Young shooters aim for victory

Mar. 01, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Nearly 100 Lee County students will navigate, take aim and fire throughout the day Saturday in a bid to be named the best in the region.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Lee County Wildlife Club and the National Rifle Association, 92 Lee County students will participate in the state’s District 5 Young Hunter Education Skills Tournament today at Bear Creek in Chatham County.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will conduct nine district-level competitions in March, with segments in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship, as well as a wildlife quiz and orienteering challenge.

Jeanette Cox, the local administrator of the Young Hunter Safety Program, said the Lee County Wildlife Club volunteers are extremely encouraging for the students who participate.

“These guys are very supportive of the youth,” she said. “Some don’t even have kids in the program. They just want to see the youth learn safety. And it’s not just about firearms; it is so much more than that. It’s about respect for wildlife and survival techniques.”

Several younger students are participating this year, and Cox said she’d like to see those newer members place in the competitions.

“I’d really like to see the new ones place and come home with some awards,” she said. “I want them to feel success early, and see the older ones do well.”

During last year’s competition, Lee County students took numerous first-place awards for their district and competed on the state level, said Lee County Wildlife Club President Bob McCorkle. 

“The number-one thing is that they learn about firearm safety and laws in North Carolina that promote ... safe hunting,” he said.

The Lee County Wildlife Club, which has more than 300 members, was established in 1947, he said. The members promote wildlife restoration and sponsor a number of programs, including the Young Hunter Safety Program.