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Kalkaska men accused of torturing animals and illegal hunting, including deer and porcupine

On Monday, Nicholas Patnode, 19, and Zander Garrett, 20, were arraigned in Kalkaska County District Court for multiple wildlife violations that took place throughout Kalkaska County during October-November 2022.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers began the investigation after receiving a tip through the DNR Report All Poaching hotline.

Conservation officers discovered a group of individuals who had committed multiple wildlife crimes, including several counts of shooting deer from a motor vehicle, game-tagging violations and animal cruelty charges.

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The Kalkaska men are believed to have illegally killed at least six deer, including a 9-point buck shot from the window of a truck. They are also accused of inhumanely killing a porcupine.

”When there’s this many violations, including torturing animals, education only goes so far. These crimes need to be addressed,” said Jason Haines, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Prosecution of these acts will hopefully deter not only these individuals but others from committing similar crimes in the future.”

Patnode’s 11 charges include:

  • Two counts of killing, torturing animals, a third-degree felony punishable by up to four years in jail and/or $5,000 in fines.
  • Six counts of wildlife conservation violation – general violations. Each is a misdemeanor punishable of up to 90 days in jail per count and/or $500 each.
  • One count of hunting and fishing license violation – using another’s license, a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $250 in fines.
  • One count of wildlife conservation violation – taking game from a vehicle; a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
  • One count of wildlife conservation violation – possessing a bow or crossbow in a vehicle operated on public land or roads. The offense is a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.

Garrett’s charges include:

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  • One count of killing, torturing animals.
  • One count of wildlife conservation violation – taking game from a vehicle.
  • One count of wildlife conservation violation – possessing bow or crossbow in a vehicle operated on public land or roads.

Garrett and Patnode were arrested April 12 on felony charges; their bond was paid, and they were released the next day. They are due back in court on May 20.

A third man, who the DNR is not naming because of his age at the time the crime was committed, processed a plea agreement through the county’s juvenile court.

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