Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Busy Season's Here!



Another proverbial 'busy season' is upon us.  This will be my 36th having served as a program manager for 28 years and an instructor for 7 years in Colorado (3) and Texas (4) -- between my 1st and 2nd stints here at TPWD. One thing that has not changed over that span is human's nature to wait until the last minute, when it is top-of-mind (beginning in August) to be compliant during hunting seasons.  We  hear from many heading to the Western states for elk, mule deer or pronghorn and from those seeking bow hunter education to comply with mandatory states or places like Hagerman NWR. So, best to set up a course NOW! (Go to your account at Online Registration System!

Hunter Ed

PHOTO: Dove Hunting 101 participants learn Optimum Shotgun Performance skills as part of the Houston Dove Hunting 101 course hosted by Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist, in 2017.

Make hunter education FUN by setting up a FIELD COURSE including a hunter skills trail, live-fire exercises and ethics (open) discussion -- hands-on components not learned via computer.  Please make sure field students complete a FREE INTERNET COURSE (TPWD web site only -- not through a search engine).

This year, set up and conduct a HUNTING 101 Course (Advanced Hunter Education). We plan to send email blasts to ONLINE-ONLY (17+) students to complete these new offerings. Teach whatever you feel capable of teaching such as species-specific courses (e.g. dove, turkey, hog, deer, etc.) or method-specific courses (e.g. handguns, rifle, black powder, crossbow, bow hunting). A Hunting 101 seminar (indoors) is 3-4 hours; a workshop is 8 hours; (includes seminar plus a live fire and/or field practicum). Invite a local TPWD biologist and game warden to offer their expertise.  A Mentor Hunt opportunity also can follow a Hunting 101 workshop.  Call your regional staff member if you have questions or further ideas!  We are preparing Power Points, booklets, calls, graduate 'coins', etc., for your use.


Shown here is Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, at the recent Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT) Convention,  along with Randy Spradlin, W TX (staff host), Monica Bickerstaff, N TX, Morgan Harbison, C TX, and me -- all of us in Lubbock to distribute materials and staff an exhibit for Agriculture Science teachers who use the CLASSROOM course as part of their school curricula. Thanks to Boy Scout Troops # 406 and # 575 who assisted with delivering supplies, including 15,000+ manuals and Project ChildSafe Gun Locks!

Have FUN teaching and happy, SAFE hunting seasons!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Vocational Agriculture Teachers Meet at Convention


A total of 77 Agriculture Science Teachers completed an Instructor Course taught by TPWD hunter education staff.  During the indoor session, teachers learned how to use the new Online Registration System and set up 'private courses' for their students. Ag Teachers certify over 15,000 students a year -- a great "win-win" relationship since 1988!


Volunteer Instructor, Burt Montgomery, Lubbock, teaches the Hunter Skills Trail to Agriculture Science Teachers as part of their Hunter Education Instructor Course prior to the VATAT Conference in Lubbock.  Area Chiefs John Dea and Norris Percival, Lubbock, and Tom Fine, Decatur, assisted HE STAFF with location, set up, skills trail and/or live-fire, and Game Warden Shannon Chambliss presented game laws/ethics. THANKS everyone!

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Hunting Season Updates - 2018/2019 Seasons


What is New for Upcoming Season?

  • Dove Season - Opening of the general season in the South Zone is Sept. 14th, earliest date since 1950
  • Clarifies deer antler restriction regulations that state in each county where antler restrictions are imposed, a person who takes a buck in violation of antler restrictions is prohibited from subsequently harvesting any buck deer with branched antlers on both main beams in that county during that current deer season.
  • Simplified the archery regulations by removing requirements for broadhead hunting points (2 cutting edges; cutting width of 7/8").  Also removed crossbow requirements (minimum pull of 125 pounds; minimum stock length of 25").

See entire NEWS RELEASE here.

PROMOTE THE Outdoor Annual APP in your courses!

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Game Wardens Graduate from Cadet Academy

game wardens

A total of 30 Game Wardens and State Park Police Officers graduated from the Academy on July 30th and have been assigned their new counties and parks. See NEWS RELEASE here. As you recall from past Target Talks, each cadet also was certified to teach hunter, boater and bow hunter education along with conducting game warden interviews for volunteers and teachers, investigating hunting incidents and helping YOU with classes and events in your region. CONGRATS!  (PHOTO:  Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, assist cadets with their teaching exercise in January 2018 at the TPWD Law Enforcement Training Academy near Hamilton, TX.)

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Please Set Up Your FALL CLASSES Today!

Ivan B.

SPANISH SPEAKING COURSES SET IN HOUSTON - Bilingual Hunter Education Instructor, Ivan Benavides, Pasadena, shown here taking his son thru live-fire exercises, will be teaching Spanish-speaking hunter education  courses on September 29th and November 18th at the Bass Pro Shops in Pearland.


  1. Sign into your account (upper right) - User Name (Email) and Password)
  2. Create Course Location - If not currently in your course locations list
  3. Add New Course - Classroom or Field; Public or Private
  4. Monitor Attendance - Be sure to select the course and hit 'Show' button
  5. Close Out Course - Mark Attendance, Grades, Prep/Taught Hours
  6. Make Payment Online - Using preferred method (credit card)

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Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program Coming in 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, SAR 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 News & Contributions


Brent Heath, Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor, Waco, teaches hunter education instructor and student courses, as well as Hunting 101s  such as "Wilderness Survival" within the McLennan College Continuing Education Curricula.  Brent has developed such a good relationship with the college, he was featured on its 2018 Syllabus of Courses. Brent was recently honored at "North Texas Regional Instructor of the Year" for his efforts, which also include outreach (e.g. upcoming hunter safety exhibit at a Waco exposition) and Mentor Hunts such as at Lake Waco -- a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnership.  Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Regional Hunter Education Specialist, who manages several mentor hunts in Brent's area, said, "I call upon Brent all of the time and he always responds with a 'Yes'!"  Thanks, Brent, for your contributions!

Wild Game

Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor, Duke Walton, Porter, volunteered to represent Texas Parks and Wildlife at a recent Houston Central Market Wild Game Cooking Class featuring the preparation of wild boar, quail, fish, shrimp and other wild game. The program is part of TPWD's efforts to Tapping into Locavores as Potential Hunters - a strategy within the R3 National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan.  Eating healthy, organic foods -- something that hunters and anglers know as a "Way of Life!" -- is in the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of an entire wave of newcomers. Participants learn that they either need to learn how to hunt and fish (e.g. hunter/angler education) -- or get to know hunting/angling friends who will donate meat to their families and their palates.


All in the Family 

Assistant Hunter Education Instructor, Brittney Yargo, Porter, granddaughter of Area Chief, Duke Walton, teamed up with Hunter Education Instructor, Richard Powell, Orange, Duke's nephew, to teach the Safari Club International's FREE, annual Hunter Education Course in Houston for an average of 100 students each year. 

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Online Registration System - HE Staff Support

N TX Monica Bickerstaff, D/FW; 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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Please promote both National Shooting Sports Month in August (National Shooting Sports Foundation) and National Hunting & Fishing Day on September 22nd.  Tie together your promotions of hunter education coursework with these national awareness campaigns which promote firearm safety and handling every step of the way.  If you would like to promote Project ChildSafe in your courses, there are FREE gun locks available through your supply orders at 20 per box. Be sure to add them at the bottom of your orders! THINK SAFETY FIRST!

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"Top Ten" Lists - Useful in Prioritizing Your Lessons


PHOTO:  Aldo Leopold, Father of Wildlife Management and author of famous ethical prose such as books like A Sand County Almanac, is a motivation towards the Land Ethic, including Hunting as an integral Wildlife Management tool. His famous SHACK serves as the background for much of his writings and is visited by thousands today.

Last year, I developed a tool based on the best data available to identify the key problems exhibited by hunters, so you can attack them directly within the scope of your coursework.  These "TOP TEN" lists (under the password-protected INSTRUCTOR RESOURCES Page at TPWD Web Site) follow the five main GOALS of teaching:

  1. Being SAFE
  2. Being LEGAL
  3. Being ETHICAL (e.g. fair chase, public image)
  4. Taking a GOOD SHOT
  5. Taking CARE of GAME

Such priorities should help you 'restructure' your classroom presentations and field courses to the benefit of students -- our mission.  We also will work with our student manual publisher and online vendors to ensure that these problems are addressed within each of their products and curricula.  Use them to guide your efforts and feel free to contact hunter education staff if you have recommendations.              

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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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