Youth Hunter Education Challenge tests safety skills in Pennsylvania
NRAHunterRights.org correspondent Justin McDaniel focuses in on the Hunter Safety
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.
Do I unload my rifle and hand it to a hunting buddy before crossing that fence? Do I shoot that buck if he’s at the crest of a hill with no backstop? Is it legal (and ethical) to shoot a sow black bear with cubs? These questions and others like them are encountered along the trail.
“The Hunter Safety Trail is meant to evaluate the skills learned in hunter safety classes,” said Jennifer Morgan, Hunter Safety Trail event director at the International YHEC. “We focus on firearm safety, ethics and responsibility. We evaluate them as if they were out hunting in the real world.”
Morgan, who is the hunter education program coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, took over as Hunter Safety Trail event director in 2009. Her affiliation with the YHEC program goes back much longer, however, due to her passion for hunting and commitment to passing on her knowledge to new hunters.
“Hunting is a privilege and we need to preserve that privilege—not just for this generation but for many generations to come,” said Morgan, who is also active with the New Mexico state YHEC event. “If we don’t get these kids hunting and shooting, then hunting has no future.
“It takes a lot of time to train these kids, but it’s worth the investment.”
NRA’s YHEC program is
made possible by generous contributions for companies like MidwayUSA. To learn
more about the YHEC program or to get involved, visit www.nrayhec.org.