JAN 2020 Issue: A New Beginning

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Coordinator's Column - Honor & Virtue in Hunting


As we begin a new decade, it is appropriate that we have the benefit of hindsight and with a clear vision, get to SEE 2020!

As I look back at four decades of hunter education, first as a volunteer instructor in Colorado, then as a career administrator in Texas, I am proud of our accomplishments throughout North America -- namely lower hunting incident rates and improved compliance to wildlife regulations. I'm also pleased that in the late seventies and eighties, several administrators and researchers worked collaboratively to introduce hunter ethics into basic hunter education curricula. The latter truly changed the scope of hunter education as we know it today.

Going forward, what impacts can we make beyond safe, legal and responsible behaviors?  What Internet and social media influences can we make, especially with entitled mentalities (e.g. millennial, Z generations)?  What can we do in classrooms, during field courses and at outreach events to further motivate students to be good land stewards and citizens, not just hunters and target shooters? 

I believe that we can do much more to attract and retain hunters by, as colleague Michael Sabbeth, puts it, "appealing to their honor and virtuous character..."  (See Mike's "Beyond the 3Rs" below).  I have always known that we as hunter education instructors and "huntmasters" (tyhp.org) do more than teach basic hunter education and hunting skills.  We teach LIFE skills! Anyone that has been around a Saturday night fireside chat during a youth hunt understands this well ... as tears flow down one's cheeks when students/parents reveal what the day and hunt REALLY meant to them. It is the epitome of WHY we do what we do.  There are millions of people who genuinely appreciate all we've achieved!  But we've much more to accomplish! I wish you all a SAFE & PROSPEROUS New Year and decade!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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JOIN US in 2020 - Instructor Gatherings and More!


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.

To register, email:  Monica.bickerstaff@tpwd.texas.gov


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 heidi.rao@tpwd.texas.govPhoto:  Steve Hall, HE Coordinator, Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Ed Specialist and Jose Flores, Houston, posed after the 2019 HSC Hunter Education Instructor Meeting.  Hope to see you at the 2020 gathering!


Feb 23rd - Bowhunter Education Instructor Course - DENISON, TX

Rack City Archery; 531 W. Crawford; 12:30 PM - 5:00 PM

For current Hunter Education Instructors - NORTH TEXAS; Contact:


LINK to Register


Feb 28- March 1st  Wilderness Survival 101 - Worth Ranch; 1518 Worth Ranch Rd

Prepare for an intensive program including shelter construction, fire building, plant identification and first aid and more. Dr John Weishaar of Wolf Creek Wilderness Skills, NRCS, TPWD personnel and volunteers have prepared a comprehensive course to introduce you to the world of outdoor survival.

LINK to Register

Contact randy.spradlin@tpwd.texas.gov

Photo: John Weishaar, Ed. D., teaches youth at the annual Outdoor Texas Camps at various locations throughout the summer.


April 4th - West Texas Instructor Meeting and Upland Game 101 Workshop - Capitola Community Center; 1502 FM 419; Sweetwater, TX 8:00am

Hunter Education Instructor meeting and Upland Game 101. Join us for program updates, the new Hunting 101 module, and an afternoon in the field putting the module to work hunting pheasants. Bruce and Riley Braunick of TRK Farms are offering a tour of their bird preserve and some Kansas Blues for the field. We will start the morning in Capitola for the meeting, followed by a short 10 minute drive to TRK after lunch.  If you have any dietary restrictions, or for more information, contact randy.spradlin@tpwd.texas.gov!



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 morgan.harbison@tpwd.texas.gov with TPWD or Angela Gerlich, TSRA Foundation Executive Director at agerlich@tsrafoundation.com.



May 1 - 3rd - THEIA Texas Hunter Education Instructor Conference - . Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Palestine, TX 75801 - lakeviewmcc.org/ 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:  Thomas Bass, Magnolia, (L) demonstrates arrow penetration with Rob Neilson and Jake Thompson (R) of the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation. Foundation members will once again be on hand for the 2020 Instructor Conference.


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Youth Hunts and Events this past Holiday Season

V Lecca

"Dear Mr. & Mrs. Mullen & Family, 

Thank you again for having us again this year.  I heard from all hunters and their family members about how memorable this hunt was, and the future impact on their families hunting traditions, how they live, interact, and treat others. - Very impactful words from young adults. (And, the "food was outstanding as well", from little Avery - 1st row center).

Blessings to you and your family for opening up your home, and use of your awesome guides, and cooks!"

Vincent Lecca, Huntmaster, and Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor, Buda


TX-NASP Basic Archery Instructor Course - Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator, taught a BAI Course before the holidays at the Goodwater Montessori Charter School in Georgetown. Photo: (L to R): Sandy Worcester - Georgetown, Thais Kilday - Austin, Tim Marsh - Georgetown, Gretchen Crook - Austin, and Lee Vasquez - Killeen, completed the training.


Youth Hunters and Chaperones from Furr High School in Houston traveled to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), once again,to hunt white-tailed deer under the direction of USFWS employee and TPWD Hunter Education Area Chief, Junior Munoz, Austwell, along with other USFWS staff, local guides, TPWD and members of Serve Outdoors, Matagorda Chapter, a non-profit dedicated to " finding resources to take folks huntin' & fishin'. But not just regular folks, extraordinary folks!"  (From veterans to disabled, senior to children...)


Junior Munoz also led a tour to see the whooping cranes at Aransas NWR for the Furr High School media class, who joined the agriculture science students during the youth hunt weekend. Here Junior helps a student with identification of some of the wildlife species they saw, despite the foggy conditions. A total of four whoopers came close, but the students vowed to come back and do better getting even closer to the action. THANKS Junior and USFWS staff!


Morgan Harbison, TPWD CENTRAL TX Hunter Education Specialist & Mobile Shooting Sports Coordinator, took some time off over the holidays and harvested this nice buck in the process. Morgan works many weekends spearheading Whiz Bang & Ag Clays (Mobile Sporting Clays Range) along with Hunter Education activities from College Station to Fredericksburg in Central Texas.  Be sure to let Morgan know if you need any resources regarding shotgun shooting sports, or organizations and individuals that can help you and with hunter education live-fire exercises. Congrats Morgan -- nice deer!


Hunter Education Instructor, Immanuel Salas, San Marcos, assists a participant at one of three Inks Lake State Park Mentor Hunts, the third being held for those with disabilities.  Each workshop is preceded by a Deer Hunting 101 provided by Hunter Education staff and volunteers, including biology, deer behaviors, habitat, hunting techniques and sighting in exercises (see photo), as well as safe, legal and ethical considerations.  Photo:  Shawn Greene (second from L), Cory Evans (R) and their Inks Lake State Park Hosts team, along with TPWD Public Land's Clay Roberts (cowboy hat) and TYHP's Bryan Jones (4th from R), lead a mentor hunt in December 2019.  a Big Thanks to Vol Montgomery, Reveille Peak Ranch, for hosting the sighting-in exercises!

Inks Lake
Wild Game Dinner

Central Market's Wild Game Dinners

TPWD staff and volunteers have teamed up with Central Market Wild Game and Fish Cooking Classes in Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio to give participants at the dinners the connection between hunters, conservationists, the department and volunteerism - such as angler and hunter education instructors.  Duke Walton - Porter, Charlie Preslar - Garland, and staff members, Steve Hall, Monica Bickerstaff and Heidi Rao have served at recent Wild Game Dinners, and, of course, whetted their own palates on quail, hog, duck and seafood in the process - yum yum!

Thanks to all volunteers who represent the department with the hunter education goal of "Taking Care of Game from Field to Fork!"

wild game

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Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (R3)


Why Older Sportsmen are Spending Less Time Afield

by: Patrick Durkin (Dec. 3, 2019)

Meat Eater

Most hunters and anglers old enough to fantasize about retiring can’t wait for that never-ending vacation so they can spend every possible hour outdoors.

Some retirees live out those recreational dreams, smugly heading for the boat ramp or tree stand each morning while younger folks mope off to work. That’s great, but those die-hards are the exception and their self-satisfaction likely won’t endure. Their endless vacation fantasies usually fade fast in retirement. In fact, those dreams often fade long before retirees start waking up every day to a blank slate.

“Retirees don’t just get up one day and quit hunting,” said Mark Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, a research group that studies outdoor recreation. “They fall out of it very slowly without realizing it. Something comes up one day and they don’t go. They shrug and figure they’ll pick it up again next week. Then it becomes next year, and all of a sudden 10 years go by and they haven’t gone. They still consider themselves hunters and fishermen, but they find it very hard to get back into the game.”

Read more


Beyond the 3Rs

by: Michael Sabbeth

The Honorable Hunter

"Thoughts about implementing the 3Rs developed as I sit chained to my computer and write the final chapters for my book for hunter education students and young hunters: The Honorable Hunter: A Call To Action to Defend and Advance Hunting

I share two points.

One: The status of R3 teaching strategies can be, I humbly suggest, enhanced. Aspects of the strategies can become more effective and persuasive. We know the demographic downward trends in hunting and the concomitant loss of revenue from these trends. The virtuous strategies of mentoring and engaging young hunters in a hunting experience, among other strategies, are wonderful. I suggest we can do more and part of doing more includes developing strategies to encourage young hunters to commit to the ethos of hunting by seeing their role in conservation and as a participant in our country’s unique political economy. I use the phrase “the Big Picture” to guide the enrichment of the young hunter."

Read more

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Hunter Education Instructor Profiles


Doug DuBois, Jr. - Austin

It's appropriate this month to feature Doug DuBois, Jr., who spearheads the Texas Youth Hunting Program's (TYHP) SUPERHUNT (to be held Jan. 17-19 along with Cave Creek Wildlife Management Coop) as Lead Huntmaster and has done so almost two decades! An avid member of Austin Woods & Waters Club, Doug leads the charge for the club to coordinate Central Texas Youth Hunts for TYHP.

Why I became a VOLUNTEER - Being an Instructor complemented my role as a TYHP Huntmaster, with the mission of mentoring youth and their parents on safety-oriented, conservation-minded management hunts in Texas.  My dad was a WWII Vet and first-generation recreational hunter who was mentored by good friends from our hometown of Beaumont; taking me hunting and fishing with him, his buddies and their kids.

My most prized sporting arm - Weatherby Mark V 7 mm Magnum - It was a rifle my dad purchased in 1977 when he moved to Anchorage, Alaska.  It is an heirloom he passed on to me, and it has accompanied me to South Africa, as well as all over Texas making hunting memories.

My favorite hunt – Tough question!  Quail Hunting - It has been a long time since I’ve hunted them, but quail hunting is a favorite, with pheasants a close second.  Quail hunting is a team effort involving prized pointers/retrievers, their handlers and a safety-conscious squad of hunters.  It’s great seeing them all work together, rewarded with a heart-stopping covey flush.

Tee-shirt message - Front: IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE AND BE IN TEXAS!” (Including TX State map, Texas A&M logo & State flag); Back: HUNT WITH YOUR KIDS, NOT FOR THEM! (Made popular by NRA in 60’s - still popular today!)

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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: monica.bickerstaff@tpwd.texas.gov; 469-601-8349

S TX, Brock Minton, Corpus: brock.minton@tpwd.texas.gov; 361-825-3249 w; 361-944-3617 c

SE TX, Heidi Rao, Houston: heidi.rao@tpwd.texas.gov; 713-829-1377

W TX, Randy Spradlin, Abilene: randy.spradlin@tpwd.texas.gov; 512-923-3509

C TX, Morgan Harbison, College Station: morgan.harbison@tpwd.texas.gov

HQ, Steve Hall, Coordinator: steve.hall@tpwd.texas.gov; 512-389-8140 w; 550-7330 c; Eddie Kleppinger, Asst., eddie.kleppinger@tpwd.texas.gov; 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 | Hunters Connect

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Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Funding