Youth Hunter Education Challenge

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Hunt Safe graduates under the age of 19 have an opportunity on Saturday, June 21, to test their hunting, shooting and other outdoor skills against other recent graduates from across the state.

The Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) begins at the National Guard Armory in Mitchell with registration between 6 and 8 a.m. The event consists of a day-long series of exciting and fun events, including shooting rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders, archery, a map and compass orienteering course, a wildlife identification and hunter safety trail and a written examination. All equipment and ammunition are furnished and lunch and snacks are provided. Registration costs $10 and must be received no later than June 7.

According to of Game, Fish and Parks Hunter Safety Program Specialist Bill Shattuck, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge is less of a competition against other youth than it is a personal challenge where participants can practice the knowledge and skills learned in their Hunt Safe class. Because events are conducted in simulated hunting conditions, YHEC provides the best test of a young hunters skills short of an actual situation afield and it is all done under the safe supervision of volunteer Hunt Safe and NRA instructors.

"At past YHEC events, I couldn’t fail to notice the happiness and friendliness of all the participants and YHEC staff," Shattuck noted. "Obviously, they enjoy what they are doing and love doing it in the company of other people who share the same interests and beliefs. You won’t find a finer bunch of young people anywhere, and they really know how to have fun."

Although most of the participants at past YHEC events have entered individually, Hunt Safe instructors are invited to enter teams of their graduates. Every person who competes in the South Dakota YHEC is invited to participate in the annual International YHEC, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, to be held in New Mexico in July of this year.

Anyone seeking a registration form or more information about the event may contact the S.D. YHEC Committee, P. O. Box 340, Mitchell, S.D. 57301 or YHEC Chairman Gary Stadlman at (605) 227-4286.