As adults, we have a responsibility to introduce our youth to our national traditions of firearms and the sport of hunting. When we do, it is crucial that we shape them with high moral and ethical standards to advocate our sport. The future of hunting rests in our young hunters. If we do our part to inspire our children with the values and traditions we hold close to our own hearts, they will, in turn, become the devoted hunters that will carry on our hunting heritage for generations to follow. When we make the commitment to introduce our children to hunting, the method of teaching should become our main focus. We must revise, modify, alter, adapt, adjust, and whatever else it takes toward our own hunting behaviors to set the best example we can. For the rest of our lives, our children now become our responsibility to guide and educate. We need to teach them how to interact with the woods, waters, and fields. Involve them so they understand and respect the land. Kids need to learn how to study and appreciate the wildlife, learn their biology, and how they are connected to the environment.
John Rao John Rao has been employed by a state wildlife agency since 1990 as a game warden. John has proven himself as an expert in various wildlife fields from indigenous species to exotic fish and reptiles. During his career as a game warden, John has moved hundreds of alligators, several up to thirteen feet in length. He also has extensive experience with other large predators, such as black bears, brown bears, and mountain lions. Additionally, John has been an active member of the Boy Scouts of America since his youth. Approximately twenty of those years he was an associate Explorer Scout advisor. During his time in the Explorer Scouts, John backpacked in many areas inhabited by black bears, brown bears, mountain lions, and wolves. He has backpacked and camped in many untamed areas. Some of the wilderness areas he has backpacked across include the Chisos Mountains in West Texas, the Teton and Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, and Chugach Mountains in Alaska. John is very knowledgeable and experienced in understanding the habits, habitats, and biology of large predators. He is considered an expert by many specialists in the field of reptiles and exotic fish and animal species. He has even been credited with assisting medical doctors at one of the largest trauma centers in the United States, by saving the life of an individual that received a lethal dose of venom after being bitten by a monocled cobra. John is well respected in his field and has received numerous professional awards in the fields of law enforcement and conservation. Some of these awards include Recognition for Outstanding Service in Law Enforcement, issued by Governor Rick Perry, a Director’s Citation for Life Saving, issued by the largest state conservation agency in the United States, and the Hornaday Award for Conservation, issued by the Boy Scouts of America. John has his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree in criminology, and a second master’s degree in behavioral science. Heidi Rao Heidi Rao has been employed by a state wildlife agency since 1998. She is currently the statewide coordinator for the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, recruiting women into a variety of outdoor activities. She is also the assistant hunter education coordinator, introducing youth and adults into outdoor activities and the shooting sports. Heidi’s profession requires her to travel the state, conducting workshops on a variety of outdoor-related topics, of which she is considered an expert. These topics include species-specific workshops (alligator, feral hog, white-tailed deer, waterfowl, etc.), small- and big-game hunting, trapping, hunter responsibilities, game laws and ethics, and wilderness survival. Additionally, Heidi conducts shooting clinics on rifle, shotgun, handgun, archery, and crossbow. Heidi has conducted seminars to address different sportsmen and conservation groups on both the national and international levels. Some examples include the International Hunter Education Association, Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, Master Naturalists, Boy Scouts of America, National Wildlife Refuges, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She is well respected in her field and has received numerous professional awards in the fields of hunting and conservation. Some of these awards include Professional of the Year and Executive Director’s Awards presented by the International Hunter Education Association, and Houston Safari Club’s Conservationist of the Year. Heidi has her bachelor’s degree in zoology with a concentration on wildlife management and her master’s degree in forestry with a concentration on human dimensions of wildlife management. John and Heidi Rao were married in 1998 and have four sons. They have traveled to the Amazon Rainforest in South America and into Mexico several times, fishing, camping, and hiking deep in the jungle. They have camped extensively from the swamps in the Southern United States to the Rocky Mountains in the Northwest, to state and national parks coast-to-coast. Their love of the outdoors has put them in close contact with the large wildlife predators of North America