Teams from Gray Stone Day School and Park Ridge Christian School were big winners at the 2013 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament, the pre-collegiate shooting sports state championship, held Saturday by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at Millstone 4-H Center in Richmond County.
Skills competed in team and individual categories for rifle, shotgun, archery and compass on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.
The Gray Stone “Garnet” team won the senior division with an overall score of 3,839 out of a possible 4,000, while Park Ridge won the junior division with of overall score of 3,635. Both schools are in Stanly County. A list of all award winners is available at www.ncwildlife.org.
There were 575 students from 55 schools participating in this year’s tournament, having advanced from nine district events across the state where there was combined participation by more than 2,700 students from 271 schools.
“The competitors are a great reflection of hunting, conservation and the outdoor recreational community. These kids are exemplary in their skills and commitment,” said Travis Casper, the state hunting education coordinator and tournament director. “The competition is based on demonstrating the basic elements of hunter education, the same things that are taught in courses offered free by the Wildlife Commission to the general public throughout the year.”
The Fred Rorrer Trophy, which recognizes sportsmanship among competitors, was presented to Piedmont High School, of Monroe, in Union County. The trophy honors its namesake, a longtime hunting education instructor with the Wildlife Commission who died unexpectedly in October 2010. Rorrer is remembered for his dedication to conservation and leadership in the youth tournaments, where he helped bolster North Carolina teams and individuals to the top levels of national competition.
Overall attendance, including spectators, staff and competitors at the tournament, was estimated to be nearly 3,200. The Commission’s Hunter Education Program holds the tournaments as an opportunity for youth to showcase outdoor skills and demonstrate safety. Teams are organized within public and private schools, while home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.
Hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. For more information on free hunter education courses, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign or the many different youth and adult programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031 or go to www.ncwildlife.org.