Streamlined Texas hunter education courses to take effect in September

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

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Thursday approved  additional options for hunter education certification, including a streamlined, one-day basic course reducing the mandatory hours of classroom instruction from 10 to a maximum of six hours and creating an option for anyone 17 years of age or older to take the hunting safety training completely online.

The new options should be available by late September, according to a news release. The combination online home study and four- to five-hour skills field day course will still be offered, as well as advanced hunter education available as part of high school and college courses across the state.

Anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education training course  or purchase a one-time deferral good for one license year in order to hunt legally in Texas.

Based on 16 pilot classes held this summer to assess new options, the core curriculum of the streamlined course brings an even sharper focus on the key reason behind the training requirement — improved hunter safety, according to the release. Since mandatory hunter education first started in 1988, the number of hunting accidents and hunting fatalities has steadily declined to less than 3 per 100,000 hunters.

Accidents involving those who had completed hunter education training are only in the single digits each year.

The basic course will be streamlined to cover only essential skills of  safe, legal and ethical hunting.

To pass the current course options, students must get 70 percent correct if they take the traditional two-day course or 80 percent if they take the course online. Under the new system, the passing grade for all options will be a minimum score of 75 percent.

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


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