December 14, 2009, - 11:12 am

I Love This Story: Man Bags 1st Elk @ Age 98 in Holiday Gift

By Debbie Schlussel

Even though I’ve never hunted and never will (it’s against my religion to hunt for sport, and our food is slaughtered in captivity), I really appreciate this story and congratulate 98-year-old Chet Briggs.¬† The Alpena, Michigan native finally bagged his first elk on Thursday.¬† And how he got the license to do it is a great holiday story of sharing and giving gifts that you can’t buy in a store. It’s not “The Gift of the Magi.” But it’s pretty close.


98-Year-Old Chet Briggs (Right) & Friend Larry Burcz (Left) w/ Elk

A function of big government, Briggs could not hunt elk before because you need a license in Michigan to do so and, in 30 years, he failed to win a license¬† the Michigan Department of Natural Resources lottery for such licenses. Even though I am not a Christian and I celebrate Chanukah, I can appreciate the joy this Christmas present brought this man. It’s a story that PETA members will hate . . . and which I love.

A good friend made a heartfelt gesture, Briggs’ dreams of elk hunting became a reality.

Back in June, Larry Burcz, a seasoned elk hunter who has known Briggs for 44 years, was selected to receive one of the hard-to-get permits. . . . He made the decision to use a special regulation that allows an elk tag winner to transfer his tag to another hunter and he made up his mind to give it to Briggs. . . .

“It was a gesture of giving someone special something they really want,” Burcz said. “I felt it was very important for a guy like Chet to experience it. G-d wanted me to do something special for him. To give him a little piece of heaven while on Earth.”

Briggs said he was shocked when Burcz told him what he intended to do with the tag and about an impending December hunt.

“I told him I didn’t know if I would live that long,” Briggs said. “He said, ‘I’ll take my chances.’ That was one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for me. It’s a dream come true. Who would give up their elk license? Not many people.”

Shortly after Briggs got the news, he started to prepare for the hunt. His grandson, Dave Briggs Jr., said the man’s entire outlook on life was altered with the news.

“When he found out he went from 98 to 70. The doctor joked with him by telling him he needed to settle down if he wanted to make it to December,” Dave Briggs Jr. said. “He started walking up staircases to get into shape. There was more spring in his step and a glimmer in his eye. I tear up just thinking about it.” . . .

Although the season started out slowly, Burcz said the man never gave out hope that he would get his animal.”He woke up this morning and said, ‘Today is the day’ and lo and behold it was. His spirits were high the entire time, and it was some really tough hunting this year,” Burcz said. “All the members and other hunters were pulling for him and helped put him in the best possible position to get it. We were all wet eyed when he shot it. It was kind of like watching your child do something special for the first time. It was that kind of pride you felt.”

Because of Briggs’ poor eyesight, his son and grandson took his 30-06 and modified it with a laser sighting system which would make it easier for him to mark the animal. , , ,

His son, who made the trip from Texas to take part in his father’s special hunt, filled the cartridges himself and customized the bullets.

“We shot 60 rounds, which is a lot. We wanted it to be perfect for him, and it was,” Dave Briggs said. . . . “This means the world to me to be able to share this with my dad.” . . .

There, he field dressed the 400-pound elk. He said there would be a lot of meat from the animal, but none of it would go to waste.

“I have a lot of family that will get some and a lot of friends too,” Briggs said. “This is the best Christmas gift I have ever gotten. I can never thank (Burcz) enough for what he has done for me. It’s amazing.”

I hope they’re hungry. 400 pounds is a lot of meat. But, like I said, this is a unique and special present that can’t be bought in a store.

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18 Responses

Are there any famous Jewish fishermen? Just wondering.

#1 Vato on December 14, 2009 at 11:20 am

#1 Vato: What kind of stupid comment is that?

This is a lovely story.

lexi on December 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

lighten up pieface

#1 Vato on December 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Stop being so stupid, moron.

    lexi on December 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

This is for sure a lovely story. Think how many people were brought into a joyous occasion by the generosity and thoughtfulness of one person. Thanks, Debbie, for publishing this story.

Uncle Jack from GA on December 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

Famous Jewish Fishermen? You are kidding right? I can think of a couple. One was named Peter, his brother was James, they hang out with a Jewish Carpenter named Jesus.

Matt on December 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

#1 Vato, Fishing is permitted. Although I do not know of any Jews who are famous for fishing, many famous Jews go fishing. In his book The Wicked Wit of the West, for example, Hollywood writer Irv Brecher wrote about his fishing trips with Grouch Marx. It’s hilarious, and for that matter so it the entire book.

Fred Taub on December 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

P.S. I lived in Michigan from 1990 through 1996 and I loved it. I hunted grouse, and turkey, and fly fished in the Au Sable, and Black rivers. It is a wonderful place that I miss very much.

Uncle Jack from GA on December 14, 2009 at 11:59 am

there is a huge fish called the jew fish ?? not sure why

debbie was the elk a muslim or ???

drew299 on December 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Way to go on the elk Mr. Briggs. That elk would have dressed out at a nice 300 lbs. The Nuge should pay this guy a visit and ask Mr. Briggs if he’d like to be on the board of PETA – People Eating Tasty Animals.

Yes, this can be called a sport because hunters are called sportsmen, but this is not for random killing. The vast majority of us hunters don’t waste the meat. In fact, to thin out the too large deer population in Pennsylvania, we’d hunt and kill multiple deer (legally) and give the meat to homeless shelters. We don’t get that type of game down here in Southern California, only puny little things that look like they are about the size of Bambi.

Become a member of the NRA, even if you don’t own any firearms now, and help keep these libs from taking them away from us. I know this will sound paranoid and probably won’t happen, but what if there was a foreign invasion and you needed to protect yourself? Worse, and less likely to happen, what if the democrats that currently control this country determined there was a “Crisis” and needed to use the military to control the population within the U.S. under something like martial law?

With all of the crap going on these days, I hope you get plenty of your favorite 5.56 or 7.62 rounds for Christmas.

Jarhead on December 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm

thanks for this story, amazing….
I like to think that there are more people in the world that give of themselves than the MSM like us to believe…..


Ed on December 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Good story. Hunting is great. I went last year but came up short on state land. The hunters I know are good people and never waste the meat. The bow is truly a challenge. This old fellow has achieved a great feat.

Joe on December 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Good story.

The notion of “sport” hunting bothered me for a long time, until I realized that the term only distinguishes hunting that is governed by regulations from hunting for subsistence. So, it’s not a sport, like baseball is a sport, it’s a sport, by definition, because it has rules–in this case, laws.

My Jewish friends have told me that it is virtually impossible to kill an animal in the hunt and to keep kosher. Under the strictest interpretation, one would have to pierce the jugular of the animal with an arrow, thus bleeding it from the neck.

It’s a shame that the rabbinical tradition has built so many fences around the Holy Text that the ancient practices can no longer be enjoyed by the modern day faithful.

david on December 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Are Jews allowed to fish for sport?

M: Yes (for eating). As a kid, I went fishing with my dad. DS

Malik on December 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Um, I love animals so I will NEVER hunt for that reason.

I don’t know if I like this story or not BUT I do respect peeps like Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin (even though I could never do what they do) because those whom hunt usually respect the environment and the animals they cull more than those of us who purchase the meat in the store. If you’re going to eat and wear animals the way to do it is like The Nuge and Palin.

(I used to be a Liberal, so I think I have come a long way, but I just love animals too much.)

Skunky on December 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm


Farm-raised venison is just as tasty as wild, first of all.

Second, the combination of cold medium-rare venison roast, with camembert cheese and Bremner Wafer crackers (green box, original flavor), has to rank among the top 10 flavor combinations available to the human palate. We like it so well, no one takes seconds of the warm roast, so we’ll have plenty for cold “left-overs”…which are generally consumed within an hour after the “meal”.

david on December 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Great the old guy finally got his elk just like Ahab got his whale. Thats probably how long it will take me to win the lottery, the ripe old age of 98, and i’ll go to Disneyland

seahawker on December 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm


Wait a minute.

Ahab didn’t get his whale: he escaped with his life.

david on December 15, 2009 at 10:03 am

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