Young Louisiana outdoorsmen earned several top awards during the 2011 NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge held in Raton, New Mexico, earlier this summer.

Five Louisiana teams qualified for the event sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

The Youth Hunter Education Challenge includes two age divisions – 10- to 14-years-olds and 15- to 18-year-olds – and consists of eight events, with half being shooting events and the other half being non-shooting competitions.

Youngsters compete in archery, .22-caliber rifles, muzzleloaders and shotguns. Non-shooting events include orienteering, wildlife identification, a hunter safety trail and a hunter-responsibility exam.

Participants qualify through the state Youth Hunter Education Challenge, forming teams for the international competition.

After four days of studying, testing and competition, the scores were tallied and the awards ceremony was under way.

The first awards were for individuals placing in various events.

Ian Duplantis of the Louisiana Bayou Bandits Junior Gold Team earned third place in the individual muzzleloader competition after a tie-breaker that was decided based upon the score of the hunter-responsibility exam.

Doyle Donaldson won third overall in the individual competition, missing first place by only 20 points.

Second place in shotgunning went to the five-man Louisiana Junior Bayou Bandits Gold team consisting of Terrebonne Parish Jr. Deputy members Conner Chaisson, Doyle Donaldson and Ian Duplantis; Elija Dupre of the Acadiana Shooting team; and Seth Rome of the Greater New Orleans Shooting Team.

The Louisiana Bayou Bandits Junior Gold Team also won third in the muzzleloader competition, orienteering, wildlife identification and the .22 rifle-shooting competition.

This performance earned the Louisiana Bayou Bandits Junior Gold Team third place overall in the team competition.