THANKSGIVING MEMORIES – Thanks for all of your well-wishes and the few stories that I received from several of you such as Doug Dubois, Jr., TSRA Executive Director. He wears many TX conservation/organization hats — including that of hunter education instructor and TYHP Huntmaster/Coordinator. He shared a particularly heart-warming memory of his upbringing re: Thanksgiving quail hunts near Skidmore (Bee County) featuring “hand-made deer skin leather boots protecting the pads of their English and German short-haired pointers against all the prickly things of South Texas….” and, of course, “the game of the day!” (UT vs. A&M). He summarized (by quoting all of our grandfathers and All in the Family)… “Those were the days!”
I hope that you created, new/fond hunting and outdoor memories last week despite the Texas rain. I was able to go shooting (sighting in rifles/handguns) at an indoor range and bow hunting for hogs in muddy South TX with my son– perhaps a new tradition….but my (wife and) daughter couldn’t make it on account of studying for college finals (How can a father argue with that?). I told her not to worry — that we’ll go when the sun is back out and shining!
Action: Share ‘hunting heritage’ stories with your friends –particularly non-hunters. Hunting tales that create warm, family memories and food for the table go over far better than our typical “big buck” stories – if we want to endear many more folks to our way of life, that is. The “getting back to the land”, organic farming, and ‘locavore’/adult onset hunting lifestyles are growing. Hunting for food – what a concept!
Action: Join national/state/local conservation groups like Doug’s (TSRA) to further support firearm rights, 2nd Amendment, and wildlife conservation – all related to hunting and the shooting sports – our common bonds!
TX HUNTING INCIDENTS – I received a hunting incident this week that caught my attention, and I’ve been compiling and/or monitoring such data closely since 1985. This one involved four men conducting a mule deer survey on a W. TX private ranch from a helicopter. While surveying, they spotted some feral hogs and began to shoot at them, at which time the pilot lost control and crashed the chopper. Fortunately, no one was killed but the pilot and one of the other men suffered lacerations and/or major broken bones. I guess when you think about the legalization of hunting hogs from helicopters, there would be a possibility of such a hunting incident – certainly, the first I have heard of it!
Action: Attached are the compilation of hunting incidents (TX Annual Hunting Incident Analysis), published in 2015 by TPWD Outreach & Education Director, Nancy Herron, which many of you use in your courses in establishing your teaching strategies and priorities. She also wrote the attached “Top Three” article, and I’m also including a recent “Top Ten” Incidents (National Data) that I wrote. Both articles include prevention/teaching strategies and reminders for classroom discussion and/or “hunter skills” field course activities. Review and ensure you are covering the most common incident types in your courses.
THEIA ELECTION – The Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association (THEIA) has nominees for the 2016 THEIA Officers and Board of Directors up on its web site http://www.theiatexas.org/index.html . Please visit the site to view their information. Information will be sent out shortly about submitting ballots for voting.
Action: Join THEIA and if you are already a member, please vote!
FROM NSSF “BULLET POINTS” – HIGHEST BLACK FRIDAY PERIOD IN NICS HISTORY . . . The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reports that it processed 185,345 transactions on Nov. 27, Black Friday, making the day the highest Black Friday ever and the highest day in NICS history. The highest previous day was Dec. 21, 2012 with 177,170 background checks. For the entire Nov. 26-29 2015 four-day Black Friday period 368,774 checks were completed, a 9.9 percent increase over the 335,555 checks conducted over the corresponding 2014 4-day period. It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.
Action: Register for any one of NSSF News and Information Services/Bulletins (http://nssf.org/newsroom) – GREAT, current and updated source of quality information for hunter education instructors!
Hope you are able to get out hunting or shooting in December –perhaps the best month to enjoy all Texas has to offer! And if it is like Thanksgiving, be SAFE and careful out on those highways!
Hunter Education Coordinator
Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
4200 Smith School Rd.
Austin, TX 78744
“To continue the hunting heritage by teaching safe,
responsible hunting and shooting sports practices…”