Wildlife Commission schedules youth hunter skills tournaments
by James Howell
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has set the schedule for the regional Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments, marking the 35th 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.
The tournament for Ashe County’s district will be on March 23 at the Hunting Creek Preserve in Harmony, Iredell County for all District 7 counties (Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Surry, Yadkin, Alexander, Iredell, Stokes, Forsyth and Davie).
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. Teams are organized within public and private schools. Home-schooled students and teams representing 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements. 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.
“As the upcoming district Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments approach, we have continued to see growth in participation and enthusiasm for these events,” said Kevin Crabtree, the District 4 hunter education specialist. “I believe the youth, parents and coaches who participate in these events have a great opportunity to continue to practice the safety skills taught through the Hunter Education Program. The tournaments are a unique opportunity for the participants to utilize and demonstrate their knowledge and firearm and archery skills essential to being safe hunters and shooters. We are looking forward to another great year of knowledge and skills demonstration, camaraderie and competition.”
While the tournament is only for participating students 18 years old and younger, the Commission offers free hunter education and advanced hunter education courses for all ages throughout the year. For more information on hunter education, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign or youth programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031
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