STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
GRANITE SHOALS — Jason Brady still remembers the long day of traveling and learning he and three others experienced when they decided to become certified bow hunters in the state of Texas.
They discovered there were only three cities in the state that offered the proficiency portion of the test: Lubbock, Bryan-College Station, and Floresville. But because they wanted to get their certifications, Brady and his pals drove to Floresville, which is south of San Antonio.
Once they returned, some decided the neighborly thing to do was to become Texas Parks and Wildlife Department certified instructors so they could teach the course in the Highland Lakes.
“We want to make sure everybody has an opportunity to take the course without having to travel,” Brady said. “Having it here was the most logical thing to do.”
Brady and Todd Holland, another instructor, will teach a bow hunter certification class at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at Granite Shoals Fire Hall, 8410 RR 1431 West. Cost is $15.
Students should bring their bows, arrows, sunscreen, and certificates of completion from the online portion of the Bow Hunter Education Course.
Students will not be able to take the field day portion in Granite Shoals without completing the online portion, Brady said.
Part of the cost of the course goes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the rest is used to pay for snacks and refreshments to be served during the class. The city of Granite Shoals has donated the use of a facility, Brady said.
“If you have to pay for the use of facilities, you have to up the price of the class,” he said.
Students will spend some time learning a general overview and review the online portion at the beginning of the Highland Lakes class. Then, they’ll head outside for the proficiency tests, Brady said.
The main objective, according to the instructor?
“They’ll shoot and prove they know how to safely handle the archery equipment,” he said.
The number of students will determine the length of the course, the instructor said, which means the more students, the more time it will take to test and correct. Certification classes can’t be longer than six hours, according to a mandate from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“There’s not a whole lot of down time,” Brady said.
Brady is the chairman of the city of Granite Shoals Wildlife Committee, which is tasked with removing deer from within the city limits by using certified volunteer bow hunters. The committee, which is the first of its kind in the state, finished its second year in January and is always seeking more volunteer bow hunters.
During the 2017-18 deer season, volunteer bow hunters killed 130 deer, resulting in 1,845 pounds of venison for a dollar value of $32,626.46.
The ideal number of volunteer bow hunters for the wildlife committee is 15, Brady said. The committee is activated during the bow hunting season from October to January.
While the course is part of the wildlife committee’s requirement for bow hunters, Brady emphasized the class is open to anyone wanting to get certified to bow hunt in the state. And if students decide they want to join the wildlife committee, that’s great, too, he added.
“It’s open to anyone who wants to take the course for their own personal satisfaction,” he said. “We’re putting the community mandate, so we figured that there was no better way to do it than for us to teach it.”