Youth Hunter Education Program
YHEC… An opportunity for you!
YHEC logo

Whether you are a youth aged 12-18, an adult with a desire to contribute time to your community, a member of an organization/business looking for a youth-oriented project, or if you have an interest in hunting and the outdoors, Iowa YHEC is an opportunity you don't want to miss!

Iowa YHEC-the Youth Hunter Education Challenge-is a weekend-long event that takes place each June. This year the event will be held at Wesley Woods Camp near Indianola, IA. Youth from all over Iowa come to compete in 8 events, learn about the outdoors, and have fun with other youth and adults that have similar interests.

The events include four shooting events (archery, muzzleloading rifle, shotgun, and small-bore rifle) and four non-shooting events (wildlife identification, orienteering, hunter safety trail, and written exam). Most youth compete as part of a team of five from their area, but youth can register as individuals, as well. There are two age categories, Junior (ages 12-14) and Senior (ages 15-18).


Who can participate?
If you're a youth, aged 12-18 years, have passed a Hunter Education course, and are an Iowa resident, you can register to participate. If you're an adult, there are several ways you can participate. If you are a Hunter Education Instructor, you can put together a team of youth from your area, coach them, and bring them to the event. You may serve as a coach or an assistant coach. You may volunteer to help put on the event: it takes nearly 50 adult volunteers to set up and conduct all the events! You may have a special skill to demonstrate to the youth participants during an evening or other program time. (For example, hunting dog training, trapping, care of game in the field, etc.)

You may also want to donate to the event to reduce the cost for participants. All donors of $250 or more are recognized on the YHEC t-shirts if donations are received in time. It takes a lot of volunteers, time, money, and effort to put on this exciting event-become a part of it!

Where do I send checks?
The Iowa Hunter Education Instructor Association (IHEIA) has volunteered to oversee the YHEC Account and will be responsible for collecting registration fees and donations on behalf of the co-sponsors for this year’s event.

IHEIA-YHEC
PO Box 854
Des Moines, IA 50304

How do I get more information?
To get a copy of the event rules and registration materials or to just find out more, you may talk to the Iowa DNR Recreational Safety Officer (RSO) in your area or contact us at the address located within the sidebar.
Information for New Coaches

A Hunter Responsibility Exam will include 50 objective questions (multiple choice/ture or false). All questions are taken from information contained in the NRA The Hunter's Guide the Iowa Hunter Education Student Manual and the Iowa hunting regulations. Participants must answer all test questions with no assistance from other participants, written materials, or instructors. Students will have 60 minutes (one hour) to complete the test. Scoring will be based on a maximum of 300 points. A correct answer is worth five points; an incorrect answer is worth zero points.

A Hunter Responsibility Exam will include 50 objective questions (multiple choice/true or false). All questions are taken from information contained in the NRA "The Hunter's Guide", the Iowa Hunter Education Student Manual and Iowa Hunting Regulations. Participants must answer all test questions with no assistance from other participants, written materials, or instructors. Students will have 60 minutes (one hour) to complete the test. Scoring will be based on a maximum of 300 points. A correct answer is worth five points; an incorrect answer is worth zero points.

Team participants walk a natural grassland-woodland trail testing their wildlife identification skills and hunter knowledge. The course is designed to simulate actual wildlife encounters and signs "as seen" in the field.

The Hunting/Wildlife Identification Challenge questions require the participant/teams to observe and identify animal sounds, signs, silhouettes, decoys, mounts, study skins or tanned hides, and tracks. Animal tracks may be original or molds made of the prints. Wildlife signs may be real or reproduced. Challenge items will be observed at various distances and under various light conditions. Participants are not allowed to touch specimens unless instructed otherwise by the Challenge coordinator.

Each question is assigned a point value determined by degree of difficulty along with other factors. Partial credit is possible for some questions. The Hunter/Wildlife Identification Challenge has a possibility of 300 points.

Information used for questions has been taken from the NRA's The Hunter's Guide, the Iowa Hunter Education Manual, other wildlife manuals, and wildlife organizational publications. Iowa hunting law (primarily seasons, bag/possession limits) also provide materials for questions.

Team participants are not allowed to have their possession: written, taped, transcribed materials or electronic devices while participating in this activity. No talking is allowed between the participants or with their coaches while on the challenge course. Only one participant is allowed at a station. Coaches are allowed to walk the trail and take the challenge after the youth participants are well down the trail. Participants will be taken back through the course by a Challenge Coordinator after everyone has completed the challenge during that time period. Coaches may ask the Challenge Coordinators ahead of time to help those participants who may have reading disabilities.

Hunter Safety Trail Challenge: participants or teams will walk through a predetermined trail designed to simulate actual hunting conditions and situations. The participants will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of hunter safety on this practical field course.

The Hunter Safety Trail Challenge will be conducted with the participants moving from station to station with each situation varying greatly. Participants may be tested and scored on the Do's and Don'ts of firearm safety and shoot/don't shoot situations encountered in a hunting environment. Stations may include, but are not limited to, hunter game situations, target identification, landowner relationships, and safe gun handling afield.

Each participant and/or team will travel to a maximum of 10 stations with each station worth 30 or more points for a correct action and zero for an incorrect action. The Hunter Safety Trail Challenge has a possibility of 300 points.

A ten point penalty, per designated station, will be assessed if a participant or team violates safety rules. No hunter education books or other written, taped, or transcribed material can be used in this activity. Also, no talking will be allowed between the participant and instructor or other participants while on the course.

Archery Challenge: Participants will walk through a field archery course in a natural setting. The course is designed to simulate shooting situations encountered while bow hunting.

The Archery Challenge will be conducted with the participants taking shots at life-size game targets (3-D) varying in distance from 5 to 30 yards with scoring areas directly over the vital areas of the game. Each participant will shoot a total of 15 shots each worth 20 points if inside the vital area, or zero points if outside the vital area. All shots must break the vital area line to be counted as a vital "hit." Challenges must be made on the range before the next arrow is pulled. The Archery Challenge has the possibility of 300 points.

Bow and arrows will be supplied by the sponsor. Shooters may use only one bow for this activity except in the case of malfunction. Only target or field point arrows will be permitted and will be provided. The following equipment will be used for the Hunting Archery Challenge:

  • Recurve bows, 10# - 35# draw weight, with no sights;
  • Aluminum shafted arrows with field or target points;
  • Arm guards and finger tabs or gloves provided
    - (participants may bring their own);
  • No mechanical releases will be permitted or provided.

Participants or teams will walk through a field and/or woodland course in a natural setting to a pre-determined skills station. At each station, the participants will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of map and compass skills by answering questions or performing certain tasks.

The Orienteering Skills Challenge will be conducted with the participants or teams taking a bearing with their compass, closing a shape, identifying map symbols, and defining orienteering words (examples: contour lines, scale, declination). The participant may be asked to identify how nature can give you different directions of travel (north, south, east and west, etc.). These situations can be used as well as many others in the Orienteering Skills Challenge (not to be announced before the program).

Each participant will be asked to answer 10 compass bearing or other related map and compass orienteering questions, each worth 30 points for a correct answer and zero for an incorrect answer. The Orienteering Skills Challenge has a possibility of 300 points.

Only compasses can be used on the Orienteering Skills Challenge Course and will be furnished by the sponsors - Silva, liquid-filled Pathfinders. No orienteering books, encyclopedias or other written, taped or transcribed material can be used in this activity. Also, no talking is to be done between the participant and instructors or other participants while on the course. The information for this event has been taken from the NRA's The Hunter's Guide, Be An Expert With Map and Compass Orienteering Handbook by Bjorn Kjellstrom, and Finding Your Way With Map and Compass Orienteering by John Dinsley. To obtain these two Silva Compass publications, contact Johnson Camping, Box 966, Binghamton, NY 13902.

Participants will walk through a Hunter's Shotgun course. This course is not patterned after conventional skeet and trap shooting, but is designed to simulate hunting conditions and situations. The layout will vary depending on the available topography. The shooting stations will make use of available cover to best depict species hunted by shotgun in Iowa.

Targets will be the Hunter/Sporting Clays clay targets and/or life-size targets. Sizes of the clay targets may vary depending on different situations. Each participant will shoot a variety of shots totaling a possible 300 points. Zero points will be given to each miss.

The ready position for calling for the target requires the gun to be off the shoulder with the gun butt plate below the shoulder level. The gun may not be shouldered until after the target is visible (this does not apply to stationary targets). In other words, in case of a delay pull the participant cannot call for the target and immediately shoulder the gun. The participant must wait for the target to appear. Color targets will be used to simulate protected (non-shootable) targets. Points will be deducted for shooting at protected targets. A legal target is a whole clay target that is thrown from the trap in a prescribed flight pattern within the five-second time limit after the participant calls for the target. Targets broken by the trap or another obstruction will not be scored. These are illegal targets and will be re-thrown for the participant, regardless of whether or not the participant fires at the target.

The following equipment will be used:

  • 20 gauge pump shotguns;
  • Ammunition will be provided and loaded only on the direction of the range officer.

Shooting Procedures: Only the participant will be allowed on the station or firing line while shooting each station. The scorer or range officer will hand shells to the shooter as required. All shooting will be done from a standing or sitting position. The shooter shoots his/her quota of targets and then returns his/her gun to the gun rack; the next participant steps forward and repeats the sequence until all individuals and team members have had their turn.

Scoring will be done by Iowa YHEC selected officials. Only legal targets will be scored and the scorer will be sole judge of whether or not a target is broken. Officials may ask assistance from the trap puller or the range official if they feel their assistance is required.

The scorers will call miss for any target they feel is missed. Any challenge to the call must be made immediately by the participant. The scorer will then make the final decision with assistance from the trap operator and/or the range official. Rule violations and procedure violations can be referred to the Iowa YHEC staff and officials for settlement but legality of targets and whether or not the target is broken is the responsibility of the scorer. Only targets with a visual piece broken off will be scored dead. Duster and even birds deflected in flight (but with no visible breakage) will be scored miss. Based on the scorer's judgment, if a target hits an obstruction such as a tree or limb of a tree before the participant has had ample time to fire at the bird, a new target will be thrown. However, if the participant has had ample time to fire in the scorer's judgment, and failed to do so before the target hits an object near the end of its flight and breaks, the target will be scored miss.

The Hunting Muzzleloader Challenge will be conducted with the participants taking shots at NRA life-sized targets with scoring areas directly over the vital areas of the game and varying distance from 20 up to 75 yards. Participants will shoot from three shooting stations.

  • Station number one will have a shooting distance between 20 yards and 35 yards. Participants may use any shooting position and utilize any of the available props.
  • Station number two will have a shooting distance between 36 and 55 yards. Participants may use any shooting position (excluding prone) with a vertical prop as the only aide.
  • Station number three will have a shooting distance between 51 and 75 yards. Participants will only shoot from a standing position with no props permitted at these distances.

Each participant will shoot a total of six shots, two at each station. Each shot is worth 50 points if touching the vital area, and zero points for body hits outside the vital area. All shots breaking or touching the vital area will be counted as a vital hit. The Hunting Muzzleloader Challenge has a possible 300 points.

The following equipment will be used:

  • 50 caliber muzzleloading cap locks with open sites;
  • Black powder ammunition;
  • Firearms will be sighted in prior to the event by the range master.

One coach will be allowed to talk to the participant at each station before and after shooting. The coach must remain in the coach's box, established by the range master, at each shooting station. Each coach may use binoculars or a spotting scope to locate the shot on the target and relay this information to the participant, when advised by the range master.

June 2-4, 2017
Wesley Woods Camp, Indianola, Iowa
2017 Registration

2016 Scores:
Team Results
Individual Results


2017 NRA National Championship:
NRA Whittington Center
Raton, New Mexico
July 23-28, 2017
More: NRA Hunter Services

Recreational Safety Officers:
NW Iowa: Marty Eby, 712-260-1036
NE Iowa: Pat Jorgensen, 319-240-8640
SW Iowa: D3 Officer, 712-250-0302
SE Iowa: Terry Nims, 563-357-1812

NCentral: Jeff Barnes, 515-290-4907
SCentral: Allen Crouse, 515-238-4955
For more information:
Megan Wisecup
Megan.Wisecup@dnr.iowa.gov
515-238-4968

or
Donise Petersen
Donise.Petersen@dnr.iowa.gov
515-205-8709

Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building,
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

Iowa YHEC is co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Hunter Education Instructor Association (IHEIA).