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Alabama 4-H S.A.F.E. target

2024 Introduction & General Rules

2024 Championship Schedule

  • April 13: Archery
  • April 26–28: Shotgun
  • June 23–28: National 4-H Championships

State 4-H Shooting Sports (SAFE) Program

Specific Matches Information

Sarah Butterworth, Archery, sfb0010@aces.edu, (334) 703-6777

Tim Gothard, Shotgun, tdg0021@aces.edu, (256) 284-5752


The 4-H Shooting Sports Project is designed to teach life skills and encourage essential elements of belonging, independence, generosity, and mastery through experiential learning. 4-H Shooting Sports competitive events are conducted for the purpose of positive youth development and education.

Competition is but one way to celebrate the 4-H experience and should not be the main objective of any 4-H activity. 4-H coaches are expected to value, teach, promote, and demonstrate safety and education above awards, recognition, and winning.

Alabama 4-H complies with the National 4-H No Repeat Rule. Once a youth demonstrates mastery of a project by attending its terminal event, he or she may not return as a competitor in that event but is welcome to explore a new project or activity.


(from National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships rules. Applicable to all 4-H state and national Shooting Sports programs)

  • Tobacco and alcohol: The use of tobacco/nicotine products and alcoholic beverages by minors at any 4-H event is not permitted. Violation of this policy is grounds for disqualification and dismissal from the 4-H event. Adults may not use tobacco in the presence of youth, and alcohol is strictly forbidden.
  • Footwear: All participants are required to wear shoes that completely cover their feet while on the shooting line or when shooting in any 4-H event. Examples of unacceptable footwear include, but are not limited to, flip-flops, sandals, clogs, and bare feet.
  • Behavior and sportsmanship: All participants, coaches, and spectators are expected to demonstrate the highest level of sportsmanship, supporting the objectives and ideals promoted by the 4-H program in general and the 4-H Shooting Sports program in particular. Coaches, youth, Extension staff, and spectators are expected to conform, as applicable, to the 4-H youth state code of conduct, Alabama 4-H volunteer behavioral guidelines, volunteer agreements, and the national 4-H Shooting Sports program code of conduct.
  • Knowledge of rules and procedures: Where possible, Alabama SAFE events are associated with the appropriate national governing body (NGB). Exceptions to any NGB rule are noted in the synopsis of that particular championship. It is the responsibility of each coach and participant to read the championship rules, understand the procedures used in each event, and comply with the rules and standards of each event. If you have any questions, you are encouraged to seek clarification. Ignorance of the rules does not eliminate the existence of the rules. Learning the rules of an event is part of the educational process for 4-H members.

2024 4-H SAFE Championships

Senior first-place teams with corresponding National 4-H Championship events may have the option to represent Alabama 4-H.

  • Archery: Saturday, April 13, 4-H Center, 892 4-H Road, Columbiana, Alabama
  • Shotgun: Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28, Selwood Farm, Alpine, Alabama, and Red Eagle Skeet & Trap Club, Childersburg, Alabama

4-H SAFE Opportunities

2024 National 4-H Championships: June 23–28, Grand Island, Nebraska. All disciplines (shotgun, archery) except Western Heritage. Participants attend at invitation of state 4-H office based on championship results. Youth and coaches must be outstanding ambassadors for Alabama 4-H at the local and state levels and observe code of conduct and adult behavioral guidelines to maintain eligibility to represent Alabama 4-H. Details are available at https://4h.unl.edu/shooting-sports/national.

General Rules

Applies to all 2024 championship events unless otherwise noted in specific rules


All 2024 SAFE championships, including state-level postal matches, must register through 4HOnline. Registration fees are nonrefundable at match director’s discretion. Each championship registration opens approximately 6 to 8 weeks before and closes no earlier than 3 weeks before the date of the championship.

At least one coach from each team must register through 4HOnline. This will be the contact person concerning the specifics for the matches.


Cost varies per discipline and includes participant fees and an event t-shirt. Late registrants are not guaranteed a shirt.


4-H events are open to active members of a chartered Alabama 4-H club that has experiential learning in regularly scheduled and planned meetings. For the state championships, membership must be in a discipline-specific 4-H club. Participation is limited to members who are enrolled in the 4-H program and have been a member for a minimum of 90 days. Enrollment dates are verified through 4HOnline. The Alabama 4-H club year begins on August 1 and ends on July 31. Age eligibility is determined by how old the youth is before January 1 of the Alabama 4-H club year. Check www.aces.edu/blog/topics/about-4-h/alabama-4-h-eligibility/ to determine the division for 4-H membership. Seniors are participants born from 2003 to 2007. Juniors are participants born from 2008 to 2012.


Teams consist of a minimum of three and a maximum of four or five participants from the same age division, based on the event of participation. Juniors are 9 to 13 as of January 1, 2023. Seniors are 14 to 18 as of January 1, 2023. Counties may bring more than one junior and senior team as long as they are from separate clubs. To qualify as separate clubs, the clubs must meet and practice at different times, in different places, and be led by different volunteers or coaches.

The top scores determine the team as indicated in the discipline’s rules. A 4-H’er may decide not to compete for team awards and only participate individually. This must be determined at on-site check-in.

Any individual who participates in the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships may not participate in that discipline at the State 4-H Championships in subsequent years.


Individuals may participate in all State 4-H SAFE Championships as long as they meet the eligibility rules.

If the winning senior team chooses not to attend the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships, the age-eligible members of that team may compete in that discipline’s State 4-H SAFE Championships in the future.

2024 National 4-H Shooting Sports National Competitive Championships

June 23–28, 2024. Limited funding up to $2,000 is provided by the state 4-H office for teams who opt to go. Winning teams are responsible for the balance of their expenses and encouraged to engage in fundraising. Funds raised in the name of 4-H can be used only for the 4-H team members and one designated coach per team. Per 4-H policy, all fundraisers must be approved by the Extension coordinator of the county in which the team is located. Funds must not be solicited outside the county without permission of that county’s Extension coordinator.


All competitors, coaches, and spectators (including small children) must wear eye and ear protection when forward of the ready line. No eye or ear protection is required for archery, only finger protection. Any individual may be asked to leave the range at the request of the match director, state 4-H SAFE program coordinator, that team’s coach, or range officers for exhibiting unsafe actions, attitudes, or behaviors. All decisions are final and not subject to protest. This removal is a disqualification.

No unauthorized electronic devices are allowed on the competition ranges. Use may result in immediate disqualification.


Once a team has entered the range or field for competition, only team members, range officers, and scorers/judges are allowed on the range. Range officers are appointed by the match directors. Coaches must remain behind the range. No one, including coaches and spectators, can coach, advise, or assist participants once competition has begun, unless rules otherwise allow. Unauthorized coaching from behind the range can result in disqualification. Coaches must ensure that their competitors are familiar with the range, range procedures, and championship rules. Ignorance of range procedures or championship rules is not a basis for protest.


First-, second-, and third-place team awards are given in each age division. Individual awards are given to the first-, second-, and third-place finishers in each class and age division. Awards are announced at the end of the respective championships.

Code of Conduct

All participants are expected to follow the 4-H Code of Conduct.

Dress Code

All participants are expected to follow the 4-H dress code.


Only 4-H competitors are allowed to protest/challenge their targets. All protest/challenge monies not returned go to the state 4-H SAFE program. Protest fees vary by championship and are listed in the specific championship rules.

2024 Postal Matches

If a team or individual has a compelling reason why they cannot attend a respective discipline’s state championship at the designated venue on the designated dates, team members can shoot what is called a postal match. A postal match is a means by which the scores of absentee 4-H archery teams or individuals may be emailed in and counted toward state 4-H championships. All postal match participants and one coach must register for the event through 4HOnline. All eligibility rules apply to postal matches. Shotgun is excluded from postal match participation.

Team members or individuals shoot rounds, strictly following the 4-H rules, under the supervision of an adult range owner or officer who has no affiliation with the 4-H club (cannot be a relative, close friend, or the 4-Her’s coach). Teams must submit requests for postal match participation in writing, by email, to the state 4-H SAFE program coordinator and appropriate discipline lead for the particular championship 45 days before the date of the event. Submission must be completed by the relevant 4-H Foundation regional Extension agent and contain the following information:

1. Subject line: Postal Match Request

2. Reason for not attending respective discipline championship

3. Date and location of postal match

4. Name and contact information of unbiased third-party scorekeeper

The person requesting a postal match receives permission or denial by email within 7 business days after the request is made. More information may be requested so that an informed decision can be made concerning participation.

Teams or individuals who opt for a postal match in lieu of attending a State 4-H SAFE Championship are responsible for their own target, ammo, and range fees. The fee to submit scores is double the registration fee per person for that championship.

Postal Match Rules

  • Each discipline postal match strictly follows the course of fire for that discipline. For scores to count as team scores, all members must shoot together at the same time and location.
  • Postal match scores must be supervised and certified by an unbiased third-party scorekeeper. The team’s 4-H coach and anyone associated with the team is not approved to certify postal match scores.
  • The scorekeeper must be approved in advance by the state coordinator and discipline lead. Scores must be recorded on standard scorecards, which are provided. The scorekeeper must legibly sign each submitted scorecard and include the following information:
    • name
    • address
    • phone
    • email
    • date of postal match
    • start and end times of postal match
    • location of postal match
  • In the event of a tie between an on-site team or individual and a postal match team, the on-site participants have preference over postal match entries.
  • Postal match scores must be submitted by email to the state 4-H SAFE program coordinator and respective championship discipline lead 2 weeks before the date of the respective championship. Include the subject line: Postal Match Scores.

Event Rules


Sponsor logos

Sarah Butterworth, 4-H Youth Development Coordinator, and Tim Gothard, 4-H Youth Development Coordinator, both with Auburn University

Revised March 2024, 4-H SAFE Alabama State Championships, 4HYD-2131