4 St. Charles hunters qualify for international event
Mason Graham, Michael Kinler, Gavin Madden and Jay Madden all qualified for the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge.
Jay Madden, 13, Gavin Madden, 12, Mason Graham, 14, and Michael Kinler, 14, qualified for the New Mexico event after each finished in the top 15 out of 110 juniors who competed at the state YHEC event in June.
Graham, Gavin Madden and Jay Madden finished in sixth, eighth and ninth place, respectively, and were placed on the Louisiana silver team. Kinler finished in 14th place and will compete on the state’s bronze team.
Each team will compete together as well as individually.
Like the state competition, the international challenge will consist of eight events. In four of the events, the young hunters shoot a .22-caliber rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader and bow. Non-shooting events are compass and orienteering skills, the safety trail, wildlife identification and a hunter safety exam.
The competitions are difficult because of the vast array of skills the participants must have. Shooters use scoped rifles to fire at metal silhouette targets at ranges of 25, 50 and 75 yards from standing, sitting and prone positions. The muzzleloader event is similar but with bigger targets because the muzzleloader rifles are not scoped. The shotgun course is a sporting clays competition and the archery course features three-dimensional targets at ranges of 5 to 40 yards.
The safety trail consists of shoot/don’t shoot scenarios based on safety, ethics and knowledge of hunting regulations. Compass and orienteering challenges a participants knowledge of how to use a compass and topographic map. They also use their knowledge for in-the-field navigation.
Participants must also identify animals, birds and reptiles using skulls, hides, full mounts and other clues. The hunter safety exam, which consists of hundreds of questions, tests knowledge of shooting, hunting and safety.
The international YHEC competition will be held from July 21-26 in Raton, New Mexico.
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