International Youth Hunter Education Challenge ready for competitors in New Mexico

Junior shooters take part in the light rifle competition at an NRA YHEC event

Fairfax, Virginia - More than 50,000 kids throughout the United States and Canada participate in NRA's Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) each year. Two things come from these regional, state and provincial challenges; knowledge of the outdoors and the chance to compete in the International YHEC competition this July.

That competition will take place this year at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. Despite local reports to the contrary, there will be plenty of ammunition on hand for the .22 rifle portion of the challenge.

More on the supply of .22 ammunition for NRA's International YHEC ...

Raising kids on deer and turkey, NRA's Mid-American Youth Hunter Education Challenge Coordinator Susan Hill

An NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Missouri

Earlier this month, we sat down with Youth Hunter Educations Challenge (YHEC) Program Coordinator Susuan Hill. Visiting NRA Headquarters from her home state in Missouri, Hill provided us with pictures, stories and a background how it all started.

There was one request when we interviewed YHEC's Susan Hill. "Don't run pictures of me, run pictures of the kids. That's what the program is all about." A reasonable request considering her role as Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) Program Coordinator for NRA's Mid-America Expansion Project. So, with the proper photographs in queue, here we go.

More on NRA Mid-America Expansion Project Coordinator Susan Hill ...

This month's NRA InSights features a big article on the Youth Hunter Education Challenge

Youth Hunter Education Challenge feature in the November issue of NRA InSights

Fairfax, Virginia - Is Thanksgiving getting you in the mood to go out and bag your own bird? This month's digital edition of NRA InSights has a huge feature on the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge and is ready to be enjoyed. Held every year, YHEC lets you put your hunting skills to the test against kids from all across the United States.

NRA InSights covers all the latest in shooting news just for young shooters—competitions, youth-appropriate gun and gear reviews, tips, tactics and stories from readers.

More on the NRA InSights's feature on the Youth Hunter Education Challenge ...

Swarovski Optik receives award from NRA Hunter Services Manager Bob Davis for their support of the Youth Hunter Education Challenge

Fairfax, Virginia - As the new season premiers throughout the various satellite, network and cable television venues, one of YHEC's (NRA's Youth Hunter Education Challenge) oldest and first supporters debuted on NBC Sports. Title Elevation and Elation, the episode hitches a ride with Dean Capuano throughout New Zealand in his chase of the chamois and Himalayan tahr.

Find out about the premier of Swarovski's Season 2 on NBC Sports ...

Think you can follow animal tracks while on the hunt? These kids at NRA's YHEC competition can! correspondent Justin McDaniel was in Pennsylvania this year for the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Here's his report on the Wildlife Identification stage of the competition:

NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge participant identifying wildlife during the competition Mansfield, Pennsylvania - Identifying a gray squirrel, raccoon or Canada goose sounds pretty easy, right?

Most hunters—and even non-hunters—know what these animals look like.

But what if you were given 30 specimens and asked to identify them all by just their skulls, pelts, wings or tracks? Sounds a bit more difficult, doesn’t it?

That’s exactly what the participants at NRA’s International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) are asked to do in the Wildlife Identification event.

More on Wildlife Identification at NRA's YHEC competition ...

Youth Hunter Education Challenge tests safety skills in Pennsylvania correspondent Justin McDaniel focuses in on the Hunter Safety NRA Hunter Safety Trail director Jennifer Morgan at YHEC challenge in Pennsylvania Trail during the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge:

Mansfield, Pennsylvania - Studying hunter safety in a classroom is one thing. But attempting to apply it in the field is a different animal altogether. On the Hunter Safety Trail at NRA’s International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC), participants navigate a 300-point course filed with real-life safety scenarios commonly encountered by hunters in the field.


When Justin McDaniel headed up north for the 2012 International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, he got a taste of what the competitors would face as they took on their rivals. Here's a quick look:

The NRA's 27th annual International Youth Hunter Education Challenge took place at Mansfield University and Mill Cove Environmental Center in Mansfield, Pa. More than 300 youth hunters from 13 states, plus their families and coaches, arrived for the event — which is the largest and most comprehensive youth hunter skills competition of its kind in the country.

YHEC events are held at the local and state levels throughout the year, with the International YHEC serving as the program's capstone event.

The participants hit the range throughout the week with an awards ceremony occurring last Friday morning. Events included light rifle, muzzleloader, shotgun, archery, wildlife identification, map and compass orienteering, hunter safety trail and a hunter responsibility exam, which the competitors took Monday evening.

There's more from NRA's Justin McDaniel ... our man on the ground at the 2012 International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Mansfield, Pennsylvania:

When you ask folks what makes NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program so special, the answer is always the same: the people.

And one man in particular, Pennsylvania’s Charlie Fox, represents all that is good about YHEC. Charlie is one of two people (fellow Keystone Stater Bill Bower is the other) who have attended every single International YHEC event since the program’s inception in 1985.

“I’ve hung around this long because the kids are an absolute pleasure to be with,” Charlie said.


NRA's Justin McDaniel from Hunting Communications was at the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Challenge  last week and sent us this update on the action:

Mansfield, Pennsylvania - Being a crack shot with a rifle is perhaps the quintessential characteristic of a good hunter.

Legend has it that frontiersman Davy Crockett was given only one bullet a day by his father to go hunting. If his aim was true, he and his family ate that day. If he missed, they went hungry.

While hunters today are unlikely to go to bed hungry if they miss, marksmanship ability remains one of the most enduring marks of a good hunter.

The rifle event at NRA’s International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) puts youngsters’ rifle skills to the ultimate test on a 30-shot, six-station course designed to simulate hunting-type shots. The shots are fired at spinner targets at ranges varying from 10 to 75 yards. Participants use .22s with either open sights or scopes, but they are not given the range to their target, and they are told what type of shooting position is permissible for each station.


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