Quality Skull Mounts has closed operations, effective August 1st, 2013 after nearly 14 years servicing clients throughout Michigan and many other states as well and nearly 4000 euro skulls.
Without going into too much detail, a Michigan DNR conservation officer from Calhoun county three counties away from Lenawee that my business is located in is the reason I have closed the business, below are a few highlights of why I've arrived at my decision.
If you are a Michigan DNR Conservation Officer and do not behave in this manner than I apologize for your brethren and the fact that your ethical behaviour makes you a minority.
Here are the facts
The conservation officer confiscated a number of specimens from QSM in early February without probable cause, when I asked him why he was removing a large 11-point he was bent on taking he told me it was none of my concern.
Never have I been subjected to such intimidation, threats and just plain unprofessional and unethical behavior by a conservation officer. I've had many MI DNR conservation officers in my shop in the past, and all were kind, respectful and professional in their conduct with me, this man was far from any of these.
In my opinion today's Michigan DNR Officers have way to much power over a large broad range, making them essentially equal to the German KGB officers of years ago. If you don't believe me, then just stand up to one and test him/her and you'll soon find out that they will use their law enforcement power to intimidate and threaten you! They are driven by disdain and the greed to be someone important even though their own tiny aspirations don't live up to their over-inflated egos.
The inspecting conservation officer who drove nearly 1-1/2 hours one way to harass me is a "licensed taxidermist in Michigan" now this in it's self should raise a red flag:
I am quite concerned that a taxidermy business owner dealing with running day to day business activities can be currently subjected to a regulatory body and its appointed agents (MI DNR) that can and do compete with them. If this isn't considered a conflict of interest, then I certainly think that it should be. The potential for official misconduct is evident in that a Conservation Officer could harass his competition right out of business. There are a number of states that have laws on their books regulating conservation officers and their involvement in commercial venues that they supervise, such as Alaska, Kentucky and I believe Pennsylvania to name a few.
The Conservation officer spent hours pouring over records going back 10 years looking for minor clerical errors so he could run his personal judicial agenda.
He forced his way into my home and inspected freezers in my basement that I stored specimens in without a search warrant.
I gave the conservation officer plenty of time to perform investigations on the specimens he took (4+ months), when I started getting the run around from his supervisor as to when or if they would be returned I reached out to my state senators office. After the senators involvement every specimen was returned, and with not one specimen was there a violation by the hunter or any written against me or my business.
6 months after his initial visit the rouge officer filed criminal charges against me because he was "pissed" that the senators office became involved...this is just a small example of the immaturity level of Michigan's conservation officers that are performing taxidermy inspections on Michigan taxidermist. His charge was accusing me of nothing more than administrative non-compliance & clerical procedures, but yet the Michigan DNR came after me and wanted to drag me into court for such a ridiculous, exaggerated and trumped up infractions, written by an officer with a colorful imagination to say the least. In other words he fabricated many of his written claims.
Even though I was charged for clerical record keeping errors, it seems the State of Michigan doesn't believe they need to be held to the same standard. The Conservation officer left me a "Seizure Record" outlining the specimens he was taking from my shop and in it; it asked for the county my business is located...well the brilliant conservation officer wrote in the wrong county....but as I said I guess its ok for conservation officers to make errors in their daily work, but not us licensed taxidermist.
I hope none of you ever have to go through this type of conduct as I have; I have stuck with it fought for the principal of what I believed and knew to be the truth in seeking justice. While sacrificing my own personal finances in unrecoverable attorney fees, the closing of a thriving 13 + years growing business, while seeing this through to the end. The entire process has taken nearly 8 months and I have been diligent every step of the way.
I retained an attorney and the charges were eventually dismissed, but my life has been changed and I now see the power grab and control that these little men in uniforms aspire for....why? because they are supported by their supervisors, as most anyone theses days knows, in law enforcement "someone has to pay" is the mantra.
Their good old boy system is deeply rooted in Michigan's DNR law enforcement division, and they all stick together lie and deceit....whatever it takes, they are nothing more than bunch a bunch of lairs and spoiled kids with badges.
There is another innocent man here in Michigan fighting for his life right now because of our Michigan DNR check out his videos and stories here: www.bakersgreenacres.com
All of you customers will be missed, It became apparent that the only way the State of Michigan was ever going to leave me alone was to close Quality Skull Mounts. Let this be a warning for all you taxidermist practicing your skilled trade here in Michigan beware of these officers, they deceive, change their stories and will do whatever it takes to make a case where one does not exist. Because to them its a numbers game, and with such small brains they bore easily!