Monday tip led conservation officers to waterfowl poachers in Oakland County

A mid-morning tip Oct. 31 led Michigan conservation officers to two men in possession of poached waterfowl and a Sandhill Crane in Oakland County’s Addison Township.

Oakland County Central Dispatch received a tip from a caller reporting unknown individuals shooting at Sandhill Cranes – a federally protected bird – near a private pond. At 9:50 a.m., a responding deputy from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department notified the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division and requested assistance.

Conservation Officers Bradley Silorey of Macomb County and Jacob Griffin of Oakland County immediately responded, arriving at the scene shortly before 10:45 a.m. and within minutes of each other.

“After arriving, the officers found two men who had been waterfowl hunting near a private pond,” said District 9 Acting Lt. Dan Bigger. “The men had 13 ducks already in their possession. Two more ducks were located while walking to the area where the subjects had been hunting.”

Bigger noted that the officers walked the perimeter of the pond and found two additional ducks that had been shot.

The daily limit for ducks is six per day. This includes up to four Mallards, of which only two can be hens.

During their search, the officers also found excessive bait in the pond – piled corn that nearly broke the water’s surface. It is illegal to bait waterfowl in Michigan.

Before concluding the investigation, the Conservation Officers, along with the assistance of the Oakland County deputy, located one additional duck and a Sandhill Crane that were shot.

In total, the two individuals had shot 18 ducks, of which nine were drake mallards, six were hen mallards, and three were wood ducks, and a Sandhill Crane.

The men, one a resident of Oakland County and the other from Lapeer County, were issued citations for over limit of ducks and Mallard drakes and hens, hunting waterfowl with the aid of bait, and taking a protected species. The total reimbursement for the waterfowl and Sandhill Crane is more than $9,000 plus up to $500 per violation, which will be determined through a court hearing.

Michigan law states that anyone found in violation of poaching cannot secure or possess a license of any kind to hunt during the remainder of the year in which convicted and the next three succeeding calendar years. The men could also be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail.

The officers confiscated two shotguns used to shoot the birds and will be requesting the firearms be condemned upon conviction.

The Sandhill Crane remains in evidence and the waterfowl were donated locally.

“The officers were in a position to respond in a timely manner because the citizen who reported the crime did so quickly and because we have a strong relationship with other law enforcement agencies,” Bigger said. “Michigan citizens care about their natural resources, and by reporting these crimes, they help protect these resources for future generations.”

To report a natural resource violation, call the Report all Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.