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02-06-2009, 03:31 AM
Dahlonega Student Wins State's First Annual Youth Hunter Ed Challenge

2/3/09


DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA - Outdoors-oriented youth from across Georgia recently participated in the state's first annual Hunter Education Skills Challenge event held January 17 in Walton County. Thirteen-year-old Cody Chambers of Dahlonega placed first in the junior division (ages 14 and younger) and took home the award for the highest overall scorer of the competition and a new muzzleloader courtesy of Connecticut Valley Arms.

The January challenge was the first annual statewide event for the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division's new Hunter Education Skills Challenge program.

The program aims to test participants' abilities in six outdoor components: archery, air rifle, a safety trail challenge, orienteering, wildlife identification and a responsibility exam. Participants receive scores for each component with a maximum total score of 500. The competition includes two age divisions - junior (ages 14 and younger) and senior (ages 15-18).

"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."

Other challenge winners include second place junior division winner Josh Leigh, 12, of Marietta, third place junior division winner Malcolm Tyler, 13, of Monticello, first place senior division winner Jared Wood, 17, of Blairsville, second place senior division winner Jameson Lewis, 16, of Lincolnton and third place senior division winner Vincent Verginio, 16, of Lincolnton.

Unlike this year's statewide challenge event, youth interested in participating in future statewide challenge events must first qualify as one of the top ten scoring participants at a local competition (per age division). For more information on upcoming local challenge events, visit the Wildlife Resources Division's Web site, www.georgiawildlife.com (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/), under the "Education" tab.

Connecticut Valley Arms works closely with America's youth through various organizations like Hunter's Education, 4-H, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the YMCA. See www.cva.com (http://www.cva.com/) for more information on the organization's conservation efforts.

Also visit www.georgiawildlife.com (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/) for Hunter Education Skills Challenge program information and practice tests or call (770) 918-6416.


Media Contact:
Jennifer Pittman, shooting sports coordinator - (770) 918-6416 or jennifer.pittman@gadnr.org
Jennifer N. Barnes, Communications/Outreach Specialist - (770) 918-6795 or jennifer.barnes@gadnr.org