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Hunter Safety and Education Courses in Texas
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Taking a hunter safety course in Texas is required under many circumstances before you can get a license to hunt. Even when taking a hunter education course is not mandatory, the classes can provide valuable information that helps improve your chances of success while increasing your level of safety in the field. Classes cover a wide range of topics that are beneficial for new and experienced hunters.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) offers a few different types of courses that hunters can enroll in. Some classes are mandatory before a hunter can get a license, but others are optional courses that experienced hunters can take to advance their skills further. The TPWD also offers a deferral choice for qualified hunters who are not ready to take their courses yet. Below, learn more about each of these hunters education options and discover how to enroll in the correct class.

Who needs to enroll in hunter education in Texas?

A hunting license course in Texas is mandatory for most hunters, but there are a few groups who are exempt from the requirements. Individuals who do not need to take a hunting class in Texas include the following:

  • Current or former peace officers.
  • Active duty members of the military.
  • Honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces.
  • Current and former members of the Texas Army National Guard, Air National Guard or State Guard.
  • Individuals born prior to September 2, 1971.

TX hunters education is required for all other hunters who are nine years of age or older. However, as an exception, a hunter does not need to enroll in a class if he or she is younger than 16 years of age and is accompanied in the field by a licensed hunter who is at least 17 years of age. Furthermore, hunters who are 17 years of age or older may apply for a one-time hunter education deferral, which allows him or her to hunt without completing the class as long as he or she is accompanied by another licensed hunter who is 17 years of age or older.

The earliest a hunter can obtain an education certificate is at nine years of age. Minors who are younger than nine years of age can hunt without taking an education course, but they must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 17 years of age or older.

If you have completed hunters ed in a different state, you do not need to take a separate course in order to get a license in Texas. Certificates from other states are honored by the TPWD, but keep in mind that you will need to follow all Texas hunting laws when getting a license in the state.

Click here to get your informative guide to hunting in Texas.

Are Texas hunting certificates required?

When you successfully complete a hunter safety course in TX, you will receive certification from your instructor. You do not need to present this certificate when applying for a license. However, you must carry your hunter certificate when you are out in the field so that you can provide proof of your course completion if requested. If caught without proof of taking the class, you will be fined and receive a misdemeanor charge.

Keep in mind that while you do not need to have a certificate on hand when applying for any type of hunting license in Texas, you may need to present your certificate if you want a hunting license in a different state. Any certifications you receive in Texas should be honored in other states where you may wish to apply for a license.

Types of Hunting Safety Classes in Texas

Before signing up for a hunter safety course in TX, it helps to learn about the different options available from TPWD. Note that not all courses will meet the requirements for basic hunters education completion, so you will want to ensure the class you take qualifies. The main types of programs available include the classroom course and the online course with field work.

First, the classroom course includes six hours of instruction on the basic hunting principles. Depending on your instructor and where you take the class, your course may be longer than six hours. Second, the online hunter safety course includes a self-study portion followed by a minimum of four hours of field instruction. On your field day, you will practice live firing exercises and other skills. Another option is an online-only hunter safety course, which you can only take if you are 17 years of age or older. This class does not require you to attend an in-person session to demonstrate your skills.

In addition to the three basic hunter safety classes described above, you can also enroll in an optional Hunting and Shooting Sports 101 class or a bowhunter program. Be aware that neither of these classes will satisfy the TPWD requirements for basic education. However, these hands-on classes are helpful if you want to improve your hunting skills and obtain separate certifications. Even though Texas laws do not require you to complete bowhunters education, note that this class may be required in other states. Therefore, if you plan on bowhunting elsewhere, it may be in your best interest to get certified in Texas before applying for a license in other states.

How to Take a Hunter Safety Course in Texas

Whether you plan on taking an online hunting safety course or want to take a class in person, it is easy to enroll. Classes fill up quickly, so it is important to check the course offerings ahead of time rather than waiting until the start of a hunting season. Because field classes are filled quickly, it is especially helpful to schedule your class in advance if you plan on taking the online course with the field day component. In any case, know that pre-registration is required for any course. Follow these steps to successfully complete hunters education in TX:

  • Sign up for a class using the TPWD website or by calling the TPWD.
  • Pay the course fee to the instructor. Note that there is a base fee, but individual instructors may charge facility fees.
  • Pass the written exam.
  • Keep your certificate with you.

If you are qualified to postpone your hunters education course requirements, you will need to apply for a deferral by visiting a hunting license vendor and paying a fee. A deferral is valid until the end of the license year and can only be used once in your lifetime.