Hunter Education WEEKLY BRIEF

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Target Talk

In This Issue:

In Memory - Coordinator Comments

Billy Holt

Billy Holt (1950 - 2017)



Mar 16 - Visitation - 6:00 - 8:00; Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home; 415 W Williams Street Breckenridge Texas 76424

Mar 17 - Service - 1:00 pm; Gunsight Baptist Church; 10674 Hwy 183 S

Longtime mentor, friend, fellow Area Chief hunter education instructor and "family" member, Billy Holt, Breckenridge, passed away peacefully March 14th in the presence of his son, Will, and other family members/friends at a Fort Worth hospital.

Holt was the brother of Darrell Holt, former TPWD Hunter Education Coordinator, who passed away in 1989 after a long battle with Leukemia.  Both Billy and Darrell were Terry Erwin's (HE Coordinator 1987-2013) and my Hunter Education leaders -- Darrell who hired me in 1985 and Billy who would lead our many dog-training episodes and quail, turkey and deer hunts at his place near Breckenridge.  Billy and his best friend, Gary Doyle, were the hunter education "pied pipers" for decades in Breckenridge.

Holt joined the Hunter Education program when it began as a voluntary program in 1972 and reached the Hall of Fame level in 2006.  As an Area Chief, he certified 22 new instructors and over 600 students in the small rural N TX town.  He attended over 100 instructor training workshops during his tenure, helping to teach many of them with his brother and the other HE coordinators. He was a three-time nominee and runner-up for the International Hunter Education Association Volunteer Instructor of the Year Award.

To say we will miss Billy's jovial nature, his "Tom-foolery", his wisdom, spirituality and 'presence' within his community and his hunting prowess, is a huge understatement.  Mostly, I will just miss our days together in the blind or vehicle -- just talking about our kids and life -- something we especially did these last five years, when shooting a deer or turkey was the least of our worries.

We'll miss you dearly "Uncle Billy" -- as my kids would call him!  Fortunately for us, we have Will, Sheriff of Breckenridge, his wife, Jenny, and their new daughter, Lana Kay, to rely on when it comes to carrying on hunter education and the Holt family traditions.

Steve Hall, TX Hunter Education Coordinator

PHOTOS: (Above) In December 2016, Billy Holt visits Palo Duro Canyon stating, "My first time -- can you believe it?"  (Below L to R) Billy Holt joined fellow instructors, Burt Montgomery, Lubbock, Randy Spradlin, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, Wayne Ellis, Amarillo and workshop host Yancey Dempsey, Happy, for a photo opportunity during  the Upland Game Hunting 101 workshop held in December 2016 in Happy, TX.

Upland 101

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Annual HE Instructor Annual Conference!

MGM Elegente

ABILENE - April 21-23rd


Rooms blocked at MCM Elegante Suites at $104.00 per night.  Rooms are 2 room suites.  The rate is for single or double occupancy.

  • Contact  (325) 698-1234    
  • Toll-free  (888) 897-9644 
  • Fax:  (325) 698-2771
  • 4250 Ridgemont Dr, Abilene, TX 79606



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

Michael Sabbeth - Keynote Address


Michael G. Sabbeth is a lawyer in Denver, Colorado. He lectures on ethics and rhetoric. He has written the book "The Good, The Bad and The Difference: How to Talk with Children About Values." & is now working on a book titled "No More Apologizing! Arguments to Defend and Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports."



  • 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

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TYHP Announces New Program - Adventure Hunts!


Texas Youth Hunting Program - TYHP

Adventure Hunts will be advanced hunting opportunities designed for older hunters (age 13-17) with previous hunting experience in TYHP. Adventure Hunts will feature chances to learn and apply advanced hunting skills such as stalking and calling, and many will employ more primitive sporting arms such as bows and muzzleloaders. 

TYHP Adventure Hunts will focus on wilderness-style camping. In some cases, that wilderness may very well be in another state. Adventure Hunts will include expeditions to locales such as Colorado, in pursuit of wildlife we normally don't get to hunt in Texas such as elk. However, most of the Adventure Hunts will be in Texas, but you'll be learning to hunt our Texas game in new ways that will be exciting and interesting.

  • Kids must earn spots on Adventure Hunts by "giving back" to the TYHP program and/or the Hunter Education community.

  • One way for kids to earn points is to help a Huntmaster on a regular TYHP hunt.

  • Have an idea for an Adventure Hunt, or know a property (public or private) that we should consider? Do you know a ranch already in TYHP that would be a good location for an Adventure Hunt? Let TYHP Staff know!   

  • To conduct Adventure Hunts, we will need Huntmasters and volunteers that are knowledgeable of these styles of hunting and physically capable of doing the hunts - please let us know if you wish to help!

  • If you are a volunteer that would like to someday run an Adventure Hunt, please consider taking a Huntmaster Training Class this year. 

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IHEA-USA Names Brad Heidel New Executive Director

Brad Heidiel

Denver, CO - IHEA-USA Board of Directors has hired Brad Heidel as its new Executive Director. Brad has begun his transition into the role, effective immediately, and will be working remotely from Madison, WI.

Brad began his career in the outdoor/nonprofit world and began working for the Wildlife Heritage Association where his passion for hunting and conservation continued to grow. Brad brings with him over 15 years of experience in the outdoor industry. He worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation where he was a Regional Director in the state of North Dakota and quickly developed a talent for building relationships within the hunting industry. This, along with his passion for the outdoors, led him to Pheasants Forever, Inc. where he served as the Director of Corporate Relations until coming to IHEA-USA as the Executive Director.

"I am excited for this opportunity and looking forward to leading the IHEA-USA while helping the next generation of hunters and wildlife conservationists into our ranks" said Heidel, "IHEA-USA is the bridge that takes those that want to hunt to becoming hunters. It is going to take continued agency and industry support of our organization to allow us all to continue the hunting traditions that we all cherish."

"We're excited to have Brad join our team," said Megan Wisecup, IHEA-USA president. "Brad's wealth of experience with conservation, marketing, corporate relations in the outdoor industry, and his credibility among his peers adds greatly to our organization. We're looking forward to the perspective and experience he'll bring to our Association and to hunter education worldwide."

Contact Information: Brad Heidel; 800 East 73rd Ave, Unit 2; Denver, CO 80229; Cell (Preferred): (651) 403-1772; Office: (303) 430-7233; Email:

About IHEA-USA - The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) - USA is the professional hunter education association affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the 50 state fish and hunter education programs. The programs employ 57,000 instructors, many of whom are volunteers, that teach hunting and shooting safety and responsibilities throughout the United States.

Hunter Education courses train and certify more than 700,000 students annually. Since 1949, almost 44 million students have completed hunter education courses that cover firearm safety, bowhunting, wildlife management, field care of game, responsible hunting, landowner relations, wildlife identification, and much more.

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Military Hunter Education Instructors to Testify?

Hunter Ed

Hunter Education Legislation

The TX legislative session is in full swing and sometimes it is necessary for hunter education instructors to testify on behalf of the Hunter Education program (what and how hunter education is taught, etc.) -- especially by those of you that are veterans or active in the military, NRA, law enforcement and related services/organizations that use sporting arms/firearms in training.  Hunter Ed bills are continually introduced each session.

If you are a veteran hunter education instructor and would offer your services to tesitfy (March/April 2017) please let us know so we can properly notify you if a volunteer hunter education instructor is needed.  TPWD must remain neutral on all testimony and cannot lobby.  Those representing themselves as instructors must be professional and tesitfy as to what is taught and is in the hunter education policies/framework only. Any topic outside of hunter education must be handled individually or under a separate affiliation.

Email if interested in attending hunter education hearings and possibly testifying if so desired.

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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