TX HE Instructors:
MY CHRISTMAS STORY – Most of you do not know that I am Ralphie! – the Christmas Story kid! With my first Daisy® Red Ryder BB Gun at the tender young age of 6, I shot myself the day after Christmas – not in the eye, but in my mouth. Having had five older brothers to teach me gun/hunter safety back then (nottt!), I was as thrilled as a bouncing puppy to finally get my first gun. On Christmas day, it was off to our basement that had an unfinished, dirt-wall room –a perfect shooting range (given two large buckets of those famous green army men as targets). We shot all day, took magnets, picked up as many spent BBs as possible, set up the army men and started all over. The next day, it was back to the basement only to find that one of my brothers got dirt stuck in the screw threads of the muzzle. I was furious, but he was bigger and could beat me up, so I just stewed and worked to get the muzzle unstuck. (Many of you remember that you had to unscrew the muzzle to get to the magazine in which to pour BBs from the famous yellow cardboard vial). I could not get it with the pliers, so what is the next best thing a kid does –of course – use his teeth! I was sure it was unloaded as I tilted the gun back and forth without hearing a sound (forgetting that one in the chamber would not make a rolling BB sound). As I twisted it off with my teeth, both hands on the barrel, I heard a ‘clicking noise’ which I thought was odd. I pulled up the magazine and saw a drop of blood hit the back of my hand in the process. I wiped my mouth –blood everywhere. After hearing me scream, I remember my mom washing my mouth out with water, then rushing me to the hospital where my dad, the GP doctor, was working. I had every doctor in the hospital around my bed taking a crack at squeezing the BB, which per the x-ray was lodged squarely in the back of my tongue, to the surface using a pair of hemostats –agghhhhhh! After hearing the word ‘surgery’ and feeling the adrenalin surging down my body, one of my doctor friends managed to take one last stab at it. He popped it out, and they all looked around, staring, chuckling at Doc Hall’s son –the one that shot “HIS EYE OUT” at Christmas time! Being Catholic (I have four sisters, too); I look back and can honestly say that my penance has been well served –teaching firearm and hunter safety for the rest of my life!
Action: Keep do what you’re doing! There are far less “Christmas Story” injuries because of YOU, even if you did not grow up as Ralphie (aka Steve) — among a neighborhood of kids who loved to shoot their BB Guns.
THEIA ELECTION – The Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association (THEIA) elections are now taking place until December 15. If you are an active hunter education instructor and THEIA member, you can vote at http://www.theiatexas.org
Action: Please vote!
GUN SALES – With the recent terrorist act in CA, touted as the largest on American soil since 911, and with continued calls for gun control by those generally against (certain) firearms and/or the 2nd Amendment, many Americans are getting extremely nervous and beginning to think about their own safety and protection. They purchase firearms, and never before has the ‘spike in gun sales’ been so large in terms of background checks (NCIS) these past two weeks. Postponing any discussions about our firearm rights (which dominate the media these days, of course), one of the outcomes is the increase in excise taxes on handguns, collected by retailers/manufacturers and deposited into the federal treasury, ultimately to the benefit of HUNTER EDUCATION at the state level. What this means is a greater ‘hunter safety’ federal aid (USFWS) apportionment this next year – and funds available for efforts like our target range development (grant) program. If we can provide the match (through YOUR VOLUNTEER activities and value), we also can extend our capabilities of purchasing products and services that directly benefit our hunter education program. I’m very mindful that, with these short term spikes in available hunter education funds, we try to apply them to efforts like ranges that benefit all Texans for the long term. One such effort forthcoming in 2016 is “Learn to Hunt 101” courses offered to the public that helps them understand what, how and where to go for the various game species in TX. It will be important for us to stock up on materials and equipment vital to the implementation of a program that fits between hunter education certification and hunting opportunities on both public and private lands. In other words, this would be a (short term) investment in a (long term) strategy….or money well spent on behalf of the unintended consequence of the ills plaguing today’s America…
Action: Purchase a firearm, yourself, this holiday season – to use in hunter education or for hunting, recreational shooting and personal protection –all of the positive uses for such tools!
Action: Make sure you record your VOLUNTEER HOURS properly on your Instructor Course Final Report or TPWD Outreach Form if you conduct a hunter education awareness event or activity. (Please get with your regional staff or HQ staff to obtain an outreach form if you conduct hunter education activities in your community such as rifle shooting, archery, wildlife identification/management, survival and/or hunting/firearm/shooting safety presentations.)
TARGET TALK – In this month’s Target Talk –look for a holiday greeting, YOUR yearly accomplishments, Instructor Corner, Tree Stand Safety, Heritage Hunt recap, regional reports, BOW, NASP, THEIA and Kathy’s Korner.
Action: Read TT instead of automatically filing or hitting the ‘delete’ button. Please send in your contributions either to be captured in the weekly blog or Target Talk.
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…”