Target Talk Dec 2015

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Target Talk

In This Issue:


Happy Holidays!

Antler tree

2015 Accomplishments

HE Staff would like to wish you and your families the best this Holiday Season and a prosperous and Happy New Year!  You have accomplished much this past year.  We are sure you feel extremely gratified in passing on the hunting heritage and teaching safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunting and shooting sports practices to thousands.

Here are just a few of YOUR accomplishments in FY2015!

  • 69,332 HE students certified
  • 4,186 courses taught
  • 16,637 live-fire opportunities
  • 7,658 field/skill participants
  • 284 new HE instructors trained 
  • 2,409 active HE instructors
  • 443 Bow Ed students certified and 110 active Bow Ed instructors
  • 126 HE instructors & 1,440 youth/adults trained by TX Agrilife Extension (TAE)
  • 218 hunts reaching 1,668 youth in TYHP partnership
  • 4,791 participants in 22 HE outreach events 
  • 2,670 participants in TAE 4-H & related projects
  • 11,238 HE deferrals purchased
  • One fatal and 24 non-fatal hunting incidents (CY2014) 

TPWD prepares an annual, federal performance report detailing data that spell out what is achieved by HE staff and instructors, particularly VOLUNTEERS.

This holiday season, let's all commemorate volunteers --those who dedicate their time and talents to a worthwhile cause -- --perhaps the ultimate gift this holiday season!

THANKS for another great year and our blessings for a safe and prosperous 2016!

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JOIN US in Houston April 8-10th, 2016 for the Hunter Education Annual Awards Luncheon & Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Houston, Friday night April 8 and Saturday April 9th.  Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association (THEIA) members should plan on staying through Sunday morning April 10th.  

A special keynote speaker will kick off the conference at Friday night's opening reception and 'meet & greet'. A TPWD hunter education program update and guest speakers will be featured Saturday morning followed by the annual TPWD Hunter Education Instructor Awards Luncheon honoring volunteers, professional educators, game wardens and our partners. Saturday afternoon will be spent afield at the American Shooting Centers in George Bush Park and give instructors the opportunity to learn new hands-on skills to use in their efforts. Sunday morning will feature the annual THEIA meeting for board and members. Door Prizes and a THEIA silent auction will run throughout, so be sure to attend this fun-filled weekend.  Mark the dates on your calendars NOW. We will be working to finalize the agenda and we also hope to provide for Friday night's lodging (min.) and all meals for instructors.

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N TX Instructor Meeting DSC - Jan. 9th


Monica Bickerstaff, N. TX Hunter Education Specialist, has once again arranged for instructors to meet during an advanced hunter education workshop to be held during the Dallas Safari Club Convention in Dallas January 8-10th --with the instructor meeting on Saturday morning January 9th and FREE entry for instructors into the DSC Convention Exhibits.  Times for the workshop are 9:30AM-12:30PM and location is the lower level of Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St. An information brochure has been sent to all instructors, but if you need assistance, please contact Monica

Shane Mahoney, internationally-known speaker and writer, will be on hand to talk about the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation --a subject to which he is a highly-sought presenter. All instructors, statewide, are invited to attend!

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IHEA-USA Annual "Heritage Hunt"

IHEA Dream Hunt

Texas once again hosts annual event!

HUNT OF A LIFETIME – Thanks to Timo Hixon and Ranch Manager, Mike Hehman, of Hixon Land & Cattle Ranches near Cotulla for hosting Leaha Wirth of Focus Group Inc.'s Hunter’s Handbook and IHEA-USA on their annual “Heritage (Dream) Hunt”.  Three lucky hunter education students and two instructors from throughout the United States were drawn for the all-expense-paid and industry sponsored hunt in early November.   On hand to assist Wirth was Texas Hunter Education Coordinator, Steve Hall, who stated, "The annual hunt symbolizes the mission of IHEA-USA to produce safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved hunters and shooters." Watch Americana Outdoors national TV program HERE!

Be sure to submit an entry in 2016 by completing the entry card in Hunter's Handbook, distributed to instructors with supply orders (or going to their web site).  Four (4) TX instructors and 12 TX students have been selected since the program began.

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Live vs. Dummy Ammo

dummy ammunition

With the new open carry law hitting the streets of Texas this January, it is a good time to remind instructors of the hunter education policies in place regarding "no live ammo in the classroom".  Just like with NRA instructors, the policy for TPWD hunter education instructors is no live ammo in the classroom and field, except for live-fire exercises conducted at a safe shooting range/facility and secured separately from firearms if transporting ammo from the home to the range.  Accidentally mixing live ammunition with "dummy ammunition" is always a concern, especially with firearm handling, carries, loading and unloading exercises.  "Dummy ammo" (available fromTPWD in common sizes) must clearly be marked as such and is allowed in classroom and field/skill activities.  TPWD is currently updating its volunteer policy to account for the new open carry law, and it will be sent to all hunter education instructors in an upcoming weekly blog as well as in the January Target Talk.

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Outdoor Woman Hunts

BOW hunt

Waco Lake Hunt

Waco Lake hosted a women’s hunt at Lacy Point Park on November 14-15, 2015. TPWD's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program selected women from participants in October BOW workshop held near Granbury.  Julie Black, Karen Cuba, Rachel Senningar, Sara Egan, and Christa Crowe were drawn -- three (3) of whom harvested a deer during the hunt.  TPWD's North Texas HE Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff, Game Wardens Matt Kiel and Michael Serbanic, and Area Chief HE instructor, Melanie Sturgis, were on hand to assist U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Lead Park Ranger, Randall McCartney and Park Rangers Erin McGowan, Taylor Christian, Michael Champagne, and Bradley Hernandez with hunt preparation and logistics. Mentored Hunt Graduate, Jessica Miller, and Cabela’s Marketing Manager, Tracy Doty, assisted and also provided BOW hunt packages to all of the participants.

duck hunt

Waco Lake also hosted its first BOW Duck Hunt on Saturday, December 12, 2015. Like with the deer hunt, BOW participants were selected in a drawing held during the October workshop and included Karen Horn, Lesli San Jose, Rachel Senninger, Lisa Chichester, and Nancy Reese. All women had opportunities and each pair of huntresses came back with a brace of American wigeons. Thanks again to Waco Lake rangers, Monica Bickerstaff and the wonderful sponsors --those mentioned above. Congratulations, too, to ALL BOW participants for learning new hunting and shooting knowledge and skills.

Womens Hunt

Rachel Sennigar was lucky to be selected for both hunts and took this nice deer during the Waco Lake BOW deer hunt.  To qualify, BOW participants had to attend various modules while at the basic BOW workshops, then get selected based on availability and drawings held by the BOW instructors. Congratulations Rachel!  And thank you Cabela's for sponsoring the hunt!  Be sure to encourage women to attend BOW workshops, complete applicable sessions including their hunter education coursework and then enter the drawings for future hunts (held during the workshops).

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Archery in Schools


NASP Annual Report

Texas boasts the most schools in the nation involved in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP).  The 2015 Annual Report details the success of NASP since it was begun in Kentucky in 2002. Texas came on board in September 2004 as the 16th state. Today, there are over 1,000 schools (1090) teaching NASP to well over 60,000 students.  If you are interested in the program, be sure to go online to TPWD web site (see resources below) and then get trained as a Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) in your area.  Archery is a proven gateway to hunting and the shooting sports!

Photo:  Robert "2" Ramirez, TPWD Outreach Specialist, shown hear teaching BAIs at Dripping Springs Elementary School.

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Kathy's Korner KA---boom!


A Different Kind of Hunting Incident

Kathy:  The attached email came from a friend of mine who owns land in Virginia adjoining the Blue Ridge Parkway.  He built a box blind up in some trees after visiting me a few years ago and seeing how we build our blinds.  Last week it was very cold in his ladder stand so he moved to the tree house blind,"hotel" as he calls it.  He has authorized me to share this with you and TPWD. I figure on using this in my hunter ed classes.  Hunter Education Instructor, Don Houser.

I am thankful for being here this morning and able to write this e-mail. Monday morning I was freezing in my tree stand and decided to drop to my Hotel to get out of the wind and light my stove and get warm.   

I had not used the hotel for a long time because it had not been that cold and anyhow, I lit the stove and was warming my hands when all of a sudden I saw a bright blue light and (heard) a ka-boom and was blown out of my chair, landing on the floor -- and instantly knew I had been in an explosion.  There was  a large fire coming out of the hose between the gas tank and the stove.

I managed to cut the gas off and then realized that all five windows were gone and my safety vest had been melted.  Everything with man-made materials was singed and black, including my pack, rifle sling, etc. --  even my boot strings were melted.  

Luckily, I had on my old wool hunting clothes and  the only skin exposed was my hands and my face (had on a ski mask) so the only burns were on my hands and nose, (blistered), and I have no eyelashes and very little eyebrows--BUT I AM ALIVE AND NO SERIOUS INJURIES.  

I have used up 10 of my 9 lives.    Dennis, VA 

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TPWD Resources

Hunter Education Overview | Instructor Resources | Student Resources 
Operation Game Thief | Texas Game Warden Association


Other Hunter Ed Resources

International Hunter Education Association | NRA Programs & Services 
NSSF Hunting & Ranges | Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association