FEB 2020 Issue: A Busy January

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target talk - texas hunter education news

Coordinator's Column - January Flew By!


Another January is in the books -- perhaps the "quickest" month because of the annual events that stack up each January.  Events like the Dallas Safari Club (N TX HE Instructors), Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) "Superhunt", TYHP Kreb's Memorial Hunt in Harper, Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, and the Houston Safari Foundation Convention (SE Texas HE Instructors) -- all back to back - whoosshh! 

While at SHOT, I visited with good friend, Kim Rhode, longtime trap & skeet champion; winner of medals in six consecutive Olympics -- the most consecutive wins of any Olympic athlete! She was a regular at TPWD Wildlife Expos back in the day, and she keeps on shooting. She is truly an ambassador for not only the shooting sports, but for hunting, conservation and hunter education as well.  She reaches so many people with virtuous qualities such as passion, dedication, hard work, commitment (list goes on). What a role model! She also is a wife and mother -- so you can tell that she's an expert 'juggler' as well.  Way to go, Kim -- you exemplify everything that is great about the American Hunting and Target Shooting Heritage -- rights and privileges we all cherish and hold dear. Best of luck going for GOLD in 2020!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator


TYHP Superhunt (photo by Bryan Jones, TYHP) Held at the Cave Creek Schoolhouse, and led by Austin Woods and Waters' Central TX TYHP Huntmasters, headed up by huntmaster and hunter education instructor, Doug DuBois, Jr., Austin, this was the 17th annual - an event touted as the largest in Texas (world)!  Thanks to Safari Club International (cooking team), the many volunteers and the 18 landowners of the Cave Creek Wildlife Management Association, this year's hunt involved 67 young hunters who took home or donated 40 deer.

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Attend these 2020 Events and Workshops


February - Animal Tracking 101

All 5 Feb. Saturdays.- Noon to 5pm

Must attend all sessions. You will receive a large notebook with lots of information, field skills gathered by the Instructor, Dr. Gary Honaker, Area Chief - Harker Heights, Bell Cnty.

Call Gary at 254-699-1306 to register or gain more information.

2020 Texas Youth Hunting Program "Huntmaster" Training Schedule


Feb 23rd - Bowhunter Education Instructor Course - DENISON, TX; Location TBA; 12:30 PM - 5:00 PM

For current Hunter Education Instructors - NORTH TEXAS; LINK to RegisterContact:


Photo:  Bowhunter Education Instructor, Doug Lambert, Burleson, teaches and practices 'treestand safety' during TYHP Youth Bowhunt at Hagerman NWR


Young bow hunter, Simeon Johnson, took this nice deer during the Hagerman NWR Youth Bowhunt coordinated by Bowhunter Education instructors such as Doug Lambert (above) and Texas Youth Hunting ProgramBob Barnette, North Texas Field Operations Coordinator.  If you have interest in becoming a Huntmaster, please consult the training schedule above.  If you have interest in teaching bowhunter education, be sure to sign up above.  Or, just click on TPWD or TYHP web sites.  Safe hunting!

John W

Feb 28- March 1st  Wilderness Survival 101 - LOCATION - TBA

Prepare for intensive training including shelter construction, fire building, plant identification, first aid and more. Dr John Weishaar of Wolf Creek Wilderness Skills, NRCS, TPWD personnel and volunteers are prepared 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 how to tie a bowline knot at the Outdoor Texas Camps -- one of their girls camps.


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

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 need to inform us of any dietary restrictions, or need more information, contact randy.spradlin@tpwd.texas.gov!

Ag Clays


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

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.

Inst Conf


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 in May 2020!

Photo:  The annual AREA CHIEF meeting and reception will once again be held Friday evening prior to the Conference and the THEIA board meeting held Sunday following the Conference.  Hope ALL Instructors can make either or both!


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Hunter Education Courses, 101s & Youth Hunts


Harper WMA Youth Hunt - The annual hunt is held in memory of Jacob Krebs, former Assistant Hunter Education Instructor, and is spearheaded by Will Krebs, Fredericksburg, hunter education instructor, and his family -- in memory of their beloved son. The 2020 hunt hosted 27 hunters. During Saturday activities, instructors David Hammonds (coaching) - Weatherford; Bob Boswell - Georgetown, Duke Walton - Porter and Richard Powell - Orange, among other instructors, provide shooting/archery/wildlife activities as part of the weekend hunts.  Thanks to ALL Volunteers involved in this year's event!


Carter Smith, Texas Parks & Wildlife Executive Director, spoke and attended Saturday evening activities at the annual Harper Hunt.  Here he graciously displays a bandana signed by many of the beneficiaries and volunteers at this year's hunt.  Carter also helped with deer skinning and butchering and the other duties that take place during a hunt targeting young hunters, especially those of wounded veterans and their families. THANKS again Harper WMA -- Another great year! Harper WMA Photos by Koy Coffer.


Instructor Course for Ag. Student Teachers, Texas A&M - Kingsville, at Corpus Christi Gun Club in Jan. (L to R): Front Row - Amanda Mascono; Isabella Farias; Back Row - Ruben Garcia; Evan Krause; Brock Minton - S TX Hunter Education Specialist, Tori Davis; Dr. Randall Williams (Ag Science Professor - TAMU-Kingsville); Photo by Paul Silva (HED Area Chief)

w tx

Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist and Area Chief, Lee Morris, Dumas, taught an instructor course at the Boys Ranch (L to R): New Instructors Austin Hewitt, John Murphy, Roger Niell, Randy Thorn, and Carter West and Lee Morris.

waterfowl 101

W TX Hunter Education Specialist, Randy Spradlin, conducted a Waterfowl Hunting 101 Workshop at Abilene State Park in January for participants from Austin, Fort Worth, Houston and Abilene. Waterfowl 101 is part of advanced hunter education -- a larger series of Hunting 101 workshops provided to the public relating to species hunted or methods of take.

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NASP - Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) Course, London ISD

(L to R): Front Row - Isabella Farias; Amanda Mascorro; Tori Davis; Back Row - Edward Alvarado; Lupe Salazar; Dezerei Salazar; Brock Minton - S TX Hunter Education Specialist. To set up a 2020 BAI or Student Air Riflery Program to promote hunter education live-fire exercises. brock.minton@tpwd.texas.gov


TYHP Youth Hunt held at Welder Wildlife Refuge near Sinton  

Welder Wildlife Foundation hosted another annual TYHP Youth Hunt for seven youngsters who took four does and a spike.  Along with Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, other instructors, the wildlife biologists, and game wardens (active and retired) were on hand to conduct presentations, live fire & skill trail exercises, and guide during the hunt A special thanks to John Welder and the Foundation Cook Team!


Tarleton University Agriculture Science Teachers trained as HE Instructors  

Hunter Education Instructor Calvin Hudson, Stephenville, who owns Box H Gamebird Company, hosted an annual instructor training course for Dr. Frazier's Tarleton University Agriculture Students.  He also provided a nice hot lunch for all attendees. Heidi Rao - S TX Hunter Education Specialist and Randy Spradlin - W TX Specialist, teamed up along with new Area Chief, Sandy Mason - Joshua, for stepping up and assisting with the course, especially on behalf of Monica Bickerstaff - N TX hunter education specialist, who was out due to the passing of her mother.  (See In Memory...).  Rao said, "We especially appreciated Calvin's hospitality and sense of humor and glad he is in the Texas Hunter Education Program, as well as Sandy Mason for taking on the field exercises!"

tarleton univ

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Regional Instructor Meetings Held in Dallas/Houston

Hunter Education Instructors gathered at both the Dallas Safari Club and Houston Safari Club Foundation Convention in January.


"Mr. Whitetail," Larry Weishuhn, shared his thoughts on hunting, conservation and hunter education, including stories of growing up hunting as a Texas Colorado County native -- 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 well known writer, conservationist, and television show host/producer.  We'd like to express our sincere THANKS to Larry for sharing his time with the N TX Hunter Education Instructors at their Dallas Safari Club Convention meeting!  Larry is now on the DSC board and was busy throughout the convention, so his spending time with us was even more rewarding!  Thanks, too, to others who shared their time including Lindsay Hodgdon, Jr. - Rockwall - THEIA president, Mike Sabbeth - hunting and shooting sports author, Rob Neilson - Ashby Bowhunting Foundation and hunter education instructor, Don Lott, Midlothian, on behalf of Cross Trail Outfitters.


Scott Lightle, Hunter/Bowhunter Education Instructor, Ft. Bend, works for Long Acres Ranch, spanning 768 acres and 2.5 miles of undeveloped land along the Brazos River in Fort Bend County. 

He and Kitty Haynes, Area Chief Hunter Education Instructor, Richmond, presented “The Importance of Partnerships” during the Southeast Texas Instructor meeting to encourage instructors to think outside of the box and build partnerships and relationships with other entities.  Scott and Kitty began teaching hunter education classes together last year at the Ranch’s Education building, and have set many “101” workshops for this year.  Take advantage of this new location and the beauty it has to offer!  Photo:  Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist awards Scott and Kitty an "Observing and Evaluating Whitetails" coffee table book for presenting at the meeting.

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas, Humble, presented a display he made from fur samples from various deer species (native and exotic) and from all sorts of mammals (back side of display) to use in hunter education and at outreach events. Training aids developed by instructors serve as invaluable learning tools and have been widely developed by instructors throughout the history of the program.  Mike collaborated with Duke Walton, Area Chief from Porter, which demonstrates the cooperation that exists within the hunter education ranks. Thanks, Michael, for an excellent impromptu presentation!


Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience held at HSCF Convention

Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist, also presented once again at the annual gathering of youth that precedes the Houston Safari Club Foundation Convention, just like with Dallas Safari Club Convention and the gathering of Outdoor Tomorrow Foundation schools, students and teachers prior to that convention.  Involving youth in such conventions keeps the heritage alive!


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In Memory ... Mildred Haley and Ilo Hiller


Mildred Haley - Paola, KS

Mildred Haley passed peacefully, January 22nd, and among her family members was daughter, Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, by her side. She was married to Carl Haley (1951) and they had three children—Kay (Jim) Gedminas, Steve (Debra) Haley, and Monica (L.D.) Bickerstaff. Carl passed away July 9, 2014. Mildred was a member of the Paola United Methodist Church since 1949 and was active in United Methodist Women and volunteered in various other capacities. She worked several part time jobs and then full time beginning in1962 when she was employed by Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co, Paola. She retired in 1988 with 25-years of service. Since retirement she has volunteered and held various offices at the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Museum. Memorials (in lieu of flowers) may be left to the Paola United Methodist Church, Paola Senior Center or Miami County Historical Museum.  Our condolences, Monica, from all of the hunter education staff and instructors!


Project WILD and Young Naturalist Legend Passes

Ilo Hiller, 81, of Austin, passed away on December 7, 2019.  Ilo married James Edward Hiller in 1957 and was married for 62 years. Inspired by her passion for traveling and appreciation of nature, Ilo had a long career as a writer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and was a published author of four animal and nature books, entitled Young Naturalist. She also was the first Project WILD coordinator in Texas, working side-by-side with hunter education and at events such as the Texas Outdoor Education Association annual teacher training workshops.  She retired from the department after 30 years of service. Rest in Peace, Ilo!

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Hunter Education Instructor Profiles


PLEASE SUBMIT YOURS PROFILE TODAY! Email to: steve.hall@tpwd.texas.gov

Upcoming Profiles (2020) - Bill McCubbin, Duke Walton, Al Ohliger, Bob Gulash, Buck Seitz, Charles Edenfield, George Solis, James Burger, John Davis, Ken Lewis, Larry Brownlee, Mike Robinson, Rick Cumins, Sal DiVenti, Susan & Dave Rios and Suzy Duffek.

This month's instructor features an Area Chief from Waco and one from Central Texas that stay extremely active in hunter education, youth/mentor hunts and other TPWD events and outreach activities in their areas.

Brent Heath - Area Chief, Waco (1998)

Why I became a VOLUNTEER - I became a volunteer by taking the instructor’s course in San Antonio.  I wanted to teach Hunter Education to young people in my church.

My most prized sporting arm - Remington 33 Single Shot .22 - It was given to me on my 12th birthday by my dad.  The original was stolen when I lived in Austin, but my son found another and refurbished it, giving it to me on my birthday about ten years ago.   Since then, I have found four more of them.  I am refinishing each one and am giving one to each of my grandchildren when he/she turns twelve.

My favorite hunt – Mule deer - Northern Nevada because I always went with my father, grandfather and brother on these hunts.

Tee-shirt message “Experience the outdoors”

Vincent Lecca - Area Chief, Driftwood ( 2014)

Why I became a VOLUNTEER - I was introduced to TPWD by Caleb Harris, then trained by Karen Marks, Angler Education Coordinator, over 9 years ago. I remember finding them through an ad for an Angler Education Instructor class. I’ve been fishing since I was in 7th grade and have always been fascinated with TPWD Game Wardens, so I attended the class. These Programs have allowed me to become an Area Chief in Angler and Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education Instructor, a TYHP Huntmaster, and most recently, a Texas Master Naturalist in Hays County in 2018. 

My most prized sporting arm 12gauge Browning A500 & an old 410 gauge – for dove hunting.  Also a Sears and Roebuck Bolt Action, a rifle that was handed down to my kids by my father-in-law.

My favorite huntDove Hunt because it is a very social event and my entire family takes part with extended family every year. 

Tee-shirt message –Volunteer with TPWD" and include events like "Free Fishing Day -- 1st Saturday in June!

v Lecca

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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