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Hunter, cold and lost located after dark at Muskegon State Game Area

The lost hunter was found stuck in the muck in a remote portion of the Muskegon State Game Area late Thursday evening.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Muskegon State Game area is a popular spot for hunters every October and November, in part because of the game area's 16,000 acres of woods swamps.

Thursday afternoon a Muskegon-area hunter got turned around and couldn't find his way back to the game area's parking lot.

Egelston Township Fire Chief Mark Cleveland tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE the hunter who is believed to be in his late 20's or early 30's eventually got stuck in muck. 

"He was unfamiliar with the area," Cleveland said. "It was his first time out in that area."

After the sun set the hunter was able to reach Muskegon County 911 and a Michigan State trooper was the first to respond to the area but the hunter couldn't be located. That's when multiple fire unites were sent to the game area including crews from Egelston Township.

Using a GPS ping from the hunter's phone crews were able to locate the man using ORV's and four-wheel drive trucks. By the time he was located he'd been out in the game area for about nine hours, and the temperature and dropped to 36-degrees. 

"He kept getting turned around," Cleveland said. "Our guys on foot were able to get to him and assist him up out of the swamp."

The hunter was checked by an EMS team and released.

"Things look different at night," said Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Anna Cullen. "You get turned around in the woods, it happens."

Cullen is asking hunters who are finishing the bow season or preparing for firearm season to plan ahead.

If hunting in a location with good cellular signal there are several apps that can keep you from getting lost. Small brightly colored ribbons can also mark a trial from a parking area to a hunting location.

"As long as you clean them back up," Cullen said.

And she's asking hunters to make a day-time site visit before going out on that first hunting excursion.

"Do your homework," she said. "Scout the area before you go hunting and that is really important."

Hunters should always tell others where they'll be going and when they'll return. And carry extra gear into the woods.

"If you have room for an extra pair of gloves, socks, maybe a rain coat," she said. "That could save your life."

Michigan's firearm deer season runs from November 15th to November 30th.

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