North Carolina hunter-safety teams sweep national championships
Gray Stone Day, Park Ridge Christian win senior, junior titles
|Gray Stone Day School|
Gray Stone Day School's hunter-education shooting team won the national Youth Hunter Education Challenge in New Mexico.
North Carolina teams captured first place honors in junior and senior divisions at the 27th annual International Youth Hunter Education Challenge, a demanding, week-long shooting and outdoors skills competition in Raton, N.M., sponsored by the National Rifle Association.
Gray Stone Day School of Misenheimer, N.C., took first place in senior standings, while Park Ridge Christian School of Albemarle, took first place in the junior standings.
Hunter Efird of Gray Stone Day School, was the senior individual overall winner, and Lea Efird, also of Gray Stone Day, was third in the overall standings.
In the junior standings, Skyler Efird of Park Ridge was second overall, and Dylan Horn of Forbush Middle School was third.
Gray Stone finished first as a team in archery, trap shooting, .22 rifle shooting, orienteering, hunter responsibility test and wildlife identification, and second in muzzleloader and on the hunter safety trail.
Park Ridge was first as a team in .22 rifle, trap and wildlife identification and second in muzzleloader and third on the hunter-safety trail.
Gray Stone and Park Ridge had previously won the 2013 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in April at Millstone 4-H Center in Richmond County. Teams and individuals qualify for YHEC through the Commission’s district and state events.
YHEC competition is held in .22-caliber rifle and muzzleloader at knock-down targets, shotgun on a sporting clays course and archery at 3-D game targets. Non-shooting competition consists of orienteering, wildlife identification, hunter responsibility and ethics exam, and a hunter safety trail test.
Nearly 400 competitors, coaches and parents attended this year’s event. Some 50,000 young people take part in similar youth events across the United States and Canada annually.
“We have to acknowledge and thank the schools and school systems that recognize the value of such activity and encourage participation,” said Travis Casper, Hunter Education Program coordinator with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “These young people are going to maintain the relevancy of our conservation heritage for years to come.”
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