Hunter Education MONTHLY NEWS

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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Courses in Full Swing!

s and J

For Registration Help, Contact Regional Staff!

The air is cooling and hunters are getting out to hunt deer and other game with bows or sighting in and practicing with their firearms for use next month.  Keep in mind that big bore airguns and arrow shooting airguns are now legal methods of take in Texas. (See Outdoor Annual)  We will plan workshops to help instructors become more familiar with the equipment along with more workshops on arrow lethality (, use of non-toxic ammunition ( and other wounding reduction strategies. HE staff members in Austin field hundreds of questions this time of year from instructors and students.  Instructor top questions include setting up or "resetting" courses that are closed out. Students call primarily to obtain their hunter education certificates (which aren't showing up online) or to update their addresses.  In either case, if YOU have any needs, first contact your regional specialist (see contact information below).  If you cannot reach him/her, call Austin hunter education staff -- primarily Eddie or myself or the general HE number (512-389-4999). Here's hoping you get OUTDOORS this hunting season! 

Photo: Steve Hall (L) and Johnnie Smith, O&E Director, "Getting out!"  in October.

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Dove Hunting Accidents Spike in September

dove hunting

 SAFE ZONES OF FIRE - #1 Objective

A wave of dove hunting incidents hit in early September, much higher than normal.  Prevention of such accidents in basic hunter education courses continues to be a top learning objective! And, this is on the heels of TPWD releasing a new video on this very subject! SAFE ZONES OF FIRE

A total of 12 nonfatal incidents occurred the first three weeks of September, nine of which were hunters shooting on game outside of a safe zone of fire.  Three incidents involved faulty equipment or obstructions in barrel, an anomaly since these are rare mishaps. Remember to use the latest TX HUNTING INCIDENT REPORTS and information in you courses, and when you speak with the press or use social media.  (Note: 2018 was the last official report; the official 2019 incident report will be out February 2020.)

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Hunter Education Workshops and Courses


Kerr WMA Hosts Wildlife Management 101

"Deer eat and deer breed!" is an adage at the Kerr WMA and participants were able to go through a variety of wildlife management and habitat projects featured at the WMA and why such strategies are important in today's conservation successes.  Instructors and the public, mainly landowners and students, were treated to a day of learning about WMA projects, research and educational opportunities relating to deer and hog research, along with endangered species such as the black-capped vireos.  The longstanding research is sought by biologists and educators to show why the "axe, plow, cow, fire and gun" are effective tools!


The 'deer pens' are a popular attraction this time of year, prior to biologists removing the antlers and comparing them to the nutrition and genetics of generations of deer monitored at Kerr WMA.  Other topics important to hunter education instructors included:

  • Kerr WMA Management Efforts
  • Deer Research - Past & Present
  • Chronic Wasting Disease
  • Feral Swine Research & Ecology
  • Field Trip - Hands-on Tour of WMA

Texas Training Crew to the Rescue

Recently, one of our long time instructors, Dennis Cunningham, Emory, suffered a medical setback and was admitted to the hospital, but had a Hunter Education course scheduled that he didn't want to cancel.  He, through his wife, Lisa, reached out to Texas Parks and Wildlife, who then contacted Area Chief and Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association president, Lindsay Hodgdon, Rockwall.  Lindsay contacted instructor, Debbie Ferrell, Ladonia, and together they stepped up to help Dennis with the course at the last minute.  Thankfully, Dennis is back to good health, working out, and getting ready to go on an elk hunt In New Mexico.  Way to go, team and Dennis!


Combo Hunter & Bowhunter Instructor Course in New Caney Rescheduled for Oct 16th!

Join us for the RESCHEDULED combo hunter and bowhunter education INSTRUCTOR COURSE OCTOBER 16th (Wednesday) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the East Montgomery County Improvement District located at 21575 U.S. Hwy 59 North in New Caney. Duke Walton will cover the "Skills Trail'' along with HE Program, Policies & Procedures and using the new ORS system for registration of your courses and students.

The class had to be listed from 8-12 for Hunter Education Instructor, and 1-5 for Bowhunter Education Instructor, but all materials will overlap throughout the day. 

Therefore, you MUST sign up on BOTH links, below:

Hunter Education Instructor link:

Bowhunter Education Instructor link:

For student course information and further instructions on preparing for the instructor courses, please contact:


Texas A&M Kingsville Hunter Ed

To: Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, Corpus Christi Hunter Education Instructors and Corpus Christi Gun Club

"On behalf of our students and the RWSC Department at TAMUK, thank you so much for providing our students with Hunter Education training and experience handling firearms.  Only about half of the students had previous experience with firearms and all students enjoyed the experience.  We offer our Introduction to Range and Wildlife Management (RWSC 2330) every Fall and Spring semester.  We would like to continue this experience each semester, if possible.  Again, thank you for your support. It was very much appreciated."

Scott Henke, PhD; Regents Professor & Chair; Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences Department

Hunter Education Instructor, Vincent Lecca, Buda, taught yet another course and took a photo with his students upon completion.  Keep up the great work in Central TX!


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Hunter Education Outreach Events

Texas Hunter Education & Youth Shooting Sports at WMAs

MO Neasloney Wildlife Management Area

Thanks to Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, who annually conducts activities at the Neasloney including Lasershot Dove Hunting Simulator and Hunter Safety.  He and other Hunter Education staff also do an event at the Chaparral WMA in October, along with area hunter education instructors.  These FIELD and LIVE-FIRE events are for Ag. Students that take hunter education in the high schools.

neasloney 2

Lonesome Dovefest Youth Day

Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist and Morgan Harbison, C TX, once again, coordinated hunter education and shooting sports "youth day" activities for over 240 regional Agriculture Science students at the annual Lonesome Dovefest in Karnes City the day prior to the South TX Dove Season opener.  TPWD Hunter Education staff have been at the Lonesome Dove Festival for over 20 years and continue to educate students annually.


Hunter Education stations included wildlife "skins, skulls, scats and tracks" (below) with Area Chief Junior Munoz, Austwell, and Lasershot Dove Hunting and Safety simulation -- as well as shotgun shooting stations set up by Harbison, who also serves as the statewide mobile shooting sports coordinator. Thanks to Jeanette Wynn and the Lonesome Dovefest Committee for sponsoring the Youth Event for Agriculture Science classes.  These "mini-expos" are excellent opportunities for hunter education instructors to educate high school in Hunting 101 advanced hunter education classes!


Take Me Outdoors (TMOH) - Houston

Every year, Heidi Rao, SE Hunter Education Specialist, spearheads TPWD Hunter Education involvement at Discovery Green in downtown Houston. As with Lonesome Dovefest, it has been important for hunter education instructors to educate those in inner cities on the importance of hunting to conservation and firearm safety among other topics.  Below (L to R): Thomas Booth - Humble, Duke Walton - Porter, James Davis - Pasadena, Bob Boswell - Georgetown, Joe Drobniak - Friendswood, and Richard Powell - Orange, educate urbanites on wildlife and hunter safety at TMOH. Congratulations for having a non-hurricane day in Houston!


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Student Air Riflery (SAR) Training Programs Held


Patterned after the successful National Archery in Schools Program (NASP), SAR simply replaces the bow/arrows with air rifles/non-toxic pellets -- for safe use in gyms and on campuses. SAR will introduce thousands to firearm safety and fun, safe live-fire and target shooting exercises within their hunter education coursework in schools and at summer camp programs.  TPWD and its partner, Texas State Rifle Association Foundation, launched TX SAR in December 2018, and has fully implemented the program beginning this year. Be on the lookout for trainings in your region and be sure to contact your regional staff member (see contacts below) if you are interested in hosting a training!  Above are teachers taught by HE Regional Specialists Randy Spradlin (W TX - L), Monica Bickerstaff (N TX - Upper R) and Heidi Rao (SE TX - Lower R) who teamed up to host the Canutillo ISD along with retired Game Warden and volunteer instructor, Mike Legarretta..  Congratulation to the new BARIs!

Below are teachers that attended the annual Texas Outdoor Education Association teacher training workshop held at HEB Camps near Leakey the last weekend in September.  Participants got a feel for how to use SAR in hunter education courses, especially in schools and at camp setting such as those provided by the HEB Camps.


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Hunter Education Instructor Profiles


Jose Garcia, Irving (Area Chief - 1993)

Why I became a Hunter Education VOLUNTEER – I was already volunteering with scouts so I saw HE as opportunity to continue to pass on my knowledge to the youth.

My most prized sporting arm 50 caliber Thompson Center Traditional Muzzleloader Hawken RifleI enjoy shooting with open sights and with a muzzleloader you need to be a better hunter to get close to your game.

My favorite huntWhite-tailed Deer - They are smart animals (except during the rut) and are a challenge to outwit.

My tee-shirt would say – “Hunting is a privilege and not a benefit.  Protect it!

PHOTO:  Jose celebrating another anniversary (52) with his beautiful wife, Yolanda. CONGRATS!

Kirk McClelland

Kirk McClelland, San Antonio (2013 - Photo: on right)

Why I became a Hunter Education VOLUNTEER - I took Hunter Education in 2013 from Johnny Rodriguez in San Antonio.  I was impressed with the program and thought "I can do this and it would be fun!”  I took my instructor training from Benny Ham and Brock Minton and began team teaching with Benny and Johnny Rodriguez in 2014.  Now, Charles Marcus and I split lead instructor duties at San Antonio's Bass Pro Shops.  It's fun and rewarding interaction with the young people of South Texas!

My most prized sporting arm - 20-gauge Belgium Browning for quail (inherited from my grandfather) and a 12-gauge Browning Citori for pheasant and chukar.

My favorite hunt Upland game hunting with my children and fabulous dogs - Favorite hunt was with all three of my kids hunting pheasant in Tipton, Kansas, at the Ring Neck Ranch last October.

My tee-shirt would say Protect the legacy... take a kid hunting!

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HE Instructor Conference in May - SAVE THE DATES!


The Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association conference committee has set the dates/location for the next Conference!  Expect an AREA CHIEF Meeting Friday evening followed by training workshops and an Awards Dinner on Saturday to recognize instructors statewide.  Please come! 

THEIA Appoints New Treasurer and is Seeking to Fill Board Positions

THEIA president, Lindsay Hodgdon, Rockwall, announced in September the appointment of a new treasurer, Ms. Patricia Sias,  "She comes highly recommended and brings a great skill set to the table that I feel will be beneficial to THEIA as we make the journey into 2020," said Hodgdon.  He also announced the vacancies of the following board positions that need representation from instructors in those regions and wants nominees from THEIA board members by October 30th.  If you are interested in applying, please email Hodgdon at

  • Vice President (Statewide) -  Vacant; not up for election
  • Director Region 2 (DFW - North TX Area) – Vacant; up for election 
  • Director Region 4 (Houston Area) - Vacant; up for election 
  • Director Region 6 ( Lubbock Area) – Vacant; up for election 

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OGT Clay Shoot Charity Event Oct 4th


Dripping Springs Clay Stoppers Shootout

Oct 04, 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Hog Heaven Sporting Club, 24905 Ranch Rd 12, Dripping Springs,

Join us for a 100 clay target course, lunch, live auction and raffle.


Operation Game Thief is in its third decade of success preventing illegal behavior and apprehending poachers!  Thanks OGT!


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State Youth Hunter Education Challenge in October


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 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  

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Outdoor Adventures Program in Schools a Success!


Scott McClure, Outdoor Adventures Program Coordinator Recognized

Scot McClure, Outdoor Adventures Coordinator, Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation, was recognized recently for officially reaching 500 schools in Texas with the Outdoor Education curriculum in middle schools and high schools -- a curriculum that includes hunter education and that is expanding to other schools/states. An Area Chief instructor and former high school principal, one of the first schools trained in the National Archery in Schools Program, has taken outdoor education to a very high level!  He and the program are certainly deserving of the recognition.  We say onward and upward, Scot!  For information about the program, email Scot at to their web site at for information!

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IHEA-USA Launches "Hunters Connect"


IHEA & Partners Create Digital Media Tools to Help New Hunters Clear Hurdles to Get Outside

IHEAS-USA News Release : Hunters Connect will answer How-To, Where-To, When-To and What-To for Those Entering Hunting for First Time.

More than 600,000 new hunters go through hunter education courses annually in the U.S. and the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA-USA) is continually striving to communicate with those hunters using a variety of methods. Hunters Connect, part of HunterEd.Com, a new HunterEd R3 outreach program, was created to leverage digital media tools that lower the hurdles facing new hunters. Available beginning August 5, the Hunters Connect digital video library will provide the “how-to,” “where-to,” “when-to,” “what-to” for new hunters.

These topics will cover what new hunters want to know yet have struggled to find as the mentor-based culture has changed. From purchasing and applying for licenses, selecting firearms and bows, choosing gear, reading maps, tactics for hunting
different species, food care and prep, and everything in between, Hunters Connect will speak to the Millennial and Gen Z generations and those adult onset hunters just entering hunting. The existing library will be enhanced with a weekly video added every Monday and distributed via all social media channels; YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and email.


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Hunter Education Staff & Contact Information


(From L to R) - Morgan Harbison (Central TX HE Specialist), Steve Hall (HQ, HE Coordinator), Heidi Rao (Southeast TX HE Specialist), Monica Bickerstaff (North TX HE Specialist); Eddie Kleppinger (HQ, HE Admin. Asst.), Brock Minton (South TX HE Specialist), Randy Spradlin (West TX HE Specialist)

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 w/c

C TX, Morgan Harbison, College;

HQ, Steve Hall, Coord.; 512-389-8140 w; 550-7330 c; Eddie Kleppinger, Asst.,; 512-389-8142 w

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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