Sept 2020 - Hunter Education Legend Passes!

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

Coordinator's Column - Hunter Ed Legend Passes


D. Terry Erwin, passed peacefully at his home, August 26th after a short bout with cancer. He was in the care of his loving wife, Burna, their kids, Larry (D’Wayne) Erwin, Kelle Daigle and Patrick Frantzen, along with several relatives and friends.

First hired by TPWD as Assistant Hunter Education Coordinator in 1988, Erwin served as Hunter Education Coordinator from 1990 through the year of his retirement in 2012.  Among his many accomplishments, Erwin served as president with the International Hunter Education Association where he earned many awards including being selected to the Hunter Education "Professional Hall of Fame" in 2010. He also received Safari Club International's "Educator of the Year" award in 2009, partly because of his efforts to help Mexico, Peru and South Africa launch their hunter education programs. In Texas, Erwin oversaw a volunteer management program that certified more than a million students and over 7,000 trained instructors. Erwin was instrumental in the development of home study, apprentice (hunting deferral license), youth hunting program, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, mobile shooting sports and other efforts -- all part of making hunter education more effective and convenient and creating more hunting and shooting sports opportunities for all Texans.

Known affectionately as a “Big Teddy Bear”, Terry was considered by his colleagues and friends as one of the nicest men they had the pleasure of working with, volunteering for, and/or meeting for the first time, along his journey.  He enjoyed long-lasting relationships and had an impeccable memory – remembering names of individuals he met only briefly years earlier.  He will be sorely missed, but his family and friends know that he is hunting in Heavenly pastures.

A Celebration of Terry’s Life will be held September 5th, 1:00 PM at the Harrell Funeral Home, 1715 Kirby, Kyle Texas 78640See Terry's Obituary Here!

Rest in Peace, Terry!

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

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Hunting Season's Here!


I always look forward to opening of dove season. Last year's opener seems a very distant memory, especially given the busy 2019 hunter education season, followed by what has been an unending pandemic nightmare.

Good news is that dove hunting can be handled easily in a socially distant way, and we can even get together with some friends and/or family members to observe what is an annual ritual in Texas.

Bad news is that some of our annual hunter education events have been postponed until next year.  Two I personally enjoy attending on an annual basis are:

  • J.B. Kolodzey's Annual Dove Hunt near Buda for persons with disabilities including Wounded Warriors, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Area Chief, Vincent Lecca, Driftwood, presents the hunting safety primer before the hunt, so he also will have to find another event to serve on opening day!
  • Lonesome Dove Fest & Youth Day in Karnes City, which includes a youth day (Friday) with around 300 Ag Ed students and a weekend Expo, is on opening weekend of South zone season and was started in 1994. I have only missed a few over the years, but consider it one of the greatest hunting festivals in Texas. Announcement of Cancellation HERE.

As you and your students venture forth this season, be sure to observe safe muzzle control and stay within your SAFE zone of fire (see below). STAY SAFE!

Steve Hall

(Photo courtesy of Mitch Strobl, Kalkomey Enterprises)

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safe zone

Most Common Hunting Incident in Texas - Swinging on Game Outside of a Safe Zone of Fire

One of the learning stations, especially in a field course, is the "zones of fire" station where you have marked cones or flagging depicting a 30-45 degree angle (simulating 3 to 5 dove and upland game hunters hunting side-by-side).  In a field course, it is handy to have frisbees simulating flying birds or scurrying rabbits (once they hit the ground and start rolling in front of the students).

This is perhaps the most valuable learning station when it comes to preventing the most common injuries sustained by TX hunters.

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Instructors must remain cautious as you go about scheduling courses beginning in September.  As you already can imagine, demand is exceeding supply, but we still want you to teach virtually, if you can, or conduct smaller courses and observe social distancing protocols.  For those of you conducting courses this fall, please complete the following form and submit it to:

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:


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Youth Hunter Education Challenge Oct. 10th

YHEC 2019

Photo:  (L to R): Area Chief, Duke Walton, Porter, Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Ed. Speicalist and Larry Holland, Garland, worked at the 2019 YHEC.

The Texas State YHEC will be held at the Arlington Sportsman's Club (ASC) in Mansfield, Saturday October 10th.  Volunteers are an essential part of the event.  We need YOU! There will be 6 events:  .22 rifle, shotgun, archery, black powder, responsibility exam, safety trail/wildlife ID.  If you have an event preference, we will attempt to place you at that event. Lunch will be provided for volunteers. Please contact David Hammonds TODAY at to sign up as a volunteer!

In an effort to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the ASC guidelines for members and guests using their facilities which comply with Texas and CDC requirements. ASC will provide sanitizing materials and place them at all sign kiosks and in the buildings. Volunteers and participants will need to wear a mask and hearing/eye protection while on club property.  Hand sanitizer will be available and all event stations, which also will be sanitized periodically during the day. Hours are 7:00 a.m. to approximately 6:00 p.m. For registration forms and additional information, please visit our YHEC Outdoor Sports

  • 2020 Texas State YHEC -- an NRA and National Sanctioned Event
  • Arlington Sportsman's Club, 11500 CR 525, Mansfield, TX 76063
  • Saturday, October 10th; 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Hunter Education Graduates Age 9 thru 18
  • Cost $35.00 (includes t-shirt and lunch); extra lunches $8.00
  • Registration Form: email or 817-991-5525
  • Deadline: September 18th; Late fee $10 (after Sept. 18th)

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RMEF Annual Hunter Education Course a Success

Duke Walton, Porter and Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Coordinator reported a successful hunter education student course held near Houston. "Saturday, August 29th, immediately on the heels of Hurricane Laura, 86 Texans gathered at VFW Post – 4816 to complete a course sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). RMEF paid each student’s course fees, provided a free, full course BBQ lunch (YUM!!) and gave each student 16 years of age and younger a door prize ticket. Door prizes included three firearms, several folding knives and RMEF hats. Closely following COVID-19 Preparedness Protocols for Hunter Education, organizing instructor Area Chief Duke Walton, Porter, hired the services of retired Area Chief, John Meekins, Cleveland, to sanitize the entire classroom before and after the course was conducted.  Congratulations team -- with support from RMEF and North Texas!


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Hunter Education Instructor & Staff Happenings


WHIZ Bang in Corpus Christi

A total of 140 Youth attended the recent August 29th 4-H WHIZ Bang held at the Corpus Christi Gun Club  in Nueces County. Ty Hehman, Frio County, took home "Top Gun Individual".. Congratulations Ty!  For more information about shooting sports, WHIZ Bang, Ag Clays and other events go to: Sporting Clays


Bow Hunter Education

Monica Bickerstaff, N TX Hunter Education Specialist, and her team of bow hunter education instructors in D/FW and the surrounding area have been busy certifying students in bowhunter education due mainly to public drawn hunts at the Hagerman NWR and other states requiring bow hunter education.  She wrote, "More states are offering their fee-based, online-only bowhunter education courses to non-residents. Links to the National Bowhunter Education Foundation’s online courses can be found at Among states offering non-resident courses are South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona, Idaho and Kentucky."

del rio


Val Verde County Game Wardens, Dustin Barrett (pictured) and Brent Deen, along with Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, conducted a Hunter Education course for ten (10) students the last Saturday in August. Special thanks to Jeff Hailey, U.S. Border Patrol, for the use of the classroom and range at the Del Rio Port of Entry. 

Below: Live Oak Game Wardens,Thomas Colton and  Drew Garrett, along with Brock Minton, S TX Hunter Education Specialist, HE Instructor Baylea Herring and Area Chief, Benny Ham conducted a course the same Saturday for 8 students at the Whitsett Community Center.


In July, Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, assisted with range operations and led ethics and game law presentations for five Boy Scout of America troops at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch. Total participants during shotgun and rifle training sessions over 3-day increments was 39 scouts and 13 adults. Instructor Jonathan Wood led the Troop 1331 rifle exercises. To maintain social distancing, no one was allowed on the range unless shooting. 

Sid Richardson

sandy mason

Sandford "Sandy" Mason, Joshua, held a socially distant course in early August at the Tri-Cities VFW Post in Crowley for 10 students. He set the classroom up so that family groups or parent and child could sit together, and Individuals could sit at their own tables. Along with students wearing their own masks, he pre-screened students (COVID survey) and provided sanitizers and wipes. Good job Sandy! 

Honorable Hunter meets with TX Outdoor Ed/Youth Hunting Leaders

(L to R):  Michael Sabbeth, Denver, author of The Honorable Hunter instructor and student materials on communicating with the non-hunting public and ethics, Leon McNeil, San Antonio, founder of the City Kids Adventures and teacher/coach at San Antonio Academy and Scot McClure, Lipan, Director of Education with the Outdoor Tomorrow Foundation met in San Antonio to review Leon's hunter education activities, youth hunts, NASP and Student Air Riflery Program.  After the visit, Michael, Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator and Scot drove to Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Youth Hunting Program staff to meet with TYHP Director, Chris Mitchell, New Braunfels, Bryan Jones, TYHP Field Operation Coordinator, and Doug DuBois, Jr., Austin, to look over a draft of instructor materials prepared by Sabbeth for use in hunter education in Texas and nationally.


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Guns In America: A Way of Life (Part 1)

Guns in America

by Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator

An acquaintance of mine, Eric Dinger, Lincoln, NE, and his family were recently featured at Voice of America (VOA) Connect.  Their piece is entitled Guns in America: A Way of Life and was run on July 31st. Eric runs a company called Powderhook, which, among other services, provides linkage to many conservation events and efforts throughout North America.  As stated in the video, Eric grew up hunting, like most father/grandfather and son tandems prior to 3 decades ago.  Eric raises key points about safety, tradition and culture, issues and feelings most of us try to articulate to non-hunters each and every day.  His emphasis on guns being used as tools for hunting has never changed  What has changed are the larger percentages of people who don't grow up around firearms, who are more urbanized and who are conditioned by a media, including many social media platforms, where misinformation relating to gun promotion, use, violence, and/or activism seems to be rampant.  Hunters that grow up around guns as a WAY OF LIFE, are sometimes left to defend their use, beliefs and values, among family, friends or neighbors who don't get why they use guns, or even hunt, for that matter.

As hunters, firearms and other sporting arms such as bows, are the tools we use to secure meat for the table or with which to enjoy the target shooting sports.  They are part of who we are, and, in hunter education, our goal is to teach others how to respect them and use them responsibly as we do any tool around our house or garage.

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Hunting In America: A Way of Life (Part 2)


Another article from Forbes on July 21st caught my attention: "How 45 Million Hunters And Anglers Are Aiming To Bypass Hollywood"

Author Chris Dorsey, another acquaintance in the outdoor industry, writes and quotes Jim Liberatore, CEO of a Denver-based media company that owns cable channels and magazines devoted to American hunters and anglers, “There are more than 45 million Americans who hunt and fish ... that’s more people than live in the country’s 10 largest cities but no one is engaging them…at least not in ways that showcase the truth about their lifestyle. That’s why I’ve brought a team together to create The Harvest, a film that aims to help dispel myths about the way many middle Americans think and live.”

Like guns used for hunting, hunting, itself, is a WAY OF LIFE, that many of us, especially those of us who are baby boomers, consider part of who we are, part of our upbringing, part of our soul.  Conservation of species and habitat; organic, wholesome meat for the table; companionship in the outdoors with family and friends; relaxation; physical exercise; spirituality; being a mentor and teacher; aesthetic values and vivid memories are just some of the benefits of hunting that go with the 'thrill of the chase'.

“The average urbanite simply doesn’t understand this way of life,” (Liberatore) says, “because their only connection to hunting is what they see from Hollywood portrayals and from television networks based in Los Angeles or New York. The pandemic and recent riots have accelerated the massive movement of people abandoning our dysfunctional cities and large percentages of our country are now looking to get back to the land. It’s one reason we think this is the perfect time for such a film.”

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Hunt Texas Newsletter Available to Hunter Education

Suscribe to Hunt Texas Newsletter today!  Newsletter Link HERE!

 Hunt TX

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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

TPWD Hunting and Fishing Regulations Digest


Hunter and Angler Education Instructors may order printed copies of the Hunting & Fishing Regulations Digest to distribute to students as part of the game laws presentations during your courses. These are the only PRINTED versions of the regulations, so be frugal with copies that you include in your supply orders!

Note: There are a few edits you will need to know about the version you will receive in orders.  (If your students are using the Outdoor Annual APP or other Internet resources, these changes have already been made to online versions.)  Changes to be included are:

  • P 49 - add red deer to list of CWD species; add sentence in last paragraph “Use common sense precautions while handling and processing any species susceptible to CWD.”
  • P52 - make change to "FM 479 to CR 443" (from 433); add phone number under Segovia Check Station - 512-803-6174
  • P53 - change Life Check Drug Store to God's Country Pharmacy; date on Hondo Check Station should be Jan. 18 - Feb. 28 (not Feb. 29)
  • P62 - change date regarding Light Geese Conservation Order (West Zone) to Feb 15 – Mar 14 (from Mar 15). Inside front cover dates are correct.

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Instructor Profiles - Longtime "Panhandler"


Bill McCubbin, Area Chief HE Instructor, Amarillo (1982)

Why I became a VOLUNTEER – So I could hunt with my grandkids who were not yet born.  Also, I could help hunting and hunter education.

My most prized sporting arm 40X Remington Target .22 Rifle – My grandfather gave it to me when I was 15.  He worked for Remington (Sales) – for 42 years. He also threw in a Lyman .22 target scope -- still have it today!

My favorite huntQuail Hunt - My co-instructor, Tom King, and I bought a quail hunt at a local Chapter dinner donated by the Biven's Ranch.  It was a great hunt for both scaled quail and bobwhites, and the dinner was superb!  We all got our limit and they even cleaned our birds for us – a great experience! 

Any time I can hunt with a former student is also a pleasure.  I remember hunting with former student and Dallas Cowboy great, Dr. Les Benson, and 3 or 4 of his sons. (He has a large family.)  Steve Hall even took photos of the hunt for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at that time -- "from student to hunter...".

My tee-shirt would say I actually own one my son bought for me at Academy that says “You don’t hunt?  What is the point in talking to you, then?”

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IN Memory...TPWD Family


Loss of 3 Wildlife Division Employees to Helicopter Crash Rocks TPWD Family & Friends

We are saddened by the tragic loss of Wildlife Biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White, and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar. The three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees died in a helicopter crash on TPWD’s Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County on August 8th.  READ TPWD NEWS RELEASE HERE.  We can be comforted in knowing that they were likely doing exactly what they wanted to be doing when they were taken from this earth. All were active assisting Hunter Education staff and programs. Randy Spradlin, W TX Hunter Education Specialist, said, “Bob would help with our Hog Hunting 101 efforts and CWD Seminars as well as give presentations at the Harper WMA and other TYHP Hunts.” Our prayers and thoughts are most certainly with family members as they deal with the grief of losing loved ones. Photo: A celebration of Dr. Bob’s life was held August 23rd at the Hill Country Youth Event Center in Kerrville. RIP Fellas!

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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