Of all high school state championships – football, golf, soccer, speech/debate, track and field – none are more “Wyoming” than the state hunting championships.

The Youth Hunter Education Challenge, as it’s officially called, will be held June 8 near Upton. Young hunters need not qualify in a regional or district tournament to compete. All Wyoming youth 18 and younger who have passed hunter education are eligible to showcase their hunting skills (and probably learn a little).

The challenge tests youngsters in sporting clays-style trap shooting; .22, muzzleloader and archery marksmanship;wildlife identification; orienteering and hunter safety judgments.

“The challenge is designed to be a fun event for all participants – not just the winners,” said Jim Dawson, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s hunter education coordinator.

This is the sixth year the challenge has been hosted by the Upton Gun Club and officially sanctioned by the National Rifle Association. Participants in both age categories (15-18 years old and 14 and younger) are eligible to advance to the international competition to be held July 21-26 at the NRA’s Whittington Center near Raton, N.M. Several Wyoming youngsters have competed in the international since the Wyoming state competition began.

In addition to the department and the gun club, the challenge is sponsored by the Wyoming Friends of the NRA, Cabela’s and a variety of Wyoming businesses. All participants receive a prize for competing.

To participate, youth must submit copies of their hunter education card, birth certificate, photo, and a $10 entry fee. Entry forms are available at Game and Fish offices or at wgfd.wyo.gov.

“The members of the Upton Gun Club do yeoman’s work making this a fun, memorable event for the youngsters involved,” Dawson added.

For more information, contact Dawson at 307-473-3400 or Rick Rothleutner of the Upton Gun Club at 307-281-9980.

Logo courtesy Wyoming Game and Fish Department

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