Many of you probably spent the bow season opener 20′ up in the air or well concealed in a ground blind waiting for a nice deer to come through. Outreach Specialist Hunter Salisbury and I were at the Rose Lake shooting range working with a group of Michigan State Students. This group of students was the Michigan State Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and Hunter is an alumnus of the club. In exchange for the groups help at the Keeler State Game Area OTG a few weekends ago, MUCC volunteered to host a range day for the club.
The partnership worked out well and both the OTG event and range day were a great success. You can read Hunter’s blog for more info on the OTG event. As for the range day, we had good weather and a great turn out. As part of a recruitment and retention activity, this event fit perfectly. We had 16 MSU students attend and each one of them was a member of Ducks Unlimited. Traditionally, college students have a harder time hunting as much as they did with their families due to being in a new area and having time constraints from classes and work. A club event like this provided the students the opportunity to connect with other students who hunt and knock some of the rust off before duck season opens. It was also early enough in the semester that the group was still getting to know each other. I could hear several conversations about hunting spots in the area and the types of hunting the students had done growing up.
After a brief introduction and safety talk, we headed out on the range. With Hunter and I each running a trap station we had two groups of 8 shooters. The event was structured so each shooter would have 5 clays and then we would rotate to the next shooter. We had enough ammunition for each student to shoot a box (25 shells). While participants were shooting there was plenty of trash talk and planning of hunting trips for the duck opener of the 13th.
After about 1.5 hours the event wrapped up and the students were headed back to their textbooks. I think it was an enjoyable event for the students as well as Hunter and myself. This partnership between MUCC and MSU DU is off to a great start and I am looking forward to seeing what other things we can accomplish for conservation together.