Hunter Education WEEKLY BRIEF

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Target Talk

In This Issue:

Coordinator's Comments - Its' Deer Season - Hooray!

sarah deer hunting

The opening of the general deer season always brings back fond memories, especially for those of us that raised our own kids on the hunting heritage -- our 'way of life'! 

But reach back into the ole' memory banks to remember what it was like to go on your first deer hunt. For most Texans, that probably meant 6 to 10 years of age. (For those of us that grew up in Colorado, that meant 14 years of age at the time.)

Not being able to sleep is what I remember.  Staring at that old alarm clock, tossing and turning and dreaming about what could be.  It was the proverbial 'rite of passage', and for a young boy, it meant manhood, of sorts.  (I'm sure for young girls, it felt differently.) 

To me, it was finally getting to do what my dad and five older brothers did before me -- actually get to try to shoot one of those wonderfully big critters that would provide a half freezer full of meat, great stories and even exaggerations for the rest of our lives.

To my son, Ryan, it was all about not missing -- getting the animal.  For my daughter, Sarah (photo), I remember it being a great time with dad "just doing what he does." She was also much more calm and cool in the heat of the moment.  He had more buck fever.  They both took great shots, though, and I'm sure I was the nervous one.

I remember virtually every big game hunt I've ever been on in great detail.  The ones with my son and daughter -- I hold especially 'dear' (pun intended).  Those of us that are involved in the Texas Youth Hunting Program or as a hunt mentor, find it exponentially more rewarding when we get to relive our own memories through the actions and emotions of a young hunter on his or her first hunt.

Ah! Welcome DEER SEASON 2016! Happy, SAFE moments & memories!

Steve Hall, HE Coordinator

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Texas to Host the IHEA-USA "Heritage Hunt"!


Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Hunter Education Program and the Hixon Land & Cattle Ranch near Cotulla have teamed up, once again, to host this year's Heritage Hunt (aka "Dream Hunt") just like it did in 2014 and 2015.  Held November 12th and 13th, three lucky hunter education students, their parents or guardians and two lucky instructors are selected in a FREE DRAWING held each year. The drawing entry form is in the annual Hunter's Handbook included in your supply orders.

The Hunt is spearheaded by Focus Group International, the publisher of both the Hunting & Shooting Sports Education Journal and the Hunter's Handbook, the official IHEA-USA guides for 55,000 hunter education instructors and 700 million students certified annually in hunter education throughout North America.

Focus group generally selects Texas because of the flexible seasons, over-the-counter licenses, quality animals, variety of game and different experiences and habitats compared to the other states.   Seven Texas instructors and 12 students have been selected to go on Dream Hunts in past years, so Texans generally do pretty well in the drawing.

A special thanks goes out to former TPWD Commissioners, Karen and Tim Hixon and Ranch Manager, Mike Hehman, for hosting the Dream Hunt and Careco Productions in San Antonio of filming it for TV each year.  It is hunter education's chance to shine!

Be sure to let your students know about next year's hunt when you distribute the Hunter's Handbook.  Maybe YOU, too, will be selected!

2016 Hunt Participants


  • Anthony Oro, Athol, MA
  • William Schulte, Winfield, MO
  • Trenton Halvorson, Sanborn, MN


  • Scott Crossland, Clinton, OH
  • Somerset Jones, Chuglak, AK
IHEA Dream Hunt photo

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W TX Hosts 24th Annual Children's Challenged Hunt!

SP Hunt
San Angelo SP Hunt

Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, assisted with the 24th annual Children's Challenged Hunt at San Angelo State Park.

Six youth participated --taking three does, one buck and three javelinas.  A total of 19 volunteers, two Texas Parks & Wildlife staff and several local businesses contributed to the successful hunt.  Major contributors included HEB (donated all food and drinks), the Outdoorsman, and Grogan Farm & Ranch. PHOTO: Scotty Cunningham, Alexis Ortiz and Marcus Luna enjoy tossing bean bags during the afternoon break at the San Angelo Hunt. HE Instructor, Gary Riddle, and volunteer, Bertha Lopez and her son (right); look on.

THANKS to all for another wonderful hunt and for creating even wider smiles.  Look for more photos of ADA Mentor Hunts coming up in December held by Chris Hall and his staff at Inks Lake SP.  The new Deer Hunting 101 Seminars and Workshops will be a part of such mentor hunts in the future!

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Becoming An Outdoors Woman December 2-4th

Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist and her team of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff and partner instructors are prepared, once again, to host a semi-annual Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop at Camp 4 All near Burton.  This year's venue is perhaps the latest one ever scheduled during the fall season, so everyone is hoping that the weather stays somewhat warm for another weekend of learning, fun, companionship and the OUTDOORS!

Over 120 women signed up for the workshop in just two hours of online registration -- showing that the demand far exceeds supply. TPWD will analyze how it can broaden its resources to meet such demands.  Women continue to be the fastest growing segment in hunting and the shooting sports, and will definitely be a targeted market (pun intended) going forward in TPWD's R3 efforts (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation).

Begun in 1993, BOW has been an extremely successful program, as designed by Dr. Christine Thomas and her graduate student, Tammy Peterson, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point in 1992.  The research suggested 26 barriers facing women interested in getting involved in the outdoors, and the workshop weekend became a way for women to knock down many of those barriers -- on their way to making their own paths in the outdoors.  The program is coming up on 25 years in TX -- so a great celebration lies ahead.  Meanwhile, it should be another "GREAT TIME HAD BY ALL" in December.


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Youth Shooting Sports DAYS Held at Chap. WMA

Chap WMA

Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, Randy Spradlin, W TX and Jimmie Caughron, once again, assisted with the semi-annual Chaparral WMA Youth Shooting Sports Days for Laredo ISD and surrounding schools. The day features shooting activities with all sporting arms and a wildlife management & habitat trail/talk.  HE Instructors, game wardens, biologists and Border Patrol agents are all involved in helping the kids learn how to properly shoot sporting arms, many for their first time. This is another program that was begun in the early 1990s and has been hugely popular. TPWD Hunter Education and Mobile Range staff have been involved since the program's inception.

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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