Gaylord, MI – By Chris Grosser, Gaylord Herald Times

Craig and Dennis Roberts were more than brothers. They were hunting buddies “since we were old enough to deer hunt, 14 years of age,” explained Dennis, choking back tears. Craig, 57, died Tuesday at deer camp, the apparent victim of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Had he died from one of the chronic illnesses which had plagued him for so many years, his family might not have been so stunned. But Thursday afternoon, they were still reeling in disbelief that this veteran outdoorsman – mild-mannered, and a stickler for organization and detail – would suffer such a fate.

A news release from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Gaylord Post said the Hayes Township man was found dead in a travel trailer around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in a remote area of the Pigeon River Forest.

Troopers and personnel from the Vanderbilt-Corwith Fire/Rescue and the Otsego County EMS/Rescue responded to a call around 1:15 p.m. from an Otsego County Road Commission employee who was driving on a seasonal road west of Tin Shanty Road. Roberts’ hunting partner James Dipzinski of Gaylord flagged down the road commission employee after discovering Roberts dead on the floor of the hunting trailer.

State police troopers believe vented exhaust fumes from an outside gasoline generator entered from underneath the trailer, causing Roberts’ death. They believe he may have been overcome by the deadly fumes early Tuesday morning, possibly while making coffee. Troopers reportedly found a full pot of coffee and a clean coffee cup inside the trailer. His Irish setter/labrador, Emily, waited in the woods.

The circumstances of Roberts’ death brought pleas and a message from members of his family.

“It’s (carbon monoxide) not something to second guess,” said Lance. “Don’t take it for granted. Don’t fool with it.”

“Get a detector and plug it in your trailer, or rental,” urged Dennis’s wife, Sharon, whose father and four other family members were overcome at deer camp 10 years ago in another carbon monoxide poisoning incident.