‘Novembeard’ healthy hunter event blends beards, bucks and blood pressure checks

GAYLORD, MI – Just in time for the start of deer firearm season and in honor of No Shave November, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging male hunters traveling north on I-75 next week to set their sights on better health, too. deer

Free health screenings and shopping incentives offered Nov. 10 in Gaylord

The DNR, Jay’s Sporting Goods, Otsego Memorial Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield have partnered to offer free health screenings Tuesday, Nov. 10, as part of their “Novembeard” campaign.

Maia Turek, promotional specialist at the DNR, said that men spend an average of three minutes a day – more than 18 hours per year – shaving. Yet, nationally, 55 percent of men in the last year haven’t invested the one or two hours needed to get a physical. In an effort to get men to view health care as important as beard care, she said the DNR decided to take the 2015 hunting season as an opportunity to encourage healthy hunters during Novembeard.

“What started as a fun social media message from the DNR has grown (pardon the pun) into a great opportunity for men in northern Michigan,” Turek said. “Thanks to the interest of our partners, Novembeard can make a real difference.”

That difference includes free health screenings at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Gaylord, thanks to staffing from Otsego Memorial Hospital and support from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

According to Kristina Burzynski, a registered nurse and community health education coordinator at Otsego Memorial Hospital, women usually are the ones who take advantage of the hospital’s free health screenings.

“Our hope is that by offering the screenings in a convenient location for men who are prepping for the hunt, we can encourage more men to take just a few minutes to ensure they are physically ready for the woods this season and beyond,” Burzynski said.

Hospital staff will offer free blood pressure and body composition checks and free cholesterol screenings on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the meeting room at Jay’s Sporting Goods, 1151 S Otsego Ave., in Gaylord, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Jay’s is also giving everyone who participates a blaze-orange Jay’s hat and is hosting a drawing for a velocity crossbow.

“Blue Cross is committed to making the communities where we do business healthier,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, Director of Community Responsibility for Blue Cross Blue Shield. “We saw this as a great opportunity to encourage men to think of regular health care checks as much a part of their routine as beard care.”

The DNR’s Novembeard social media campaign (found at the DNR facebook page) is a bracket-style competition for voters to choose the best beard in the DNR. The final two beards will “face off” at the Dec. 4 Detroit Pistons game against the Milwaukee Bucks, where the losing beard will be shaved at halftime.  Prizes for voters include football tickets, Jay’s Sporting Goods gift cards and Pistons tickets.  Voting ends Nov. 30.