Volunteer Recogntion Week April 19-25th!!!

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In This Issue:  *** SPECIAL ISSUE ***

Coordinator's Column - THANKS VOLUNTEERS!


This National Week of Celebration of Volunteers (April 19 - 25th) and Volunteer Appreciation Day (April 20th) -- We salute the many volunteer Hunter Education Program Instructors, 4-H Shooting Sports Leaders and Texas Youth Hunting Program "Huntmasters" and Volunteers!

I've heard that one lives 7 years longer if he or she VOLUNTEERS on a regular basis, especially in a person's later years (retirement, etc.).  I have no doubt!  If you are passionate about a hobby, sports, activity, your family's lives -- your WAY OF LIFE -- by staying active, you don't have time to lose hope, friendships, family time or passion.  You are too busy fulfilling goodness -- giving of your time and talents to others -- the essence of volunteerism. Volunteering helps people feel good about themselves! 

Hunter education and partner program represent volunteers that go above & beyond to promote safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved behaviors in activities that they have come to know as a 'way of life', hunting & shooting sports!

Because of your efforts, Nearly 1.5 million hunters have become certified in hunter education, an added 2.5 million Texans have been exposed to safe, responsible hunting and firearm practices directly because of the efforts of Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors.  In addition, another 750,000 people have participated in 4-H Shooting Sports clubs, TYHP hunts, Texas Brigade camps and other major Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hunter education partnerships.

I want to thank EACH of YOU for VOLUNTEERING your time in HUNTER EDUCATION all of these years -- some of you for more than 25 years --WOW!

Steve Hall - Hunter Education Coordinator

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Spotlight - National Volunteer Appreciation Week


National Volunteer Week is a time for organizations across the country to honor volunteers for the irreplaceable impact of their time and energy all year round. Volunteer Recognition Day is celebrated on April 20, 2020. It honors all volunteers who are working on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain.

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Upcoming Events - "Cancelled Until Further Notice!"


Hunter Education courses and outreach events, including the annual instructor conference May 1st-3rd have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely until such time as schools reconvene and it is appropriate to be face-to-face in groups again.  The next big event, the Vocational Ag Teachers Association of Texas Conference in Waco in late July, is the next wait-and-see event.  Until such time, if you can accomplish virtual training and testing, please do so -- especially if you have classes of students who did not complete their spring training.  Field and live-fire exercises might also be possible if social distancing and other COVID prevention rules are strictly observed.  However, one-on-one and coach/student live-fire instruction such as illustrated in the photo, is not possible, so simulation such as Lasershot exercises may have to do --with appropriate sanitizer and disinfectant use.  Hopefully, we'll back up and running this fall -- best of safety, health and luck to all hunter education instructors and their students/participants!

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Happenings - Sheltering in Place

Sheltering in Place

April 15, 2020:  David Buggs, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, writes, "Weare living in a time that, unless you are over 102 and experienced the Spanish Flu, we have never seen before.  Our lives have been abnormally interrupted.  Some jobs are being called essential and others non-essential, which makes us question what we do.

There are lines for everything that we think you need, and some things we really don’t need, to survive. Many who seem super confident just weeks ago have succumbed to fears. Friends and family are physically distant, but because of the internet and cell phones, we still have social contact.  Many of us have more time to be with our immediate family than ever before, which is good, but sometimes, not so much.  Moreover, in our concerns, we have been told to “Shelter in place.”

Imagine, people who have grown up with more freedom than anyone else, anywhere else, at any time in history, being told to stay put and that’s an order.  Now don’t misunderstand, we should obey the rules, and adhere to physical distancing so that we can move past this infectious stage and eventually get back to what we call normal.  However, when I hear the phrase, shelter in place my mind goes to something different than what most folks normally think.  Shelter, according to vocabulary.com, is one of the basic human needs along with food, water, and companionship.   It’s not just the noun which we normally think of, it’s also a verb.  Shelter can be an action.  It not only gives you a place to live, but the actions help you feel protected, safe and covered.  To me shelter is more than just a physical structure, it’s also provisional.  Shelter is a place where one can find help, a solution to an issue, peace and rest or lack of concern.  While we are sheltering in place, we can also be a provisional shelter for our co-workers who may be struggling with accomplishing their job and need a hand with work that we can assist with online.  Shelter can be sharing some of your supplies with a team member, an elderly person or someone with multiple children.  Just call and tell them what you have to offer and leave it by their front door.  If you are gifted in an area such as mathematics, science, writing or literature, offer to assist a student online.  It could be someone in your family, in your neighborhood or ask a local parent or teacher if they have a student who needs special help with a subject and you’d like to assist.  When you go to the grocery store, and you know you are going more than you should, pick up some extra items for someone you know is having a hard time making ends meet.  Call someone who you haven’t spoken with in a while and ask how they’re doing.  Cut your neighbor grass and don’t look for a thank you.

There are several things you can do to give provisional shelter.  Do your work first, don’t neglect your job, then help someone else.   We can all come out of these strange times better than we were before if we all strive to assist others with provisional or assisted shelter while we’re in this place.

Stay safe!"

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Interest - "Don't Touch the Wildlife. Seriously"


AUSTIN - With more people enjoying the outdoors and working from home this April, you may start to notice more wildlife in your backyard, neighborhood or surrounding area. Species including birds, deer and snakes are active this time of year and their young often stray or appear to be abandoned. But wildlife experts caution against lending a helping hand.  Experts also caution against handling or killing such animals without knowing regulations and other safety precautions. See TPWD NEWS RELEASE.

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Hunter Education Volunteer Accomplishments


Hunter Education Annual Accomplishments

Average Annual Figures (FY15-FY19)

  • 61,585 Students (Total)
  • 24,619 Students (Volunteers)
  • 1,936 Instructor-led Courses
  • 17,874 Field & Live Fire
  • 11,611 Apprentice (Deferral) Licenses
  • 300 New Instructors Certified
  • 414 New Instructors Trained
  • 2,900 Active Hunter Ed Instructors (includes game wardens)
  • 2,111 Active VOLUNTEER Hunter Ed Instructors
  • 40,868 Hours by all Active Hunter Ed Instructors
  • 38,258 Hours Donated by VOLUNTEER Instructors
  • 19.7 Hours Taught/Prepped average per course taught
  • $ 918,192 VALUE of In-Kind Labor by VOLUNTEERS
  • 21.6 Total Hunting Incidents; 8.4 involving hunter ed students
  • 2.8 Total Fatalities

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Partner News - Teaching Kids to Hunt

youth hunters

IHEA-USA shared the following article out of Dallas on why a mother is teaching her kids to hunt. As hunter education instructors and Texas Youth Hunting Program "huntmasters" know, teaching kids how to hunt leads to many benefits in the realms of conservation. health & well-being, and family time & friendships -- for a lifetime!  However, more and more kids don't get the opportunities we had to ACCESS MENTORS and HUNTING LANDSCAPES like families had 40-50 years ago.  Couple that with urbanization, fragmentation, disintegration of family units -- well, those involved in passing on the heritage know the challenges....

LINK to: "Why I'm Teaching My Kids to Hunt"

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Archery and Ranges - NASP 2020 Cancelled


"Thank you for committing to assist at this year’s state NASP tournament.  Unfortunately, due to coronavirus extended contingency plans currently being followed by schools and communities across the state and nation to help stop the spread of the virus, it has become necessary to cancel this year’s state tournament for the safety of all involved. We are planning to be in Belton next year for the 2021 Texas-NASP State Tournament and if you are able, please join us if you can, March 24-26, 2021."  Burnie Kessner - TX NASP Coordinator

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Instructor Profiles


James Burger, Comanche (2016)

Why I became a Hunter Education Program VOLUNTEER - Main reason I wanted to become an instructor was to help deliver the hunting safety message, to promote hunting and to share the importance of exercising our rights.

My most prized sporting arm – Mossberg 935 Shotgun - I would say my shotgun because it can be used to harvest any type of game. The Mossberg 935 is lower priced than a high-end gun and is very dependable.

My favorite hunt – Waterfowl – Hunting ducks and geese is action packed and you have to use much skill and techniques to have a successful hunt. Also, you can “visit and talk” with the group during the hunt.

If you could have a tee-shirt printed with any message, what would it say? It's a FAMILY TRADTION!" OR "My boss told me to have a good day, so I went hunting!"


George Solis, Del Rio (2010)

Why I became a Hunter Education Program VOLUNTEER - I have a passion for teaching others and passing on what I’ve been taught.  I believe the best way to teach others is to exemplify what you teach and to live out that standard in your life.  I follow the laws & regulations not just because they exist but because it is ingrained in who I am.  I want to pass this on to others and let them know that making the right decision does not mean it will be easy; but your life and the lives of others will be better for it.   

My most prized sporting arm1958 Israeli Mauser - chambered in .308 (barrel made in 1958; components made during WW2 in a German controlled factory in Europe); It is a very accurate rifle and every time I carry it I am reminded of the soldiers (both US and Israeli) that fought for our country.  I’m reminded of their patriotism and the great sacrifices they made so we could be free.  When I hunt I am reminded that I am able to do because of their sacrifices.

My favorite huntMule Deer - I think they are beautiful and majestic animals.  I’ve seen mule deer bucks roaming across the sage in the open desert in Texas and New Mexico with does following them.  To me, mule deer represent the free spirit of the wilderness and unlike whitetails, which normally stay within a specific area, the mule deer can cover vast ranges during their lifetimes.

My tee-shirt would say“Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both!” – Benjamin Franklin  

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Hunter Education Staff & Contact Information

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

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\

Texas State Rifle Association | Hunters Connect

Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Funding