August 2020 - End of Summer COVID Blues

View as a Webpage
target talk - texas hunter education news

In This Issue: Preparing for Fall Hunter Education and Hunting!

Coordinator's Column - August is Crunch Time!

bow hunt

In hunter education, we continually preach PREPARATION.  Besides 1) practicing and becoming proficient with our sporting arms; we must 2) get into physical and mental shape; 3) prepare our hunt plans, vehicles, packs, gear and gadgets; 4) scout; 5) make final preparations with landowners or review our public land areas; and 6) generally PANIC because we have so many last-minute preparations and so little time before we head out to "act Paleolithic" for a while.

This year has been so very different, of course. Because of COVID, our entire annual and final month's preparations are totally out of whack. Scheduling courses, our schools and our businesses have all been thrown askew, and we must figure out what is even normal these days. Thankfully, the act of hunting, itself, is something we can do to keep socially distant, and indications are that it is going to be a big license sales year.  Also, take a look at this recent NSSF article regarding NCIS background checks -- hitting an all-time high. One benefit of the high numbers of handguns sold in the United States is that funding available to hunter education and target range development will be at an all-time high, too.

I will be preparing for another bow hunt in the Colorado mountains this September.  With family & friends, our hunting heritage is very much alive!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

Back to Top

Spotlight - COVID UPDATE

open tx

If wanting to instruct, please complete a required form - the COVID Protocols.

On June 1st, the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas allowed for the opening of “Youth Sports” Day Activities and Camps.

These guidelines came the closest to recommendations for those of you wanting to set up hunter education field or classroom (instructor-led) courses and summer camp coursework. TPWD’s take was for you NOT to set up a course in June or July.  WE NOW ADD AUGUST to that directive, with the recent spike in COVID cases in Texas. (TPWD continues to encourage the widest possible use of virtual program delivery.) Go to:

On June 25th, the Governor announced a Temporary Pause of "Additional Reopening Phases" due to the late June spikes in COVID-19 cases in Texas.

Therefore, Instructors must remain cautious and not schedule courses in July or August, at this point. For those of you still wanting to conduct courses, such as smaller courses or at camps, please complete the following form and submit it to to gain approval from TPWD Hunter Education staff before proceeding.

COVID Protocols Form HED

This form outlines the precautions that should be in place prior to conducting hunter education activities, even for the smaller groups or in rural Texas.

Added Resources:


Back to Top

Bowhunting Workshop to be held August 22nd


Arrow & Broadhead Lethality Workshop at Texas Archery, 5833 Treaschwig, Spring - 10:15 a.m.

Area Chief, Duke Walton. Porter, and TPWD's Hunter Education Staff have partnered with the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation to bring you a series of workshops designed to make bow hunters more effective in taking and recovering game, especially larger animals such as mule deer and elk. "We must do everything we can to reduce wounding loss by selecting and practicing with arrows and broadheads that work effectively to ensure a clean kill," said Rob Neilson, President and Co-Founder of the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation. Along with Troy Fowler, Foundation Director, Neilson will present on the 12 Factors Affecting Arrow Lethality based on the extensive years of research by Dr. Ed Ashby.  Hosted by Texas Archery, the facility will keep social distancing practices in mind while being able to see effective demonstrations and practice your shooting skills. (Please bring your own bow and practice arrows.)

Hunter Education Instructors need to sign up with Duke Walton at Bring a sack lunch and drink. Note: While this is a workshop for Hunter Education Instructors, Texas Archery customers and guests are welcome to come as well.  Photo: During a 2019 Bow Hunting Workshop, Neilson (back) and Jake Thompson with Ashby Foundation (right), hold an axis deer hide for Robert Von Camp (left) to cut with a properly sharpened, beveled-bladed broadhead versus a dull or inferior point, for example.

Back to Top

Defending and Advancing Hunting - Part II


Advancing  Hunter Education - Part of the Honorable Hunter Series by Michael Sabbeth

Sabbeth recently penned an article for the NRA's Hunters' Leadership Forum entitled "Saving Hunting by Promoting the Big Picture". Another excellent article, it points out that "demography is destiny!" With today's generations, that statement is powerful in terms of understanding our current audiences and motivating them to even try hunting, let alone ensuring that they are safe, responsible & knowledgeable hunters.  With high hunter numbers, conservation of wildlife & habitats remains strong -- the proverbial big picture in North America.

Here is an excerpt from Sabbeth's upcoming publication: Instructor Manual

"I refer to this category as The Big Picture.
Hunting is a triumph of game management. Animal populations once at risk have become abundant. To understand The Big Picture, students must be taught the concept of causation: the concept that one event or belief influences other events or beliefs. A billiard ball does not move unless some force causes it to move. The abundance of wildlife in the United States, that which Secretary Bernhardt called the envy of the world, developed due to specific factors. Here are a few of those factors:

  • We have a rich and deep hunting culture and ethos infused into our national psyche that unify hunters across generations
  • Hunters have the leisure time to hunt
  • Hunters have the financial means to hunt
  • Hunters have the rights and privileges to hunt
  • Hunters have the roads, infrastructure and means of transportation to hunt
  • Every box of ammunition, rifle, shotgun and piece of archery equipment purchased advances hunting (and, therefore, conservation efforts)
  • A hard won but continuously threatened complex ideology advocating individual liberty, individual rights, property rights, First and Second Amendment rights and a robust (at the moment) political economy based on capitalism all were and are requited to sustain hunting.

Students should be taught to identify these factors, see the meaning of these factors and, more than any other variable, understand the fragility and vulnerability of these factors. Hunting rights and individual liberties necessary for the enjoyment of those rights are threatened every day. This overarching perspective is the core, the soul, of The Big Picture." 

- Michael Sabbeth, The Honorable Hunter Instructor Manual

Back to Top

ATAT - July 27th Virtual Instructor Course Held

skills trail


The annual Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT) In-Person Conference in Waco - July 27-31, 2020 was cancelled, so TPWD staff, led my North TX Hunter Education Specialist, Monica Bickerstaff, held a virtual Boater & Hunter Education Instructor Training Course July 27th instead.  a total of 106 were trained as Hunter Education instructors and will be certified to teach this coming fall semester.

As part of the Instructor virtual training, Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator, prepared a quick reference video entitled “How to Set up a Hunters Skills Trail” videotaped by archery specialist, Immanuel Salas. Link to video: SKILLS TRAIL

If any agriculture science or outdoor education instructor missed the training, the next will be held August 12, 9am - 3pm and we invite you to register online at:

Prior to the training, please complete the following steps:

  1. Complete hunter education and boater education Student courses
  2. Complete these Instructor Documents
  3. Scan and email Instructor Packet to 

For questions, please email Brock Minton at:

Back to Top

Hunter Education Instructor & Staff Happenings


Austin Instructor to be Honored!

Doug DuBois, Jr., Austin, will receive the prestigious John F. Ahrns Award for Environmental Education as part of a September 2020 Celebration of Children in Nature at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center west of Austin.

An Area Chief Hunter Education instructor and Texas Youth Hunting Program Chief Huntmaster, "Doug has served in leadership positions in the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and for over 17 years as a Director and Chairman of the TYHP Advisory Committee.  He also serves as TYHP Area Coordinator in Central Texas with support of the Austin Woods and Waters Club, where he has been honored as Sportsman of the Year. Hunting, with its positive life lessons, motivates Doug to continue to contribute to program growth. Leadership, passion and exacting standards are highlights of Doug’s service; what an outstanding Environmental Educator!" - from press release - READ MORE

tyhp staff


Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Youth Hunting Program recently moved to its new headquarters north of New Braunfels just off of I-35. The facility provides ample resources from which to teach hunter education, Hunting101s (e.g. Wild Game Processing), and store a number of TYHP trailers, kits and other equipment and supplies.  Feel free to stop in and visit TYHP Staff (Contact Info) who coordinate over 200 statewide youth and mentor hunts each year.  (L to R):  Bryan Jones - Field Operations Coordinator, Chris Mitchell - TYHP Director, Sherry Herrington & Kim Hodges - TWA/TYHP Program Coordinators, welcome YOU to visit them at their new HQ! (Not present were Bob Barnette and Briana Nicklow, the two other Field Operations Coordinators for North and East Texas, respectively.)

Long Acres 2

Long Acres Ranch HE Course

Area Chiefs, Kitty and Jim Haynes, Richmond, and  Scott Lightle, Katy, recently held a hunter education course for 18 participants at the Long Acres Ranch while practicing proper   social distancing protocols including the following steps:

  • Temperatures were taken upon entry to the building
  • A Health Questionnaire (Do you have symptoms? Or, know anyone with symptoms? etc.) and Long Acres Ranch release were completed and signed.
  • Each student was given a pen and / or pencil upon entering which they kept.
  • Everyone wore masks all day, except when eating.
  • All students wore gloves and masks to do Live-fire and a “get-to-know-the-firearm” segment where no one's skin came in contact with the firearms.


Heidi Rao, SE TX Hunter Education Specialist, recently went on camera for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Television Show re-purposing some of their shows during the COVID spring and summer months.  In this case, they allowed Heidi to give a hunter education message to open and close one of the episodes featuring an elderly lady still hunting after 80+ years in Texas. Way to go, Heidi!

Back to Top

Youth "Whiz Bang" Shoots Held in July and August

Barber  Hill

Barbers Hill 4-H - Aug 1

Despite COVID and a 2-hour rain and lightning delay, a total of 300 Shooters including 163 Youth Participants, competed and earned a total of 105 awards and 103 scholarships ($43,000). Results are at under Cole Gunsmithing Southeast Texas Youth Scholarship Spectacular.


July TX Youth Shotgun Championship

Morgan Harbison, C TX Hunter Education Specialist and Mobile Sporting Clays Manager, set up a "Whiz-Bang" as part of Texas State Rifle Association Foundation's "Youth Shotgun State Championship" July 16-19th at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.  A total of 62 youth and 60 adult participated. Results are posted at under TX Youth Shotgun Championship.

Thanks to the TSRA Foundation executive director, Angela Gerlich, C TX Hunter Education Specialist, Morgan Harbison, Mobile Shooting Sports Coordinator, Operation Game Thief (Scott Haney and Danny Shaw, TPWD Game Wardens - retired) and the National Shooting Complex, for their hosting, coordination & support!

Photos:  Male Top Gun, Braden Mayfield, Goliad (above), and Faith Lester, Gonzales (below), competed in the Texas Youth Shotgun State Championship.


Back to Top

Youth Hunter Education Challenge held in Arkansas


David Hammonds, Fort Worth, reported on NRA's Central Region YHEC in Bentonville, Arkansas, held in the latter part of July, where Team Texas competed with 106 other youth. Photo: The Senior team consisted of Carson Golden, Clayton Golden, Hunter Hinz, Bryce Baca, and Bob Palmer (not pictured).  Additionally, Ethan Hemsath and Decara  Hemsath competed as Junior Individuals.  The youth were coached by Matt Hemsath.  Team Texas won 1st in place Shotgun, 2nd place in Wildlife Id and the Hunter Safety Trail, and 3rd place in Black Powder!  Clayton Golden won 2nd place individual in Wildlife ID, and Bryce Baca won 3rd place in individual rifle.  Thank you to the volunteers and parents who braved the heat and humidity to cheer on the boys!

Photo (L to R) of Volunteers at the Safety Trail  - (Back Row): David Hammonds, Nancy and Chuck Rue (Front Row:) Linda, Martha, Jeanette Hammonds, Kerry, Phyllis, Denise Bird

The Texas State YHEC will be held October 10, 2020, at Arlington Sportsman's Club in Mansfield.  Volunteers are always needed!  If you would like more information about volunteering, please contact David or Jeanette Hammonds 817-915-4293 or  Forms for participant registration may be found at YHEC Outdoor Sports on Facebook. 


Back to Top

Welcome to National Shooting Sports Month!


From NSSF:

It's officially August, and now is thr time to promote National Shooting Sports Month® through your business' social media channels to bring awareness and encourage participation in the shooting sports.

Read President's Message HERE!

Here are 4 ways to get involved this August:

  • Participate Visit™ to locate local ranges and retailers near you to participate in local events, including the all new #RangeChallenge℠. It's a great way to get newcomers involved and share in your love for the shooting sports. Make sure you show the activity and participation on social media!
  • Encourage Participation Share the +ONE movement and Take the pledge and help grow participation in the shooting sports.​
  • Promote The Gearbox Givaway's Encourage your customers to visit to enter to win a gearbox filled with awesome industry products!  
  • Follow the Fun on Social Media Keep up with the action by following these hashtag feeds: #LetsGoShooting, #RangeChallenge and #PlusOneMovement. Follow Let’s Go Shooting on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more ideas and shareable content to engage customers.

Back to Top

Hunt Texas Newsletter Available to Hunter Education

Suscribe to Hunt Texas Newsletter today!  Newsletter Link HERE!

 Hunt TX

Back to Top

President Signs Great American Outdoors Act

S Dak

Have you heard?! Today is a historic win for #conservation! The President has just signed the Great American Outdoors Act!

“This landmark legislation recognizes the need for increased conservation funding and recreational opportunities as the public is relying on the outdoors more than ever,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Thank you to all who made this happen! Now, it's time to get to work to #RecoverWildlife --  a future goal!

Back to Top

Faster, Easier SUPPLY Ordering at ORS - Use NOW!


From "Hunter ED", HE Administrative Assistant

Changes have been made to your ORS Account to make ordering your course supplies faster and easier. Starting now, go to your dashboard and click on "Supply Request". A new form appears automatically containing your name, instructor number, contact number, and shipping address.

You only need to verify the ship-to address, tell us how many copies of each supply item you desire, the class date and time, and the click "send" at the bottom. You are done!

Gone is the need to make a copy of the old form, save it to your desktop, fill in the information, and email the request to our old Supply Request inbox. Future upgrades will allow for complete tracking of your order, from placement to delivery. So, if you have those old forms saved to your computer, please dispose of those copies. The old inbox no longer processes manual requests.

-; 512-389-4999

Back to Top

NASP and Community Archery Program Updates


TPWD has a full complement of statewide "Community Archery" and National Archery in Schools Program staff to assist with you with your archery and bowhunting training needs. This includes Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing Programs suitable for outdoor education classrooms and related audiences. Please contact them to host a training in your area and to possibly assist you with your bowhunter education course efforts (e.g. potential resources & expertise).

* Outreach Manager (HQ) - Rob Owen -

* TX NASP Coord. (Athens) - Burnie Kessner -

* N TX Archery Specialist - Immanuel Salas -

* S TX Archery Specialist - Kendrick Gray -

* C TX Archery Specialist - Travis Glick -

Back to Top

Partner News - TYHP Volunteer of the Year


Don Coxsey

Texas Wildlife Association - "Don Coxsey, Denton, has been a Volunteer with the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) for 14 years. In that time he has run over 40 hunts as lead Huntmaster and taken over 216 new hunters on safe, educational hunts. Don has been instrumental in the support of TYHP by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. Their contributions to TYHP are over $70,000 dollars and the ubiquitous TYHP orange hats worn by youth and volunteers alike. According to Chris Mitchell, TYHP Director, "The hat, vests and patches are just as much a part of the hunt experience as are the outdoor adventures!"

Don takes great care to get to know his hunters well before the hunt. He is absolutely committed to first time hunters. If you talk to a hunter or parent who has been on a Don Coxsey TYHP hunt you can sum up their experience with the most common response “Best hunt ever!" Don is the consummate TYHP promoter. He can regularly be seen at booths recruiting volunteers, landowners and youth. He has hosted Huntmaster trainings in North Texas and is very active with the Texas Paralyzed Veterans. "We are very proud of all of our volunteers and especially proud to recognize Don as our 2019-2020 TYHP Volunteer of the Year," said Mitchell,

Don is a long-time resident of Denton, and although his Texas drawl does not reveal it; he was born in Oakland, California. He followed his Dad’s Navy legacy and served his country as a soldier in the US Army in the Vietnam era. After his military service, Don was in the boat business for 23 years and has worked for Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's for the last 15 years. Don is married to his wife, Christiane, and they have daughter, Jina, and granddaughter, Hadley, age 6."

Back to Top

Author of "Beyond Fair Chase" Passes


Jim Posewitz (1935 - 2020)

Excerpts from his OBITUARY

Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, James Anton Posewitz – “Poz” –grew up exploring the natural world and teaching himself to hunt and fish. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1957 from Montana State College.

In 1958, he married Helen Vidal and together they raised six sons. Poz later partnered with soulmate, Gayle Joslin, and together they worked tirelessly for wildlife, natural resources conservation and protections, and ethical hunting.

Poz began his long and storied career with Montana Fish & Game (later Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks) in 1961 as a fisheries biologist.  In 1969, he was named the first and only administrator of the Ecological Services Division where he remained for 13 years before being named Special Assistant to the Director until his retirement in 1993.  

In 1994, in retirement, he published his first book, Beyond Fair Chase – The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, for hunters of all ages, but focused on those venturing out for the first time. More than a million copies have been distributed. He established Orion— The Hunter’s Institute, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to ethical hunting and the wild resources essential to that purpose. Poz delivered more than a thousand presentations during the course of his conservation career. He published more books including Inherit the Hunt-- A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting and Rifle in Hand -- How Wild America Was Saved. Jim’s final book was his autobiography, My Best Shot – Discovering and Living the Montana Conservation Ethic. Through his life stories, Poz shows how determined individuals can and must protect America’s “democracy of the wild.”

Through the years, Poz’s expertise, dedication, and commitment led to his appointment and service on dozens of advisory councils and boards and recipient of many honors and awards including Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame, “Conservationist of the Year” from the Montana Wildlife Federation, “Educator of the Year” by the Safari Club International and National Wildlife Federation’s “National Conservationist Achievement Award”.

Editor's Note:  POZ gave several Ethics keynote presentations to the Texas Hunter Education Instructors in the nineties.  He was known for researching the state's conservation history prior to such presentations and would always wrap his notes into his presentations -- Aldo Leopold"ish" in a way!  I had the opportunity to host him fishing in the Texas bays and joined him on a Montana stream, fishing for big trout.  He definitely reminded me of Aldo Leopold as he "thought like a Mountain" and was truly inspirational. We will miss him dearly --his mentor-ship and wisdom!

Back to Top

Hunter Education Staff & Contact Information

HE Staff

(L to R): Heidi Rao, Houston:; 713-829-1377 c

Randy Spradlin, Abilene:; 512-923-3509 c

Morgan Harbison, Caldwell:; 512-413-0194 

Brock Minton, Corpus Christi:; 361-944-3617 c

Steve Hall, Austin:; 512-389-8140 w; 512-550-7330 c

Monica Bickerstaff, D/FW:; 469-601-8349 c

Admin staff

TPWD HQ Boater/Hunter Ed Admin Staff; 512-389-4999 w; 512-389-8042 fax

(L to R): Andrea Cleveland, Hunter Ed:

Eddie Kleppinger, Hunter Ed & ORS:

Monica Silva, Boater Ed:

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