By Kyle Jillson | June 13 2012 14:48

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.

Due to the popularity of the program, the location alternates between West and East coasts from year to year. Last year's YHEC was held on the dusty desert of the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. This year the challenge moves to the East Coast and will be held at the Mill Cove Environmental Center in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, from, July 22-27.

YHEC is referred to as the “graduate” program in hunter education. The challenge is comprised of eight events that test hunting knowledge and marksmanship skills.

Four events are shooting-related, seeing competitors tackle shotgun, muzzleloader, rifle and archery challenges.

The remaining four events, known as responsibility events, test orienteering skills, wildlife identification, require a written test called the Hunter Responsibility Exam and feature the Hunter Safety Trail, where the young hunters must use their judgment during simulated hunting scenarios.

Participants have the opportunity to compete for both team and individual awards. These categories are further broken down by senior (age 15-18) and junior (age 14 and under) classifications.

The YHEC program is BIG. Approximately 50,000 youth participate in events at a regional, state, or provincial level throughout the United States and Canada over the course of a year.

In additon to being big, YHEC has been around a long time. THe program was started in 1985 and has has helped more than 1.2 million young sportsmen and women become safe, ethical and skilled hunters.

Interested? Remember that this is only open to all young hunters who have successfully completed a North American hunter education course and participated in their regional, state, or provincial YHEC program.

If you aren't eligible to make this year's International YHEC, check out their website to learn more about the program and how to prepare for next year.

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