2010 YHEC Report

Jack Rains attended the Youth Hunter Education Challenge state championships last June. Old Jack as coach. He was the first Mora entrant in more than five years and brought home a second place in the Hunter Responsibility Test (sub-junior). We had a good time and plan to go again next year, be it alone or with a group. The exploration was worthwhile and we will be much better prepared.

As a result of the fun we had, we are working on establishing a Mora YHEC club. Most of the teams are county teams although that is not a requirement. The teams have five shooters in the same age group. The biggest club brought over 10 teams and several had two to four teams each. At registration the individual entrants are assigned to ad hoc teams. Several of these were winning teams.

Let me describe the activities as we saw them. First, Friday afternoon is registration. They gave out a “hunting license”, a ball cap and a tee shirt. The hunting license is used in the “Shoot – Don’t Shoot” part of the trail walk and would cost a large fortune if it was real with all those animals. Then at 6:00, the written test. They do give prizes for the test but it is not included in the aggregate score. It is used as a tiebreaker, so a good score is important. Then you are free until 7:00 AM the next morning. The first event is scheduled so that no event is overwhelmed right off. Then, just look at the lines and select the next event. All except the shotgun are in the same area, no driving required. Even that is not a long distance away. It is not difficult to finish all events during the day, but there is not a lot of time for fooling around though.

During the archery, only one shooter at a time, but all shoot before arrow retrieval. Then the scorer and the archers go to the targets and scores are called.. No protests accepted after the arrow is removed. All were 3D game targets. 15 points for a hit, (no hooves or antlers) and 30 points for a vital area hit. The range was from a bull elk at about 50 yards to a porcupine with the arrow point at an inch or so. There were a lot of non-vital hits on that porky. Most of the kids do not understand how the arrow leaves the bow.

The rifle event had steel swinging targets. They allow scopes up to 9x. Set it for 9x. All are small, some very small. In the group we shot with, a couple of boys shared a rifle, but each had a magazine.

The shotgun was similar to a sporting clays course. Several stations, shooting through a window. Traps gave cross, away and rolling clay pigeons.

The muzzle loading had three shots at each of three clangers and one shot at your choice of the three. Fairly short range, easier than 22 targets, but open sights only.

The orienteering was fairly short. First a short test. Then find five points and copy a code from each point. Instructions are vector and distance. A simple compass is adequate. Learning to pace off distance is a necessary skill, but having the exact vector will force crossing the marker, so close is good enough. Jack found a rattlesnake between marker 4 and marker 5. He reported it to the judge, but never went back to tead the last code. He did get some passing fame as “The Kid Who Found the Rattlesnake”.

The wildlife ID had 15 stations. No footprints, but pieces such as an oryx horn, a wing from a pintail duck and a stuffed pheasant. We missed that. Pheasant wasn’t enough, should have been ring necked pheasant.

The safety walk was staffed with real game wardens. One warden walked two shooters through the course, including the standard fence crossing. Each “shooter” was provided with a shotgun and primed empty casings. At each station they had five seconds to shoot or not shoot.

Saturday evening they had a dance with a professional disk jockey at a modest entry fee with food available. Music and activities were all suitable for a younger audience. Jack rated it very fun! His list for next year includes a change of clothes for Saturday night.

Sunday morning was the awards ceremony and the teams from a distance took off. We headed over to the range for a little private shooting.

We camped. There is a $10 per night fee per camp site, but a club could have put up tents for several teams on one site. Most clubs cooked at the camp site even for the ones using RVs or staying in the cabins. We ate lunch at the Whittington cafeteria, which was open for lunch only.

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