By Lars Dalseide | July 25 2013 10:43

Kids finding targets and fun at NRA Hunting Competition in New Mexico

Shooting at muzzleloader at 3-D targets during NRA's International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Raton, New Mexico

Wolf Creek Outfitters' Mia Anstine is back with another update on the 2013 NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Taking place at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, here she is with a report from Day Two ...

Raton, New Mexico - Halfway through NRA's 2013 International Youth Hunter Education Challenge finds participants both focused and excited. The long and hot daysfind the teams supporting one another in the competition while staying safe and keeping hydrated. Despite more than 300 participants, lines at challenge stations are moving fairly quick. Teams carry shade, coolers and chairs to make their wait times in this dry New Mexico heat more bearable as they wait to complete in the eight required events.

LG’s (my daughter Little Gal) team has already completed the .22 rifle, wildlife ID, orienteering and muzzleloader stations. They’ve also taken their hunter safety & muzzleloader written tests along with other teams who are jockeying to finish in the next day and a half. All events must be complete by noon on Thursday, July 25th.

We met a team from New York yesterday, the Sullivan’s Sharp Shooters. In their second year with the YHEC program, we were excited to learn that last year's contingency added a junior team to more than doubled their size. Despite the current anti-gun atmosphere in New York, their team is growing. The New York coaches invited other YHEC teams to come to the Empire State for a competition or two. It's great to see them supporting the kids — the future of our shooting sports — and supporting the Second Amendment.

At the .22 station I was happy to meet two young ladies from Troy, Pennsylvania who together represent their town. The two twelve-year-olds have been in the YHEC program for two years and were pumped to be in New Mexico. The mother of one said the girls go out of their way to make time for the shooting sports while juggling softball, track and many other schedules. It was great to see how genuinely excited they were to take part in the competition.

At the archery station, teams appeared focused yet enthusiastic as they shot 3D target set up to simulate real life hunts. There were teams from North Carolina and Missouri as well as a two man team from Buena Vista, Colorado at work when I arrived.

The two person YHEC team from Colorado, along with several others, began competing in 4H Shooting Sports before progressing to the YHEC competitions. They appreciate the variety of events and level of participants in NRA’s YHEC program. The teams enjoy traveling and meeting participants from other states.

If this sounds like something that your child would enjoy, or if you're interested in starting a YHEC Club in your neighborhood, contact Monty Embery of NRA Hunter Services at 703-267-1500 or visit the YHEC website at


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