NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge at Whittington Center

NRA to Hold 24th Youth Hunter Education Challenge at Whittington Center

FAIRFAX, VA – NRA’s 24th Annual International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) will be held July 27-31 at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. More than 350 young hunters, along with several hundred parents, coaches, and volunteers are expected to attend the event.

“YHEC is known as the most advanced youth hunter education program in North America,” said NRA President Ron Schmeits. “The NRA Whittington Center is an ideal location for an event centered on hunting and the outdoors.”

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.

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 Youth Hunter Education Challenge helps young people to learn to concentrate, focus, commit, and really to become leaders. It’s an event that puts everything together in a hunter education program to help them become better sportsmen and better citizens for America,” said Lenny Rees, a YHEC Event Director.

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.

Each year, approximately 50,000 youth take part 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