HOW TO GET STARTED IN
THE MISSOURI YOUTH HUNTER EDUCATION CHALLENGE
WHO IS ELIGIBLE:
Eligibility - All participants must be graduates of a state hunter
education course. The Junior Division consists of ages 11 through
14 years old. The Senior Division includes ages 15 through 18.
Division eligibility is determined by the participant’s
age on August 1st annually. Participants may compete as individuals
or as part of a team of five members.
Coaches/Adult Sponsors - All coaches or adult sponsors must be at least 18
years of age and sponsor one team of five, or up to four individuals.
All participants will need three firearms; a .22 rimfire hunting
type rifle, a repeating shotgun, a muzzleloader and a hunting
type bow. Equipment may be the participants own, or may be borrowed
from relatives, gun club, or other source. Obviously, the best
results will be from equipment owned by the shooter with the
proper fit. The following is a list of the various challenges
with the necessary or appropriate equipment for each:
.22 Hunting Rifle: Any .22 LR type action is appropriate although
a single shot action is not recommended. The rifle cannot weigh
more than 8 pounds, and trigger pull must be a minimum of 2 pounds.
The rifle may have a scope with magnification not greater than
9x. Variable power scopes may be used. Targets are animal targets,
at about 25, 50, and 75 yards. Each target is 10 shots in 7 minutes.
Participants will provide their own ammunition for both regional
and state events.
Shotgun: A 12-gauge shotgun is recommended although a 16 or 20
gauge may be used. Any action capable of two shots is acceptable.
The most common actions would include the over and under double
barrel, semi-automatic and pump. Many shots in this sporting
clays type competition involve "report" doubles where
the second target is released on the report of the first shot.
It is important that the shotgun fit the shooter. Choke tubes
or settings cannot be changed during competition. Missouri YHEC
provides ammunition ONLY for the state event, not for regional
Archery: Almost all competitors use a compound type bow. It is
highly recommended that the shooter be fitted to correct bow measurements
of draw length and weight of pull. Pull weights of at least 35
lbs. are recommended to reduce rainbow trajectories. Hunting type
sights, pins or crosshairs, are allowed. Check the Missouri Rule
Book for current archery equipment requirements. Fingers or mechanical
releases are allowed. All shooting is done on 3-D animal targets
at ranges from 5 to 40 yards.
Muzzleloader: Percussion or flintlock muzzleloading rifles may
be used. The most common calibers are .45 and .50, with .54 caliber
the maximum. Only single patched round ball or pure lead slug (see
current rules) is permitted with a maximum charge of black powder
(or approved equivalent) of 60 grains weight. 209 shotgun primers
Orienteering: The necessary item for this event is a good quality
land navigation compass with the ability to sight through some
type of sight alignment system. Inexpensive compasses do not
have enough sighting accuracy. Recommended types include the
Silva Ranger and the Brunton Professional Model 8040 (either
about $20 - $35). Loaner compasses are provided at the state
event. Competition includes direction and distance finding, range
estimation, map reading, plotting direction and interpreting
USGS topographic maps, and general knowledge of maps and symbols.
Hunter Safety Trail: No specific equipment is needed other than
an outdoor area to practice crossing obstacles or shoot/don't
shoot situations with a hunting firearm. Preparation for this
challenge should include a careful review of the current Missouri
Hunter Education manual, including the 10 Commandments of Firearm
Safety, trail carries, and zones of fire. Competition may include
ethical, legal, and safety situations along a walk-through trail.
Animal Identification: No specific equipment is needed. Any publications
showing identification characteristics of North American wildlife
is helpful. Mounted animals on exhibit are very useful. Local
trappers, taxidermists, outdoor educators, or wildlife biologists
would also be a great source of information. Participants will
identify wildlife from fur, feather, skull, track, mounts, antler,
horn, scat and other sign.
Hunter Responsibility Exam: Competition consist of a 50 question
written test on hunter preparedness and responsibilities including
wildlife management, outdoor ethics, survival, first-aid, firearm
and bow equipment knowledge, and other pertinent information hunters
should know. The exam questions are taken from the current Missouri
Hunter Education Student Manual, the current Missouri Wildlife
Code, and the Summary Code booklet.
WHERE CAN I FIND A PROGRAM:
The Missouri Youth Hunter Education Challenge website www.moyhec.com
has a link to “Locate a Program Near You. These are established
YHEC programs. Most Missouri Department of Conservation Outdoor
Education Centers also offer YHEC training. You may also contact
a local hunter education instructor to see if he or she offers
instruction in the YHEC skills.
Practices: Practice for the annual Missouri YHEC Regional Championships
may take place year round. The State Championship is normally scheduled
to take place in late June.
Expenses: The major expense for this program is obviously the equipment
needed by each competitor. Ammunition costs may be kept as low
as possible by watching for sales on .22 ammo or using reloaded
Facilities: The best arrangement would be to have available a local
gun club range for .22 rifle and shotgun practices. Archery can
be practiced with less space, even an indoor range if available.
The four non-shooting events can be studied indoors, although the
Hunter Safety Trail and Orienteering should be done outdoors on
occasion to practice correct techniques in real life situations.
Rural participants probably will not have difficulty finding safe
places to practice .22 and shotgun safely. Urban area participants
may have to schedule time on Department of Conservation public
Resources: Write to the following address for a copy of the Missouri
State YHEC Rules and Regulations, also posted on the Missouri YHEC
website. Registration forms are also available to printout from
the website beginning in January.