HOW TO GET STARTED IN THE FLORIDA
YOUTH HUNTER EDUCATION CHALLENGE
WHO IS ELIGIBLE:
Eligibility - All
participants must be graduates of a state hunter safety course. The
Junior Division consists of ages up to 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
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 (check with
the program administrators, equipment may be available). 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 long rifle 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, placed 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
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. Florida
Youth Hunter Education Challenge (FLYHEC) provides ammunition ONLY
for the state event, not for regional competition.
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 National YHEC 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 (no sabots or powerbelts, see
rules) is permitted with a maximum charge of black powder (or
approved equivalent) of 60 grains weight. 209 shotgun primers are
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 Florida Hunter Safety student manual, including the 10
Commandments of Firearm Safety, safe firearm 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
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 archery equipment
knowledge, and other pertinent information hunters should know. The
exam questions are taken from the current Florida Hunter Safety
Student Manual and the current Florida Hunting Regulations
Practices: Practice for the annual
FLYHEC Regional Championships may take place year round. The 2008
State Championship is scheduled to take place on May 3 and 4 at the
Expenses: The major expense for
this program is obviously the equipment and supplies needed by each
competitor. Ammunition costs may be kept as low as possible by
watching for sales on .22 ammo or using reloaded shotgun ammo.
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
at 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, shotgun and muzzleloading safely. Urban area participants may
have to schedule time on FWC public ranges.