DNR Deer Poaching Investigation Results in Sentencing of Allegan County Man

Contact: Lt. Gerald Thayer, 269-685-6851
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 22, 2018

An Allegan County man has pleaded guilty to deer poaching as the result of an investigation by Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.

Colton Anderson, 22, of Plainwell was sentenced Jan. 18 in Allegan County 57th District Court to 60 days in jail, $30,250 in reimbursement to the state and the loss of hunting privileges for seven years.

The investigation began when Conservation Officer Richard Cardenas received information about an illegally killed deer in Barry County. Officer Cardenas went to Anderson’s residence and observed multiple sets of deer antlers hanging in the garage. The antlers had 2015 deer licenses attached to them.

After obtaining a search warrant, Cardenas and fellow Conservation Officer Justin Ulberg searched Anderson’s garage and seized an 11-point, 5-point, 7-point and five 8-point sets of antlers. The licenses attached to the antlers belonged to people who were not living at the residence.

Cardenas contacted the individuals who purchased the 2015 licenses, and all claimed they were unaware that Anderson was illegally using their licenses.

In addition to illegally hunting with someone else’s deer licenses, Anderson’s hunting privileges already had been revoked after a 2014 conviction of illegally killing a deer with a rifle in Allegan County.

Cardenas requested the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office charge Anderson for hunting while his privileges were revoked, using another person’s kill tags, and five counts for each violation of taking more than the legal limit of antlered deer. The Prosecutor’s Office authorized the charges and a warrant was issued for Anderson’s arrest.

“The success of this case is due to the dedication and in-depth investigative work of Conservation Officer Cardenas,” said Sgt. Christopher Holmes, acting area law supervisor for the DNR. “Michigan conservation officers are well-versed in law enforcement investigative skills and techniques. The work done by Officers Cardenas and Ulberg is an outstanding example of these capabilities. We also appreciate the public’s assistance with this case. The willingness of citizens to get involved and alert the DNR when they have information is critical. Our partnership with the public helps us protect our shared resources and hold violators accountable.”

The Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide contains all of the information hunters should know before taking to the field, such as regulations, season dates and bag limits.

The DNR reminds citizens that they can help protect Michigan’s natural resources by reporting violations to the Report All Poaching (RAP) program. Anyone who offers information that leads to a successful conviction may be eligible for a reward through the program. Citizens with information are encouraged to call or text the RAP line at 800-292-7800. While people can remain anonymous, they must provide their names if they wish to be eligible for a reward. The RAP line is a convenient, effective way for citizens to report the illegal taking of fish or game, or damage to our natural resources. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace officers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

1 Comment

  1. Jarrod Erdody

    Very thankful the officers got their guy, although with the charges given, I’d like to have seen a stiffer punishment. I also think they should schedule his jail time for November, or better yet, break it out into times he is not at work (in the fall).


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