RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 16, 2011) – North Carolina was well-represented in the annual Youth Hunter Education Challenge, held this year in Raton, New Mexico.
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 includes orienteering, wildlife identification, a written hunter responsibility and ethics exam, and a hunter safety trail test.
The opportunity to be involved in this competition was an achievement in itself, according to Travis Casper, the state assistant hunting education coordinator.
“There has to be a dedication and commitment from the youth, as well as the parents, coaches and community to compete at this level,” Casper said. “Once there, you are in the spotlight and there is a realization that you are representing all of North Carolina. The N.C. Hunter Education Program is proud of their accomplishments and sportsmanship.”
Nearly 350 competitors, coaches and parents attended the event in New Mexico. Annually, some 50,000 young people take part in youth hunter safety skills events across the United States and Canada. On this year’s podium:
Senior Individual Overall Winners (and scores)
1. Hunter Efird, N.C. (1845)
2. Colton Horn, N.C. (1827)
3. Dustin Harrold, OR (1817)
Junior Team Overall Winners
1. Oregon Junior Team (8264)
2. N.C. Park Ridge Sharpshooters (7925)
3. LA Bayou Bandits Junior Gold (7597)
Senior Team Overall Winners
1. N.C. Forbush HS Senior Red (8761)
2. N.C. Gray Stone Marksmen (8562)
3. Oregon Senior Team (8497)
Coach Individual Overall Winners
1. Eric Efird, N.C. (1418)
2. Heath Efird, N.C. (1326)
3. Lawrence Meyer, AR (1318)
North Carolina teams compete in Youth Hunter Safety Skills Tournaments, a component of the Hunter Education Program, in senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels. A daylong competition is held on a nine-district and statewide basis, with overall team and overall individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.
Hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. For more information on free hunter education courses, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign or youth programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031 or go to the hunter education section.