By Thomas Garcia: PNT staff writer
Two Portales high school students earned high point honors in the annual Youth Hunters Education Challenge state shooting competition last month in Raton.
Garrett Lee, 15, won the overall high point individual award and Landon O’Rear, 17, won the high point individual award for the rifle competition in the senior division.
“I have been competing for three years and have never won the high point award before,” Lee said. “I have always liked to hunt. When I was little I would go hunting with my dad.”
O’Rear shot a perfect score of 300, hitting all 15 of the swinging targets ranging from five to 75 yards away.
“I am happy with winning the rifle competition, but I could have done better in the other portions of the competition,” O’Rear said.
Categories include bow, muzzle loader, shotgun and rifle shooting. There are three divisions based on age.
This was O’Rear’s last year competing in the contest as he graduated from Portales High in May. Lee has three more years to compete and is looking forward to trying to make it to nationals next year.
The team just missed competing in the nationals contest held in Pennsylvania by 60 points.
“Next year nationals is going to be held at Raton, and it would be great to represent the state,” Lee said.
YHEC has reached more than a million youth since its creation in 1985, according to the YHEC Web site.
It is open to those who have completed hunter-safety training at the state or provincial level. With rifle, bow and muzzleloader shooting at life-sized targets, to wildlife identification, to map-and-compass orienteering, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skills areas, giving them expertise in all methods of take and all types of game, according to the Web site.
“The idea behind this is if the youth is in the wilderness lost or stranded, it will equip them with the skills necessary to navigate and survive,” said Glenn O’Rear, Landon’s father.