Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament Championship Announced

he N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 43rd annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament (YHEST) state championship on April 24. Due to COVID restrictions, the participants will showcase their shooting and outdoor knowledge skills at ranges across the state to comply with safety and gathering guidelines. Each event will be under the observation of Wildlife Commission staff with scores being submitted electronically to declare the senior and junior champions.

“This year had its challenges, but the students rose to the occasion,” stated Carissa Daniels, Outreach Manager with the Wildlife Commission. “Being able to compete in YHEST has given everyone a sense of normality, and the opportunity to practice and promote safe shooting sports and wildlife education. It’s important to our state’s wildlife conservation efforts that we continue to cultivate the next generation of hunters.”

The Commission conducted 85 district competitions in March, which serve as qualifiers for the state competition, with 217 teams participating from 130 public and private schools, homeschool associations and 4-H clubs. This number was down from past years due to the pandemic, but still considered a success.

Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events. The first-place champions from each district and individual event will advance to the state competition and compete in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship and a hunter responsibility exam.

The junior teams that will be represented in the state championship are:

District 1: Perquimans County Junior, Perquimans County

District 2: Arendell Parrott Academy, Lenoir County

District 3: Chaloner Middle, Halifax County

District 4: Coats-Erwin Middle School, Harnett County

District 5: Northeastern Randolph Middle School, Randolph County

District 6: Gray Stone Middle, Stanly County

District 7: Elkin Middle, Surry County

District 8: Mill Creek, Catawba County

District 9: Waynesville Middle, Haywood County

The senior teams that will be represented in the state championship are:

District 1: Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies, Pasquotank County

District 2: Arendell Parrott Academy, Lenoir County

District 3: Northeast Academy, Northhampton County

District 4: Western Harnett High, Harnett County

District 5: Southern Alamance Future Farmers of America, Alamance County

District 6: Gray Stone High, Stanley County

District 7: Elkin High, Surry County

District 8: Bandy’s High, Catawba County

District 9: Andrews High, Cherokee County

A full report of district standings is available on the Commission’s YHEST webpage. Names of the individual district junior and senior winners were not released because they are minors.

The state championship represents an opportunity for competitors who advanced from district events to showcase shooting and outdoor skills as well as knowledge learned through the Commission’s Hunter Education Program.

While YHEST is for students 18 years and younger, the Commission offers free hunter education courses and advanced hunter education on a regular schedule for all ages. For more information, go to ncwildlife.org/huntered or call 919-707-0031.

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Due to COVID-19, we encourage the public to visit ncwildlife.org to purchase fishing, trapping and hunting licenses and to renew a vessel registration. 

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities.

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