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26th Annual NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge Returns to New Mexico

National Rifle Association

National Rifle Association

FAIRFAX, Va. --( The NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program will return to Raton, New Mexico July 24-29, 2011.

More than 300 young hunters will descend upon the NRA Whittington Center in Raton along with several hundred parents, coaches, and volunteers from across the country.

The competition celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 and has continued to grow.

“YHEC has thrived for over 25 years because of the values and skills that the program instills in young people,” said Bill Poole, Director of NRA’s Education & Training Division.

“These young hunters are learning the benefits of teamwork, discipline and leadership in the field, and they’re also helping keep the tradition of hunting alive in this country for generations to come.”

Often referred to as NRA’s “graduate” program in hunter education, YHEC is comprised of eight events that test hunting knowledge and marksmanship skills. Four of the eight events are shooting-related, with participants competing in shotgun, muzzleloader, rifle, and archery challenges. Addition side events are held for fun including the Flu-Flu Arrow Shoot, Cherokee Run, and the annual tug-of-war.

The remaining four events, known as responsibility events, put the participants’ hunting knowledge to the ultimate test. These events include orienteering, a written test called the Hunter Responsibility Exam, a wildlife identification course, and the Hunter Safety Trail where the young hunters must use their judgment during simulated hunting scenarios.

The awards system for the International YHEC are divided into to two categories: individual and team, and then into two classifications: senior (age 15-18) and junior (age 14 and under). For each event, a maximum score of 300 points is possible for an individual and 1,500 points for a five-person team. When the scores for all eight events are combined, an individual can score a maximum of 2,400 points overall and a team can score 12,000 points overall.

This year’s International YHEC will see many new faces on the range this year thanks to the YHEC Mid-America Expansion Project which helped bring the YHEC program to many of the Midwestern states in late 2010 and 2011.

Each year, approximately 50,000 youth participate in YHEC events at a regional, state, or provincial level throughout the United States and Canada. The International event is open to all young hunters who have successfully completed a North American hunter education course and participated in their regional, state, or provincial YHEC program. Since its inception in 1985, YHEC has helped more than 1.2 million young sportsmen and women become safe, ethical and skilled hunters.

For more information on the YHEC program, contact NRA’s Hunter Services Department at (703) 267-1524 or visit Follow live coverage of the 2011 NRA International YHEC at

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