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Feb. 9, 2004
Proposal Would Exempt New Hunters From Education
AUSTIN, Texas If you’ve ever had to turn down an invite to go hunting because you didn’t have time to take a hunter education course or if someone you’ve asked to go hunting has had to back out for the same reason, there may soon be a solution.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing a temporary exemption from hunter education requirements.
“Although we offer about 4,400 hunter education courses a year, and at least one in every county in Texas, there may be occasions where a class isn’t available in time,” said Terry Erwin, TPWD hunter education coordinator. “We see this exemption as a way for people to enjoy an opportunity to go hunting.”
The proposed exemption would allow an individual who purchases a Texas hunting license and is accompanied by a licensed hunter who is at least 17 years of age and already meets hunter education requirements to hunt for the remainder of the license year. The exemption would cost $10 and be offered one-time-only. The new hunter would also receive a $5 discount off the price of a hunter education course, which costs $10, but only if the course is taken prior to the end of the current license year.
The exemption would be available to out-of-state hunters as well as those in the military who are stationed in Texas or coming home on leave.
“Texas has the most flexible mandatory hunter education law in the nation and provides the most convenience in terms of alternative delivery methods,” said Erwin. “It is consistently among the top three states in terms of certification and provides free, duplicate certificates upon request, dating back to 1972. This proposal gives Texas one more tool to attract persons into hunting and makes getting the training even more convenient.”
Texas certifies more than 33,000 hunters annually through 4,400 hunter education courses offered across the state, with at least one offered in each of the 254 counties. The 10-hour program is offered in three formats: traditional classroom, home study and online.
“Although we offer the course throughout the year, there are times during the holidays when only a select number of courses may be available and that’s typically the time of year when most people have an opportunity to go hunting,” said Erwin. “This exemption will give folks time to enroll at a later date and still take advantage of an opportunity to go hunting.”
The proposal is currently out for public comment, which may be made at any upcoming public hearing to be scheduled or online (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/). Comments may also be made to Erwin at: TPWD, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or (512) 389-8140.
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