Louisiana Youth Hunter Education Challenge Team Wins 2022 Central Regional Championship

Members of the Louisiana Youth Hunters Education Challenge team.

The Louisiana Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) Junior Gold Team won the 2022 YHEC Central Regional Championship and the Senior Gold Team finished second in the event held in Bentonville, Arkansas, in July.

YHEC, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, is affiliated with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Hunter Education Program. According to the YHEC website, it provides a fun environment for children 18 and under to improve their hunting, marksmanship and safety skills. Through its simulated hunting situations, live-fire drills, educational and accountability events, YHEC helps reinforce skills learned in basic hunter education courses and encourages safer, lifelong hunting habits.

The challenge includes eight disciplines, including rifle, shotgun, archery, muzzleloading, wildlife identification, orienteering (use of a compass), course safety (how to navigate safely while hunting) and a hunting responsibility exam.

Louisiana’s junior gold team was led by Carter Neil, who won the safety track event and finished second overall. Evan Dupre finished third overall. In the senior division, Gavin Naquin finished first in shotgun and third overall, while his brother Gage won the wildlife identification discipline.

Louisiana coach Scott Dupre ranked third overall after finishing second in wildlife identification and shotgun and third in archery and rifle shooting. Seth Montgomery was the first in coach archery and Buddy Toups was the first in coach wildlife identification.

The Louisiana Gold Junior Team placed first in the shotgun, wildlife identification, archery, safety course and liability exam. The senior team Louisiana Gold won the shotgun division.

Logan Andrus, competing for Louisiana’s bronze team, was named the Sportsmanship of the Year award winner in the event.

The Louisiana YHEC State Championship event was held in Houma in June. Gavin Naquin was the overall senior male winner and Emily Gaudet the senior female overall winner. Neil was the junior male winner and Syndee Myhand the junior female winner.

The Acadiana YHEC team won the senior state title and the Terrebonne Junior Deputies the junior state crown.

Here are the individual state winners in each discipline:


Rifle: Colby Laiche, junior assistant of the parish of Terrebonne.

Shotgun: Colby Laiche, junior parish assistant of Terrebonne.

Archery: Casey Mallach, Rapides Pioneers youth team.

Mouthloaded: Gavin Naquin, Acadiana YHEC.

Wildlife ID: Casey Mallach, Rapides Pioneers Youth Team.

Orienteering: Gavin Naquin, Acadiana YHEC.

Safety Trail: Gavin Naquin, Acadiana YHEC.

Liability test: Nathan Rider, Acadiana YHEC.


Rifle: Carter Neil, junior assistant of the parish of Terrebonne.

Shotgun: Ben Stokes, Rapides Pioneers youth team.

Archery: Evan Dupre, Acadiana YHEC.

Mouthloaded: Evan Dupre, Acadiana YHEC.

Wildlife Identification: Ehren Gros, Terrebonne Parish Junior Assistants.

Orienteering: Carter Neil, junior assistant of the parish of Terrebonne.

Safety Trail: Carter Neil, Terrebonne Parish Junior Assistants.

Accountability review: Kenneth Rains, DeSoto Youth Team.

For more information about YHEC, visit https://yhec.nra.org/.

For more information about the Louisiana YHEC program, contact Chad Moore at 318-371-5206 or [email protected] For more information on LDWF’s Hunter Education Program, visit https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/hunter-and-trapper-education.

Dino J. Dotson