Conservation Officer Gerald F. Welling

Conservation Officer Gerald F. Welling

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan

End of Watch Sunday, September 10, 1972

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Gerald F. Welling

Officer Gerald Welling was killed when he was intentionally struck by bear poachers. He was attempting to stop the two suspected poachers who were in a four wheel pickup truck. As Officer Welling approached them on foot the truck suddenly accelerated, striking him and dragging him approximately 100 feet. The suspects were arrested when they could not pass the patrol vehicle which Officer Welling's had blocking the gravel roadway.

The suspect driving the vehicle was charged with first degree murder but convicted of negligent homicide. He served only 9.5 months in prison before being released.

Officer Welling had been with the agency for 24 years and was a World War II veteran. He was survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters and is buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Coe, Isabella County, Michigan.


  • Age 54
  • Tour 24 years
  • Badge 219

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Convicted of negligent homicide

Most Recent Reflection

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This whole event was a travesty. Officer Welling's life was taken by an act of willful intent by a poacher. Then the community came to the defense of the murderer. All these years later and I, as a member of the Michigan DNR at that time, am still angry over this event. Gerald Welling was a good man, out doing his job for the State of Michigan and its people. This was a senseless MURDER.

Forest Fire Officer
Michigan DNR

September 11, 2018

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