The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the three winners of the ninth annual Pure Michigan Hunt. Don Rademacher of Lake Odessa (Ionia County), Jim Tilton of Alma (Gratiot County) and Amy Ornatowski of Tawas City (Iosco County) each won a pocketful of licenses and more than $4,000 worth of hunting gear.
“I could not believe that I had won,” said Rademacher. “I actually thought it was a call about a CWD deer because I hunt in the CWD areas, but I was glad that was not the case.”
Tilton expressed it similarly. “I was definitely surprised,” he said. “I received the Pure Michigan Hunt applications as a Father’s Day gift from my wife, so we were both shocked and very glad she purchased the applications.”
Amy Ornatowski’s husband took the initial call from DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason and thought he was a telemarketer.
“I finally had to take the phone away from my husband to see for myself what Russ was talking about,” Ornatowski said. “I was absolutely stunned when he told me.”
Ornatowski will be transferring all of her hunting licenses over to her husband, Kevin and her daughter, Mallory, but will be joining them on their hunting adventures.
Each $5 Pure Michigan Hunt application purchased helps fund wildlife habitat restoration and management in Michigan. The 2018 drawing saw a total of 35,214 applications purchased by 12,708 individuals, generating more than $176,000 for habitat restoration and improvement efforts.
Each winner receives elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, antlerless deer licenses and a base license to be used in 2018. In addition the winners – along with three hunting companions – will get first pick opening morning of the waterfowl season at any of Michigan’s premier managed waterfowl hunt areas.
Rademacher, Tilton and Ornatowski each also won a package of gear donated by Michigan businesses and organizations:
Engraved Henry Golden Boy .22 long rifle – Dick Williams Gun Shop of Saginaw.
12-gauge shotgun – Michigan Ducks Unlimited.
Annual subscription, camouflage hat, current copies of the publication and Outdoor Print of the Year – Michigan Outdoor News.
Under Armour pop-up blind – Ameristep of Clio.
Jet Sleds – St. Clair Flats Waterfowlers, Inc.
Quiver accessories – Kwikee Kwiver of Williamsburg.
Hunting accessories – Harmon Scents of Williamsburg.
Custom waterfowl mount – The Trophy Room of Clare.
Traps, DVDs, calls and more – Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association.
Turkey hunting gear – Michigan Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation.
Deer/habitat management package – Michigan Chapter of Quality Deer Management Association.
$100 Cabela’s gift card – Saginaw Field and Stream Club.
Shotgun case and hat – Ruffed Grouse Society.
Eberlestock team elk pack – Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Two-day/two-night guided hunt (winner’s choice between guided turkey, deer or bear hunt), including lodging and food – East Lake Outfitters of Essexville.
Custom shooting earplugs and hat – Michigan Hearing of Lake Orion.
Half-day, fully guided, five-bird pheasant hunt – Bear Creek Hunt Club of Clayton.
$100 gas card – Michigan United Conservation Clubs of Lansing.
Sweatshirt and hat – Waterfowl USA of Erie.
Fletching kit – Bohning Archery of Lake City.
Personalized Pure Michigan Hunt hat and engraved knife – Michigan Planners of Garfield Township.
Framed and matted Michigan duck stamp print – Michigan Duck Hunters Association.
Five-year Commemorative Bucks of Michigan membership, including one free trophy mount – Commemorative Bucks of Michigan of Bath.
Scent Web deer scent and Dual Grunter camouflage deer call – Away Hunting Products of Beaverton.
Deer Camp coffee, coffee mugs and assorted scent-elimination gear – Buck Baits of Sterling Heights.
DOEnation T-shirts and baseball caps – DOEnation of Big Rapids.
The winners officially will be awarded their prizes at the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting Thursday, March 15, in Grand Rapids.
Applications for the next Pure Michigan Hunt drawing will be available for sale starting March 1. For more information, visit www.mi.gov/pmh.