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All three Pure Michigan Hunt winners bag elk and bear

Every year, Pure Michigan Hunt winners get to spend their hunting seasons living out their dreams – pursuing elk, bear, deer, turkey and ducks in Michigan’s outdoors.

This year, all three winners bagged a beautiful Michigan bull elk and a black bear.

Michele Ketchum of Sparta harvested a 6×6 bull elk in Montmorency County on the morning of Aug. 29 with the help of her guide, Tim at Elk View Cabins and Guide Service.

“The hunt didn’t last long, but it was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” said Ketchum. “Just to be that close to these impressive animals was exhilarating, and I am so thankful that I had this opportunity. If I hadn’t won the Pure Michigan Hunt, I may have never had a chance to hunt elk in Michigan.”

Ketchum also harvested a nice black bear in Mackinac County with the help of her guide, Gary Morgan of Wild Game Dynasty.

On Sept. 15, Richard Farris of Almont harvested an impressive 5×5 bull elk in Otsego County with the help of his guide, Preston Cassleman. He also harvested a black bear in Mackinac County Sept. 20.

“It was an incredible experience to harvest a beautiful Michigan bull elk and five days later, harvest a black bear,” said Farris. “This fall is one that I will never forget.”

Jerry Peak of Crystal had a unique opportunity this hunting season. Along with winning the Pure Michigan Hunt, Peak also drew a Michigan bull elk tag, so he graciously transferred his Pure Michigan Hunt elk tag to his son, Jim.

“I was totally shocked when I found out about drawing a bull elk tag in addition to my Pure Michigan Hunt tag,” said Peak. “I knew right away that I would be transferring my Pure Michigan Hunt tag to my son so we could hunt together.”

On the evening of Sept. 18, Jerry Peak harvested a massive 6×6 bull elk in Cheboygan County. Earlier that morning, Peak’s son Jim also harvested a 6×6 bull elk in Cheboygan County using the transferred tag.

“The conservation officers and DNR staff were extremely helpful when we got our elk,” said Peak. “We want to thank everyone in the DNR for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

In addition to the bull elk, Peak also harvested a 350-pound black bear in Lake County.

“All three Pure Michigan Hunt winners have the flexibility to hunt many different places,” said Jordyn Richardson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach technician. “Life gets very busy, but because of this ‘golden ticket,’ all three winners have the ability to pick and choose hunt areas and times so they are able to work these hunts into their everyday lives. They also have the option to transfer a license to someone else.”

For hunters who have dreams of experiences like these, there’s still plenty of time to make 2018 the hunt of a lifetime, by applying now and applying often. Along with all of the hunting licenses, each winner will receive a hunting prize package valued at more than $4,000. Visit mi.gov/pmh for more information and to purchase Pure Michigan Hunt applications.