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75-year-old hunter found after getting stuck in mud during storm near Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Posted at 7:46 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 19:46:58-05

HONOR, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources led the search and rescue effort for a missing 75-year-old North Carolina hunter near Sleeping Bear Dunes over the weekend.

First responders overcame inclement weather in already-challenging terrain and found the man within six hours Sunday, according to a news release.

Conservation Officer Amanda McCurdy received a call just before 7 p.m. about the missing hunter, who has a history of health complications.

The man had been at deer camp with friends and family, hunting the same spot in Benzie County for the past 20 years.

Because of the weather, the group decided not to hunt Sunday and met at a cabin.

By Sunday afternoon, others at camp realized no one had seen or heard from the 75-year-old man since watching him leave the cabin that morning.

McCurdy asked for assistance from conservation officers patrolling the area off Boekeloo Road in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

She also requested helicopter assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The helicopter crew saw what appeared to be a light in the woods about 8:45 p.m., and a Michigan State Police K-9 unit found the missing man, who was stuck in the mud, shining a flashlight at the helicopter.

“The search was successful due to the overwhelming number of conservation officers and other agencies who were willing to help,” McCurdy said. “It was a team effort; everyone had an important role to play to ensure this hunter didn’t spend a cold, wet and lonely night in the woods.”

The hunter was not admitted to the hospital and as of Monday afternoon was expected to make a full recovery.