From the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
-- Youth interested in the outdoors can test their knowledge, demonstrate their shooting and outdoor skills, and be eligible to win a muzzleloader at the state's annual Hunter Education Skills Challenge event scheduled for Jan. 15 at Clybel Wildlife Management Area in Mansfield.
Open to all youth, 18 years of age and younger who have received their hunter education certificate, the challenge aims to test participants' abilities in seven outdoor components: archery, air rifle, shotgun, a safety trail challenge shoot/don't shoot scenarios), orienteering, wildlife identification and a hunter responsibility exam.
This is the third statewide event for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division's Hunter Education Skills Challenge program.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 15. The competition will take place just off Clybel WMA's south entrance on Shepherd Road. Signs will direct participants to the location. Participants must be on-site to register no later than 11 a.m.
"The program itself is similar to a 'graduate studies' course for hunter education students," explains Jennifer Pittman, Wildlife Resources Division's shooting sports coordinator. "Each component of the program simulates realistic conditions in an effort to reinforce and test a young hunter's skills."
Regional HESC events were held during the past year to prepare youth for the state challenge, but participants are not required to have competed in a regional to register for the state event. Participants receive scores for each component to earn a maximum total score. The competition includes two age divisions - Junior (ages 14 and younger) and Senior (ages 15-18).
The January statewide challenge will be followed by a series of local challenges throughout the state.
For information on upcoming events, program information and event practice test questions, visit www.georgiawildlife.com and select the Education tab or call (770)918-6416.