Target Talk Mar 2016

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Target Talk

In This Issue:


Hunting & the Outdoors - an American Way of Life!

Doc Lou Hall

Coordinator's Column

January and February were busy travel months with the Dallas Safari Convention, SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLFT -- see article below), TYHP Youth Hunts and HE Instructor Workshops.  What a whirlwind -- but quite the privilege to represent TPWD and Hunter Education!

January ended with the passing of my father who lived a long and prosperous life. Along with his many accomplishments such as a 35-year career as a general physician, a *MASH* Doctor and an athlete in his younger years, he passed on to us 10 kids a hunting, shooting and outdoors WAY OF LIFE. I want to personally THANK you for the many prayers, cards and blessings I received as our family celebrated his life.

Since each of you hunter education instructors are at the GIVE BACK stage, I know you appreciate what it takes not only to learn safe and responsible hunting & shooting sports knowledge and skills, but to also teach, mentor and otherwise pass such skills on to new generations (or even the older ones).  Power to all of you who pass on our truly American Heritage, especially to the many folks  not raised "on the land" such as TX ranching/farming families.  Our challenge in this century is recruiting, retaining and reactivating (R3) people to participate in hunting & shooting sports, if our heritage and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation are to continue.

PHOTO: "Doc" Lou Hall - A father who passed on the Hunting & Outdoor Heritage

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TX HE Instructor Annual Conf. April 8-10th in Houston

Shotgun Shooting

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 8th and Saturday April 9th.  Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association (THEIA) is hosting and will also conduct their annual meeting on Sunday, April 10th.


Friday April 8th

  • Welcome RECEPTION/ Silent Auction 5pm
  • TPWD Hunter Education Program Updates 7pm
  • Keynote Speaker 8pm

Saturday April 9th

  • Partner Updates and Presentations 8:00 am
  • "Overcoming Fears of Public Speaking" - Dave Oakes Seminars 10:00 am
  • AWARDS Luncheon 11:30 noon
  • FIELD DAY - American Shooting Centers including OSP Shotgun Training, Exhibits, Live-fire Opportunities BUSES DEPART - 1:00  pm; RETURN 5:00 pm

Sunday April 10th

  •  THEIA Annual Meeting 8am

Hope to see YOU there!

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Hunting 101s - Instructor Trapping & Dove Workshops

Big Earl

The Trapper Education In-service Workshop in February and Dove 101 Workshops in early March, top the list of new "Hunting 101" Workshops targeting instructors (trainers) and families (public) as part of an Advanced Hunter Education initiative being launched in 2016. We will be fine tuning these offerings and acquiring teaching aids and student materials between now and August 2016, when we hope to launch the official program as part of the suite of hunter education course offerings made available to the public. Many instructors have already begun planning to offer these new "101' courses.   Special THANKS goes to S. TX Hunter Education Specialist, Brock Minton, for coordinating the trapping workshop and to the Texas Trappers & Fur Hunters Association, Inc., particularly Jim Brooks, a 23 year partner, Earle Blakney and Keith Jackson. Thanks, too, to Junior Munoz and Ruben Rangel for arranging the ranch and cooking the wild hog dinner as part of the Saturday evening meal.  Several game wardens (Adam Clark, Scott Blackburn, Samuel Padgett) and one park ranger (Katie Vaughn) were among the 40 participants at this year's training -- glad y'all made it -- an invaluable training tool in the arsenal of instructors and TPWD staff!

PHOTO: "Big Earle" teaches participants the fine art of setting foothold traps as part of responsible trapping practices.

Dave Miller

A shout out to Dave Miller, Shotgun Product Manager & Pro-Shooter with CZ-USA. Dave recently set a new Guinness World Record for the "Most Sporting Clay Targets Shot in One (1) Hour" and also has been featured on CZ-USA’s American Gun Dog TV.  He assisted participants at two Dove Hunting 101 workshops held at National Shooting Complex in San Antonio in early March.  Thanks, too, to Bob & Susan Thornton and the Texas Dove Hunter's Association (TDHA) for partnering with TPWD and sponsoring the meals for the workshops. TDHA plans to sponsor more activities and work with TPWD to bring Dove Hunting 101 workshops to all Texans this summer and fall.

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TPWD Game Warden Cadets Get HE Instructor Course

TPW Cadets

All TPWD Game Warden Cadets received Hunter Education instructor certifications as part of their many months of Law Enforcement training, primarily to assist hunter education instructors in their counties. Held at the TPWD Law Enforcement Training Center near Hamilton in late January, a total of 52 cadets were trained in both hunter and bow hunter education. They will be stationed throughout Texas come this fall. Be sure to welcome them to your areas when you learn of their arrivals.  Game wardens, HE staff, professional educators and VOLUNTEERS all work together to ensure safe, responsible, knowledgeable behaviors by hunters and shooters!  A big WELCOME into the ranks of TX hunter education instructors! A big thanks to TPWD's Major Tracy Davis and Captain Jerry Gordon and their Academy staff for hosting HE Staff at their facilities!

PHOTO 1: Heidi Rao and Monica Bickerstaff, SE and N.TX regional hunter education specialists, took cadets through aerial archery as part of live-firing exercises.

Cadet Shotgun

PHOTO 2: Likewise, Randy Spradlin and Brock Minton, W and S TX hunter education specialists, took cadets through shotgun training as part of their live-fire experiences.  Cadets receive training in tactical shotgun, rifle and handgun as part of their basic TPWD game warden responsibilities, so shotgun exercises related to hunting and shooting clays was a real treat for them.

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Hunt Mentoring - by Area Chief Donnie Kee

Hunt Mentoring

In November, I took a young man hunting who was from one of my Hunter Education classes. He had never harvested a deer.  The excitement was high.  He took a nice Axis doe.  We took him out the weekend before so we could see that his shooting skills were adequate. (And, they were!).  The next Sunday we harvested the deer.  He learned how to field dress, skin and quarter the deer.  Carroll Lewing of Lewing Ranch in Lufkin donated the hunt.  We took a female student on a hunt to the same location the following week.  These hunts were opportunities to take Hunter Education an extra step from classroom to field and to provide the total experience to young hunters who I'm sure will never forget their experiences.

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Fathers in the Field - Midway USA Launches Challenge

Fathers in the Field

COLUMBIA, MO – December 14, 2015 

Who introduced you to the outdoors?

Larry and Brenda Potterfield, owners of MidwayUSA, and Fathers in the Field Mentoring have joined to launch an aggressive Mentoring Challenge to the Hunting and Shooting Industry – If not us, then who?

Nearly 50% of children under the age of 18 years are fatherless, which means they do not have fathers to help them learn about the outdoors and to shoot and hunt. The traditional method of passing on our outdoor heritage is breaking down and now others need to stand in the gap to fill the void. Our industry’s future is at stake.

Larry and Brenda Potterfield have stood up to help Fathers in the Field reach the fatherless and inspire Mentors to engage with these left behind and at-risk boys. They know, as an industry, we need to do something to reach the next generation with our beloved hunting and shooting legacy.

“The at-risk segment of the next generation is growing and needing our Industry’s immediate attention,” stated the Potterfields. “We are involved in other legacy outreach efforts, but this area of outreach is critical to address, given the changing societal demographics.”

Larry and Brenda have issued a $1M Financial Gift Challenge to raise awareness of this need and to lead the way in reaching this group who has no one to assist and mentor them. They are asking at least 10 other Industry Companies to come alongside them and Fathers in the Field by committing a support gift pledge of $100,000 each to raise a minimum of $2,000,000 for this critical effort over the next decade.

FitF Founder, John Smithbaker, indicated that the response has been immediate with several companies acknowledging this growing trend and pledging to join the Challenge. Scent Blocker/ Robinson Outdoors, The NRA Foundation and Bob Hodgdon all have said “we are in” and are discussing this increasing issue within their companies.

To join this esteemed group of Industry Companies and help lead the way in reaching the next generation, learn more about Fathers in the Field Mentoring at and contact Smithbaker at 307-851-0217.

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TX Archery in Schools State Tournament Coming Up!

NASP Tourney

NASP Annual Tournament to be held March 31- April 1st!

As of March 1st there were 1829 students from 76 schools registered for the upcoming National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) Tournament in Belton. Any Texas-NASP schools or students may attend any of the school-hosted invitational NASP tournaments. See

Texas-NASP tournament statistics and past records since 2006 indicate the following accomplishments:

  • Total scholarships awarded in Texas:  $121,500.00 (including this year’s upcoming awards of $30,000.00)
  • Record high for student at State: Ashton Wyatt, 294 (2013)
  • Record high team score at State: Lamar MS, 3364 (2013)
  • Record high for a Texas student at Nationals. Sam White, 297 (2014)
  • Record high for a Texas student at Worlds.Sam White, 296 (2015)
  • At the 2007 state tournament there were 398 students from 13 schools and $4,500.00 was awarded in college scholarships

If you need to get certified as NASP Basic Archery Instructors, the class schedule and class registration site is  Sign up for any of the available classes near you or host the course at your school!

Check out the Texas-NASP Facebook page here!!!

Burnie Kessner, Texas NASP Coordinator

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Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow


National Program Held in Texas at Welder Wildlife Area

Game Warden Albert Flores, Texas A&M's Denise Harmel-Garza, a TPWD Contract Partner, and other hunter education instructors along with Steve Hall, hunter education coordinator, trained university wildlife management and other natural resource graduate students in the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT) program.  Held at the Welder Wildlife Foundation near Sinton in January, the program is integral to introducing both students and agency professionals to hunting, hunter education, the shooting sports and conservation. Participants are folks that work with hunters, anglers and trappers, but who have little to no experience with these activities, especially as they relate to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.  The program is funded by the Max McGraw Foundation, and TPWD is a state agency partner in the program. TPWD has three national trainers including Flores, Hall and N TX Regional Hunter Education Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff, who was trained when she was part of the Kansas Hunter Education Program. PHOTO:  Students learn  how to field dress chukar partridges taken during the CLfT January workshop.


In February, a CLfT Agency Professional training workshop was held at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation near Dundee, IL.  TPWD Communication Division's Jeffrey Buras and TPWD GIS Lab employee, Laura Clark, were among the participants along with  trainer, Steve Hall, hunter education coordinator.  It was cold, but both Buras and Clark learned all about hunting, angling, trapping, hunter education and conservation. Buras will be part of the videography team that produces videos for the hunter education program in 2016 and beyond.  PHOTO:  Kelsey Lincoln, NC Game & Fish, and Jeffrey Buras, TPWD, harvested their first game animals (ring-necked pheasants) as part of the CLfT training workshop.

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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