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:

  • March 2, Alamance Wildlife Club near Graham, Alamance County for District 5 (Rockingham, Guilford, Randolph, Caswell, Alamance, Chatham, Lee, Person, Orange, Granville and Durham counties.)
  • March 9, New Hanover County Law Enforcement Officers Association Range in Castle Hayne, New Hanover County for District 2 (Pitt, Beaufort, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Pender, New Hanover, Onslow, Jones, Carteret, Pamlico and Craven counties.)
  • March 9, Rose Hill Farms near Nashville, Nash County for District 3 (Wake, Johnston, Wayne, Franklin, Nash, Wilson, Edgecombe, Vance, Warren, Halifax and Northampton counties.)
  • March 16, Camp John J. Barnhardt in New London, Stanly County for District 6 (Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Moore, Union, Anson, Stanly, Richmond and Montgomery counties.)
  • March 16, Catawba Valley Wildlife Club in Hickory, Catawba County for District 8 (Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey and Rutherford counties.)
  • March 16, Polk County Gun Club near Columbus, Polk County for District 9 (Madison, Buncombe, Henderson, Polk, Transylvania, Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay and Cherokee counties.)
  • March 19, Coharie Shooting Range near Clinton, Sampson County for District 4 (Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick, Robeson, Hoke and Scotland counties.)
  • March 23, Hunting Creek Preserve in Harmony, Iredell County for District 7 (Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Surry, Yadkin, Alexander, Iredell, Stokes, Forsyth and Davie counties.)
  • March 23, Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia, Tyrell County for District 1 (Hertford, Gates, Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Bertie, Martin, Washington, Tyrrell, Dare and Hyde counties.)

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 or click here.

Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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