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No hunting experience? No problem! Learn About Hunting event offers skills and equipment demos, giveaways and more

Profile view of a Black woman looking through binoculars and a Black man pulling back an arrow on bow, both in hunting camo clothing, in a field

Hunting is a valuable skill that connects people with the food we eat and the land we live on, while also instilling the values of conservation and appreciation for our natural world.

Though hunting has been shared across generations here in Michigan, not everyone has had the same opportunity to discover this tradition. Often, that inconsistency is due to a variety of factors, such as gender, ethnicity and living in more urban areas where access to hunting opportunities is significantly reduced. Sometimes, it’s as simple as not having an experienced hunter in your life to show you the ropes.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is working to change that and ensure greater awareness of hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone, including Black, indigenous and people of color. One such effort is the upcoming Learn About Hunting event 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, at Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

“We are committed to developing engaging, informative programs and experiences for everyone who wants to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful outdoors and traditions,” said DNR archery education coordinator Kathy Garland, who is overseeing the event. “Oftentimes, that means meeting people where they are, working closely with local communities, and recognizing where we can do more to create welcoming, inclusive and safe space for people to feel comfortable exploring something new.”

Friendly, expert instruction

The Belle Isle event is open to everyone and will feature:

  • Live demonstrations of firearms and archery – including how to shoot crossbows and compound and recurve bows.
  • Expert instruction on tree stand installation and shooting from a deer blind, as well as equipment demos.
  • Opportunities to talk with DNR staff (including conservation officers and a park ranger) and veteran hunters about the practice of archery and firearm shooting, other types of hunting and the importance of conservation.
  • A BB target shooting trailer, staffed by conservation officers and Pheasants Forever representatives.
  • Giveaways including backpacks with collapsible water bottles and important information digests, flyers and pamphlets full of useful hunting information.

“Anyone can become a hunter,” said Garland. “We are hoping to reach communities that may not know much about hunting or maybe haven't had a lot of exposure to the sport. I’m excited about the possibility of sharing this wonderful skill and sport with someone brand new to it, as well as reconnecting with those who have been away from it for a while.”

All demos and instruction will take place at Shelter 8 West, located at 63 Riverbank Drive, on the Detroit island park. Though the event was created with hunters of color in mind, everyone is welcome to attend.

The event is free, but a Recreation Passport is needed for vehicle entry to Belle Isle. For more information, contact Kathy Garland at 517-243-4258.