Oklahoma Youth Writing Contest Winners Announced

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The results of the annual youth writing contest focused on Oklahoma's hunting heritage were recently announced by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International.

"This year, contestants got to choose between two different topics — 'Hunting: Sharing the Heritage' or 'What I like about Archery in the Schools and Bowhunting' — and we got some great entries," said Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife Department. "As is the case with this contest every year, Oklahoma youth showed a solid connection with the heritage of hunting in Oklahoma. The sport of hunting is in good hands for the future."

Winners in the ages 11-14 category were Joshua Mouser of McLoud and Hannah Stevens of Overbrook. Winners in the ages 15-17 category were Zack Ellison of Coweta and Elissa Stiles of Collinsville.

"The younger winners receive a scholarship to the YO Ranch Apprentice Hunter Program in Texas," Berg said. "Our senior age category winners will receive an all-expenses-paid antelope hunt in New Mexico."

The scholarship to the YO Ranch Apprentice Hunter Program and expenses for the antelope hunts are covered by the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International with funds raised at the Chapter's annual banquet.

The youth writing competition is designed to promote America's hunting heritage among Oklahoma's youth. It provides them an opportunity to express the importance of hunting in their lives and to affirm their commitment to carrying on the hunting tradition. Students use the essays or short stories to relive memorable hunts, to explain why hunting is important to them and to recognize mentors who have influenced them to grow as hunters.

"I wish to thank all the young people who took the time and effort to participate in this essay contest," said Sam Munhollon, past president and education representative for the Oklahoma Station Chapter of SCI. "One of our greatest challenges are finding ways to encourage young people to get away from the sedentary activities and get into the woods to explore and appreciate nature. The contest provides a great forum for inciting students to gain insight from more than just the classroom. These contest winners will, by being published in local newspapers and the 'Safari Trails' newsletter, become eligible to participate in the Norm Strung Outdoor Writers Association National Youth Essay Contest. Winners of that contest are awarded cash prizes and scholarships. I am very proud of our Oklahoma students. In the 14 years since the inception of this essay contest, Oklahoma essay contest winners have placed each year in the finals of the Norm Strung Outdoor writers Association National Youth Essay Contest."

The Wildlife Department and the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International will submit the winning essays to the National Youth Writing Contest held annually by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Need more info? Visit: http://www.wildlifedepartment.com