NRA’s Justin McDaniel from Hunting Communications was at the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Challenge last week and sent us this update on the action:
Mansfield, Pennsylvania – Being a crack shot with a rifle is perhaps the quintessential characteristic of a good hunter.
Legend has it that frontiersman Davy Crockett was given only one bullet a day by his father to go hunting. If his aim was true, he and his family ate that day. If he missed, they went hungry.
While hunters today are unlikely to go to bed hungry if they miss, marksmanship ability remains one of the most enduring marks of a good hunter.
The rifle event at NRA’s International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) puts youngsters’ rifle skills to the ultimate test on a 30-shot, six-station course designed to simulate hunting-type shots. The shots are fired at spinner targets at ranges varying from 10 to 75 yards. Participants use .22s with either open sights or scopes, but they are not given the range to their target, and they are told what type of shooting position is permissible for each station.
It is quite an accomplishment when a youngster is able to run the table and card a perfect 300 score. International YHEC event director Lenny Rees, a retired hunter education administrator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says the time kids put in practicing and becoming better shooters teaches them lessons that not only prepare them for the field, but everyday life.
“YHEC really teaches kids life skills,” said Rees, who has run the rifle event at the International YHEC for the past 17 years. “First of all, to be able to handle winning, but, more importantly, how to handle times when things might not go as well as you had hoped. It also teaches young people how to concentrate and focus on what they’re doing, especially here on the .22 range. These are things that stick with a kid for a lifetime.”
Those life lessons learned through shooting are one of the major reasons why YHEC produces kids who are first-rate shots—and even better people.