on Feb 02, 2012 09:44 AM • Views 7917

Taking aim on the rifle range.

Media Contact: Geoff Cantrell

RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 2, 2012) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has set the schedule for the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments, marking the 34th year for the popular statewide shooting sports events.

The Commission will conduct nine district-level competitions in March, with hundreds of middle school and high school students taking part:

  • March 3, Alamance Wildlife Club near Graham, Alamance County (District 5)
  • March 10, New Hanover County Law Enforcement Officers Association Range in Castle Hayne, New Hanover County (District 2)
  • March 17, Camp John J. Barnhardt in New London, Stanly County (District 6)
  • March 17, Catawba Valley Wildlife Club in Hickory, Catawba County (District 8)
  • March 17, Polk County Gun Club near Columbus, Polk County (District 9)
  • March 24, Rose Hill Farms near Nashville, Nash County (District 3)
  • March 24, Hunting Creek Preserve in Harmony, Iredell County (District 7)
  • March 28, Coharrie Shooting Range near Clinton, Sampson County (District 4)
  • March 31, Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia, Tyrell County (District 1)

Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and overall individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.

The tournaments represent opportunities for participants to showcase outdoor skills learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program. There are events in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, as well as an orienteering challenge and a wildlife knowledge test.

Teams are organized within public and private schools, while home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

Winning teams will advance to the state championship tournament, which will be held at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe on April 28.

“These events are a demonstration of skills covered through instruction by the Hunter Education Program and are instrumental in securing the future of the hunting tradition,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “To pass this heritage along, we need to hunt like the future depends on it and share the enjoyment and fulfillment of shooting sports and conservation.”

While the Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments are for students 18 years old and younger, the Wildlife Commission offers free hunter education courses and advanced hunter education on a regular schedule for all ages. Successful completion of the course 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 click here.