Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Leading a Champion Team!


Keynote Address - IHEA-USA Conference, Anchorage, Alaska

Hunter education staff members (L to R) Randy Spradlin, Monica Bickerstaff, Heidi Rao and I just returned from the annual IHEA-USA Conference & Business Meetings in Anchorage, AK. Pictured in the middle is Dallas Seavey, 4-time Iditarod Champion with one of his heartiest and friendliest Alaskan sled dogs.  Dallas, a third-generation dog musher, was raised by his dad who was immersed into racing the famed 1000-mile Iditarod Trail from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The father, Mitch, finally won the race in 2004. The following year, Dallas threw his hat into the ring and became the youngest person ever to finish the race.  In 2009, he started his own kennel and through a gut-wrenching series of trials, tribulations, and tales, he developed a champion team from scratch.  His sagas of surviving the rugged Alaskan winters, ice and wind were riveting.  One account had every dog team in the race being blown over, literally, on the flat ice by extreme winds. Only he and his team kept getting back up each time and pushing on for a seemingly impossible win over a team that would have, otherwise, easily beat him to the finish. (The other teams sought shelter until the storm blew by.) Never mind the other tales of shear survival facing the toughest conditions known to man (and dog).


What I gained both personally and professionally from his speech were the analogies in leadership and teamwork -- both he and his dogs working towards a common goal.  The example of putting together his first dog team from outcasts in other kennels was truly an 'underdog feat' (forgive the pun). He developed his team by focusing on each dog's strengths, matching them to their best role within the team, then honing the team through repetition and practice into a fine-tuned machine -- despite their many differences in behaviors, stature and skills.  His words had me contemplating our program's barriers and challenges given each of our strengths, resources and roles. It allowed me personally to refocus, recharge and reassess (Another r3?) towards my own priorities in life (i.e. God, family, friends and, of course, hunter education and the outdoors -- our common purpose)!


Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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IHEA-USA - Annual Conference Highlights

openinc ceremony IHEA-USA

The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA)-USA Opening Ceremony always includes the National Anthem preceded by a presentation of the colors - in this case, Ian White of the Crow Creek Pipes & Drums (L) along with the Dimond ROTC Color Guard (R).  These were followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation from Fred Voss, a volunteer Hunter Education Instructor.  Such ceremonies always provide a nice touch to the national gathering of hunter education administrators/staffs and their programs!

David Allen

New IHEA-USA Executive Director, David Allen, MT, formerly a longtime executive director of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, was introduced by IHEA-USA president Melissa Neely, NY.  Allen is no stranger to fund raising and taking an organization to greater heights -- what he will be called on to do for IHEA-USA!  Allen said "Not being from the government side, I will be listening to all of you and learning as much as I can about your programs and volunteers and how the IHEA-USA can best assist you in your quests. Thanks for the privilege of serving this great organization!"

Business Meeting

IHEA-USA conducts an annual business meeting with one vote per state on issues such as standards, reciprocity, delivery and partnerships.  To the right is David Windsor, MI, Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT) Coordinator and recipient of the prestigious IHEA-USA Hall of Fame Award, updating the administrators.


Sponsored by SCI - Houston ChapterHeidi Rao, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, presented during an IHEA-USA Conference breakout session dealing with hunter education instructors participating in urban outreach -- in this case, Take Me Outdoors Houston. The event is held around National Hunting and Fishing Day in the heart of downtown Houston at Discovery Green


A highlight of the field day was the tour of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Portage, AK which houses the last of the wood bison.  Cousins to our plains bison, these large animals are raised at the Center then shipped (bulls) and flown (cows) to Western Alaska as part of a massive reintroduction effort.  The other large animals at the Center, including the Alaskan brown bear, get to roam within a large enclosed areas for viewing by thousands of tourists per week who visit, especially during the summer months.

Range Exercises

Mark Bartee, Iowa Hunter Education Instructor Association (a state with16 delegates at the conference) and his son, William, prepare to shoot rifles as part of the FIELD day activities at the Rabbit Creek Range near Anchorage. Along with big bore rifle, trapping, archery and other hunter education stations, conservation partners and outdoor companies were allowed to demonstrate new products or services at other stations during the event.

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"Whiz Bang" and "Ag Clays" Going Strong

san angelo

"Whiz Bang" and "Ag Clays" Shooting Clays Events were held every weekend in May and June including the Statewide Ag Clays Championship held at the National Sporting Complex in San Antonio. (Final results posted at both the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas State Rifle Association Foundation.  Both programs are spearheaded by Morgan Harbison, Shooting Sports Coordinator.

shotgun shooting

"Whiz Bang" events are offered through 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs/Coaches and "Ag Clays" events are offered by Agriculture Science/FFA professional educators that are trained in the program. Morgan Harbison will conduct an Ag Clays training at the Vocational Agriculture Science Teachers of Texas Annual Convention in Lubbock on each day, July 29 and 30th.  If you are interested in TPWD shotgun programs, contact:

san Angelo

"Guns Up!" The famous Texas Tech University motto can be used to describe the tradition held at San Angelo's Texas 4-H Shotgun Shootout. Morgan Harbison provided the venue for Tom Green County in early July following events in June that included Pearsall, Bandera, Frio and Guadalupe Counties averaging over 125 shooters per event.

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Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program Postponed until Nov


Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program -  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with Outdoor Tomorrow Foundation and TSRA Foundation, are teaming up to host the first-ever Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program in Texas on Thursday, Nov 29th (Trainers Nov. 27-29th), at a school/facility either in DFW, Houston or Austin (TBA).  Modeled after the very successful (TX) National Archery in Schools Program, (NASP), the SAR Program uses the same range & procedures as NASP to increase shooting sports opportunities.  NASP instructors are currently being surveyed to ascertain their potential interest in the program.

If a school already uses NASP, SARS teachers need only to attend a one-day training and secure the equipment that is added to their NASP equipment/supplies. A total of $30,000 in equipment is being donated to the first 10-15 schools that participate in the one-day training. The first Texas SAR Program Trainers will go through all three days of training. SAR uses a standard pellet air rifle/ (non-lead) ammo in place of bow/arrows and a slightly different target base, quiver (stand) and safety net.  However, range design, the "11 Steps to Success" and other equipment (e.g. bow racks) are the same.  The program also achieves the same results as NASP (e.g. better attendance in schools, better grades, more student diversity, higher confidence levels, firearm safety awareness and responsibility.) 

If YOU want to become a teacher or trainer, please email

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HE Instructor Feedback - It's a Family Affair!


PHOTO:  Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist and Texas Hunter Education Instructors Association Treasurer, Denise Harmel-Garza trains young Bob Gibbs in live-fire exercises.


I always read the monthly email, but have not gotten the quarterly hard copy (We'll look into that!)

As far as what I am doing, I have the 4-H Hunting & Shooting Sports Club in Moore County and am a lead hunt master for the Texas Youth Hunting Program.

In March, my 14 year-old son earned his Texas Youth Hunting Program Asst. Huntmaster, Hunter Education Asst. Instructor and 4-H Asst. Hunting Coach ratings. I had a second 14 year-old 4-H youth also earn his Hunter Education Asst. Instructor and 4-H Asst. Hunting Coach ratings. (Actually, both will turn 15 years of age in June and be official Asst. Hunter Ed Instructors.). I have my 4-H Pistol, Rifle, Muzzle Loader and Hunting Coach certificates. The three of us will be teaching a Firearm Safety Course using Hunter Ed Material at the Big R Farm Store here in Dumas at the end of the month. That will be the two boy's first course!

From that point, we will be planning on a big hunt season for next year.

Thank You!"  Hunter Education Instructor, Robert D Hibbs

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KOZ - a Model Youth Mentor Program Goes National


T.J. Greaney is THE "Pied Piper" for mentoring young people, primarily boys, into a life of faith using the outdoors as both a hook and way of life. A radio host, outdoor writer, magazine publisher and outdoor enthusiast, T.J. used his own upbringing to motivate him to create the Kid's Outdoor Zone (KOZ) Outdoor Ministry which helps today's generations of youth overcome major hurdles in their lives. He connects disadvantaged, mostly fatherless, youth with mentors, faith and the outdoors.  He has worked tirelessly for over a decade to put together Texas chapters -- but in the past several years, has been called upon to take KOZ nationally to many churches and groups wanting to implement KOZ in their states.  Hunter Education has been integral to KOZ programming since KOZ was founded.


Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator, took the KOZ summer camp participants through "Bow Hunting 101" covering nomenclature, shooting skills, shot angles/placement and game recovery (blood trailing) as part of their week-long camp.  TJ's daughter, Taylor Greaney, Burleson agriculture science teacher, took the same group through hunter education the previous day, as all KOZ participants complete the training as part of their camps and hunts.

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Online Registration System - HE Staff Support

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 c

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

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NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) - Held in Mansfield, PA, July 22-27th, the national YHEC will host a team from Texas joined by Texas YHEC leaders, Jeanette and David Hammonds, Fort Worth.

Hunter Education Staff & Instructors will be involved in many summer camps where hunter education certifications and training are offered.  Feel free to hook up with any of these excellent offerings -- that is, if you can take the hot summers in Texas.

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Two New On-line Vendors Coming Online in July


Hunter Education students 17 years of age or older, will have two new options for certification at TPWD's Online-Only Courses web page, beginning in August.  NRA Hunter Education and HUNTINGsmart are two new vendors, to go with Kalkomey's suite of courses (;; and and the TexasHunterEd course.

TPWD Hunter Education will encourage on-line course graduates to take "Hunting 101s" once YOU set up and instruct such species- and method-specific offerings (e.g. Turkey, Dove or Deer Hunting 101 and Rifle, Handgun or Bow Hunting 101, or Outdoor Survival).

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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