Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Giving Thanks!


Our Hunting Heritage -- Nothing stirs our memories more than at Thanksgiving time!

Ahhh ... November!  The traditional opening of the Texas general deer season provokes memories for a lifetime! The Thanksgiving holidays are loaded with even more remembrances -- the best kind -- including hunting with family and friends, scrumptious appetizers, football, great spirits and cheer and, of course, the Thanksgiving family dinner, perhaps including wild game!

My fondest memories include annual treks to Iowa to hunt pheasants, waterfowl, rabbits and quail, especially on Thanksgiving morning when we hunted a huge weed patch 'saved' specifically for us.  It remains top of the list as I think back on my family's hunting heritage.

Today, I am proud to say that my wife's and my son and daughter also hold hunting and the shooting sports as a way of life -- with different, yet similar, memories each hunting season.  Our kid's hunting memories consist mainly of Texas whitetails, turkeys and feral hogs with a few dove, waterfowl and javelina hunts in the mix.

This Thanksgiving, I hope you get to make magical outdoor moments with your family and friends.  Our "way of life" is most certainly changing -- given fragmenting landscapes, habitat loss, urbanization, computerized technologies and human population growth. Still, I hope you get the chance to "step back in time" as you venture forth this Thanksgiving!  Life is Certainly Better Outside!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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SAR Training Nov. 28th - Houston; Jan. 19th - DFW


TSRA Foundation to Sponsor SAR Program in Texas in Partnership with TPWD Hunter Education Program.

Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program -  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with the TSRA Foundation, are teaming up to host the first-ever Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program in Texas on Wednesday, Nov 28th (Trainers Nov. 26-28th-- note date adjustments), at Edward Roberson Middle School in the Spring ISD, in Houston.  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 YOU want to become a teacher or trainer, please email or

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 Houston 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.) 

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From TYHP - "Sign up for Youth Hunts NOW!"




Congratulations on completing Hunter Education!  Now you can benefit from that success.  In the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) we give priority to youth that have not hunted. This gives you, a new HE graduate, a unique opportunity. Think you cannot afford the $150 fee? No problem!  Let us know, and we can provide a scholarship. Don’t have a rifle? No problem! We have those, too! Go to the web site to register, today!

THERE ARE 109 EVENTS currently posted and TYHP has completed 56 events so far this season. Start by creating an account (free) on our website at: 

If we can help, do not hesitate to call 210-930-2177."

- Chris Mitchell, TYHP Director

PHOTO:  Youth "SUPERHUNT" Near Stonewall - to be held January 4-6, 2019

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Youth Hunter Education Challenge Held in Arlington


Above: (L to R) Clayton Golden, Hannah Ventura, Hunter Hinz and Bryce Baca take home medals at the Annual NRA Youth Hunter Education State Challenge held in early October at the Arlington Sportsman's Club. Left: Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor, David Hammonds, Ft. Worth, is shown here awarding a muzzleloader to Hannah Ventura. Jeanette Hammonds, also Area Chief, worked behind the scenes to make sure that YHEC program succeeds in Texas.


(L to R) Bryce Baca, Clay Nesvadba, Hunter Hinz, Christopher Dean and Ethan Hemsath were honored by David Hammonds for winning awards at the recent Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Several of the teams and some individuals will get to travel to Raton, NM in the summer of 2019 to compete in the national competition on behalf of Texas.  Go Texas YHEC!

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Hunter Ed Happenings - Staff/Instructor Photos


Heidi Rao - 20 Years of Service!

SE TX Hunter Education Specialist, Heidi Rao, received her 20-Year plaque, pin and congratulations from TPWD represented by TPWD Commission Chairman, Ralph Duggins (L) and Executive Director, Carter Smith.  The Hunter Education Program has long been blessed to have Rao as part of the statewide team, especially the instructors in the Greater Houston area.  You go, Heidi! Here's to another 20 years!


Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association Receives Grant!

Joe Delahoussaye, THEIA Board Member, Austin, accepts a grant award from Doug Dubois, Jr. fellow hunter education instructor, Austinite and Huntmaster with the Austin Woods and Waters (AWW) Club at AWW's annual McBride Conservation Foundation Banquet held in late October near Creedmore. Congrats THEIA!


Area Chief, Duke Walton, Porter, is active on all fronts and, along with his hunter education wife, Saralyn, his family members and his good friend and Area Chief, Bob Boswell, he traverses the state conducting courses, hunts and events --this one at Sports Fest 2018.  If you have any fur sources, Duke is looking for some to complete his vast collection that he exhibits at shows, fairs and festivals like the NASP state tourney.  Email him at: if you have some furs that are fading away in a box, garage or den.  He needs skins of gray squirrel, fisher, prairie dog, ringtail, chinchilla, wolverine, mule deer, javelina, marmot, eastern black squirrel, woodchuck and small pieces of moose and bison hides.  He can use migratory waterfowl and fish, too, if you know of sources.


Vincent Lecca, Buda, held yet another successful course, this time a FIELD Course near Buda.  Lecca teaches at locations in Buda, Bee Caves, New Braunfels and Austin.  He is an Angler Education Area Chief and a certified TX Master Naturalist, along with Bowhunter & Hunter Education Instructor and TYHP Huntmaster. Keep it up, Vince!


Glenn Hayes, Fredericksburg, received this nice note from a father who attended Glenn's class back in October.  This is the proverbial reward for most instructors, to know that they ARE MAKING a DIFFERENCE in PEOPLE'S LIVES -- elevating their safe, legal and ethical standards, never a bad thing! Keep up the great work, Glenn! See you at the Superhunt in January!


John Rodriguez, Area Chief, San Antonio, sent this note on Veteran's Day.  We will certainly miss having you involved in program, but wish you the best!

"To my veteran brothers I want to thank you for your service.  Happy Veterans Day!

To my fellow volunteer instructors and to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Staff I have decided to retire/resign from this volunteer program effective immediately and I want to wish you all continued success.

I’m very appreciative of everyone’s contributions to my continuing education and for the many valuable friendships I have gained over the past twenty plus years. It's been a real pleasure.

Wishing you all a safe, very memorable upcoming Thanksgiving & Holiday Season."


John Rodriguez

Jose Flores taught a slew of youngsters at Huntsville State Park.  If there ever was a photo depicting hunter education and East Texas --this is it! Way to go, Jose!


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Becoming An Outdoors Woman 25th a SUCCESS!


Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) celebrates its 25th Year!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator, Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, Heidi Rao, SE TX and BOW Coordinator; Brock Minton, S TX, and Monica Bickerstaff N TX and BOW Asst. Coordinator, gather for a group photo at the Texas 4-H Center in early November -- the same location BOW was first held in the fall of 1993.  CONGRATULATIONS to all of the women who participated then and now!

BOW Honors

Heidi Rao and Monica Bickerstaff were honored by the BOW instructors, represented here by TPWD employees, Claire Iseton (L) and Brooke Shipley, for hunter education staff's efforts in coordinating BOW workshops (10 years for Rao), as part of reaching women with hunting & the shooting sports. Iseton and Shipley then went on to honor the instructors with "fun" awards.

John Karger, Last Chance Forever, San Antonio, has been educating Texans on raptors, ecology and conservation for TPWD since before the 1st Wildlife Expo in 1992.  He and his assistant, Kelly Rayner, came to BOW to give yet another show, and exhibit and/or fly their bald eagles, owls, falcons and hawks. We'd like to THANK John and Kelly for your amazing, tireless shows!


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Know Someone Who Wants to be a Game Warden?



Beginning October 1st, TPWD began accepting applications for the next Game Warden & State Park Police Cadet Academy to begin in 2019. See TPWD NEWS RELEASE!

Applications will be accepted until November 16th --this FRIDAY (DEADLINE), so APPLY TODAY!

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TPWD Honored for its Archery Efforts


Archery Trade Association Honors TPWD at AFWA

(L) Dan Forster, Executive Director and (R) Josh Gold of the Archery Trade Association (ATA), present Clayton Wolf, TPWD Wildlife Division Director and Johnnie Smith, TPWD Outreach and Education Director with an R3 Partnership Award at the recent Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Conference in Tampa, FL.  TPWD received the award for hosting the nation's first ATA Archery Academy in 2010, for adopting Explore Bowhunting in 2013, and a Spanish version in 2017.

See full News Release!

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Online Registration System - HE Staff Support

STATE HE ADMIN, Austin - Eddie Kleppinger

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; 512-550-7330c

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  • 26 - 28th – Student Air Rifle (SAR) Program - Houston – SARS Trainer (All 3 days); SARS Teacher (28th only) -


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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