A few weeks ago we told you about an upcoming YHEC event in Vermont that would mark the first YHEC held in the state for nearly 20 years. Thanks to Moe Aguilar, our YHEC Program Coordinator, for a report and photos from May 21 event:
Vermont held its very first NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) event and the first NRA YHEC in the New England States in over 20 years. The Vermont State YHEC program was sponsored by the Vermont Bearhound Association, the NRA Foundation, the NRA Hunter Services Department and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, which hosted the event at the Edward Kehoe Conservation Camp located in Castleton, Vermont.
At the opening orientation, Clint Gray of the Bearhound Association, Kim Royer, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Mike Langton, NRA Field Representative for Vermont, Evan Hughes, Volunteer State Chairman for the Vermont Friends of the NRA, and Morris Aguilar with NRA Hunter Services Department gave short presentations about firearms safety, the Friends of NRA, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge.
43 youngsters were accompanied by their parents who navigated their way though several outdoor events including Rifle, Shotgun, Archery, Orienteering, Trapping Demonstration, how to operate a GPS, and Tree Stand Safety. There were 25 instructors including Vermont Bearhounds Association members, Vermont Hunter Education Instructors, and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Staff all instructing and assisting the youngsters every step of the way.
The youth and parents had a great time and said they would return next year to participate in the Vermont State NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Many of the youngsters and parents stated they learned a lot from the program and were ready to apply the techniques they learned during the events to their hunting adventures and for next year’s NRA YHEC as well.
Clint Gray stated that “Hunters Teaching Hunters” was the message projected to the youth that attended.
“We advanced 43 new people into areas they may not have ever seen before. Some youth had been successful in hunting while others have had some limited experience in harvesting animals. But overall, with information we conveyed to each youth, they should be better sportsmen and sportswomen for attending,” said Gray.
Many thanks go to the Vermont Bearhounds Association, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and their staff, the Friends of NRA, and the NRA Foundation for helping to make the first Vermont NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge a huge success.