Proposed changes would alter Texas hunter education certification requirements

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Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Proposed changes to the state’s hunter education certification program would streamline the process for the tens of thousands who take the course annually, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said.

Anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a Hunter Education Training Course to hunt in Texas. Hunters can take the traditional two-day course that must be spread over a minimum of 10 hours, or they can opt to take the self-paced knowledge-based portion online home study. Students must then complete a four-hour field training class for certification.

TPWD is proposing a suite of options that could reduce the time commitment for completion of the course by half. By streamlining the curriculum, officials suggest the classroom portion of the process could be reduced to five hours. The field training class length would remain unchanged. Nothing in the proposed changes prohibits students from taking advanced workshops on hunter education topics of special interest or more extensive curriculum offered in high school and college courses.

For students 16 years of age and older, TPWD is proposing the option of an online instruction-only certification that would eliminate the required field training component. Active-duty military and certain veterans are exempted by law from the field training component of the course.

Hunter education programs are invaluable in reducing accidents, especially fatal ones in the long-term
Hunter education programs are invaluable in reducing accidents, especially fatal ones in the long-term

“Our hunter education courses serve a wide variety of students,” said Nancy Herron, TPWD Outreach and Education Director. “One may be a 9-year-old with a parent in tow, another a teenager taking a class in school, and then an experienced 60-year-old preparing for big-game hunting in another state. Providing additional course options will make getting hunter certification more convenient and better fit our students’ needs.”

To pass the current course options, students must take a 50-question written exam and get 70 percent correct if they take the traditional two-day course or 80 percent if they take the course online. TPWD is proposing to standardize the passing grade for all options to a minimum of 75.

The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states.

Public comment on the proposed changes can be made online or to Nancy Herron, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; 512-389-4362 or via e-mail. If adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 22 public meeting, students could begin taking advantage of the new process this fall.

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