ELLERBE — A high school team from Stanly County and a middle school team from Surry County took top honors at the 2022 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament on April 30.
Gray Stone Garnett Senior team won overall senior division, scoring 3,625 points out of a possible 4,000. Elkin Junior Wapiti team won the overall junior division with an overall score of 3,420. Students competed in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, orienteering and a hunter responsibility exam.
The championship was an opportunity for competitors who advanced from district events held in March to showcase shooting and outdoor skills, as well as knowledge learned through the Wildlife Commission’s Hunter Education Program.
Approximately 450 students from 58 teams participated in the state tournament. The teams were made up of individuals from public and private schools, as well as homeschool associations and 4-H clubs.
The tournament was held at the newly renovated John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex near Millstone 4-Camp outside Ellerbe.
“The Wildlife Commission has recently completed $2.7 million of upgrades at Lentz Shooting Range and the facility will become the annual host of the Wildlife Commission’s Youth Hunter Education State Championship Tournament,” said Monty Crump, chairman of the commission. “In addition to hosting the State Championship, Lentz will also annually host the District 6 Youth Hunter Education Shooting tournament as well.
“These two events will bring thousands of visitors a year to Richmond County from all over the (state),” Crump added. “The two tournaments will also bring substantial local tourism spending and great exposure to Richmond County’s rich outdoor heritage. The Wildlife Commission’s Lentz Shooting Range and nearby Sandhills Game Land provide excellent destination opportunities for visitors to enjoy shooting and hunting pursuits in Richmond County.”
Crump, who is from Richmond County, is also the city manager for Rockingham.
State tournament results are available on the Wildlife Commission’s YHEST webpage: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Before-The-Hunt/Hunter-Education-Courses/Youth-Hunter-Education-Skills-Tournament#97221985-state-tournament . Names of the individual district junior and senior winners were not released because they are minors.
While the competition was for students 18 years and younger, the Wildlife 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.
(Editor’s note: William R. Toler added information, including quotes from Crump, to this press release from the NCWRC.)