Have you ever seen animal tracks or droppings and wondered which animals had been there? Do you ever look at objects and speculate how far away it is? If you were ever lost in the woods would you know how to signal for help and how to survive until help arrived? The answers to these questions are taught as part of the 4-H Hunting Skills program, as well as many other things that will allow you to have a more enjoyable hunting and outdoor experience. In this article we will be highlighting the Lincoln Parish 4-H Hunting and Outdoor Skills program. This discipline was added to our Shooting Sports program in 2017 at the request of some of our 4-H’ers. It teaches marksmanship, orienteering, hunting ethics and safety, survival skills, and how to identify your prey (or predator) while hunting.
Last year we had four junior participants and two senior participants in the spring program. The senior participants represented Lincoln Parish at the Louisiana 4-H Shooting Sports competitions. At the Northern Regional competition Thomas Singleton placed 2nd and Chase Echols placed 4th in the Shooting (3-D Archery/Shotgun/Smallbore Rifle) category and Chase Echols placed 5th Overall. Thomas received 3rd place in Shooting at the State Competition. In the Outdoor Skills competition at 4-H University, (the program formerly known as “Short Course”) each parish is allowed to enter two 3-man teams for the summer competition. Thomas and Chase recruited four other teen 4-H’ers to compete along with them. The Lincoln Parish “Green” team consisting of Tommy Byrnside, Chase Echols, and Thomas Singleton came home with a 3rd place finish, and Chase Echols was awarded 3rd place Individual.
Fast forward to Spring, 2018, and the Hunting Skills discipline has almost doubled in size. There were seven junior participants and four senior participants during the spring program. Of these we took one junior and all four seniors to competitions. All five competitors represented Lincoln Parish 4-H fabulously! In the test category at regional competition, Jonavon Hightower placed 4th in the Junior division, while Tucker Riser placed 2nd and Thomas Singleton placed 4th in the Senior division. Orienteering and Wildlife Identification yielded Chase Echols 4th place and Jake White 5th place. Lincoln Parish dominated the Shooting category,,with Thomas placing 1st, Jake 2nd, Tucker 3rd, and Chase 4th! Overall, Thomas finished 2nd, Chase 4th, Jake 6th, and Tucker 7th, with the four of them bringing home the 1st place team award. They continued to excel at the State competition where Thomas was awarded 3rd place on the test, 3rd place in Shooting, 2nd place Overall, and qualified to represent Louisiana at the National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition. Chase placed 5th in Orienteering and Wildlife ID and 7th place Overall; Tucker received 5th place in Shooting and 8th place Overall; and Jake was 10th place Overall. Once again they were awarded 1st place Team. At 4-H University the four Senior competitors were joined by Tommy Byrnside and Jeb White to form the two teams for Lincoln Parish. Three of these young men finished Top Ten individually (out of 73 competitors). Tommy placed 2nd, Chase placed 6th, and Thomas placed 9th. The Lincoln Parish “White” team consisting of Tommy, Jake, and Jeb finished in 2nd place, and the “Green” team – Chase, Tucker, and Thomas – are the Louisiana 4-H Outdoor Skills STATE WINNERS! Immediately after 4-H University, Thomas joined the rest of the Louisiana 4-H Hunting Skills team to compete in the National 4-H Shooting Sports competition in Nebraska. He placed 3rd individually and the team placed 4th in the Hunting Decision Making category, and the 2018 Louisiana 4-H Hunting Skills team was awarded Overall 5th place in the nation.
The program is open to any Lincoln Parish 4-H’er, or those in surrounding parishes who do not have the Hunting Skills discipline in their Shooting Sports program. To be eligible to attend competitions, the 4-H’er must have been involved in the Lincoln Parish 4-H Shooting Sports program for at least one year and must have completed the Louisiana Hunter Education Program. For more information on how you or your child can become involved, please call the Lincoln Parish Extension Office at (318) 251-5134.