RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 42nd annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament state championship on April 27 at the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex in Ellerbe in Richmond County.
The Commission conducted nine district competitions in March (which serve as qualifiers for the state competition) with more than 4,500 middle and high school students participating. This year saw 339 teams participating from 227 public and private schools, homeschool associations and 4-H clubs.
Competition is conducted 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.
Sixty teams (34 from the senior division, 26 from the junior division) will move on to compete at the state level in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, compass orienteering and a hunter responsibility exam.
“Conservation is the big winner in all of this,” said Josh Jernigan, the Commission’s shooting sports coordinator. “These kids have been practicing and promoting safe shooting sports and wildlife education all year, so this tournament is truly their time to shine.”
The championship represents an opportunity for competitors who advanced from district events to showcase shooting and outdoor skills as well as knowledge learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program.
While the competition is for students 18 years and younger, the Commission offers free hunter education courses and advanced hunter education on a regular schedule for all ages. For more information, go to ncwildlife.org/huntered or call 919-707-0031.