The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 35th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament — the state championship for pre-collegiate shooting sports — on April 27 at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe in Richmond County.

Teams and individuals will compete in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, map-and-compass orienteering, and a written wildlife knowledge test.

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.

“Besides outstanding competition, this event is such a showcase for youth and their involvement in conservation,” said Travis Casper, the state hunter education coordinator. “Between the participants and spectators, there is typically upwards of 3,000 people in attendance from every corner of the state.”

The Wildlife Commission conducted nine regional competitions in March, with hundreds of middle school and high school students participating, and 54 teams advancing to the state championship.

The championship represents an opportunity for competitors who advanced from district events to showcase outdoor skills learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program. The competition requires a demonstration of skills taught in free hunter education classes.

While competing in the tournament is for students 18 years and younger, the Wildlife Commission offers free hunter education courses and advanced hunter education on a regular schedule for all ages.

Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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