RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 10, 2010) – Participants and teams from North Carolina dominated the 25th annual International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in both the senior and junior categories.
Tar Heel competitors took first and third place in both junior and senior individual categories, first place in the junior team category and third place in the senior team category. The silver anniversary event, hosted by the National Rifle Association, was held July 26-30 at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.
The Youth Hunter Education Challenge is a demanding week-long series of events, featuring shooting competition in .22-caliber rifle and muzzleloader at knock-down targets, shotgun on a sporting clays course and archery at three dimensional game targets. A non-shooting component consists of orienteering, wildlife identification, a written hunter responsibility and ethics exam, and a hunter safety trail test.
“With results like this, it is easy to see why North Carolina is considered a powerhouse in youth shooting sports,” said Travis Casper, assistant hunting safety coordinator with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “You have to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the competitors, their families and coaches to get to this level of success. You also have to thank the schools and school systems that recognize the value of this activity and encourage participation.”
Nearly 400 competitors, coaches and parents attended this year’s event. Some 50,000 young people take part in a youth hunter safety skills events across the United States and Canada annually. On this year’s podium:
Junior Individual Overall Winners
1st Place: Hunter Efird, North Carolina Park Ridge Sharpshooters
2nd Place: Bryce Bason, Pennsylvania Junior Blue
3rd Place: Lea Efird, North Carolina Park Ridge Sharpshooters
Senior Individual Overall Winners
1st Place: Levi Epps, North Carolina
2nd Place: Jason LeVan, Pennsylvania Senior Gold
3rd Place: Billy Janos, North Carolina Forbush High School Red
Junior Team Overall Winners
1st Place: North Carolina Park Ridge Sharpshooters
2nd Place: Pennsylvania Junior Blue
3rd Place: Oregon Junior Team
Senior Team Overall Winners
1st Place: Pennsylvania Senior Gold
2nd Place: Pennsylvania Senior Blue
3rd Place: North Carolina Forbush High School Red
Another notable performance from North Carolinians was the South Davie junior team, which won first place in Junior Team Shotgun competition.
In North Carolina, teams and individuals compete in Youth Hunter Safety Skills Tournaments, a component of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Hunter Education Program, with teams from elementary, middle and high schools, both public and private. Home-schooled students and teams representing organizations, such as the 4-H or FFA, also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.
Hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. Courses cover hunter ethics and responsibility, conservation and wildlife management, survival and first aid, specialty hunting and tree-stand safety. For more information, go to hunter education courses or call (919) 707-0031.