Father And Son Charged With Poaching Elk, Other Animals In Northern Michigan

By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) A father and son from the northern part of the state have been charged with poaching elk and other species, after an investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Val Vogelheim, 56, and Josh Vogelheim, 26, of Rogers City turned themselves into the Presque Isle Prosecutor’s Office last month, after they denied any wrongdoing.

They were arrested and arraigned for “several criminal acts at multiple hunting camps across Northern Michigan,” according to the DNR.

Conservation officers received an anonymous tip in September of last year about illegal activities at a camp in southern Presque Isle County, in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

The DNR said officers eventually obtained a search warrant where they found many Michigan elk, white-tailed deer and a wild turkey that they suspected to be taken illegally. Officers also found a snowy owl, a sharp-shinned hawk, a barred owl and other frozen game; and evidence suggesting the illegal feeding of wildlife.

Evidence suggested the illegal activities occurred at a second camp in Presque Isle County, where officers identified additional suspects and criminal activity that happened over the course of several years.

The father, Val, was slapped with 9 charges including:

  • Aiding and abetting; taking elk without a license.
  • Possession of illegally taken game.
  • Taking deer without a license.
  • Loaning a deer license to another.
  • Unlawful methods of taking turkey.
  • Possession of protected raptors.

The son, Josh, was charged with taking a turkey without a license and taking a deer without a license.

Investigators tell WWJ the Department of Natural Resources expects to arrest more suspects following the investigation.

The DNR officers could not connect the activity at any of these camps to the poaching of five elks in three separate incidents last November and December.

Michigan’s first elk hunt of the year is Tuesday.

If you have witnessed a natural resources crime or have information on one, you are asked to call (800) 292-7800. Tipsters can remain anonymous.