Winners of the Consumers Energy-sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge, hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan United Conservation Clubs, were awarded an ultimate waterfowl prize package on Friday, March 21, at the Shiawassee River State Game Area in St. Charles.

To be entered in the drawing, participants had to hunt at three or more of the seven southern Michigan Wetland Wonders. The seven winners of the 2013 Wetland Wonders Challenge are James Bukaweski of Saginaw, Doyle Evett of Coloma, Joe Glasslee of Saginaw, Chad Reikowsky of Ortonville, Brian Scott of Walled Lake, Kirk Shewchuck of Holt and Russell Summers of Davison.

“It is a good reason to visit places you wouldn’t ordinarily go,” said Scott. “I went all the way to Allegan in January just because I needed that third stamp on my punch card.”

The seven lucky winners were awarded prize packages worth approximately $1,500, including a shotgun with a case, custom duck and goose calls, premium duck and goose decoys, a field bag, other waterfowl hunting accessories and a “golden ticket,” good for one non-reserved, first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2014-15 season.

“It was a good experience, a nice surprise,” said Bukaweski of winning the Wetland Wonders Challenge.

Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are the seven premier managed waterfowl areas in southern Michigan: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area, Fish Point State Wildlife Area, St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island, Muskegon County Wastewater Facility, Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area, Pointe Mouillee State Game Area and Shiawassee River State Game Area.

“These areas are known for some of the best waterfowl hunting in the state, and we invite hunters to come and see what they’re all about,” said Barbara Avers, DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist.

“Michigan has a wonderful waterfowl tradition, and that’s why we do this challenge – to promote waterfowl hunting,” said Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason in his address to the winners.

The next opportunity to win arrives with a new Consumers Energy Wetland Wonders Challenge, set to begin in fall 2014 and continue through January 2015. This contest will focus on the managed waterfowl hunting opportunities at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders. To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.

“I tell all my friends to enter the contest,” said Scott. “They all know I won!”

The DNR would like to extend a special thank-you to Consumers Energy for sponsoring this contest. Its generous contribution allowed for the promotion of the challenge and the purchase of prizes for the winners.

The Wetland Wonders Challenge is part of the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy (MWL), a 10-year, cooperative partnership to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl, wetland and waterfowl hunting community. The initiative is a “call to action” to honor yesterday, engage today and build for tomorrow.

Image courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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