Youth coon hunts sponsored by the S.C. Coon Hunters Association (SCCHA) and participating clubs and chapters began in October and will continue throughout the fall and winter, culminating with the State Championship Youth Coon Hunt hosted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The championship hunt is scheduled for March 3, 2017 and will be held at the SCDNR's Webb Wildlife Center in Hampton County.
The club-sponsored hunts are all qualifying events for the state championship and are designed to teach the participants ethics and sportsmanship through participation in low-intensity competitive events. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded at the State Youth Championship for the first place finisher in each age group. Two additional $500 scholarships will be awarded based on participation in the qualifying youth hunts listed above. Proceeds from the sale of SCCHA personalized license plates fund the organization's scholarship program. For additional information about the scholarships or other programs of the SCCHA, visit the organization's website: www.sccoonhunters.com.
Competitors are allowed to hunt in as many youth coon hunts as they choose, and all events are free of charge. In accordance with competition hunt rules, no raccoons are killed during the competition and guns are not allowed on the hunt. Interested youth hunters and their parents or guardians should contact the sponsoring clubs for information regarding specific hunts. Each hunter is responsible for bringing a coon dog to the hunts, and need to be able, with minimal assistance from an adult, to acknowledge when his or her dog strikes and trees. Winners are determined based solely upon the dogs' abilities to strike a trail and tree a raccoon. Points are awarded by judges based upon the order that the contestants interpret their dogs' barks to identify when the dogs "strike" the raccoons' trails and when their dogs have "treed" a raccoon.
Dates, locations and contact information for the series of regional youth coon hunts are listed below (bench shows are at 4 p.m. and hunts begin at 6 p.m. for all events):
November 11 – Saluda, Sponsored by the Saluda County CHA. Contact: Will Deloach; (864) 992-8804 or email@example.com. (PKC sanctioned hunt)
December 2 – Georgetown, sponsored by the Hell Hole Swamp Coon Hunters Club. Contact: Floyd Lambert; 843-264-8093. (UKC State Youth Championship)
December 16 – Lancaster, sponsored by the Lancaster County Coon Hunters Club. Contact: Joel Henson; (803) 283-7815. (PKC sanctioned hunt)
January 13 – Bowman, sponsored by the Orangeburg Coon Hunters Association. Contact: Doug Shuler; (803) 682-0418.
January 27 – Norway, sponsored by the Norway CHA. Contact: Mark Whetstone; (803) 682-3011. (ACHA State Youth Championship)
February 3 – Newberry, sponsored by the Whitmire CHA. Contact: Roger Enlow; (864) 923-5431. (AKC sanctioned event)
February 10 – Ridgeville, sponsored by the Summerville CHA. Contact: Ed Kimmons, (843) 619-5265.
March 3 – Garnett, South Carolina State Youth Coon Championship, sponsored by the SCDNR. Contact: (803) 734-3609.