Hunter Education Course Fee Increase Approved

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a fee increase for attending a hunter education class from $10 to $15. The increase will take effect June 1, 2006.

According to Steve Hall, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Education Director, the increase is a needed incentive to increase volunteer instructor recruitment efforts.

Under current rule, an instructor is authorized to retain $5, which has been in effect since 1995. The department has determined that economic factors have affected the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteer instructors over the last 10 years, and that it is appropriate to increase the amount retained by volunteer instructors.

“Volunteer instructors are the backbone of the hunter education program,” said Hall. “Last year, approximately 2,500 volunteers provided hunter education training to 32,000 persons in Texas.”

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.

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 education 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.

Currently, 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.

TPWD is looking at additional innovative alternatives to provide effective and convenient hunter education training, including the potential use of new technology using simulated live fire exercises through computer technology. The department also offers a deferral program that allows hunters to purchase a $10 “waiver” good for up to one year under certain provisions.

A complete listing of hunter education courses is on the TPWD Web site.

Since 1972, over 713,000 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.

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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