The Virginia Hunter Education Challenge took place May 6 and 7, 2017. 122 graduates of the Virginia Hunter Education Course competed at Rifle, Shotgun, 3-D Archery, Outdoor Skills and a Hunter Responsibility Exam. The event was held at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox County. The overall winning team in the Senior Division (15-18 years of age) was from Powhatan County. The top Senior individual was Jack Smith with the Powhatan team. The overall winning team in the Junior Division (9-14 years of age) was also from Powhatan County. The top Junior individual was Walker Coleman of Nottoway.
The Rifle event involved shooting .22 rifles at metal silhouette targets from different shooting positions. Participants shot from prone at 50 yards, sitting or kneeling at 35 yards, and standing at 20 yards. Targets were small and challenging. Sierra Conner of Powhatan County won the Senior Division. Gianna Hodge of Powhatan had the top score in the Junior Division. The Senior and Junior team winners for Rifle were both from Powhatan County.
The Shotgun event required breaking flying clay disks from different directions, between trees, and rolling on the ground. All of the disks were moving at high speed. Jack Smith of Powhatan had the high score in the Senior Division. Walker Coleman from Nottoway won the Junior Division. Powhatan County teams won both the Senior and Junior Divisions.
3-D Archery involved shooting arrows at life-size animal targets from as far away as 40 yards. Some of the shots were at odd angles or through trees and brush. The highest individual score in the Senior Division was shot by Christian Neff of Shenandoah Valley. The top Junior was was Walker Coleman of Nottoway. The Senior and Junior team winners were both from Powhatan.
Outdoor Skills consisted of a compass course and a hunter safety trail which included decisions about safe and ethical shots at animals. Jack Allen of Bedford won the Senior Division, while Aaron Hill of Scott County was the top Junior. The top Senior team was Powhatan County and the top Junior team was Scott County.
The Hunter Responsibility Exam was held on Sunday morning. Competitors’ knowledge was tested with questions from the Today’s Hunter Student Manual, the NRA Hunters Guide, and the International Hunter Education Association online course. The winning Senior was Amy Adcock of Powhatan. The winning Junior was Ethan Kramer, also of Powhatan. Powhatan County had the top teams in both the Senior and Junior Divisions.
For more information about the Virginia Hunter Education Challenge, contact the Hunter Education Program at HunterEd@dgif.virginia.gov. Many of the teams which participate in the Hunter Education Challenge are associated with the 4-H Shooting Program. To learn more about the 4-H Shooting Program, click (http://www.4-h.ext.vt.edu/programs/nree/shootinged/indexshootinged.html).