By Kyle Jillson | December 3 2012 16:10

Winning entries from the seventh, eighth and ninth graders in the 2012 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Justas Varpucanskis, in ninth grade from Moenka, Illinois, took first place in the 2012 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest's Category III

Fairfax, Virginia - And now the winners of Category III in this year's George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest. Reserved for seventh, eighth and ninth graders, Category III is our second oldest group and home to some fierce competition.

Our judges always have a tough time with Category III because there are not only so many entries, but so many good entries. It's at this age when so many students are taking art classes both in and outside of school. A lot of work goes into these entries and it shows. But there must be only three winners and our judges finally narrowed it down.

In first we have Justas Varpucanskis, a ninth grader from Moekna, Illinois, who entered a great painting of a black bear walking across a fallen tree in the forest. Titled Treacherous Journey, Justas's entry really grabbed our judges' attention.

For coming in first, Justas receives a $750 prize - not bad.

Joanne Zheng, in ninth grade from Johns Creek, Georgia, took second place in the 2012 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest's Category III

Second place went to ninth grader Joanne Zheng from Johns Creek, Georgia. Joanne's entry, Sunset Jackrabbit, depicts a jackrabbit so furry you want to reach out and touch it. This isn't her first time placing in our contest. Joanne took third in Category III last year, so it's nice to see her progression up the ladder.

Next year she enters Category IV, though. We'll see how she fares with our oldest students. Congratulations Joanne, you receive the $500 prize for second place.

Alice Feng, in eighth grade from Union City, California, took third place in the 2012 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest's Category III

Finally, the third place winner was Alice Feng, an eighth grader from Union City, California. In a colored pencil work of art titled Roar! I can see you., Alice has us staring face-to-face with a fierce mountain lion. She'll take home $250 for her efforts.

Thanks again to this year's winners and of course everyone who participated in the contest. This was our 25th year doing the Youth Wildlife Art Contest and we look forward to 25 more years. Keep checking back on NRAblog for the last category and all of our honorable mentions. There's plenty of amazing art left.

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