A high school and a middle school, both representing Stanly County, took top honors at the 2017 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament on Saturday, April 29.

The annual pre-collegiate tournament, facilitated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and its Hunter Education Program, allows youth to showcase outdoor skills and demonstrate safety techniques that they learn in the program. The state tournament is held annually at the John F. Lentz Hunter Education Complex in Richmond County. 

Gray Stone Day School Garnett team won the senior division with an overall score of 3,499 out of a possible 4,000. North Stanly Middle School won the junior division with an overall score of 3,340.

“This is the 40th year of the tournament and it was one for the books,” said Paul Thompson, the Commission’s shooting sports coordinator. “Hard work and dedication paid off in a big way for these young people. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of a competition that rewards focus, dedication and, above all, safety.”

Students competed in four events throughout the day, including archery, rifle and shotgun marksmanship, along with an orienteering and written hunter responsibility test combination event. Teams compete on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary school) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.

Approximately 600 students from 61 teams participated in this year’s state tournament. They advanced from their regional tournaments, held in March in nine districts across the state. The teams are made up of individuals from public and private schools, as well as home-school associations and 4-H Clubs. Total attendance, including spectators, staff and competitors at the state tournament was estimated at 2,000 people.

The Farmville 4-H senior team was awarded the Fred Rorrer Trophy for sportsmanship. The trophy honors its namesake, a longtime hunting education instructor and Commission employee who passed away in 2010. Rorrer is remembered for his dedication to conservation and leadership in the youth tournaments.

For tournament results and other information on the tournament, call 919-707-0031 or go to www.ncwildlife.org/YHEST.

Editor’s note: Photos of the hunter education teams from Gray Stone Day School and North Stanly Middle School are attached. Both teams are flanked by Lt. Mark Rich of the Wildlife Commission, left, and Paul Thompson, the Commission’s shooting sports coordinator. Credit: Thomas Harvey, NCWRC.

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

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