The Department of Natural Resources remembers today as the 40th anniversary of the death of Michigan Conservation Officer Gerald Welling.

Welling was killed at approximately 2 a.m. Sept. 10, 1972, during a patrol for illegal bear hunting activity near Hermansville in Menominee County. He was 54.

Welling was with his partner, CO William Maycunich, when the pair observed a vehicle shining a light at a local garbage dump. After stopping of the vehicle, both officers approached the pickup. The driver suddenly sped forward and struck Welling, dragging him more than 100 feet.

Maycunich quickly apprehended the driver. Welling was rushed to the local hospital, but was pronounced dead.

“Conservation Officer Gerald Welling was killed protecting the resources he loved,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “He certainly was aware of the dangers in this early-morning complaint, as evidenced by working with his partner. Conservation officers can do everything right and still not come home at the end of their shift. We will always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.”

This year marks the 125th anniversary of conservation law enforcement in Michigan. Welling is one of 12 fallen conservation officers commemorated on May 15, 2012, when the DNR dedicated a memorial to conservation officers who were killed in the line of duty. Anyone seeking more information or who wishes to contribute to the construction of the memorial can get details at

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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