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Legally blind hunter awarded elk, bear tags in the same year

Kory Freeland knows people who have tried for decades without getting either.

CASNOVIA, Mich — Hunters in Michigan have to apply for tags that gives them permission to hunt different animals. Certain tags are harder to get than others, and one West Michigan hunter says he hit the jackpot.

Korey Freeland has been hunting as long as he can remember.

"My family's always been big hunters," says Freeland, whose mother operates a hunting gear shop online.

And this year is set to be a big one for Freeland, hitting what he calls the 'hunter's lottery.'

"I got the elk tag," he says. "I still can't hardly believe it. I'm so excited."

After four years of applying and missing it, he not only received the elk tag but also the bear tag. Freeland knows people who've tried for decades without getting either.

"There were 260 elk tags given out this year and over 300,000 people applied," he says, shocked he beat the slim odds.

But Freeland faces a challenge the majority don't when he goes hunting.

"I am legally blind in my left eye," he explains.

When he covers his right eye, he says everything is a blur.

"I can't tell you how many times I've, you know, just been checking my lanes and looking around and suddenly there's three doe standing there staring at me that I had no idea had been approaching me," says Freeland.

Despite the challenge, he isn't letting it hold him back.

"Everyone has challenges, everyone has drawbacks and things they have to deal with that other people don't," says Freeland. "Maybe other people don't even know that they have to deal with. But you can't let that stop you."

He's inspired by his older brother Kelby who died in a car accident nearly 10 years ago.

"I like to think that he's out there with me, and I know he'd be proud," says Freeland.

So when he heads out later this year, Freeland knows to make the most of it.

"I'm going to cherish this memory for the rest of my life," he says.

Freeland heads up north for the hunt later this year. He will do everything he can to bring home an elk because it may be his only chance. Michigan rules say he can't apply for a tag again now for 20 more years.

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