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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Youth Hunter Education Challenge competitor in the archery challenge

Are you under the age of 18 and absolutely love hunting? Well, have you competed in a regional, state, or provincial Youth Hunter Education Challenge this past year?

If so, then this is your chance to compete in the NRA's International Youth Hunter Education Challenge coming up at the end of July. Registration deadline is July 1, 2012! So don't delay ... there are only two and a half weeks to get in on the action.

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For this weekend's image rewind, we go back to the time when NRA Program Coordinator Moe Aguilar traveled up to Vermont for the state's first Youth Hunter Education Challenge in twenty years. That weekend brought more than forty youngsters through events such as Rifle, Shotgun, Archery, Orienteering, Trapping Demonstration, how to operate a GPS, and Tree Stand Safety.

Click here to read and see more about the adventure.

The CHIEF homeschool group held their first YHEC in Junction City, Kansas.

The NRA YHEC Mid-America Expansion Project is off to a great start in 2012 with more and more Youth Hunter Education Challenge events taking place across the Midwest. Thanks to YHEC Program Coordinator Susan Hill for the following report and photo from another first-time YHEC event, this time in Kansas.

On March 30, 2012, the CHIEF homeschool group conducted their first annual Youth Hunter Education Challenge event at the Tall Grass Hunting Lodge in Junction City, Kansas. Event Directors Justin and LaNae Jackson, along with their 10 children, organized the event and gathered volunteer support. There were 64 participants and 40 volunteers in attendance.

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Attention junior shooters! Could you use up to $5,000? Maybe you're saving for college for looking to buy a new rifle. If you're doing great things in school, in your community, and on the range, then you could win some of the $10,000 that's up for grabs through the Brownell's/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. First place wins $5,000, second place takes home $3,000 and third place will recieve $2,000. Check out all of the details below to see if you qualify to apply for the award.

Nathan Switzer 2010 OAYA winner Nathan Switzer competes in the 2009 National Junior Air Gun Championship at Camp Perry.
Fairfax, Virginia – The National Rifle Association is now accepting applications for the Brownell’s/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. Chosen for their accomplishments in the community, the classroom and the shooting sports, three exceptional young people from across the United States will receive a total of $10,000 courtesy of Brownell’s.

“The Outstanding Achievement Youth Award recognizes young people who exemplify excellence in not only the shooting sports, but other areas of their lives,” said Larry Quandahl, Manager of NRA’s Youth Programs Department. “Dedication to academics and community are important facets to becoming a well-rounded shooter.”

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NRA youth with 2 ducks from a mentored hunt in Pintail Point, MDMaryland Youth with four ducks from Mentored Hunt
This time last year, NRAblog brought you Moe Aguilar's report on Pintail Point's Mentored Youth Hunt. Here it is again as one of our new features — the weekend story rewind:

The Maryland DNR Mentored Junior Hunter Day on February 20 at the River Plantation in Queenstown, Maryland was a big success.

All the youngsters made it through the instructional safety clinic in plenty of time to enjoy the sporting clays course. After the warm up, it was time to take aim at some mallard ducks.

The parents and the Maryland DNR staff was just as excited as the young hunters as they took their first shots. The biggest excitement was seeing the youngsters hit their first clays or mallards. One young hunter was so excited after hitting his first duck that he walked to his father, safely handed him the gun, and jumped up and down with his hands in the air.

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Hunter Efird and Reed Koozer participated in the Champion's Hunt at Gsell's Whitetail Refuge

2011 IYHEC Junior Grand Champion Reed Koozer
2011 IYHEC Junior Grand Champion Reed Koozer with his trophy buck at Gsell's Whitetail Refuge. Reed won this Award Hunt for his first place finish at IYHEC this summer.
Each year, the two Grand Champions of the NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (IYHEC) win more than just bragging rights.

In addition to their first place finishes and amazing prizes, the Junior and Senior IYHEC Champion get to participate in the Award Hunt at Gsell's Whitetail Refuge in Pennsylvania.

This year, those two winners were Junior Grand Champion Reed Koozer of Oregon and Senior Grand Champion Hunter Efird of North Carolina. Hunter (pictured after the jump) is no stranger to Gsell's; he was the 2010 IYHEC Junior Champion and attended last year's Award Hunt.

These young men proved their skills while on the Award Hunt in December, bagging themselves impressive bucks.In July, Reed and Hunter will return to the field to defend their titles when they compete in the 2012 International YHEC in Mansfield, Pennsylvania.

Congratulations, Hunter and Reed, and thanks to our friends at Gsell's Whitetail Refuge for their continued support of the YHEC program.

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The NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge Mid-America Expansion Project, sponsored by MidwayUSA, was a huge success in 2011, with many new YHEC events cropping up across the Midwest. Here's another report from NRA YHEC Field Coordinator Susan Hill from a first-time event in Lead Hill, Arkansas:

The group from Lead Hill, Arkansas YHEC Event
Our October 28th YHEC event was held in Lead Hill, Arkansas on the 84-acre private farm of Johnny and Michelle Burleson, who also led the event. 40 participants and 46 volunteers/parents from the HEAT home school group were in attendance. A Wildlife Officer with the Arkansas Game & Fish Department also came to the event to talk with the children about wildlife, hunting, and safety issues.

The participants completed four events including Archery, Rifle, Hunter Safety Trail, and Wildlife Identification. The Burlesons plan to have many more YHEC events and are working towards another in March of this year.

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NRA thanks to Blaser and MidwayUSA In addition to the National Firearms Museum's dazzling display of guns, NRA's booth at Safari Club International's Convention in Vegas holds a message of thanks. Two actually. One to MidwayUSA and another to Blaser.

MidwayUSA (suppliers of Just About Everything℠ for Shooting, Reloading, Gunsmithing and Hunting) supports a number of NRA programs and events. Everything from the Bianchi Cup to the Youth Hunter Education Challenge to the Friends of NRA tv show.

Hunting rifle heavyweight Blaser donated 100 R93 rifles to the Friends of NRA program last year. That donation alone helped raise a considerable amount of funds for the Friends and all their good work.

And what better place to say thanks than SCI.

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