Focus of 'First Shot – Learning to Shoot' will be creating firearm awareness, education and safety for women and youth.

The University of Minnesota Crookston has been awarded approximately $30,000 in grant money from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for angler and hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) training. 

The focus of the funding, “First Shot – Learning to Shoot,” will create awareness and provide free firearm education and safety for women and youth by instilling basic shooting skills, preparing them for competition, depending on their experience, and re-engaging those who may want to refresh their angling/hunting efforts. 

“One of the goals of First Shot is to develop future generations of responsible gun owners and shooting enthusiasts while exploring the great outdoors, particularly northwest Minnesota,” said Michelle Christopherson, UMN Crookston’s Director of Outreach and Engagement.

First Shot - Learning to shoot is free firearm safety that will be open to all, however, preference will be given to women aged 18-44 and students from diverse audiences in northwest Minnesota.

First Shot will include mentoring, firearm-training while engaging participants in an introductory hunting and/or fishing experience, field days and/or a 3-day camp in June 2020.

First Shot-Learning to Shoot  training and mentoring will begin this fall and will serve three purposes: (1) sessions will be educational and free to participants, (2) providing first time participants a high-quality safety experience, and (3) skills and techniques needed to be life-long gun enthusiasts while understanding the importance of safety and caring for the outdoor environment.


The DNR created a grant program in 2015 to help local groups support Minnesota's angling and hunting heritage. The program aims to address concerns over declines in hunting and angling participation. UMN Crookston’s Outreach and Engagement will partner with the Crookston Gun Club and the UMN CrookstonTrap Shooting Club to recruit, deliver and educate audiences in northwest Minnesota. To learn more, contact Michelle Christopherson or 281.8369.