Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Passing on our Passion!


In May, my wife, Karen, and I witnessed another milestone in our family -- to go with our son's, Ryan's, marriage in April. This time it was our daughter, Sarah, earning her Master's in Ocean Science & Technology from Texas A&M (Whoop!). Combining her love for scuba diving (dive master), underwater video & photography, travel and science, she will be seeking a 'vocation' in something about which she is passionate -- coral/ocean research! Like her father in his work, she is also passionate about shaping human behavior towards natural resource and outdoor stewardship.

Sarah and Steve

Our 'avocation' should be no different -- we do what we are passionate about -- and, in our case, it is about voluntarily passing on the hunting heritage and teaching safe, responsible, knowledgeable behaviors in the outdoors. I wish all of you the opportunity to do what you love as both a job and a hobby -- makes life more rich and rewarding!  To have family & friends by which to enjoy both -- well, consider yourself blessed!  I know I do!

This summer, schedule your courses, but also get outdoors, stay cool and do something FUN and meaningful with your family & friends!

AND, be sure to find YOUR instructor number if listed in this issue of Target Talk!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator   

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Top Instructors Recognized for 2018 Incentive Points


The annual Hunter Education Instructor Conference in April served as a venue by which to recognize the 2018 Incentive Point Level recipients. This month, firearm recipients will receive a Cabela's Gift Card from the Texas Hunter Education Instructors Association (THEIA) for their accomplishments. Thanks to ALL instructors for achieving hire levels -- incentives are TPWD's way of THANKING YOU for you continued involvement in the program.  PHOTOLt. Col. Game Warden, Danny Shaw, was recognized with a double-barrel shotgun from fellow employees during his going-away celebration -- to go along with an honorary BUCK Knife for his involvement in hunter education since 1986. Happy retirement, Danny!

SHOTGUN AWARD - 3,500 Point Level - Eric Ochoa, Santa Elena (3,587)

RIFLE AWARDS - 3,000 Point Level - Thomas "Buck" Seitz, Austin (3,321); Don Houser, Fort Worth (3,267); Stephan Polansky, Dallas (3,242); Keith Martz, Highland Village (3,095); Brent Heath, Waco (3,069); Will Stilley, Grand Prairie (3,062); Jeff Anderson, Magnolia (3,054); Henry Allen, San Marcos (3,017); Daniel Garcia, Ingleside (3,002); Larry Arnold, Kerrville (3,002)           #8459

HANDGUN AWARD - 2,500 Point Level - Dan Mannering, Carrollton (2,679); Kathy Harrison, Pasadena (2,625); John Rao, Houston (2,544); Suzy Duffek, Dallas (2,537)

CUSTOM 'BUCK' KNIFE - 2,000 Point Level - John Rao, Houston (2,544); David Maddox, La Coste (2,061); Ivan Benavides, Pasadena (2,056) - Lee Koning, Terrell (2,051)

Thanks, again, to sponsors of the conference, whose proceeds go towards the Incentive Point program: PLATINUM sponsor - Kalkomey Enterprises  (; GOLD sponsors, Sig-Sauer, Lonesome Dove Fest, McBride Conservation Foundation (Austin Woods and Waters); SILVER sponsors - 1st Campro, Academy, Outdoor Edge, Birchwood-Casey, Midway USA, NRA and Lasershot.

theia original

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More Hunter Education Instructor Awards Presented


CENTRAL TEXAS - John Polasek, College Station, Area Chief Instructor, was presented a Regional Instructor of the Year Award by Central Texas Hunter Education Specialist, Morgan Harbison, and Denise Harmel-Garza, THEIA Treasurer, and Hunter Education Leader with Agrilife Extension. John accrued 226 points in 2018 and has earned over 7,000 in the program.  He conducts many instructor and student courses near College Station and outreach events, typically in Houston.



PARTNER AWARD - Arlington Sportsman’s Club (ASC) - Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, presented ASC President, Jim Seidenschmidt, with the Annual Partner Award during a club meeting. ASC has supported TPWD Hunter Education Program, Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association (THEIA) and the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge for 12 years free-of-charge! They actively teach hunter education (teaching team) and work with other DFW Hunter Education partners to support local hunter education course efforts and events. Congratulations ASC!  Thanks for your support of hunter education in N TX!



PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR AWARD - Lloyd Love, Memorial High School, Pasadena, received his Professional Educator of the Year Award from Heidi Rao, S TX Hunter Education Specialist while at a Pasadena ISD board meeting. "Coach Love" has also been the recipient of the prestigious Dallas Safari Club "Educator of the Year". Said Rao at the conference, "The Outdoor Education program he’s developed at his high school is none like I’ve ever seen."  As evidenced below with his school and students receiving TX National Archery in Schools Program awards, Love's efforts include hunter education, angling, archery, and the Student Air Riflery (SAR) program. He accrued 360 points in 2018.  Congratulations Lloyd!

Lloyd Love (2)


Jeanette and David Hammonds, Fort Worth, received the T.D. Carroll Award from THEIA president, Lindsay Hodgdon, during the annual awards banquet. The highest honor bestowed on a THEIA member/Hunter Education Instructor by the Association, the award is named after the first Hunter Education Coordinator in Texas who exemplified Honor


Hammonds (2)

Said Hodgdon, "The Hammonds have worked hard on behalf of THEIA, especially in their coordination of the annual Youth Hunter Education Challenge."  The Hammonds also received a Hunter Education Instructor TEAM Award at the conference (see May Target Talk), and were recognized once more during an Arlington Sportsman's Club Meeting by N TX Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff.    #23715

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State/National Youth Hunter Education Challenges


Arlington Sportsman's Club (ASC) Hosting YHEC OCT 2019

The Texas Youth Hunter Education Challenge, for youth ages 9-18, is scheduled for Saturday, October 12th, at Arlington Sportsman's Club, 11500 CR 525, Mansfield, TX 76063, from 7 am to 7 pm. Cost is $35.00 (includes T-Shirt and  meal). Extra meals are $8.00 each -- to be noted on registration form.

To obtain registration forms, please contact:

Deborah Laughman, Texas State YHEC Treasurer; 6249 E. FM 916; Grandview, TX 76050;; 817-991-5525. Return completed forms to Deborah Laughman with check made payable to YHEC Outdoor Sports, the memo line should state “YHEC Registration.”

Deadline for registration is September 30, 2019.  (Note: There will be a $10 fee added for registrations received after 9/30/18.) This is both a spectator and participant event, so families and friends are invited. 

There are 6 scoring events: 22 cal. rim-fire rifle, muzzle-loading rifle, shotgun, archery, a combination wildlife identification/hunter skills trail, and a 'hunter responsibility' exam.  Olympic style medals will be awarded for first, second, third and fourth place in each event. You must provide your own equipment and ammunition, but there is some loaner equipment available, in case a participant lacks the necessary equipment. Teams that have been involved in the Challenge are certainly invited, once again, but, if you can put together a team between now and October, please consider it (especially Professional Educators and 4-H Clubs).

If you have questions or you want to VOLUNTEER for the event, please contact:

David Hammonds, Texas State YHEC Director; 153 Scott Lane; Weatherford, TX 76085;; 817-915-4294


West Region YHEC, Bentonville, AR - JULY 22-27th, 2019

Location is Benton Quail Facility; 11570 Hwy 72 (5.4 miles from Bentonville on Hwy 72 going towards Hiwasse). Check in for volunteers is July 22-23; with Orientation at 1pm on 23rd.  YHEC Event is July 24th through July 26th. Closing ceremonies are July 27th.  For a Volunteer Form, contact       #22358

YHEC (2)

"The winner of the Texas Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) Shotgun Raffle was Peter Vallandigham. The prize was a Remington Model 1100 Shotgun. We want to thank everyone who participated. The funds will be used to help defray the costs of sending a Senior Youth Team to the West Region YHEC in Bentonville, AR, in July."

David and Jeanette Hammonds, Area Chief HE Instructors, Ft. Worth

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IHEA-USA Conference, Awards and News


"The annual 2019 IHEA-USA Business Conference was held in Orange Beach, Alabama. IHEA-USA praised the Department of Natural Resources of Alabama and their volunteers for being great hosts.  There were over 150 registered attendees who traveled from all over the US, Canada, Mexico and Guam to be at the conference. IHEA-USA thanks all who support Hunter Education throughout each year, especially the nearly 55,000 volunteer instructors and over 650,000 students in the U.S. Next year’s annual conference will be hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Jupiter, Florida, May 19-21, 2020." See 'Award Winners' and read more at IHEA-USA.ORG.

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Henry Allen, San Marcos ( Certified 1978)

Why I became a VOLUNTEER - I taught Outdoor Education in high school and part of the curriculum was the Hunter Education. In order to certify the students, I attended the Hunter Education Instructor course in 1977.

My most prized sporting arm - .30 cal. Luger - A close friend gave me the sporting arm, so it has a lot of sentimental value.

My favorite huntWhite-tailed deer - with my 9-year old grandson on his 1st hunt.  

My tee-shirt would say“Learn from every experience!”


Charles Snowden, Jr., Atlanta (Certified 1988)

VOLUNTEER - I became an instructor in the summer of 1988 after attending the class in Austin led by Darrell Holt who passed a year later.  This was at the request of fellow Instructor, David Rice, who said the Northeast Texas Area needed some more instructors. Later I became an Area Chief.

My most prized sporting arm - Remington M 700 ADL 30-06 - with the special treated barrel that was very limited in production.  I acquired it from a friend who needed a shotgun, so I traded him my Remington Model 870, 20ga. plus $100.00.  It has never needed adjustment to the Weaver Widefield scope in 30 years.  It has never missed a lethal one-shot kill on many the species of animals that it has harvested for me.  My friend is begging to buy it back, but to no avail!

My favorite huntTennessee Boar Hunt -  Nov. 3, 1972 I harvested the largest European Wild Boar in the state of Tennessee and had a shoulder mount that I have loaned to the local high school Ag. Bldg. for display for their wildlife class.  The students dress it with different hats and sunglasses throughout the year!

Tee Shirt:  “Great Wildlife Management -- begins with knowledge and ends with getting your hands dirty!”    #19044

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NSSF Project Child Safe Received $1M Texas Donation!


Project Childsafe is excited to announce the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) have released a new video series, "Many Paths to Firearm Safety," to help new and potential gun owners understand their responsibilities if they decide to keep firearms in the home.

The new videos are viewable online on the Project ChildSafe website and will be widely shared on social media.

For more information, please visit  To order locks for your students, please note quantity on your hunter education supply order forms, while supplies last.

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POINT Hosts Annual Firearms Event at Elm Fork


Turning Point hosted it annual firearms clinic April 7th at Elm Fork Shooting Sports in Dallas with the help of hunter education instructors and staff. Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist reported that 26 physically challenged adults participated in archery, wrist rocket, rifle, pistol and shotgun shooting for the day. (Below) Hunter education instructor and THEIA board representative, Deb Ferrell, Wisdom, coached at the handgun stations.


Michael "Shorty" Powers' started POINT (Paraplegics On Independent Nature Trips) in 1979 and passed in June 2016. His non-profit organization continues providing FREE adapted outdoor recreational activities and adventures for people with physical challenges, and has been a TPWD partner since the 1990s including 20 years of hunts.

Ken Carden, (below L) receives thanks from a participant for helping him at the pistol station.  Thanks to all for a great event!    #33995

Elm fork

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In Memory...TX Program Loses Two More Legacies

Jim M

Jim Markle - Forney (Certified 1995) - Area Chief

Jim passed February 12th.  He was a pillar working with the Grand Prairie Gun Club. As an Area Chief, Jim was part of a team of instructors who received the Team of the Year Award and played a leadership role over the last several years.  He taught for over 20 years, with over 115 courses and accruing a total of 3,451 incentive points.  Survived by his wife, Charlotte & family, he will be greatly missed by the dedicated hunter education instructors in the DFW area. RIP Jim!


Joe Schaefer, Arlington (Certified 1971)

Joe passed on April 15th.  A longtime volunteer Hunter Education Instructor, Joe also was the consummate conservationist, Arlington Sportsman's Club Leader (member 50 years) and gave freely of his heart and friendship to many in the outdoor community.  According to his Obituary, "Joe's love of art brought a new career of bronze casting, which he started in his garage. Schaefer Art Bronze then grew to a full-fledged business and is still in operation. After his family, including wife, Mary Kay, of 53 years, his love was for the outdoors, particularly hunting, especially in Alaska and Africa. RIP Joe!

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Hunter Education Staff and Contact Information


PHOTO (From L to R) - Heidi Rao (SE TX), Randy Spradlin (W TX), Morgan Harbison (C TX), Brock Minton (S TX), Steve Hall (TPWD HQ), Monica Bickerstaff (N TX)

N TX, Monica Bickerstaff, D/FW; 469-601-8349 w/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 w; 512-550-7330 c

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Get Ready for VATAT in late July!

The Vocational Agriculture Science Teachers Association of Texas Annual Conference for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources will be held July 28- August 2 in Corpus Christi, Texas at the Convention Center. As always, the Ag Clays training will be held on Sunday July 28th and Monday July 29th.  Please get with to reserve your spot. The Hunter & Boater Education Instructor Course will be held Monday, July 29th, beginning at 8am to around 11:30 a.m., then hunter education will finish up at Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle Range beginning at around 1:00pm.  Please contact  Additionally, a workshop entitled, "Teaching Ethics as Part of Hunter Education" will be offered in hopes to help teachers make "Honorable Hunters" out of their hunter education students.  Please contact for more information.  As in years past, also plan to pick up boxes of student manuals and Outdoor Annuals at VATAT!

National Shooting Sports Month® is August! 


Last year’s celebration of National Shooting Sports Month® was a big success. Hundreds of industry partners from manufacturers, retailers, ranges and outdoor media to about a dozen state wildlife agencies all supported this effort in a variety of ways. With your support we can make National Shooting Sports Month a resounding success, which will, in turn, support PR so you can keep doing the great things you are doing for hunters, conservation and wildlife populations.     If you’ve already got some shooting sports related events planned for this August, get on board today by adding them to the events calendar to receive a promotional package consisting of shirts, hats and promotional signage to help raise awareness around the month. Another option to introduce new people to target shooting is by hosting an NSSF®- endorsed First Shots intro. experience.

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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