There are many barriers to becoming a hunter in Texas... some of them perceived, yet some are very real. Hunter recruitment is a focus of BHA, especially the recruitment of conservation-minded hunters like ourselves, and research has shown that mentored hunt programs that target adults, rather than youth, are most efficient at achieving this goal.
We are proud to announce that TX BHA has been working with Texas Wildlife Association’s youth hunting program (TYHP) to develop our own adult mentored-hunting program, and we're calling it Hunting for Sustainability. This program will entail 3 components: (I) classroom education, (II) weapon safety, handling, and proficiency, and (III) mentored hunts (1:1 volunteer guide to hunter ratio) for various game species. Although we still have much work to do to get this program up and running, we've reached the point at which we are now ready to ask for help to make this program a reality.
Will you join us in making this program a success? Will you help us allow others to enjoy the many benefits (and struggles) that come with hunting? There are 3 primary ways in which we can use your help. If any of these appeals to you, please let us know!
Host Mentored Hunts on Property You Own or Manage
One obvious necessity of a program such as this is the need for a place to actually hunt. Although we will absolutely utilize public lands & waters, private property access will be essential to make this program a success by allowing us to hold more hunts and accept more participants. Landowners can be as much (or as little) involved in the actual hunt as they choose and would be covered by the same insurance policy that TWA offers to their enrollees. If you own or manage property and would be willing to allow TX BHA to host hunts for any game species, especially deer ('does only policy' is more than sufficient), hogs, turkey, waterfowl, or even small game, or would like more information, please email our program coordinator, Travis Thon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Be a Volunteer Guide
Mentored hunts, of course, require mentors. We're looking for folks who "know their way around the woods". Although we're not necessarily looking for experts, we are looking for folks who know what it takes to successfully harvest game. If you are proficient at finding, scouting, calling (e.g., turkeys), or whatever else it might take for a particular species, and would be happy to share your knowledge in a 1 on 1 setting while actually hunting, please consider this opportunity.
If you are interested in acting as a guide for TX BHA's mentored hunt program, please email the program coordinator, Travis Thon (email@example.com), and state which species you feel comfortable guiding for (and any other relevant information). We'll get you added to our guide list and provide you with more information as the program continues to develop.
Become a Huntmaster, Coordinate & Lead Hunts
We are recruiting folks with a particular interest in hunter recruitment to be more heavily involved by becoming Huntmasters. If interested, keep in mind that TX BHA leadership will assist with the logistic/planning/scheduling components of this as well, and you will have an existing Huntmaster to co-lead your first hunt.
A “Huntmaster” is the individual that is responsible for all aspects of planning and conducting a safe and educational hunt in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined in the Huntmaster Training Manual (developed by Texas Wildlife Association). It is a detail-oriented job that requires effective organizational, leadership and interpersonal skills. Aspects include coordination with hunt participants, volunteers, and host landowners; planning the details of the hunting activities; planning the hunt schedule; planning for gear/equipment needed to support the hunt; planning lodging and meals; recruiting & training volunteers; planning educational elements; and planning for first aid & emergencies. Becoming a Certified Huntmaster requires completion of a Huntmaster Training Class conducted by the Texas Wildlife Association; this class covers all the topics listed above and much more in preparing you to lead hunts!
In order to become a certified "Huntmaster", a day-long training conducted by TWA's TYHP is required. We've scheduled the Huntmaster training class for Saturday, August 10 at Mason Mountain WMA. The class will officially start Saturday morning and last until 4 p.m., but TYHP is encouraging folks to arrive at 7 PM Friday night and TYHP will provide everyone with dinner. Mason Mountain has bunkhouses that participants can use Friday night for free.
We've worked a deal with TYHP to provide this class for $40 per person, which also includes a TWA membership (plus Friday dinner, Friday night lodging, and Huntmaster certification). Once completed, there is no recertification required and you'll be all set to work with TX BHA to lead hunts as opportunities arise and schedules allow. If interested in becoming a Huntmaster and leading our mentored hunts, please register for the class at the following link: https://texaswildlifeassociation.salsalabs.org/huntmastertraining/index.html
We hope you'll consider making Hunting for Sustainability a success. If you have any questions about the program or want to get involved, please email Travis Thon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
And as always, thank you for supporting TX BHA!