Hunter Hinz, freshman at Italy High School, was named the Texas State Champion at the National Rifle Association’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge. This event could be called the decathlon for outdoorsmen as it includes proficiency in archery, shotgun, muzzle loading, rifle, wildlife identification, hunting safety trail, orienteering and a hunter’s responsibility exam.
The Northeast Regional YHEC Club hosted the competition on October 8, at the Arlington Sportsman’s Club. In order to achieve the all around title, Hinz placed first in archery, second in wildlife identification and safety trail, second in shotgun, and third in muzzle loading. In addition to medals and a trophy, Hinz won a hunting trip sponsored by the Texas Youth Hunting Program and a Cabellas gift card.
Hinz said although he has competed for years in outdoor sports, this was by far his favorite competition.
“I really enjoyed myself today and not just because I won. All of the YHEC volunteers are so nice and interested in the youth’s success. I really learned a lot today as I competed. And I was very impressed with the Arlington Sportsman’s Club and all of their volunteers. It was a great competition to be involved with,” said Hinz.
The entire competition took around 10 hours to complete, but Hinz said that was okay. “Any day you can spend outside doing the things you love is a good day. Even if it is a long one and even if you don’t win.”
There is a possibility Hinz will continue on to compete at the National event to be held in New Mexico in June if complete Junior and Senior teams can be put together for Texas. In the meantime, Hinz and his Ellis County Shooting Sports 4-H Club team mates will compete in Texas 4-H Hunting and Wildlife events at the Fort Worth Stock Show, Texas 4-H State Games and Texas 4-H State Round-Up.
More information on YHEC can be found at https://yhec.nra.org/ For more information on 4-H Shooting Sports or the 4-H Hunting and Wildlife Team, you may contact the local extension office or Wildlife coach Julie Hinz at [email protected].