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Sept. 29, 2009
Hunter education classes filling up fast
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is encouraging hunters in need of certification to enroll soon as fall hunter education courses are filling up fast. As hunting seasons draw closer, demand for hunter education classes is expected to increase.
"It would be much better to enroll early and avoid the rush right at the beginning of hunting seasons," said Terry Erwin, Coordinator for Hunter Education at TPWD. "If you wait, you might find that getting into a course will be more difficult."
Hunter education courses are conducted by certified volunteers all year across the state of Texas. Courses cost $15 and students can either take the free classroom study portion on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Hunting Education Web site plus a one-day field course component or take the traditional two-day course that averages 14 hours of instruction. Anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 must complete the education program to legally hunt or be accompanied by an individual who is at least 17, who is certified or exempt by law (born before Sept. 2, 1971). The minimum age to receive certification is 9. Certification is not required to purchase a license.
Hunters who are at least 17 years of age and have not completed the hunter education course can purchase a one-time-only year-long deferral for $10 and must be accompanied. Hunters who opted for "deferral" last year must complete the hunter education course to hunt legally this year.
"The deferral is only available once. The license point-of-sale vendors are not allowed to sell a deferral once it has been purchased by an individual," Erwin said. "The database keeps track of the sale, and will not allow a sale to occur with the same individual."
More than 30,000 aspiring hunters become certified every year in Texas and since 1972, and more than 820,000 Texans have completed the hunter education course, which is mandatory in all 50 states and 10 Canadian Provinces. Currently, hunter education courses are taught by 2,900 volunteers comprised of game wardens, professional educators and TPWD volunteers.
Hunting is safe and getting safer because of hunter education," said Erwin. "Make sure you are one of those responsible individuals who wish to continue the heritage of hunting for generations to come."
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