EDGEFIELD, S.C. - Courtney Ignat of Houghton Lake, Michigan, and Lucas Masterson of Iron River, Wisconsin, have won a JAKES Hunt of a Lifetime, May 17-21 on the Seven J Outfitters ranch in Sundance, Wyoming.
"I'm really excited," said Ignat, 13. "To win this, is really amazing. We can't wait to get there."
"I didn't know what to think at first," said Masterson, 15. "Then I began to realize, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm the winner of a national contest.' I've told a bunch of my friends and they've told me, 'That's insane.'"
Ignat and Masterson will hunt Merriam's wild turkeys with their fathers and guides. The all-expenses-paid hunting trip includes license fees, equipment and travel expenses. Winners also will be accompanied by NWTF staff.
Seven J Outfitters, which has access to more than 60,000 acres in northeast Wyoming, donated the hunt.
"Turkey Call," an NWTF television show broadcast nationally on The Pursuit Channel, will film the hunt.
"I just hope I don't miss a shot," Courtney said.
Ignat and Masterson were drawn from a pool of 65,000 NWTF JAKES youth members.
The Ignats are members of the Houghton Lake Longbeards Chapter. Courtney has accompanied her father on hunting trips since she was 4 and began hunting last year. Though she has never harvested a wild turkey, she has harvested a deer.
Masterson has harvested three deer as well as geese and ducks, but no turkeys.
"I've done a little research on where we're going," said Masterson. "I've gone shooting a few times trying to get ready for this."
The Mastersons are members of the Snowbelt Longbeards Chapter.
JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) is the NWTF's outreach program for youth, ages 5-17. More than 1,000 local JAKES events were held across North American in 2011. JAKES membership is $10 per year and includes a subscription to JAKES Country magazine, a membership card and decals.
For more information about JAKES or the JAKES Hunt of a Lifetime, call (800) THE-NWTF or visitwww.nwtf.org
The NWTF - a national nonprofit organization - is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America.
Through vital partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and our members have helped restore wild turkey populations throughout North America, investing more than $372 million to conserve 17 million acres of habitat.