DEC 2019 Issue: Happy Holidays!

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Coordinator's Column - Happy Hunting Holidays!


The holidays, including Thanksgiving past and the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays, represent 'spikes' (pun intended) in the number of courses demanded and students taught.  Many families figure out, late in the game, that they need proof of hunter education prior to going on that long-awaited hunt over the winter break. It is because of YOU that entire generations of families get to hunt and create holiday memories that will last a lifetime...even forgoing your own weekends, to conduct last-minute courses. THANKS to all of you for the GIFT of unselfish time and passion!

As for my family, I cherish holiday hunts, like our past trips to Iowa to hunt pheasants every Thanksgiving for two decades.  Raising kids on those experiences has been priceless, and that way of life enables us to continue a strong hunting heritage & memorable holiday traditions.

Here's to making more memories...Merry Christmas!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Save the DATES - December Events and 2020!



Student Air Riflery SAR) Instructor Training at London Middle School, Corpus Christi

A SARS Instructor Training Workshop will be held at London Middle School near Corpus Christi, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00  P.M. There is still plenty of room for teachers, statewide, to be trained in the new SAR Program! Go to: SAR Web Site: 

For more information, please contact

PHOTO:  Texas A&M Ag Science career students were trained as SAR instructors Oct. 15th by 4-H Natural Resource/4-H Shooting Sports Leader, Larry Hysmith, and Hunter Education Coordinator, Steve Hall. Gig 'em!

December 27-28th - Upland Game Hunting 101 Workshop in Dumas

Join us and learn all about pheasant and quail hunting and go on an actual hunt!  For more information and to register, go to:  UPLAND GAME HUNTING 101

Contact for more information.


JANUARY - Instructor Meetings

Jan. 11th - DSC Convention & Sporting Expo Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center - LOWER Level; 9:00 - 12:30 pm

Keynote:  TV Host, Biologist & Hunter, Larry Weishuhn

All Instructors who attend will receive FREE PASSES to the Dallas Safari Convention Exhibit Hall on the upper level of the Convention Center.

Larry Weishuhn is a Colorado County, Texas native with a rich hunting and fishing heritage passed on to him by his grandfather and parents. A co-founder of the Texas Wildlife Association, Weishuhn began his professional career as a TPWD wildlife biologist and continued to become a known writer, conservationist, and television show host/producer.

Weishuhn has spent countless hours and traveled thousands of miles hunting all over the world. In Lorie A. Woodward’s August 25, 2015 article entitled, Larry Weishuhn: Conservationist, Communicator and Hunter, Weishuhn states, “For me hunting is as fresh and exciting as it was when I was a kid. I’m blessed that’s the case. My favorite hunt is always the one I’m about to go on.”

Join us as “Mr. Whitetail” shares tokens of his hunting heritage and enlightens us with thoughts as to how we might pass on the hunting heritage to our students.

For more information and to register, email


Jan. 25th - Houston Safari Club Foundation Convention - Hilton Americas Room 343A - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


All Instructors who attend will receive FREE PASSES to the Houston Safari Club Foundation Convention Exhibit Hall. For more information or to register for the instructor meeting, please email



Sponsored by TSRA Foundation - a Partner of TPWD and TX Youth Shooting Sports.

February 1 - TYAS / CCMU Championship - Navasota, CCC Complex

March 14 - TAMU Trap & Skeet Sporting Clays Fundraiser - Spring Branch, Good Bull Ranch

June 7-9 - TPWD Ag Clays 2020 State Tournament - San Antonio, National Sporting Complex - Photo from 2019

For information about TX Youth Shooting Sports programs, email with TPWD or Angela Gerlich, TSRA Foundation Executive Director at



May 1-3rd - THEIA Texas Hunter Education Instructor Conference - . Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Palestine, TX 75801 - Lodging and meals are available on sight at the conference center. Be looking for registration information in upcoming issues of Target Talk and by email. Workshops to include bowhunter education instructor course, Arrow Lethality & Penetration, Non-Lead vs Lead Ammo Demos & Much More!  Be sure to join us for this growing conference in 2020!

Photo: Chris Parish (L) and Leland Brown with the North American "Non-lead Partnership" will demonstrate the effects of lead, particularly in big game hunting, remaining in carcasses throughout the West -- something the hunter education community can not only embrace, but teach throughout the United States.


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Outreach & Education Annual Report - 2019

Annual Report

By the Numbers - Outreach and Education (O&E) Director, Johnnie Smith, has gathered data from each of the section programs and compiled an annual report for 2019 -- including the impacts YOU have had on delivering Hunter Education Program in Texas.  HE highlights of the report include:

  • 55,881 students in 4,605 courses
  • 307 new instructors and 3,410 active instructors (all time high)
  • Volunteer hours - 26,482 = $ 635,568.00 in-kind value/contribution
  • Texas Youth Hunting Program Partner - 1,196 Youth Hunters; 231 Hunts; 32 New Huntmasters; 195 Landowners
  • Texas AgriLife Extension/4-H Partner - 83 Master Volunteers;237 Hunter Education Instructors; 210 Volunteers; 2,167 Participants Trained
  • Mobile Shooting Range - 9,745 Shooters; 4,514 Spectators
  • THEIA Annual Instructor Conference - Uvalde, TX - 67 Instructors
  • Outdoor Woman (2); Hunting for Conservation - Statewide Workshops
  • Hunting Incidents - 17 in CY2018 of which 3 were fatal; 8 HE students

For a copy of the O&E Annual Report, please email

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Hunter Ed Instructors and Staff - Out & About


Jeanette & David Hammonds, Weatherford, each brought home a delicious-eating cow elk from their recent hunt at the Fishtail Ranch, Chama, NM.  Jeanette took hers with a Browning .270 and David with a .300 Weatherby. Congratulations!


Area Chief Duke Walton - Porter, took this nice buck with his crossbow at fellow Area Chief, Bob Boswell's Ranch in South Texas.  Duke used the arrow and broadhead lethality/penetration system introduced to instructors by the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation team at the Hunter Education Instructor conference in Uvalde in April -- then again in East Texas in August.  Look for a follow up workshop at the next conference in April 2020.  Congrats Duke!

Duke et al

Duke and Bob took a trip this past summer along with fellow instructor Clyde McMeans, Jr. - Bellaire (R).  Their stops included: 1) NRA Whittington Center, NM, 2) Mt. Rushmore in SD, 3) Cody Firearms Museum, WY and 4) C Sharps Arms Company, MT.  Bob is the TSRA Wildlife & Hunting Director, so he likely gained much insight towards his next article during their "Wild West" Adventure.

Duke 3

Duke also sends in photos of his hunter education outreach events such as a presentation he and fellow instructor, Thomas Booth, Humble, made about TX wildlife (skulls, skins, signs & behaviors) at the Fall Creek Rehabilitation Center.  These events expand our reach, roles and impact as hunter education instructors. Keep it up!


Johnnie Smith, TPWD Outreach & Education Director, got into the act this hunting season by bagging a nice buck from a tree stand (back upper left).  Though his goal is to use his new bow, arrows and broadheads that he selected based on Ashby Bowhunting Foundation training, he took this buck with his .270 rifle.  Johnnie knows about tree stand safety, partially because of a 2016 TPWD video production he participated in to help prevent the most common incidents in North America. 


Albert Flores (Game Warden), Rockport, received TPWD retirement recognition from N TX Hunter Education Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff, for his many years serving South Texas hunter education instructors and for teaching hunter education at national Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLFT) weeklong training workshops -- this one in West Virginia. Both are national CLFT instructors, having trained hundreds of participants from natural resource agencies, organizations and universities in the importance of hunting to conservation.  Albert plans to continue with CLFT and assisting hunter education and youth hunting programs as a Texas volunteer. THANKS, Albert, for over 30 years of service to TPWD and hunter education!


Area Chief, Jose Garcia, Irving (L) and fellow instructor, Stephan Polansky, Dallas, present Leslie with Bass Pro Shops, Grapevine, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Hunter Education Program.  Be sure to email Eddie Kleppinger if you would like a certificate for presentation to your local partners -- recognition that goes a long way to cementing relationships.


A "Becoming an Outdoors Girl" (BOG) event, A TPWD COOP Grant recipient, was held at University of Houston Clear Lake on November 2nd, through their Environmental Education Institute. "A total of 64 girls shot archery for the first time, and 25 volunteers made this one-day event a big success!" said Heidi Rao, Becoming An Outdoors Woman Coordinator for TX. Another BOG event is scheduled in February.

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Youth and Mentor Hunts in Full Swing!

L Waco

Lake Waco Youth Hunt

Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, has partnered with U.S Army Corps of Engineers to deliver youth, women and mentor hunts at Corps properties in Central and North Texas for years. Five youth and their Legacy Outfitters guides hunted at Lake Waco's Speegleville Park, November 23-24, and harvested 4 does and a buck using 20-gauge shotgun slugs. 

L Whitney

Lake Whitney Youth Hunt

Monica Bickerstaff also partnered with the Police Activities League of Irving and the Corps in hosting13 youth, all hunter education graduates, for a two-day mentored deer hunt November 16-17 at Lake Whitney's Cedron Park. Participants and their coaches, most of whom are current or retired Irving Police officers and hunter education instructors, witnessed considerable deer activity. Two deer were harvested with crossbows.

Bickerstaff said, "Kevin Knowlin donated his time and certified game recovery Blue Lacy dogs to assist with tracking downed deer. It was a win-win - the dogs were afforded a training opportunity and we had a 100% recovery rate."

San Angelo SP

San Angelo SP Hunt for Youth with Disabilities

On October 19, TPWD Hunter Education Staff members Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Regional Specialist and Randy Spradlin, W TX, and State Parks staff, joined forces to conduct the 27th Challenged Children's Hunt at San Angelo SP.

This hunt is a TPWD Commission authorized hunt for the purpose of herd management at San Angelo SP. Special thanks to Jim Cisneros (Park Superintendent), Jarret Milers (Asst. Superintendent) and San Angelo SP Staff!

disability hunt

Photo:  One lucky hunter, Holly from Brady, took her 1st and 2nd deer during the SP hunt thanks to the many volunteers and TPWD staff.

A total of 8 physically challenged youth from San Angelo and nearby towns enjoyed a day of fellowship and received an introduction to hunting big game in Texas. They harvested 13 deer, 2 javelina and 1 feral hog on the hunt. Congratulations to all!


Texas A&M Hunting 101

A Hunting 101 was held by 4-H Natural Resource/4-H Shooting Sports Leader, Larry Hysmith, College Station & Hunter Education Coordinator, Steve Hall for Texas A&M students in Recreation Management and related careers who are new to hunting.  As part of a national R3 study being spearheaded in North Carolina, the workshop precedes a Mentor Hunt to be scheduled in late January or early February on a Managed Land Deer Permit ranch.  Students went through skills and live-fire exercises as part of the training and several received hunter education certification as a result, too.

Inks Lk

Inks Lake SP Mentor Hunts

A total of three Mentor Hunts are being held at Inks Lake SP in December including two for new hunters and one for adults with disabilities.  Prior to each, hunter education staff conduct a Deer Hunting 101 including sighting in of rifles. Thanks Inks Lake SP staff and volunteers!

Photo: Dec 3-5th Hunt Group

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Deer Hunting 101 Curricula Available


Pictured here, Brian Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, of the Quality Deer Management Association, and his staff have worked hard on developing quality materials, events and mentored hunt opportunities, one held here in North-central Texas each year.  One such resource is their Deer Hunting 101 that can be used in Texas Deer Hunting 101 Advanced Hunter Education seminars, workshops and/or mentored huntsThey have a wealth of resources and already partner with TPWD and its hunter education program. THANKS Brian and QDMA for your efforts!

Also, check out this TPWD video:

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Hunter Education Instructor Profiles


Santiago "Junior" Munoz

Labeled one of South Texas's "Pied Pipers" by Hunter Education Staff, among the many classes he holds, Area Chief Munoz conducts many youth hunts including several on Aransas NWR where he is employed.  Known, too, as the "fish whisperer", Junior is this month's featured hunter education instructor.

Why I became a VOLUNTEER - I was stationed in Kosovo in the Army. We would help some of the local school kids like buying them balls, paper, pencils and paper and take to them in school. The schools there were in very poor shape such as no central heat or air, much less playgrounds. The way kids took to us made me realize that not all kids have the opportunities like we do, and are far less fortunate. I enjoyed it so much that when I got back to the United States, I wanted to do something that involved teaching.

I moved to Brownsville in 2009 and started my career with TPWD at Resaca De La Palma State Park.  Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, came and taught an instructor course, and I became certified.  It means so much to me, now, to be able to teach angler, archery, hunter and outdoor education! 

My most prized sporting arm - .22 caliber - I remember growing up and that was the first real rifle that my dad had me shoot. He taught me the basics - firearm safety and handling. This caliber can pretty much be shot anywhere and has very little recoil.  It is a perfect caliber for youth. I’ve had my grandkids start with a .22 and they are 3 and 7 years old, respectively.  

My favorite hunt – Any animal that can be hunted all year round - As long as I am outdoors -- where I belong -- it makes all the difference in the world. 

Tee-shirt message - “Explore the Outdoors!” On front would be name of person receiving it. On back would be pictures of the outdoors (e.g. birds, camping, shooting, kayaks) and a phone number to call.


Retired Texas Peace Officer & Firearms Trainer, Michael Williams, sent in this letter regarding Junior's and fellow hunter education instructors' efforts to impact future generations of anglers and hunters, "In 2019, my grandson (Drake - 11 years of age) and I attended a youth deer and hog hunt at Coleto Creek Park in Fannin and a hunter safety class a year earlier at Son Valley Ranch in Victoria....Mr. Munoz did an excellent job of holding the hunt in a safe and professional manner...The thing that stood out the most was the training discipline exhibited by the youths involved...there was a maturity exhibited by the youths involved and I hope Mr. Munoz can pass that compliment to (staff and instructors)."

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Hunter Education Staff Contact Info.

Hunter Education Staff

(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

S TX, Brock Minton, Corpus:; 361-825-3249 w; 361-944-3617 c

SE TX, Heidi Rao, Houston:; 713-829-1377

W TX, Randy Spradlin, Abilene:; 512-923-3509

C TX, Morgan Harbison, College Station:

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

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Hunter Education Resources/Partner Links

Hunter Education Overview | Instructor Resources | Student Resources

Operation Game Thief | Texas Game Warden Association

Texas Youth Hunting Program | Texas 4-H Shooting Sports

International Hunter Education Association | NRA PROGRAMS & Services

NSSF Hunting & Ranges | Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association

Texas State Rifle Association

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Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Funding