MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has officially wrapped up a case that started as a simple littering case but ended in much more.

According to the DNR, the investigation began in September 2022, when Wardens on patrol for the opening day of teal and early goose season discovered two dumped car doors near a popular boat landing in Tremealeau County.

Authorities were able to quickly identify a suspect and contacted a detective to learn more information about the individual.

“We thought this was a simple littering case, but it morphed into so much more,” said DNR Conservation Warden Meghan Jensen.

The suspect was later connected to an attempted break-in of self-registration payment lock boxes at Perrot State Park, where he allegedly cut locks at a storage unit at a state park.

DNR Wardens contacted the suspect, a Rockland man, regarding the illegal activities and advised that he faced enforcement action.

A few weeks after their initial contact, Wardens learned the individual was being investigated by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and deputies informed the DNR Wardens that the man was possibly hunting illegally.

Law enforcement located the on the La Crosse River Bike Trail, where he was archery hunting for deer. This trail is public property and not open to hunting. He was also found hunting without a license and during a period of suspension, all while hunting over illegal bait.

He was arrested by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office after the contact since he was a felon in possession of a firearm. Additionally, the man’s vehicle was impounded by Trempealeau Police Department since the new doors on his vehicle were stolen from a salvage yard in Trempealeau.

“We truly would not have gone as far as we did without the cooperation and communication between agencies,” said Jensen. “This is a prime example of the importance of interagency cooperation.”

DNR wardens worked with DNR staff across multiple programs as well as the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, Trempealeau Police Department, Onalaska Police Department, La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, and the county district attorney’s offices in both La Crosse and Trempealeau counties to lead to a successful prosecution. 

The court imposed several sentencing conditions for the man’s convictions, including six months of jail with five years of probation, a letter of apology to Perrot State Park, restitution, and revocation of DNR privileges for three years.