On Sunday, March 25, the Blue Water Young Professionals joined MUCC’s Gourmet Gone Wild and Learn to Hunt at Four Square Sportsman Club with Ugly Dog Distillery for a day of archery lessons and wild game samples to introduce the young professionals from the Port Huron area to conservation efforts in Michigan.
The event started off with an introduction to archery, led by MUCC’s Education Director, Shaun McKeon, who spent about 15 minutes covering the basics for beginners on equipment and a safety overview for the indoor 20-yard range. Shaun spent a great deal of time, making sure the participants who stepped up to the line were comfortable with the equipment and confident in their abilities. After everyone had stepped to the line once, participants were able to continue shooting for another 45 minutes, practicing on targets of varying sizes and different distances. Of our 25 participants, all but five were first-time shooters!
For those participants who wanted a more relaxed Sunday morning, Ugly Dog Distillery, located out of Chelsea, provided a delightful bloody Mary mini bar, made with their signature bacon vodka. They also served a fruity pineapple blend with their signature rum and had samples of their gin.
After the archery lessons completed, participants were greeted by our chef who introduced the menu and spent some time talking about the health benefits of eating wild game and fish versus farmed animals. Participants were able to sample tender venison lollipops with Grand Traverse red wine au jus, Great Lakes untamed fish chowder and chef carved elk tenderloin sliders with plum BBQ and Dijon horseradish sauce.
While everyone was busy munching away on the delicious samples, I gave a brief program overview of GGW’s program goals and the importance of conservation funding in Michigan. Hunters and anglers play a pivotal role to that success through the hunting and fishing licenses they purchase and the taxes they pay on gear. We also spent some time discussing the image of hunters and anglers and how that perception is shifting to a more positive light. The program also highlighted the connection to environmental stewardship and sustainability, we helped emphasize this by pairing our wild game and fish samples with a local distillery to better educate on the benefits of eating local, healthy and sustainable foods. It often goes unrecognized that wild game and fish are some of the most “organic” and “free-range” food choices available.
Currently, the majority of hunters and anglers in Michigan are over the age of 40, so it’s important for GGW to develop those connections with young professional groups to help create awareness for the sportsmen/women community and attract a new generation of lifelong conservationists.
Again, we would like to thank everyone who was involved with the event and especially our participants! If you’re interested in partnering for an event in the future or curious about upcoming events, check out our Facebook page or website for the most current information!