For hunters young and old, the end of spring turkey season marks the start of the hunting offseason. But for thousands of young people across the country, the warmer weather of summer signifies the start of the next great hunting season, the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC).
What is YHEC?
From Alaska to Florida, youth are studying hunter education, sighting in their .22 rifles, and drawing their bows, all in anticipation for a local or state Youth Hunter Education Challenge. There are currently 30 upcoming YHEC events being held across the country from May to October.
What is taught?
Each YHEC can have up to eight events that challenge youth in all aspects of hunter responsibility, safety, and wildlife knowledge. Events will also test their rifle, bow, shotgun and muzzleloader shooting skills under real-life hunting situations.
Who can participate?
YHEC is not just reserved for die-hard hunters and shooters though. Many kids use the YHEC program as an opportunity to learn how to shoot, improve upon their outdoor and survival skills, or meet new people with similar interests. The main pillars of a successful YHEC event are safety, education, and fun!
YHEC events are identified as either a state or local event. Local events are typically open to any child 18 and under, while state events require kids 18 and under to have passed their state’s hunter education course. Participants in the state YHEC are also eligible to attend the week-long National YHEC competition, which is being held this year in Mansfield, PA from July 24-29.
Events are a family affair as every young person is required to bring a parent or guardian with them and many events require volunteers and are designed to be spectator friendly. The NRA hopes that the skills and knowledge gained through YHEC will influence, educate, and encourage the involvement of youth and further perpetuate an interest in hunting and protecting gun rights in the next generation.
Want more information?
To find out if there is an upcoming YHEC event in your state, click here.
If your state does not have a YHEC, we are always looking for passionate individuals to start their own! If you want to learn more about the how to start your own YHEC program, visit yhec.nra.org, email YHEC@nrahq.org or call 703-267-1508.