the river, Stack O’Lee’s in the ben’,

Oh, the Kate’s up the river, Stack O’ Lee’s in the be’,

And I ain’t seen ma baby since I can’t tell when.

What made the music unique was the way musicians twisted the notes  between major and minor scales to make them evoke the same emotions carried in their lyrics of work, love, and suffering, and the sounds of the world as they knew it: train whistles, sledgehammers, howling animals, wailing women, cruel bosses. Handy heard this music made on everything from dime harmonicas to beat-up guitars to washboards.  The trained musician heard notes played that weren’t technically possible. ‘Theory once had it that no instruments other than the violin family and slide trombone family are capable of perfect glissando,’ Handy wrote, referring to the sliding effect created by playing a series of tones in rapid succession.  But clarinet players in Clarksdale, through ‘false fingering and incorrect lipping’ did the impossible. Had it not been for the mistakes of the ignorant and illiterate, Gershwin would not have been able to write a two-octave chromatic glissando clarinet passage for his Rhapsody in Blue.

Handy formalized what came to be called “blue notes” — the flattening of the third and seventh notes, which, in Handy’s words, “suggest the typical slurs in the Negro voice.” ‘Of  black music he wrote, “whether in the cotton fields of the Delta or on the levee up St. Louis way it was always the same. Till then, howevcr, author Harrington tells us  I had never heard this slur used by a moe sophistgicated Negro, or by any white man.’

In 1914, in his famous St. Louis Blues, Handy introduced the techniques full blown, along with hesitations in the melody to allow the singer or the audience to fill in the gaps with shouts of “Oh, lawdy,” “Oh  Baby,’ or whatever. Handy’s haunting lyrics were written in poor black Southern country dialect –“Got de St.Louis Blues jes as blue as ah can be, “I loves dat man lak a school-boy loves his pie…Lak a Kentucky Col’nel love his mint an’ rye” — at a time when some black poets and authors had abandoned rough  black dialect as an embarrassment to the race. But to Handy — and  black Harlem Renaissance poets such as Langston Hughes and others who would follow in the twenties — that rough dialect was the poetry. Overnight St Louis  Blues became an international hit.

Florence’s prominent white  band leader once told Handy as a  boy he c ouldn’t learn to play the coronet  because his lips were too thick. Say what?

Great story about a true human gift, and creativity aned how certain language apart from the formal English we learn in school is what people actually speak — the so called vernacular. Like in the U.P. where sadly things like MTV and such are making the local patois disappear forever, wh. Just thought I’d share. Over.



01 Dec

Oldeny Tymes in Da Dee-En-Are: Da List She Keeps Growing, Eh.

Sometimes we get lucky. My pal and colleague Randy Clarke and I continue to slowly accumulate names of men and women who formerly served as conservation officers, or deputy state game wardens. Back in 1950 a young man fearing being drafted and sent to Korea had heard men with prison records wouldn’t be drafted so he started a fire in an office building that housed department of conservation and department of transportation records, and was awhile before the fire was discovered and result that all CD records prior to 1950 went up in smoke.

Randy and I are both nosy, and acquisitive types and we are trying to assemble a list of every man and woman who has ever worn the CO badge in our state. These come in by drips and drabs, but sometimes we get luck. I got an email from a woman whose husband’s grandfather had been a CO in the UP, and the fam had a copy of his autobiography, which wasn’t published until after his death, and published only for the family. I traded a Red Jacket for the autobiography of Franklin Claude Smith, and Wow! A real treasure of names and information and CO tales.

 CO Smith joined the CD in 1927 as a fire officer in Three Lakes, in Baraga County, and retired as district supervisor in Crystal Falls in 1963. Smith also served in the US Navy during World War I. He had quite a life. I’ll share some stories over time, but for now here are some of the names I got from Smith’s account: Frankling Claude Smith, 1927-1963 (CD-DNR dates); St.Clair Wilson (Baraga-1927); Charley McMahon, Baraga, 1927-1931– died of heart attack, details unknown); CO Joe Elmblad (Baraga –  late 1920s); CO Dick Lahti; CO Emil Heikkila; CO Andy Schmelz (Ishpeming-Negaunee); CO August Rappi (Sidnaw); CO Clovis Delene (Sidnaw, replaced Rappi); CO Jack Shemky (Crystal Falls); Capt Allers (Commercial fish capt in 1930s); CO Chriske (Keweenaw, 1930s); CO  John Bugni ( Hermansville, Iron); CO Haulmont; Regional Supervisor Stephansky; Assistg Chief of FAD, head of LED, Everett Tucker; CO Natale Cappo (Felch, Dickinson County); Durward “Roby” Robson, Chief  FAD.

Also some interesting comments in this text, eg, “ In 1932 the Foreest Fired Division was merged with Law Enforcement Division to create the Field Administrative Division. Game wardens became COs and fire suppression was added to their already lengthy list of duties.”

Or, how about this: “Biologists, of course, were mostly college grads and COs were not. We were regarded as a somewhat inferior class of people.”

But sometimes protecting an officer didn’t pay off.

Officers in those days were an interesting lot. Consider this: “The Conservation Officer at Hermansville (Menominee Co), John Bugni, was a strong, heavyset man, who had  been in the O.S.S. and had served behind enemy lines in Italy. His O.S.S. training had taught him some rough tactics that frequently got him into trouble during his short career in the Conservation Department. On several occasions I had real difficulty bailing him out of trouble. In one instance a warrant was issued charging him with assault, which after some maneuvering I was able to get quashed. His reputation was such that most violators were afraid of him.

Eventually Smith moved CO  Bugni  to Iron River where he could keep closer track of him and he tells us what happened: “While in Hermansville he had been accused of stealing on several occasions. I investigated these incidents,  but could find no proof of the allegations. In Iron River we found he was a kleptomaniac. When he was caught altering the prices of meat that he purchased in a Red Owl store, other evidence of petty larceny came to light and I had to fire him.”

Smith writes: “ I had a policy of defending my men to the limit when they got into trouble, sometimes risking the displeasure of the Lansing office. My belief was that I should be the judge of what disciplinary action should be taken. This policy paid off with their unquestioned loyalty.

Indeed even today I hear similar comments about so-called current-day leaders who abandon their officers when the heat is turned up, versus those who jump in front of the heat to  block it  from their people. Leadership principles are pretty much the same, no matter the setting., or the era. You have to lead from the front, not the rear.

Off to a wedding celebration tonight. No monkey -zoots, sportlesscoats or  knackties, Yay., Zach and Laura!

Does anyone out there know someone of the academic  persuasion–specifically  a history professor who has taken on the history of the Michigan DNR as a study area? Were I an aspiring grad student (which I’m not)  I might very well pursue the subject and broaden it to include all game warden operations  across the country, just so someone is paying attention with an eye backward and forward at the same time. Got any suggestions, pass them along and thanks.



CO FC Smith Long Time DNR Officer

01 Dec

Signing-Reading Events Ahead

My “social” calendar is filling up for winter. Here’s what I have so far:

Saturday, December 8:  Little Forks Outfitters, Midland, Noon – 1400, Signing.

Saturday, December 15: Kazoo Books, Kalamazoo, 1500-1630, Signing.

Sunday, January 27:  Portage Public Library, 1400-1530, Reading-signing-reception.

Wednesday, February 20: Big Rapids Festival of the Arts (with Ferris State University), Big Rapids Public Library, 1900-2100. Reading-signing.

Thursday, April 11: Freemont Public Library, 1900-2100, Reading-signing

Saturday, April 27: Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Library, Kalamazoo, 1000-1300. Reading-signing.

Hope to see some you along the way. Over.

24 Nov

New Angle on Rule Compliance in the Woods

My first morning back in Portage I  stood outside and watched cars at our local stop signs, one on either side of  our house and realized driving  provides a fair analogy for hunting, as it relates to following rules.

1.      Both require you to have a license and training.

2.      The rules change from time to time, but not often and rarely in any significant way.

3.      Failure to comply with the law and safe practices can take the hunter’s life or another person’s.

4.      Both kill deer, hunters intentionally (usuaoly) and vehicles accidentally. Hunters kill roughly 400,000 animals a year with weapons (bows/firearms) and vehicles kill about 70,000 deer. The actual hunter kill may be higher, But 400K will serve to illustrate a point, and that is that  drivers unintentionally account for 10-20 percent of the annual deer kill.

5.      Few, if any drivers follow the rules all the time.

6.      Most of us speed on occasion, sometimes because we are late, or because we are not thinking.

7.      Some of us don’t always practice safe passing.

8.      Some drivers piss off other drivers and we get road rage; same thing happens to hunters and we then get harassment complaints.

9.      Some of us roll through stop signs, instead of stopping.

10.  A few ignore stop signs and run them all the time, some from ignorance, some from poor planning, some from just not giving a shit. A few do it as a game with cops.;

11.  All these attitudes show themselves in hunting and among hunters: lack of knowledge of laws, poor judgment, poor skills, or sheer outlawism. Conservation officers try to concentrate on safety issues first and then fairness issues as they relate to resource consumption.

12.   Most people who violate don’t seem to do it from evil intentions, but from being momentarily overwhelmed by pure greed and change their ways after a ticket or warning from a CO. This past season in Iron County, CO Wicklund and I worked with two USFS personnel to greet two camps at night, a camp Sgt. Webster and CO Painter and I visited in 2004 and took an illegal deer and wrote about a dozen tickets. Ironically, this was the same group and CO Wicklund asked them how long they had been camping and hunting in the loke and they told him 10years and he said, “Then you were part of the DNR roust around 2004,” and one of the men said, “Yep, and that’s why you won’t find us carrying loaded guns or breaking laws here. We NEVER want to go through that again!” Great to hear, and it sounded genuine because the feds got the same sort of answers in the second camp down the road.

Just a few thoughts to start the day. Go Ishpeming Hematites in today’s football final at Ford Field.



Waht happens when some hunters get greedy or thoughtless.


24 Nov

Glimpse of The Real Limpy — Linguistically

We were at dinner on my birthday last month, when a local gent floated  in and  he and I proceeded to commence a discussion of cougars and bears, and all that, and of course, the federal government, the “Endandied” Species Act, all manner of conspiracies,  and the Damn Near Russian DNR. Naturally. People think I make up Limpy Allerdyce, but his sort of malaprops crop up all over the place, above and below the bridge. It’s just that Limpy and a few like him take such bruised language to new heights (lows). Here’s what Lonnie and I heard last night (she was writing them down while I talked. (Where needed, my translation is in parens):

  • “I’ll skip that record.” (I don’t want to talk about or hear that.)
  • “Even Stephen Steelbird couldn’t make up that shit.”
  • “You can update my information status.” (Answer a question for me)
  • “You won’t smoke my cloud.”(I won’t be offended.)
  • “You are talking to a man who is an icon.” (And therefore,and therefrom, I know of what I speak)
  • “Yep, that was a Kodiak moment for sure.”
  • “Are you programmed to receive? I’ll tell you my story.” (Are you listening? Pearls to follow.)
  • “Do we need DNR testing on those cats?” (Uh, like DNA testing?)
  • In relating bear-hunting stories (he used to be a houndsman) he would repeatedly make a couple of chirruping sounds, like those you hear on the radios of houndsmen rushing all around the two-tracks, after their dogs and the bear. Schkeek-schkeek, or Qrrrrk- Qrrrk. It was funny and I can’t yet figure out how to phonetically reproduce it. Think in terms of the initial throat-gathering  of a loogey  to hock or propel into the environment. Just saying.

Material and language for a writer are everywhere. Like air, sometimes pristine, sometimes a  smidge polluted, but always hanging there, waiting to be plucked from the social ether.

The people on the corner had their X-mas liughts and inflatable snowman  up before Thanksgiving.  Ugh.


23 Nov

Photo Story: Eagle in a Trap

Up close and personal, immature bald eagle (3-4 yr old).

I’ll let photos tell this story. CO Dave Painter and I responded to a citizen’s call of a young bald eagle caught in a coyote trap along the Michigamme Reservoir. It was about a half-mile hike into the bird. Once there we discovered there were two traps, and looked to make sure there weren’t more. CO Painter then began the “procedure.” Pretty special to get to see this up so close.


The patient.


This photo slightly out of order. Having covered the bird, Dave lifts it, to move it to beach tgo check flight capability.

Alarmed bird.

The bird is alarmed at our approach and flaps its wings frantically. We wait for it to settle and talk softly to it.

First try at cvoverfng the eagle’s head to calm the bird fails, so we have to use a second heavy coat.

Here Dave is trying to relase the trap jaws to free the foot, yet stay clear of the other one in the process.

Here’w the inujured foot. See blood at the “ankle” and the foot is swollen, indicated an internal bleed.

“Geez, there’s a second trap here.”

“Okay, wshere’s its hed and that good set of talons?”

“Okay, I’ve got him and I’m going to walk him onto the beach.”

“Don’t give me that LOOK. I’m going to put you down and see if you can fly.”

Dave whispers to the bird, behave. I am NOT offering you an eyeball sandwich..

The bid struggles to lift off, but can’t make it. The one foot is too injured to put any weight on. Ane how would it fish one-footed?

After Dave puts the bird down, lit flaps a bit, but can’t fly and Dave decides we need to get it to rehab.

The birfd can’t fly, or doesn’t want to and I block it on the beach, while Dave and Darryl collect the unmarked traps.

Finally our bird is in the animal c rate to awaait pickup in an hour or so by the raptor rehab center in Gladstone. Will try to check on outcome down the road.

23 Nov

Seven Days in a Truck

Friday, November 21, 2012, PORTAGE – Back from the Yoop. Spent a week in trucks with COs, the usual paroxysms of weirdness in the backwoods and some weather not conducive to deer-killing. Days in the 50s made if easy for hunters to sit on stands all days, which many did – with results. Obviously I am leaving out a lot of juicy details and referring to offenses only in general terms because adjudications have not yet taken place.

We saw deer hanging in most camps and when I crossed the bridge south on Weds morning, the deer count was down about 50 animals from the far west of the UP.  Number of hunters seemed down, but there is no way to measure. Wisconsin’s season opened two day’s after Michigan’s so we had some Cheezies in the cedar swamps for a couple of days. I’ll hit the highlights day by day and keep this short and hen post a photo piece on CO Dave Painter rescuing an immature  bald eagle from a coyote trap.


Snow spit a bit briefly during the day but an otherwise mild day.  Checked the south county for a load of outlaws who usually operate there, but they didn’t appear to be there. Spent our time investigating complaints (mostly trespasses) and had dinner with retired warden and his wife.


Firearm opener, visited some “fellas” out on the Panola Plains. Day before they had disrupted a hunter setting up for a teenager and driven off another. Said we’ve hunted here 25 years and we’re not making room. The notion of first-come first serve on Public land was explained. Later in the week we heard they were back to their original obnoxious ways. They’ll probably geta visit next week. Large group of guys from various Detroit suburbs. We spend all afternoon helping a county deputy with a case of larceny. Some young men came up from Milwaukee and set up  blinds including one for a fried arriving late last night. When they took him to his blind this morning, it, his heater and trail camera were all gone. The deputy tracked to a guy on s stand who denied knowing anything, but the deputy suspected he was lying and we went to the man’s camp where we met a relative, who claimed to know nothing. Long story short. The original contact got pissed off because Milwaukee boys set up in “his” spot (CFA Land) and so he took all their gear, he  took it back to his relative’s camp and hid it. As it turned out had we arrived 30 seconds earlier we would have caught the perp’s brother carrying the stolen heater out to his blind. In any event the perp was charged and taken to jail in tears and we later heard from other camps how this same guy would shoot deer on their property and when challenged he would blurt, say “Your land, our land, what’s the diff?” The accused is from the Iron Mountain area. The property was recovered and returned to the Milwaukee hunters. Afternoon we got a call from our county partner to go to an address in Iron Riverto confiscate a deer. Out of state hunter shot two deer and got his hunting partner from Michigan to tag one of them. We took the deer, as requested. Our partner also got another deer from a hunter not operating within the law.


Diff partner today, and we got called immediately down to an area along the Brule River where road-hunters were operating and we checked in with hunters who saw the three men shoot and got a truck description and wsent looking for them, to no avail. From there we headed  west to meet Steve Drake and Randi Brown of the USFS. They had found a Pat all covered with Frost on the side of a toad and picked it up. Looked like shotgun pellets had perforated the wing, so they passed it to us and we passed it to a rehabber where I got a chance to meet Lois  Bono’s pet porcupine, “Wilbur.” The porky loves to play with stuff animals and has a personality surprisingly close to that of a sedentary dog.  Lois took the bird. We got a complaint of a road-shooter in southwest Iron County and rolled as reports came in from witnesses who saw shooters knock down two deer on private property, from a road, property where they had no permission to hunt. An Iron River cop pulled over the vehicle a minute before we arrived and then our patner went and picked up the wintnesses and drove by so they could ID the vehicle and show where the deer had  been shot. Long story short: Probably shot from the vehicle, but no way to prove this. Both deer were confiscated. Neither tagged nor gutted,taken on private land without permission and transport loaded gun.  Why aren’t the deer gutted?” we asked. “Wanted to take back tgo camp tgo let young kids learn how to do it. Really? Theyt lied with straight faces, three guys from Detroit suburbs. Someone told tghem they could go to the UP and drive around shooting deer. Not. We loaded the deer into our partner’s truck (we were hauling an ORV) and headed north toward another complaint while he got a call with yet another and rolled to it where he got led to two deer shot, gutted and hung in the swamp, the bodies covered in pine boughs, both animals untagged. The hunters helped him drag both out of the woods to his truck and gave him some descriptions of shooters, hunting in camo, no orange. He called us and we joined him in a  hunt for the offending camp, but found they had pulled out that afternoon. We stomped around the woods, found some over -baited  blinds, etc and repaired for the night, to continue investigation next day, but my partner stopped at a camp where we checked three deer and  that these hunters had encountered trouble with the same group our partner was looking for. This hunter said he had the man’s name at home and would send it to us.  


Foggy, drizzly morning. We were headed north on a complaint when we got a call of an erratic driver on US-41 near Amasa and jumped in to help a deputy. We got the vehicle pulled over. Female driver acted goofy, asked if she was in Wisconsin, couldn’t remember how she got to Michigan. Plates came back to a different vehicle than what they were affixed to. Woman had all kids of Rx drugs in her purse, all of which she said were her husband’s but her name was on them and she had one  bottle with no ID on it, which is illegal. That drug, thanks to a drug ID ap showe3d a powerful opioid. The other prescr4iptions: hydrocodone-acetaminophen  500 mg; amphetamine 300 mg; methadone HCL 10 mg; alprazolam, 1 Mg (Xanax), and oxycodone 30 mg.  Turned out she had revoked license and gave her name as Crystal  Ball. Also turned out she had been declared a habitual criminal by one of the southern states. The deputy took her to the hospital for a blood test and we went on our way.  

We soon got a complaint of an road-shooter a few miles from my partner’s house in west Iron County and we rolled as reports came in from witnesses who saw shooters knock down two deer on private property, from a road, property where they had no permission to hunt. An Iron River cop pulled over the vehicle a minute before we arrived and then our partner went and picked up the witnesses and drove by so they could ID the vehicle and show where the deer had  been shot. Long story short: Probably shot from the vehicle, but no way to prove this. Both deer were confiscated. Neither tagged nor gutted, taken on private land without permission and transport loaded gun.  Why aren’t the deer gutted?” we asked. “Wanted to take back to camp to let young kids learn how to do it. Really? They lied with straight faces, three guys from Detroit suburbs. Someone told them they could go to the UP and drive around shooting deer. Not. We loaded the deer into our partner’s truck (we were hauling an ORV) and headed north toward another complaint while he got a call with yet another and rolled to it where he got led to two deer shot, gutted and hung in the swamp, the bodies covered in pine boughs, both animals untagged. The hunters helped him drag both out of the woods to his truck and gave him some descriptions of shooters, hunting in camo, and no orange. He called us and we joined him in a  hunt for the offending camp, but found they had pulled out that afternoon. We stomped around the woods, found some over -baited  blinds, etc and repaired for the night, to continue investigation next day, but my partner stopped at a camp where we checked three deer and  that these hunters had encountered trouble with the same group our partner was looking for. This hunter said he had the man’s name at home and would send it to us.  


Met briefly with out other CO after we got a request to deliver something to another CO up in the north county, so we headed that way and made the delivery, then checked in with the acting sergeant for the north area and three COs and headed west past Sidnaw to the Kaisick Holes in extreme South Houghton County. There was a tent camp there, which we sat on till after dark and then checked the guys coming back, everything legal and copacetic, the guys all from Ironwood. Been hunting out of a tent camp in same location for 25 years, had not seen a CO in 20 years. Last CO in warned them they needed to sear helmets when riding their three-wheelers, so an old Yooper got a metal pan, drilled holes in it, attached a leather strap and when he rode by the CO the officer laughed and waved him on.

We visited the CO’s uncle’s camp after this, had dinner and moved on to covered complaints back in the south county. My partner said he had logged 1,000 miles in five days. Stopped a couple of slow rollers, but no loaded weapons. Then came a report of two deer, heads cut off, bodies pitched on private property and we went looking and eventually found the deer, which appeared to have been shot several days before, but we also talked to someone who had heard night shooters at 0230 am the next night and we went looking and set up surveillance to no end.


Went to courthouse to drop tickets with the magistrate, and stopped at sheriff’s office where Undersheriff Tom Courchaine was and chatted with him and Deputy Lenny Brezek. Tom as captain in the DNR before he retired, and was a major reason I was able to get involved so closely with the DNR. My partner and I then got word of yet another deer found gutted and hung in the woods, and headed that way,  but spun our wheels in the mud all afternoon: the camp we were looking for had changed ownership and by the time we made contact with hunters from that camp they said a hunter leaving a neighboring camp had found a four-pointer on his property and they had gone looking for it  but were unable to locate it. The deer was probably wounded by a hunted and died on the property. It was un-gutted, untagged and allegedly lying in the open on a pine plain.

From there we proceeded south to where we saw one flash of a light in the woods behind locked gates, and after sitting on both gates hoping to intercept shiners, we ran out of hours and had to head for the barn.


Back with my first partner. We got called out to the Way Dam area on the Michigammee Reservoir, where a bald eagle was caught in a coyote trap. My partner released the bird, but it was too hurt to fly, so we took it back to Crystal Falls, with me  driving, and my partner holding the 3-4 year-old eagle;  we called the raptor rehabber from Gladstone, put the  bird in a big dog crate and the rehabber came over to get the bird that afternoon, while we headed back on patrol . Turns out the out-of-stater who had a Michigan guy tag his two deer for him pled not guilty at the court. Step one when that happens, SOP is for the sheriff to run a criminal record  history and voila, our boy had served time in a southern lockup and  as a felon was not allowed to own or be in the possession or presence of weapons.. Our partner sent us to grab the second deer while he went to find the miscreant, whom he located in his blind ad the man admitted to having shot four deer illegally and to having 8-10 firearms in his house, which were confiscated along with the deer.

We ended the night a a closed gate property owned by a logging company, same place where another CO and I had chased night shooters some years back. This time we found a 4-wheeler trailer and t trail around the gate. We moved inside, locked the gate, blocked the trail and awaited the hunter’s return. They were ticketed for failure to register their four wheeler in Michigan.


Heavy fog. It took almost 3 full hours to get to Escanaba, and I saw only one dder, but a live coon and a live bobcat, which just looked at me and walked on. In places visbee was  about six feet.  I saw only four vehicles between Crystal Fall  and the outskirts of Escanaba. Ten and a half hours to get home to Jambe Longue. Next blog – tomorrow — I’ll post video history of the eagle rescue/capture. Hope everyone had a great Turkey day. We have a little snow today, emp in high 20s, snow on decvk. Close to 60 and sunny yesterday. Ah My Michigan! Over.

18 Nov

On Patrol

Game warden lunch: Smoked brook trout with crackers and cheddar.

Saturday, Nov 17 ,Western Upper Peninsula — The usual shenanigans up here, and warmish weather to boot.  Today we took four illegal deer from scofflaws, two shot in broaddaylight, loaded gun in truck. Lied about everything, as usual, but witnesses saw both shoots. One of the deer was shot in the guts and in order to turn  over to charity, we needed to clean it so the COs took it to a local lake, broke theskiff  ice and washed it out. I made a movies of two officrs loading tghe deer intgo the patrool truck.  Later one of the officers found two untagged deer, hidden in a swamp, and took them and we spent several hours looking for the perps. Will resume investigation in the morning. Wanted to upload a movie, but it’s too large for the softgheadware. Stills will have to suffice. And it ain’t over.  It’s a privilege to work with fearless, smart, hard-working, motivated conservation officers. They shine! Over.

Four on the Floor: Four eillegal deer all taken today. Two more aken yhesterday and one tip passed to another CO which accounted for another, who had three yesterday. And two nearby COS also took 2 others thise evening, for a total among the four five officers of 134 illegal deer in two days. And the wolves are killing all the deer? Nobody ever totals up the number poachers and violatgors kill. Many yearfs ago the state wildlife chief westimated 100,000 poached deer per season, a time when state herd was smaller.


CO breaks ice to clean deer after illegally shot and guts broken. Confiscated deer are given to needy people in the community.

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Copyright © 2008 Joseph Heywood. Design by C Marschke.