By Texas Parks and Wildlife
Starting this fall, new hunters who need to complete the state's required hunter education will have expanded options designed to be more convenient, flexible and accessible.
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 6 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.
The combination online home study and 4 to 5 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 earlier 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. 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.