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Hunters Reminded About Mandatory Education, Deferals
AUSTIN, Texas — Hunter education is more than a legal requirement in Texas–statistics show it saves lives. People getting ready for fall hunting are reminded of two things: those who purchased hunter education deferrals last year will need hunter education this year, and there are hundreds of courses scheduled across Texas where they can fulfill that requirement.
More than 10,000 people purchased $10 Texas hunter education deferrals in the 2004-05 license period — the first year the deferral was offered. The deferral allows a person 17 years old or older to defer hunter education completion for as long as one year. During this time they can hunt if they are accompanied by a person licensed to hunt in Texas who is at least age 17 and has passed hunter education or is exempt by age. “Accompanied” is defined as “within normal voice control.”
The intent of the deferral is to encourage people to try hunting and recruit new hunters by pairing them with hunting mentors. A deferral may only be obtained once and is only valid until the end of the current license year. A person who has been convicted or has received deferred adjudication for violation of the mandatory hunter education requirement is prohibited from applying for a deferral. Deferral participants who take a hunter education course by Aug. 31 each year receive a $5 discount.
Every hunter (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Training Course to hunt in Texas. Minimum certification age is 12 years old and cost is $10.
There are some exceptions for youngsters. Youth younger than 12 can hunt but must be accompanied by a person licensed to hunt in Texas who has completed a hunter ed course, or is exempt by age. Youth ages 12-16 can hunt on their own if they have completed hunter education, but adult supervision is recommended.
There are three ways to take hunter education, traditional classroom instruction, home study and skills trail testing and an online course with skills trail testing. Home study and online course participants must come to a testing site to complete their training.
“There are 240 classroom courses scheduled across the state between now and next January, but it’s good to complete the course early,” said Terry Erwin, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hunter education coordinator. “Experience shows some people wait until the last minute, and these courses are subject to change as they fill up daily. There are also 106 home study courses currently offered.”
A complete listing of hunter education courses is on the TPWD Web site.
Since 1972, more than 685,000 Texans have completed the hunter education course, which is mandatory in 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. Hunter education became a legal requirement in 1988. Partly as a result of hunter education, Texas hunting accident rates have steadily decreased from a high of more than 12 accidents per 100,000 hunters in 1966 to below five accidents per 100,000 hunters in recent years.
“Texas is always looking for responsible individuals who would like to give something back by becoming a hunter education instructor,” Erwin said.
Volunteer instructors must be at least 21 years old, have taken the hunter education course, filled out an application, and been through a game warden interview and an instructor course. Anyone interested can contact TPWD at (800) 792-1112, Ext. 4999 or see the TPWD Web site.
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