Hunter Education WEEKLY BRIEF

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Target Talk

In This Issue:

Communications - HE Coordinator Comments


One step forward, two steps back...

Often times, when you think you are communicating, you find that your message really isn't reaching your audience or that it is going unread or being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Your intentions may be honorable, but you find that those with whom you are trying to communicate, are either not receiving, personalizing or ignoring the message altogether. What is the saying?  "I know you think you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant..." And with the Internet & Social Media Age -- multiply the possibility for "fake news" or unintended consequences exponentially!

With this blog, for example, many of you say you are getting it and keeping up with program information. But I have heard recently from some of you, especially teachers, that it is "going directly to jail (junk/spam folders) without passing go..." And, to compound our communication woes, over 200 HE Instructors don't even communicate via computers/email.  (I guess I can't blame them in many regards, as they probably still enjoy face-to-face communications -- the best form of TWO-WAY communications!).  I rarely hear from you game wardens (I know YOU are extremely busy.) and many of you professional educators, save for a few that seem pretty computer-savvy.

I'm planning a separate email to go along with this communications this week to see how many of you are NOT receiving this weekly brief.  To spice up communications, I'm also going to begin sending prizes to HE Instructors who send in photos/tidbits used in these weeklies or in the planned, quarterly, mailed IHEA-USA Journal  with a Target Talk insert (upcoming months).  For now, I simply want to hear from you so that I know it is two-way communications and not me blathering to myself.

THANKS for all you do for SAFE, LEGAL and ETHICAL Hunting & Shooting!

Steve Hall, TX Hunter Education Coordinator

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Wilderness Survival Workshop February 24-26th!

John Weishaar

Abilene State Park - A few spaces are still available for the Wilderness Survival Workshop at Lake Abilene State Park, February 24the through noon on the 26th. John Weishaar, Ed. D., of Wolf Creek Wilderness Survival and TPWD personnel are conducting this hands-on workshop.

Outdoor skills including wilderness first aid, shelter construction, fire starting, food gathering, kit construction and many other necessary wilderness survival skills will challenge each participant throughout this three (3) day course.

REGISTER with Randy Spradlin at or call him at: (512) 923-3509 (cell).  He will get you the agenda and more info.

PHOTO:  Dr. John Weishaar, author of Flint and Steel - A Story of Survival demonstrates fire starting for the campers at Outdoor Texas Summer Camps. He has been assisting with the camps since he returned from Colorado, where he not only taught outdoor survival skills, but survived the Alaskan wilderness, himself.

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March Treestand Certification Workshop POSTPONED

tree stand

Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, and the Treestand Manufacturer's Association's (John Louk and L.J. Smith) have decided to POSTPONE the March 3-4th Tree Stand TRAINER and BASIC INSTRUCTOR certification workshops in Athens until June 2017 for three reasons:

  1. I published the wrong dates in my weekly brief last week,
  2. Not enough instructors showed initial interest, and
  3. The need to have more lead time to plan to attend this important training.

"Falls from Tree Stands" is the number 1 cause of hunting incidents in North America, and the Association has learned much more about prevention, especially in the last five years.  TX HE Instructors previously certified need to attend again, as both a refresher and an update, regarding current teaching techniques and strategies. Those that attend will receive the latest gear for use as trainers and hunter education instructors.

PHOTO:  Game warden cadets covered tree stand safety as part of the Instructor Course and Hunting Skills Course - TX 61st Game Warden Training Academy.

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HE Instructor Annual Conference in Two Months!

Hardin Simmons

ABILENE - April 21-23rd

Be sure to reserve your weekend for the upcoming Hunter Education Instructor Annual Conference to be held at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. Sponsored by YOUR association -- the TX Hunter Education Instructor's Association (THEIA), your host conference coordinators are W TX Hunter Education Specialist, Randy Spradlin, and Area Chief/THEIA Board Member, Dr. Edgar Reed. They have made special plans and arranged for a host of speakers, sessions and activities.  Lodging information will be available next week -- and a block of rooms will be set aside for THEIA, HE instructors, award winners and partners.


  • Welcome Reception & AREA CHIEF MEETING (Friday)
  • CWD; Feral Hog Mgmt. & Issues
  • NEW Online Registration System
  • Treestand Safety Training (4 hrs.)
  • Hunting 101 Workshops
  • Mentored Hunts/R3 Initiatives
  • Keynote - Mr. Michael Sabbeth, Denver, CO (Ethics & Image)
CG Guerrero


  • HE Hall of Fame Recipients
  • Volunteer of the Year (TX)
  • Regional Volunteers of the Year
  • Game Warden of the Year
  • Professional Educator of  Year
  • HE Instructor TEAM Award
  • THEIA's "T.D. Carroll" Award
  • SPECIAL Awards and Prizes

PHOTO: Cecario "CG" Guerrero, Pearland, accepted the Professional Educator of the Year Award from Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist in April 2016 in Houston.

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Waterfowl 101 & Mentor Hunt a Success

waterfowl hunt
cleaning ducks

Port Isabel, TX

Rugen Rangel, Hunter Education Instructor from Brownsville, coordinated another very successful Waterfowl 101 and Mentor Hunt in the Valley this past winter. On hand to assist Rangel were TPWD Game Wardens and members of the Las Huellas Hunting & Fishing Club, the sponsor of the event. Rangel, along with other H E instructors such as Junior Munoz, Aransas NWR, and Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, have led the charge on teaching Waterfowl 101s along the Texas Coast --culminating in sponsored youth hunts such as this annual hunt that he coordinates each year near Port Isabel. Rangel said, "This year was a great success due to the weather. It was (almost) too beautiful of a day, and every youngster shot a limit of ducks -- many for the first time!"

CONGRATS TPWD Game Wardens, Las Huellas, and, especially, Ruben!

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New Education Registration System ERS is Here!


Try it out (Next Week)!

It is LAUNCH TIME!  - A whole new era in the Texas Hunter Education Program.

Over the next week, you should be able to go online at: Education Registration System (ERS) and TRY IT OUT!  Remember that there are "Quick Start Guides" to help you with each step in the system -- especially if you are willing to learn on your own. 

The new system eliminates the need for any more services or correspondence by snail mail (other than supply orders).  It eliminates the need for Scantrons (bubble forms) and mailed student certificates/cards, calls for duplicate cards, or sending payment via mail.

The new system allows for you to:

  • Create new course locations
  • Create and publish course dates/times
  • Print out course rosters prior to class
  • Support "walk-ins" and the need for temporary cards (last minute courses)
  • Post grades, passing scores (75% min.) and verify attendance
  • Post prep and teaching hours important for TPWD to receive federal $ 
  • Post PAYMENTS directly online at $5 per student ($15 if TPWD employee)
  • Monitor your teaching status/points
  • Instantly preserve records in the Cloud

THANKS for your patience this past year.  Combining our old system (HABES) into a new online registration system and database with 1.5 million records, turned out to be quite the challenge and took much staff time in the process.  Champions on the TPWD end in the development were Tim Spice, project manager, Mark Miller and Rick Parsons, IT managers and a team of TPWD professionals from IT, Licenses, Law Enforcement (new Game Warden APP and compliance check), Incoming Revenue and the folks that develop links with the State of Texas payment system -- a requirement of the new ERS.  A big THANKS, too, to the team at Element, Inc., especially Martin Mascarenus and Malcolm St. Romain, Jr.         -  Steve Hall, Hunt. Ed Coord.

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TPWD & Texas Hunter Education Partner Resources

Hunter Education Overview | Instructor Resources | Student Resources

Operation Game Thief | Texas Game Warden Association

Texas Youth Hunting Program | Texas 4-H Shooting Sports

Other Hunter Ed Resources

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