Heidi Lyn Rao was hired by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in 1998 and has recruited, trained, and retained volunteers, as the Hunter Education Specialist for Southeast Texas. In 2010 she also assumed the role as statewide Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Coordinator.
During her TPWD career, she developed many partnerships and organized many education & outreach events. She started “Take Me Outdoors Houston” in 2009, when the Texas Wildlife Expo ended, and this will be the 14th year. She hosts wildlife workshops ranging from alligators to big game. She promotes hunting and outdoor safety to groups ranging from elementary school aged to flying offshore via helicopter to speak to oil and gas employees in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico on a platform. From teaching firearm safety to Rodeo Clowns during the Houston Rodeo, to hosting Hunter Education classes at the Sam Houston (horse) Raceway, conducting National Archery in the Schools Program and Student Air Rifle certifications, and partnering with many hunting, shooting and conservation organizations across Texas.
She has coordinated 25 statewide BOW workshops across Texas, including the first-ever VIRTUAL BOW in 2020. She has reached over 6,000 Ladies who have attended BOW and continued their outdoors skills ultimately becoming hunters, anglers, and archers, especially through mentored BOW hunts. To date, 10 Texas Outdoor Women Network (TOWN) groups have launched across the state because of the statewide BOW.
She received IHEA’s Professional of the Year; IHEA’s Executive Director’s Award; Houston Safari Club Educator of the Year and she is also in the Texas Hunter Education Halls of Fame.
She and her (now retired) TPWD Game Warden husband of 23 yrs., John, have 4 boys: Dominic is 20 and works for Laser Shot Simulations in Houston; Matthew is 18 and is a graduating Senior; JohnJohn is 16 and will be a Sophomore; and Luke is 13 and will be in 7th grade. The Rao’s are avid hunters and enjoy trapping and the shooting sports together.
About Hunting Matters
Tune in to “Hunting Matters” with Houston Safari Club Foundation Executive Director Joe Betar as he engages in conversations with guests, from various backgrounds, who have a passion for hunting and conservation. Great discussions, news, hunting legislation updates and more! “Hunting Matters” airs each Saturday, 6am-7am CDT on KPRC AM 950 – Real Texas, Real Talk, a Houston iHeartMedia station, and Houston’s longest running radio station. “Hunting Matters” is also available via podcast on Apple/iTunes, iHeartMedia, Google, Overcast, PodBean and Spreaker. Subscribe, listen and provide a review and rating. Hunting Matters is a 2022 Gold AVA Digital Awards winner!
About Houston Safari Club Foundation
Houston Safari Club Foundation (HSCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the sport of hunting through education, conservation, and the promotion of our hunting heritage. HSCF has awarded 638 scholarships totaling $2.77 million dollars. HSCF conducts youth outdoor education programs, career training, hunter education and field experiences throughout the year. HSCF has provided over $4 million in grants for hunter-funded wildlife, habitat, and various conservation initiatives. HSCF is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization. Visit our website at wehuntwegive.org or call 713.623.8844 for more information. HSCF. We Hunt. We Give.