Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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Target Talk

In This Issue:

Coordinator's Comments - HAPPY NEW YEAR!


I am excited for 2018 for many reasons -- the first of which is to continually THANK God for the privileges we have as Americans, for our military that protects us, for family and friends and for YOU - the HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR, for whom commitment to a cause, dedication, unselfishness and hard work are "all in a day's work."  We are contributing to safe, legal and ethical behavior -- to building character!  (See next article!)

I'm most thankful for my wife, Karen (30 years in 2018!), son, Ryan, and daughter, Sarah.  Hunting is one of the many outdoor pursuits which we share and which not only builds character, but also fosters untold, unforeseen and unforgotten memories. As I hunted with my daughter over the Christmas break, I must admit that I am never more close with her or my son in terms of responsibilities, communications, respect and LOVE -- as we share such experiences TOGETHER. Hunting is the proverbial GLUE!

I'm sure you all feel the same way, and your passion for such moments is somewhat responsible for WHY YOU achieve on behalf of hunter education and the State of Texas.

Go get 'em in 2018!  Make Texas and Texans even more proud of your efforts!

Steve Hall, TX Hunter Education Coordinator

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The Honorable Hunter - Part 1


Over the next year, we will embark on a mission to ensure the Hunting Heritage -- one of hunter education's core values.  We seek not only to save lives and prevent injury, which we have remarkably demonstrated over the past 50 years, but we also seek to:  1) increase compliance to outdoor laws, 2) reduce wounding loss, 3) improve hunter behaviors and 4) enhance hunting's overall image.

To ensure the Hunting Heritage, our plan is to beef up our efforts in the area of Hunting Ethics & Responsibility by working with Michael Sabbeth, keynote speaker at our 2017 Texas Instructor Conference and author of many articles that collectively are archived at his Honorable Hunter web site.  His writings also will be available in workbook/E-book fashion and made available to students and instructors via hunter education -- with our help! These materials will highlight WHY and how we persuade others -- how we describe the most successful, hunter-led, conservation effort on the planet (North America Wildlife Conservation Model)!

The essence of what the training and materials will do is to help instructors focus on what we have done best, and perhaps didn't dwell on it enough -- TO BUILD CHARACTER in our students through honor and virtue (heretofore described as ATTITUDE in our training).  I'm hoping that in the next 50 years, we can demonstrate the success of HONOR in Hunting just like we have done with reduced incident rates.

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Lake Waco Outdoor Woman Hunt a Success!


Mentored by Travis Glick, TPWD N TX Archery Programs Specialist, Cassidy Brown laid claim to harvesting the largest deer during the 2017 Lake Waco mentored hunt season!  Using her skills learned partially through the Becoming An-Outdoors Woman program and being lucky enough to be drawn for the hunt, Cassidy worked hard to hone her skills and stay calm enough to make the right shot.  The buck was one of the biggest taken on a mentor hunt.  Thanks Lake Waco & TPWD staff for making these women's dreams come true!


 Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist assisted Debi Shultz in taking a nice old doe on the Lake Waco Mentor Hunt using a 20 gauge and shooting slugs. Bickerstaff added, "The women had a great time and there was even one more participant that took a doe." Like with the rest of the participants, Schultz and others appreciated the Hunting WITH SUPPORT --one of the links in the Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Chain of Adopting Hunting and the Shooting Sports as lifelong pursuits. TPWD is currently establishing the R3 Plan for Texas. We will be getting out more information as the plan is formulated and the actions are implemented, especially actions that involve Hunter Education Instructors!  Congrats Cassidy and Debi!

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Online Registration System (ORS) Help!


N TX, Monica Bickerstaff, D/FW; 972-263-1219 w; 469-601-8349 c

S TX, Brock Minton, Corpus; 361-825-3249 w; 361-944-3617 c

SE TX, Heidi Rao, Houston; 281-534-0126 w; 713-829-1377 c

W TX, Randy Spradlin, Abilene; 512-923-3509 w/c

C TX, Morgan Harbison, College Station,; OR, Steve Hall, Austin; 512-389-8140; 512-550-7330 c

    PHOTO - Hunter Education Staff (From L to R): Brock Minton, Steve Hall, Monica Bickerstaff, Randy Spradlin and Heidi Rao; (Not Pictured, Morgan Harbison)

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      PARTNERS - Texas Youth Hunting Program

      Super Hunt

      The Texas Hunting Youth Program (TYHP) conceived in 1996 by Commissioner Tim Hixon, Dr. Wallace Klussman and others, has blossomed and is providing thousands of opportunities for families to hunt each year, especially on private lands. The Texas Wildlife Association and your Hunter Education Staff are formal partners in the program -- TPWD providing much needed funds to fully implement the program statewide.

      In FY 2017, TYHP staff/volunteers conducted 200 youth hunts that reached 1,109 youth. Staff conducted seven (7) “Hunt Master Training” workshops for new hunt masters and one for active hunt masters. Since 1996, the program has trained 1,783 hunt masters and reached 63,472 participants.  Keep up the great work TWA and TYHP!

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      Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA) - H.R. 4647

      From Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director (EXCERPTS): 

      "The contemplated Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a bipartisan fish and wildlife appropriations bill that offers a compelling vision for addressing future conservation funding for states such as ours.  This is an exciting, yet highly ambitious, opportunity that will necessitate all of us at TPWD, and our partners, to become informed about what the bill’s passage could mean for the lands, waters, fish and wildlife that we collectively steward.

      The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), or H.R. 4647H.R. , sponsored by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Debbie Dingell, aims to address the needs of vital fish and wildlife populations and habitats before they become threatened or endangered. Nationwide, the number of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) exceeds 12,000. And here in Texas, we count more than 1,300 imperiled fish & wildlife species and an additional 400 or so at-risk habitat communities.***

      *** The legislation, as filed, calls for Congress to dedicate $1.3 Billion each year to fund conservation initiatives at the state level. The bill stipulates that these funds would not be subject to the annual appropriations process. Similar to Dingell-Johnson and Pittman-Robertson funds, RAWA funds would automatically be made available to state fish & wildlife agencies and their designees. Funds must be used to implement State Wildlife Action Plans to benefit SGCN. The Texas conservation community could see an influx of approximately $60 million/year to implement our Texas Conservation Action Plan. *** 

      *** So, how would TPWD utilize such a large infusion of new conservation dollars?  To that end, an interdivisional TPWD Task Force was convened this summer to envision how TPWD might use and share these new funds, and to provide recommendations on how to prepare our agency to communicate this opportunity to the public and our partners. I urge you to read the TPWD Task Force’s report online at ***

      *** The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife has developed helpful background materials on this legislation, including fact sheets for different audiences, Frequently Asked Questions (included an attachment to this email), and an online toolkit (LINK to: I encourage everyone to read through this Factsheet and FAQs and familiarize yourself with the toolkit, make sure you understand what this piece of legislation could mean for Texas, and what people can do to help.

      Thank you for caring about our wild things and wild places.  They need you now more than ever."

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      TPWD Hunter Education Instructor Events



      JANUARY 5-6th North Texas Hunter Ed Instructor Meeting at Dallas Safari Convention - CONTACT: Monica Bickerstaff; Dallas/Ft. Worth; 972-263-1219 w; 469-601-8349 c

      FEBRUARY 3rd Turkey Hunting 101 Workshop; Lake Ray Roberts – Johnson Branch - National Wild Turkey Foundation and TPWD

      MARCH 3rd - BLACK POWDER 101 - Hunter Education Instructor Richard Bailey, Grand Prairie Gun Club 9am (5 hours + lunch)

      MARCH 23 -24th - Treestand Manufacturer Association’s Treestand Safety Certified Trainer Training (8-hours total) – Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Athens

      CONTACT: Monica Bickerstaff at;469-601-8349


      FEBRUARY 16-18th – Trapper Education Workshop, San Angelo State Park REGISTRATION LINK; CONTACT Brock Minton at


      MARCH 21-22nd National Archery in Schools Statewide Tournament; Bell County Expo Center and Texas-NASP State 3-D Challenge will be held on the same dates and at the same place as the State Tournament (bullseye). (The Bullseye tournament will be in the Exhibition Hall, and the 3-D Challenge will be in the “Dome".)

      CONTACT Burnie Kessner to VOLUNTEER at

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      Youth/Mentor Hunts - HE Instructor Submissions



      Area Chief, Duke Walton, Porter (R), and veteran HE Instructor, Bob Boswell, Georgetown (not pictured), donated/hosted a Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation (RMEF) Hunt at Bob's  Ranch near Pawnee. Mike Morton, a participant's father, submitted the following:

      "My daughter, Samantha Morton, and I were lucky enough to spend a few days with Duke Walton in Pawnee on Nov. 19-21 on a Youth Hunt she won at a Hunters Ed class sponsored by (RMEF) and taught by Mr. Walton earlier in the year. Samantha just turned 12 and is in her 2nd year of 4H shooting sports and was just showing interest in the possibility of going hunting. While I enjoy hunting, I had not been in over 20yrs, and I really wanted her to have a great experience on her first hunt. This hunt came at the exact right time with the right person. Duke was very informative and very patient -- not to mention a great host. I understand this particular hunt was privately sponsored but I still wanted to let someone know that your people are doing a great job with our kids (and adults that still want to learn). 

      Samantha was the only hunter at the time we were on the lease and was able to bring home multiple deer from the hunt. I don't think you can ask for anything better. If you have any questions please let me know if I can help.  Thanks!"

      Mike Morton

      Duke and Bob later mentored another new hunter, Kelsey Bechtold, who took her first big game animal, a good eating-sized feral pig! CONGRATS Kelsey!


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      JOIN THEIA & IHEA-USA - Professional Associations!

      TEXAS HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR ASSOCIATION is the "Friends Group" for the TPWD Hunter Education Program and was established to specifically support the Hunter Education Instructor!  THEIA has been there to support programs like the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge, top levels of the Hunter Education Instructor Incentive Award Program; Training Workshops and, perhaps the biggest effort throughout each year, the Texas Hunter Education Instructor Conference and Award Ceremony.  YOU get a free annual membership donated by THEIA when you join the ranks of instructors.  Please consider rejoining today to keep your membership active and support growing! THANKS for your support of TX HE Instructors!


      INTERNATIONAL HUNTER EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (IHEA-USA) - As one of the over 55,000+ (one of the largest volunteer corps in the USA) we are asking you to formally join IHEA-USA, the voice of hunter education across the country. Your Annual $30 IHEA-USA Membership assures that all hunter education instructors have a voice and ensures the consistency and relevance of the classes you teach. Your membership comes with these great benefits:

      • Liability Insurance
      • Exclusive "Instructor only" Product Discounts
      • IHEA-USA Membership Card, Decal, Pin, Patch and Window Decal

      For only $30 you get much more than what you paid for.  Lifetime memberships are also available and include all the annual membership items, but in addition, include a $100 Cabela's Gift Card, a nice Cabela’s brand duffel bag and other great items. 

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      Hunter Education Field Course - Skills Trail Primer

      HE Course

      The four main tenets of a SKILLS TRAIL are to perform activities that reemphasize being:

      • SAFE
      • LEGAL


      • A GOOD SHOT
      • CARE of GAME

      Here, students participate in an exercise to properly take firearms from vehicles, keep them unloaded and separate from ammo in vehicles and placing them correctly back in the vehicles -- the opposite of which leads the list of incidents in Texas (Careless handling in/around vehicles).  From there, students demonstrate loading/unloading, carry methods, crossing obstacles, safe Zones of fire, mistaken for game, shot angles/placement, vital zones, distance estimation, game recovery and much more. There are so many learning objectives covered in a basic skills trail, focusing on preventing the top five hunting incidents as well -- through PROPER PRACTICE!  For more information, go to: HE INST MANUAL.

      HE Course 2

      Hunter Education students recover deer!

      Following a shot with a bow, the students trail and properly recover their game -- one of the four core tenets of a thorough SKILLS TRAIL. Dripping Springs (Dec 2017) Hunter Education Field Course participants included: (Back L to R): Casey Hand, Abigail Hand, Michael Moss, Alba Nieves and (Front L to R): Austin Davis, Nicole - Faith - Alexis and Emma Shaddox, Madison Hand

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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

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      Other Hunter Ed Resources

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

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