On March 25th, MUCC’s Learn to Hunt Program teamed up with Gourmet Gone Wild, 4-Square Sportsman’s Association, the Blue Water Young Professionals, and Ugly Dog Distillery to host a partner event. The event was introducing young professionals in the Port Huron area to conservation. The aim of the program was to connect these 21-35-year-olds to wildlife conservation through food and fun.
From the standpoint of teaching archery and the importance of conservation the event went great. Ashley’s Blog yesterday highlighted the event from the food side and the importance of connecting people to what they are eating. This one is on the recreation side.
The event began at 11 AM with the young professionals showing up on time albeit a bit nervous to try archery. After a 15 minute introduction to the equipment and safety overview, the first group stepped to the line. Of the 25 participants that would try archery all but four of them were first time shooters.
With a group that is new to target shooting, I always make sure I spend time helping the participants feel comfortable with the equipment and let them know most people feel that archery shooting can be a relaxing activity. So deep breaths and being able to loosen up a bit are important to get the jitters out. We want the lesson to be informative and fun. Even adults get nervous trying a new activity, so it is important to get them comfortable, smiling and laughing.
Once everyone is comfortable in good stances and familiar with equipment it’s time to go through the steps. We teach 11 steps to target archery. This covers everything from stance, draw, aiming, release and follow through. These steps allow me to work with the group as a whole, but also help individuals if they need it. Keeping everyone on the same page helps them get the group in a rhythm and they know what to expect the next time they come to the line.
Each participant shot three arrows their first time on the line so everyone in the group would have a chance to participate. After all 25 students went we had 45 minutes of open archery. Some of the participants wanted to keep shooting while others decided they had tried archery, but a bloody mary from Ugly Dog Distillery, out of Chelsea sounded like a better idea.
Of the about 15 people who continued to shoot, they worked on building their foundational skills. We practiced shooting at targets of varying sizes and different distances. As the lesson wound to an end, three of the participants created a challenge to see who was the most accurate. They each shot an arrow aiming for bullseyes or vitals on 7 different targets and the winner was rewarded with going first through the food line.
With venison lollipops and elk sliders from Chef Dixie Dave to look forward to the archery lesson wrapped up with lots of smiles. Wrapping up the recreation side before lunch the group got a talk from Gourmet Gone Wild Program Manager Ashley Bur on the importance of conservation and how hunting and fishing licenses pay for conservation funding.
Thanks again to all who participated and our event sponsors and hosts.