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Taylorsville youth wins world shooting title

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Competing in his first world championship, 11-year-old Caleb Gilreath claimed victory in the JAKES Division.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Caleb Gilreath's steady aim and intense focus paid off Oct. 1 when he was crowned champion in the JAKES 20-gauge Division at the NWTF's 2011 Wild Turkey World Still Target Championships.

The 11-year-old Gilreath, from Taylorsville, N.C., won in his first-ever world championship while competing against fellow youth shooters.

"It was real exciting," said Gilreath. "I had no idea what it was going to be like. I never thought I was going to win."

Still-target shooting simulates turkey hunters shooting a wild turkey gobbler at 40 yards with a shotgun. Winners are determined by the number of pellets a shooter is able to put in a 3-inch circle on a paper target.

Shooters faced some of the most difficult weather conditions that the Still Target Championship has seen in recent years. Gusting winds, widely fluctuating temperatures and varying humidity added an extra level of complexity for competitors.

After dozens of rounds of qualifying competition on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, Gilreath joined other finalists later in the day on Saturday as the competition's drama unfolded in the finals. Gilreath's winning combination was a Beretta 391 with an Indian Creek Black Diamond Strike choke tube, Bushnell scope and HEVI-13, 1-ounce, No. 6 shot,

Originally known as a "turkey shoot," the NWTF's Still Target Championships were conceived 19 years ago as a conservation effort to help turkey hunters better understand the point of aim and point of impact of their turkey guns.

"The ultimate goal of the competition is to reduce crippling loss and misses in the field, but it's also a great way for equipment manufacturers to improve their turkey hunting products," said Rhett Simmons, NWTF director of special events.




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