One individual and on team from Faulkner County placed in the state championships and qualified for the National Rifle Association’s National YHEC competition at the NRA Whittington Shooting Complex in Raton, New Mexico.
Julie Newson of the team “Furious Five” placed third place overall. The Faulkner County Team “Abandoned Mallards” won first place. The team is represented by Nick Massey, Alec Ohlde, ,Jesse McClellan, Ali Verkler and Tommy Newsom.
The competition was held at the 21st Youth Hunter Education Challenge at the C.A. Vines 4-H Center in Ferndale. It attracted 250 youngsters, ages 10-18, for the advanced hunter education class sponsored by the NRA.
Youth are taught how to shoot a rifle, bow, muzzleloader, and shotgun. They also learn how to read a compass and map, identify wildlife, survival, first aid, and a variety of hunting skills.
In the state championships, the young people shoot at metal silhouette targets with a scoped .22 rifle and open sight muzzleloader. They also complete a shotgun sporting clays course and archery 3-D course that is set up to depict real hunting scenarios. In addition to the shooting events, participants also go through a wildlife identification course ,where they must identify a species from skulls, hides, tracks, etc. Each young competitor completes a map and orientation course where they must identify and locate marked locations in the field. The “ safety trail” is set up where youth need to decide shoot or don’t shoot based on safety, knowledge of Arkansas Game laws, and ethics.
There is also a hunter responsibility exam that tests a hunters knowledge of shooting and hunting.
The top scoring individuals win trophies and awards such as rifles, shotguns and bows.. The six teams are sponsored and have their registration fees paid by Arkansas sponsors such as Friends of NRA, Safari Club International, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Arkansas Gun and Cartridge Collectors Club.