Texas Game Wardens Top 10 Check-List for Hunters

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AUSTIN, Texas — With the beginning of hunting season, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens would like to remind hunters to have fun, be safe and BE LEGAL.

"Every year, our game wardens issue hunters citations that could have been avoided," said Col. Jim Stinebaugh, TPWD law enforcement director. "We’d rather help folks learn to follow the rules and avoid common mistakes, which will keep them safe as well as legal."

For example, Stinebaugh says the most common hunting law violation in Texas is failure to be certified in hunter safety. From Sept. 1, 2003 to Aug. 23, 2004, game wardens cited 2,521 hunters with the violation of Hunter Safety regulation (no hunter education certification). This is a Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $500.

Following is a table of the last season’s most common violations and their punishments, from most common to least common. All are Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanors, again, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

The top ten wildlife enforcement violations were as follows:

Number of Citations — Description *

  1. 2,521 — Hunter safety violation (no hunter education certification)
  2. 1,719 — White-tailed deer harvest log not completed
  3. 858 — White-tailed deer improperly tagged
  4. 540 — White-tailed deer untagged
  5. 420 — White-tailed deer hunting or possession in closed season
  6. 357 — Mourning dove hunting without a license or failure to show
  7. 337 — Mourning dove hunting with unplugged shotgun
  8. 316 — White-tailed deer hunting without a license or failure to show
  9. 278 — Mourning dove over daily bag limit
  10. 257 — Public Hunt Land — Any other violation

And there were 45 citations issued for killing of a white-tailed deer without landowner consent (Parks and Wildlife state jail felony). Parks and Wildlife state jail felony carries a penalty of not more than two years or less than 180 days in prison. In addition to confinement, there may be a fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $10,000.

"These game laws were not put in place to ruin anyone’s fun. They are there for the safety of everyone out there in the field, and are based on animal counts so we can enjoy hunting now but our children will also be able to in the future," said David Sinclair, of TPWD’s Law Enforcement Division.

So to help ensure hunters don’t end up pleading memory lapse in the face of a possible citation, Texas game wardens offer the following Top 10 "Don’t Forget" list.

  1. Take the hunter education course and carry your certification card with you in the field; look at our Web site (tpwd.texas.gov/edu/) for a listing of courses.
  2. Review the Outdoor Annual and check for open season dates and bag limits for the county you are hunting.
  3. Check for legal means and methods in the county you are hunting.
  4. Carry your current hunting license as this may have your hunter education number listed below your name and address.
  5. Clearly identify your target before pulling the trigger.
  6. Carry a sharp knife; cut out the date (month and day) of kill on deer and turkey tags and immediately after kill, attach appropriate tag to the deer or turkey.
  7. Carry a ball-point pen; fill out ranch and county name on back of deer and turkey tags, and don’t forget the deer log on the back of the license.
  8. Carry a state driver’s license or state personal identification certificate if you are 17 years of age or older.
  9. Fill out a Wildlife Resource Document to accompany any wildlife resource, or part of a deer or turkey that you give to someone else.
  10. Keep all game animals and game birds in an edible condition.

As an additional safety precaution, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.

* Correction, Sept. 1, 2004: The original version of this news release did not list these statistics in the correct order. (Return to corrected item.)