The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold its 34th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament, the state championship for pre-collegiate shooting sports, on April 28 at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe.

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 (see video). The Wildlife Commission conducted nine district-level competitions in March, with hundreds of middle school and high school students participating.

The championship represents an opportunity for competitors who advanced from district events to showcase outdoor skills learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program (see video). The competition includes segments in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, as well as an orienteering challenge and a wildlife knowledge test.

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.

“This is the highest level of shooting sports competition of this kind in the state,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “This event is a demonstration of skills covered through instruction by the Hunter Education Program and is a key part of securing the future of the hunting tradition. To pass this heritage along, we need to hunt like the future depends on it and share the enjoyment and fulfillment of shooting sports and conservation.”

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

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