YHEC Offers Test of Skills for Young Hunters

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The Youth Hunter Education Challenge offer young hunters the chance to test their knowledge and skills at one of eight events to be held across the state this spring.

“These events are a great way to stay involved in hunting and outdoor recreation all year long, and they are also a great way to hone your skills in the off-season and maybe even learn a few new ones,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

YHEC is sponsored by Friends of the NRA through their highly successful grant program. The Friends of the NRA have been a long-standing financial supporter of YHEC and many other shooting-related programs for youth.

Nationwide the Friends of the NRA award more that $47 million to programs around the nation since the group was founded in 1992. In Oklahoma alone, the Friends of the NRA awarded 283 grants totaling $700,535 and over 82 percent of those dollars went to fund youth programs. In the past 12 years more than 32,000 Oklahomans have attended one of the 150 Friends of the NRA events held in the state raising more than $1.7 million.

To learn more about the Friends of the NRA log on to www.nrafoundation.org/friends/ or call Darren DeLong at (405) 692-8672

YHEC is a program developed exclusively for hunter education course graduates from North America up to 19 years of age. YHEC provides graduates with a unique opportunity to test their abilities at a variety of hunting techniques, including shotgun, archery, and rifle events. The event is divided into youth and senior competitions with both groups competing at the same level of difficulty. Participants also are tested on their knowledge of wildlife species, knowledge of regulations and hunting ethics. Knowledge is tested on the hunter safety trail where participants are led through simulated hunting scenarios and must not only determine when it is legal to harvest game, but also must make correct decisions about whether to shoot at all.

This training ensures the future of the American hunting tradition as a safe, viable, recreational activity the entire family can enjoy. Though participants are scored and ranked in all YHEC events, the program’s competitive edge is diminished, as the real challenge focuses on personal improvement.

"YHEC has grown to include hundreds of young people each year because of the hard work and passion of hunter education instructors," said Meek. "It's a good chance for young people to continue their wildlife education beyond completing a hunter education course."

For more information about YHEC rules, regulations and schedules can be found at www.yhec.org.

2005 Oklahoma Youth Hunter Education Challenge events:

Enid - March 12
Garfield Rifle Assoc., Cherokee Strip Archery Club, Grand National Quail Club Gun Range
For more information contact Dale Adkins at (580) 242-1906 or e-mail aprinc@sbcglobal.net

Canton - March 19
Chain Ranch Sportsman Club and Canton 4H Shooting Sports Club
For more information contact Rick Syzemore at (580) 886-2449 or e-mail syzemore@pldi.net.

Tulsa - Date to be announced
Tulsa Gun Club
For more information contact Bryan Young at (918) 371-9872.

Broken Bow – Date to be announced
For more information contact Dennis Wilson at (580) 286-5175 or e-mail forstr233@hotmail.com.

Norman – April 2
Tri-City Gun Club
For more information contact Robby Wallace at (405) 954-8030 or e-mail: rwallace@outdrs.net.

Ponca City - May 7
Ponca City Rifle & Pistol Club
For more information contact Don Roy at (580) 362-3860 or e-mail donrr2003@yahoo.com.

Woodward – Date to be announced
Woodward Rifle & Pistol Club
For more information contact Rick Menefee at (580) 256-6438 or email menefee@itlnet.net

State Championship
Oklahoma City - June 18
OKC Gun Club
For more information, contact Paul Conrady at: (405) 341-6374 or e-mail paul@edmondsecurity.com.