Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - HE Instructors are AMAZING!

Clinton N

Hunter Ed Conference

We just had our annual Hunter Education Instructor's conference in April. It's always great to visit with and "walk in the shoes" of other instructors - volunteers, professional educators, game wardens and staff. We are from different walks of life -- yet have a common PURPOSE: "To train others in safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved hunting and shooting sports practices."  It is a PASSION for most of us, especially when we get the opportunity to gather at conferences and workshops, to learn even more about each other and about "that with which we profess."

I found myself teary-eyed at the Instructor Awards Ceremony. (See award recipients below.).  It astonishes me what some instructors -- what YOU -- have been through. Yet, you take aim at helping and teaching others. One such instructor was "blown up" while serving as a Marine overseas and, later, his neck vertebrae were crushed as he was trapped by a vehicle (assisting a family motorist on a busy highway). He overcame both tragedies and rose to even greater heights "to give of himself and pass on the hunting and outdoor heritage, especially to those less fortunate..."  He is our 2017 Hunter Education Instructor of the Year -- Congrats, Clinton Narcisse, Jr.YOU are AMAZING!  As Southeast TX Hunter Education Specialist and award presenter, Heidi Rao, put it, "Clint truly has nine lives, and we are all very blessed to get to work with him!"

My hat's off and my heart goes out to each of you for your selfless acts in passing on sound virtues, behaviors and life skills to others.  Keep up your passion and your cause!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Instructor Conference Highlights!

HE Conf


The 2018 annual Hunter Education Instructor Conference held at Camp Judeae Young near Wimberley is in the books. A BIG THANKS to all instructors who attended and to the Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association who hosted and funded the conference. In particular, THEIA treasurer, Denise Harmel-Garza, Texas Agrilife Extension, and Julie Clark, Austin Gun Club -- both active hunter education instructors, put forth a HUGE effort planning conference details and logistics. Thanks, too, to TPWD staff, Eddie Kleppinger and Kristy Willis for assisting THEIA with registration.  Lindsay Hodgdon, THEIA president, and his board also presided over the conference agenda to make sure everyone had a great time and networking opportunity.

It was great to see Terry Erwin, longtime Hunter Education Coordinator (retired) and Kathy and Keith Powell, who also served the program for several decades. They came by to "crash the party and see ole friends," as Kathy put it! 

Thanks also goes to our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Robert Norton and his wife, Carol, and to sponsors including PLATINUM sponsor - Kalkomey Enterprises  (; GOLD sponsors - Sean Hensley (, Henry Repeating Arms, Sig-Sauer, Lonesome Dove Fest Committee; SILVER sponsors - Academy, Leupold, David Richards (Photography); and BRONZE sponsors, IHEA-Mexico & Maria Araujo (TPWD International Relations),Texas State Rifle Association (Vicki Huyge, Executive Director) and the Texas Wildlife Association's Texas Youth Hunting Program (Bob Barnette, N TX Regional Director) and the Texas Archery in Schools Program.

theia original

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Annual AWARDS - VOLUNTEER Instructors of the Year



Clinton Narcisse, Jr., Humble - According to Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist, Clint excelled in 2017 in increasing diversity and inclusion efforts in hunter education, offering more classes, serving as huntmaster and getting more involved in youth hunting program efforts, being available to other instructors, attending more workshops and special events, and serving as lead instructor for the 11th annual SCI-Houston-sponsored Hunter Education Course in July for nearly 200 students .  He helped Rao teach a new instructor course and host a "Meet 'N Greet" at Bass Pro in Katy.  Narcisse has overcome several persona/physical setbacks to get even stronger in both his spirit and his health, "all to the benefit of the kids within his community and city!" THANKS & MANY CONGRATS from the Texas Hunter Education Community!


SOUTHEAST TX - Cheryl LeJune, Houston - LeJune teaches an "Intro to Hunting", two "Intro to Firearms" & a Hunter Education Course for women at each BOW (spring & fall).  She is very active for all outreach events each year in the Greater Houston area including Take Me Outdoors-Houston and Laser Shot exhibit at the Houston Rodeo. Rao said, "Cheryl always steps up when called upon to give presentations on behalf of hunter education such as at Lone Star College or Central Market Cooking Schools. She is a huge asset to our program in SE Texas!" 


SOUTH TEXAS - John "Jack" Thompson, San Antonio - Thompson became a hunter ed instructor in 2007 and bow hunter education instructor in 2014. He serves as an Area Chief in Bexar County, where he has served two terms as President of the South Central Texas Hunter Education Instructor’s Association.  "Not only does he remain active in hunter education," said Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, "but, he also continues to volunteer for outreach events and attend advanced workshops offered throughout the state."  MInton added, "Other Area Chiefs in and around the San Antonio area look to Jack as the “go-to-guy” on updates for information and events." Congratulations Jack!

kathy Glass

WEST TEXAS - Kathy Glass, Eola - According to Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, "Kathy only teaches a couple of classes on average each year; however, she does a lot for the program in so many other ways."  Glass served as a TYHP Regional Coordinator and conducted 11 hunts this past year. She took over for Jeanette Story to lead "Daughters Day at the Range" after Ms. Story's passing. She assists her very active team partner, Gary Glass, who just earned his Shotgun Incentive award for all of his activity in the hunter education program.  "She is one of the busiest persons I know, and yet I can count on her whenever I need her," Spradlin continued.  THANKS Kathy!


CENTRAL TEXAS - Thomas "Buck" Seitz, Austin - Seitz formed a new teaching partnership with Cabela's in Buda and continued his long time partnership teaching at the Austin Rifle Club in Manor.  Between the classroom (Buda) and Online + Field Course (Manor) versions, he earned the 5th most teaching points in the state behind DFW and Houston area instructors -- far greater in Central Texas than other efforts. "I've worked with Buck a long time," said Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator, "But, I've never seen him this driven in providing coursework -- especially in the fast-growing Central Texas region." Thanks, Buck, for all you have achieved in 2017.  Keep it up!


NORTH TEXAS - Area Chief, Brent Heath,Waco (shown here in blue shirt and asking a question at the recent Tree Stand Instructor Certification workshop) -  Heath has been an Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor since 1988 and Bow Hunter Education Instructor since 2011.  According to N TX Hunter Education Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff, "Brent has been instrumental in coordinating mentors for mentored hunts held at Lake Waco and Navarro Mills and has conducted multiple hunter and bow hunter education student and instructor courses throughout the year."  She added, "He is always willing to assist as needed and is our go-to in the Waco area."  THANKS Brent, for all you in Northcentral TX!

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Partner, Team, Law Enforcement & Educator Awards


PARTNER AWARD - Texas Trappers & Fur Hunters Association (TTFHA) - TTFHA has just completed its 25th year SILVER anniversary of continued support for TPWD's hunter education program by providing educational programs and trapping workshops for instructors.  They have fielded numerous calls and requests for landowner problems and calls from TPWD staff and game wardens needing service or a trapper education opinion from grassroots trappers. They have also assisted in reviewing trapper education material at the national and state levels.   PHOTO:  (From R to L) Randy Spradlin, Heidi Rao, Monica Bickerstaff, and retired HE Coordinator, Terry Erwin, joined Brock Minton (L) to present the PARTNER award to Keith Jackson and his wife, Tasha, who accepted on behalf of TTFHA and other longtime supporters & instructors, Jim Brooks, and Earle Blakney. THANKS for your many years of service and support!


TEAM AWARD - Grand Prairie Gun Club

PHOTO:  Ron Wisdom, shown here teaching archery, was part of the successful Grand Prairie Gun Club Hunter Education Instructor TEAM in 2017.  Unfortunately Ron passed in 2018, but the team has vowed to continue his call to duty at the facility built with TPWD Target Range Grant Funds. 

Instructors of the Team include Joe Cawthon III, Suzy Duffek, Jim Markle, Richard Bailey, Steve Jung, William Flynt, William Knight, Will Stilley, Robert Stone, and Frank Horak, Sr.  Many others have served the team over the years, as well. "This team is striving to overcome multiple challenges with which they’ve been faced over the past five years including the passing of a hunter education legend, Jan Heath, to the recent passing of Ron Wisdom and Richard Bailey's wife, Patricia "Ma" Bailey." Bickerstaff choked back tears during her presentation of the award, "Her passing came as Richard was teaching a Muzzle Loading 101 course for us in March."  Bickerstaff continued, "This is the quality of hunter education instructors and teams that we have in Texas -- to persist even as loved ones pass on..." Despite such setbacks and the struggling health of their current leader, Jim Markle, club members have continuously stepped up to assist with events such as the recent Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Annual Convention field activities, hosted multiple advanced and 101 workshops and conducted many hunter education courses throughout the year. go TEAM!

Albert Flores

LAW ENFORCEMENT AWARD - TPWD Game Warden Albert Flores, Ingelside - Flores became a game warden and Hunter Education Instructor in 1990 and is currently very active as a national Instructor for the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT); Texas Outdoor Women’s Network (T.O.W.N.) – Rockport;  and Texas Chapter Wildlife Society.  He has conducted game laws presentations for countless hunter education courses and workshops as well as served as a guide for many Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) youth hunts.  Albert also volunteers his time introducing and finding young people places to hunt year-round.  He assisted with game processing during a hunter education presentation at the Texas Master Naturalist Conference in 2017 as well as served up wild game for various hunter education functions including Hunting for Conservation workshops.  Game Wardens in Albert’s area look up to him for advice and leadership -- as does the rest of the hunter education instructors. Thanks Albert --keep going above and beyond!

dave baxter

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR AWARD - David Baxter, Spring ISD - Baxter has been in the HE program for 20+ years.  As Heidi Rao said during the awards presentation, "He was at my first Instructor training and has been an active school administrator ever since."  As a principal and leader in several schools where he has lived, he continually offers hunter education classes and constantly encourages his staffs to get certified as instructors. He gets everyone he knows involved in the Texas Youth Hunting program and has served as a huntmaster, guide and "Pied Piper" bringing "busloads" of kids every year on hunts, many times after he has personally trained them in hunter education.  Rao continued, "He always offers his assistance during workshops and special events, and steps up to offer his school as a host location for events and new instructor training."  She added, "David is truly passionate about getting the youth excited about the outdoors and he seems to dedicate  his professional and personal lives to future generations!"  THANKS, Dave, for what you achieve in schools!

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Boswell Honored with "TD Carroll" Award by THEIA

TD Carroll

"TD CARROLL" AWARD (THEIA) - Bob Boswell - Named for the first hunter education coordinator in Texas, Boswell received the award from THEIA President, Lindsay Hodgdon.  Boswell has served as president of the Texas Hunter Education Instructor's Association (THEIA) and as a longtime Area Chief instructor, now in Georgetown.  Currently, he and Duke Walton traverse the state setting up hunter education and wildlife outreach events and youth hunts at Bob's ranch on behalf of THEIA, such as the recent NASP Statewide Tournament with over 2,200 youth and their parents.  He was honored as a "Gallery of Guns" National Instructor in 2017 to go with his three decades of service as a hunter education instructor in Texas. He is the Hunting and Wildlife Director for the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), where he continually promotes hunter education to the TSRA membership. Hodgdon said, "Bob has  always been there for our organization and this award is overdue."  He continued, "But we are now correcting that and honoring him for his many years of service...THANKS Bob!"

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Luncheon Keynote & Breakout Workshops a Hit!

Bob Norton

Keynote Speaker, Dr. Bob Norton - Legendary Hunter Education Researcher and Author (Young Hunter) - Along with his wife, Carol, Dr. Robert "Bob" Norton made the trek to Texas from Wisconsin, via Florida, where he loves to fish, especially for bass.  "This is a nice place," he said of Camp Young Judaea, after he saw a nice largemouth from a dock overlooking Cypress Creek. Norton, the late Dr. Robert Jackson, University of Wisconsin, and the late Homer Moe, WI HE Coordinator, conducted research in the 1970s and 1980s on hunting accidents, hunter education program evaluations and, perhaps their most published work, waterfowl and deer hunter motivations.  Their research led to the infamous "stages" or "phases" taught in hunter education -- motivations that trigger consistent types of behaviors among hunters such as the need to "limit out" or to get a "trophy" animal.  Norton relived some of the research, but offered what it means to us going forward. He expressed worries over ownership of wildlife (citing high fence issues) and making hunting "too easy or convenient" especially for young hunters. "We need to teach them how to ACTUALLY HUNT, not just shoot. We need to help them discover how to hunt, such as still hunting, where they have to work hard to understand their quarry and to learn how to outsmart the animals with their outdoor knowledge and skills."  Bob's talk was certainly thought-provoking! Thanks for coming to the Lone Star State!

game warden james michael

PHOTO: Game Warden, James Michael, Hays County, leads a "Speak with a Game Warden" session at the Conference. His talk spurred a lot of questions by instructors to ensure they are passing along correct information in their hunter education courses.  Area Chief, Duke Walton, sent the following 'thank you' letter:

"I would like to thank TPWD and THEIA for doing such a great job at this year's annual conference. The Camp Young Judaea location was a wonderful place, one of the best we have had in many years! I know that many people worked very hard to make it such a success, but I would like to give a great big 'Attagirl'  to both Julie Clark and Denise Harmel-Garza for all the little things they made sure were just right. I believe that THEIA President Lindsay Hodgdon and his Officers & Directors most certainly have the organization on the right track! The volunteer Hunter Education Instructors and school teachers who didn't attend really missed a great time, as the workshops were very informative. I'm already looking forward to next year's meeting that will be bigger and better with the new changes announced. It is a meeting like this that re-energizes us as Instructors and helps us to promote firearm safety, ethics, conservation and keep up with new methods for our classes."

Happy Trails! Duke Walton, Area Chief Instructor

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ORS UPDATE and HE Regional Staff Support

Enhancements continue to be made with the new ONLINE REGISTRATION SYSTEM (ORS).  Here is a reminder of Incentive Point Program changes and status:

  • INCENTIVE AWARDS - Eddie Kleppinger, Hunter Education Administrative Assistant, finalized incentive point totals for 2017 and is busy mailing out incentives beginning in May. The new incentive totals are based on the following point scale -- which is different than in the past, but fairly equivalent to the old system.


            o Instructor Certification – 25 Points

            o Students Taught - 2 points/student (Classroom); - 3 points/student (Field)

            o Tenure - 10 points per year (Minimum 5 students certified per year)          

            o Hunting 101s/Outreach (e.g. Shows, Youth Hunts) – 3 Points per Volunteer Hour

          Area Chiefs           

            o Area Chief Certification – 50 points

            o Tenure - 15 point per year (Minimum 3 instructors taught per year)

            o Instructors Taught - 5 points per instructor taught

    he staff 2018 original

    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; 713-829-1377 c

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

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

    PHOTO - Hunter Education Staff (L to R): Morgan Harbison, Randy Spradlin, Brock Minton, Heidi Rao, Steve Hall and Monica Bickerstaff

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    TPWD Hunter Education Instructor Events



    MAY 3-6 - NRA Annual Convention - "The 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits will take place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, May 3-6 in Dallas, Texas. The Exhibit Hall will be open May 4-6. Join over 80,000 patriots and 800+ exhibitors for the biggest Annual Meeting yet, featuring a jam-packed schedule of seminars."


    MAY 18-20 – Wilderness First Aid Course/Hunting 101 - CONTACT: Randy Spradlin at  


    CONTACT Morgan Harbison at

    • MAY 4-5 - Nueces County
    • MAY 5 - Tom Green County
    • MAY 5-6 - Jefferson County
    • MAY 12 - Crockett County 
    • MAY 16-17 – HOIST Shoot, Katy
    • MAY 26-27 - Johnson County 
    • JUNE 1-3 - Kerr County 

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    Hunting for Conservation a Success!

    group photo

    April 17-18th - Camp Young Judaea

    Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLFT) is a professional and university student training program orienting folks with little or no knowledge of hunting and conservation to a week-long Hunting 101, Hunter Education and Wildlife & Conservation primer, including an actual hunt. As part of CLFT, Texas Parks and Wildlife held its second "short course" entitled Hunting for Conservation for 40 non-hunting employees and partners that work with hunters. The workshop covered history of hunting and conservation, hunter's role in wildlife management, hunter education and basic hunting and shooting sports concepts. Three quarters of the participants took advantage of learning how to shoot shotgun, handgun and/or rifle -- putting some of their new found knowledge to practice. Thanks to Ricky Bangs, Dripping Springs ISD, for making the opportunity available at their Hog Heaven facilities.

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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

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    wildlife & sport fish restoration