Do I Need Hunters Education in Texas?

Who needs hunters education to hunt in Texas? Chances are if you are asking about hunters education you will need it to hunt in Texas. Texas hunting regulations state that every hunter, including out-of-state hunters, born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete hunter education prior to hunting.

The minimum age for hunters ed certification in Texas is 9 years and the cost of the course is $15. It is important to note that proof of hunters ed certification is not required to purchase a hunting license.

Hunters Education 

If plan to hunt in Texas, you will need the course if you were born on or after September 2, 1971 and you are:

  • under 9 years of age, you must be accompanied*.
  • age 9 through 16, you must successfully complete hunter education, OR you must be accompanied.
  • age 17 and over, you must successfully complete hunter education; OR purchase a “Hunter Education Deferral,” and you must be accompanied.

*Accompanied means: By a person who is at least 17 years of age, who is also licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt and you must be within normal voice control. Proof of hunters education in Texas or elsewhere or a deferral is required to be on your person while hunting.

Hunters Ed Deferral Option in Texas

Any hunter 17 years of age or older who has not completed hunter education may defer completion for up to one year. A deferral may only be obtained once and is only valid until the end of the current license year. You must be accompanied while hunting in Texas if you have a deferral.

The one-time Hunter Education Deferral is available at license vendors and costs $10. So… do I need hunters education in Texas? We hope this article helped you answer that question.

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Virginia Deer Hunting – CWD, Carcass Importation

The white-tailed deer hunting season is upon us and Virginia deer hunters need to be aware of regulations before heading into the field. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is requesting that hunters pay particular attention to regulations related to Chronic Wasting Disease.

State officials are asking hunters to become familiar with regulations before transporting deer after a progressive neurological disease was found in 12 deer harvested in Frederick County and one deer killed on the road in Shenandoah County.

CWD Rules, Carcass Import Regs

The VDGIF stated that because of CWD, whitetail hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Virginia, and must follow state importation regulations when transporting cervid carcasses into Virginia.

The VDGIF is has implemented deer management strategies within the CWD containment area of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah counties. All cervids killed in those areas on November 19 and 26, 2016 must be brought to a designated CWD sampling station for mandatory testing.

Virginia whitetail hunters can still check their harvested deer via telephone or internet but must bring the deer to a designated CWD sampling station on the dates above for testing. No over-the-phone or web-based testing for the disease exists, yet.

CWD in Cervids

CWD impacts all cervids, including elk, deer and a number of other native and exotic species. CWD has been detected in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological disease found in North America and two other countries around the world. The disease results in death of the animal, although it make take years for the infected animal to show symptoms or die.

Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include drooling, abnormal posture, lowered head, confusion, staggering and dramatic weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, pets or even livestock. Hunters that encounter a deer that displays any of the described symptoms should contact a VDGIF representative as soon as possible.

CWD threatens white-tailed deer and deer hunting in Virginia and across the country. Whether hunting in state or out, understand the CWD carcass import regulations and check station requirements before harvesting a deer and bringing it home. It could cost more than just a ticket.

How Far do Quail Travel, Range?

How far do bobwhite quail travel? What is their range? Most quail move less than a half-mile in either direction, although quail have been documented to move several miles. One of the quail’s most noted moves comes as summer turns to fall, when successful broods year’s hatch begin to disperse and form into coveys. This movement is known as the “fall shuffle.”

During the fall shuffle, bobs are looking for long-term food sources and suitable cover. Ideally, these resources are close to one another. This is important for the winter survival of quail, as maintaining a close distance between food and cover, when herbaceous cover is lacking, greatly increases their chances of seeing the next year.

Moving Towards Winter Cover

The habitat required by quail varies throughout the year. Their breeding and chick-rearing habitat does not look the same as their wintering grounds. In the fall, woody cover is a must for environmental protection as well as structural protection from predators. Brushy cover also provides quail coveys with areas that can be used for loafing, just hanging out, during the times when they are not actively feeding.

These areas are called covey headquarters. To qualify, at least from a quail’s perspective, a covey headquarters must provide canopy cover with an open understory. This protects quail from weather and avian predators but allows them to move around. Species that serve as homes for quail consists of lotebush, skunkbush (frangrant sumac) or even shin oak.

Bobwhite Quail

They Can Move Out

Many hunters and land managers know that bobwhite quail can move from their summer range come fall. This larger movement does create opportunities for additional mortality, especially within juveniles. The trick — rather, key — to keeping quail is maintaining good habitat for them.

If quail can not find adequate winter habitat near their summer sites they will go and find it. It may be somewhere else on your property or it could be neighboring lands. Quail are not migratory birds, but they will move to find the good wintering habitat, habitat necessary for survival.

In fact, quail researchers have had to use aircraft to locate the birds fitted with radio transmitters in many cases, with birds ranging 20-30 miles in some instances!

Fall Surveys in Quail Range

Have the quail moved out or have they stayed put? Conducting annual fall covey counts for quail on your property will help determine the answer to that question. They will help you identify areas quail are using and also allow you to estimate quail covey size on your property.

This information will give you the advantage when it comes hunting season. But it’s just as important to know where quail aren’t on a property. If there are areas devoid of quail then this could signal potential areas for restoring quail habitat. A little management can pay big, quick benefits.

Best Crossbow for Long Distance

Ravin’s R9 Crossbow offers rifle-like accuracy, is the best crossbow for long distance hunting and shooting. The HeliCoil technology allows for ease of handling and delivers devastating killing power. It’s superior technology gives hunters an important edge, the ability to close the distance.

Go Long

One of the design advantages provided by HeliCoil technology is the Frictionless™ Flight System. This patented technology allows the string and arrow to both free float above the rail, providing a quieter shot and vastly improved string life by eliminating string friction, noise and fletch clearance. All of these advantages contribute to unmatched, repeatable accuracy, and make for a deadly long distance opportunities while hunting deer or other game.

The Trac-Trigger™ Firing System is another advantage enabled by HeliCoil. This patented system features a built-in trigger sled that slides forward in the rail and clasps directly on the center of the string. This creates a perfectly balanced draw, which is an often overlooked but critical component in accurate and consistent shooting. The trigger sled also contains the safety and anti-dry-fire mechanisms.

Best Crossbow for Long Distance Hunting and Shooting

Distance and More

This crossobw can shoot a long way very accurately, but it’s also safe, seamless. Another unprecedented design feature provided by HeliCoil technology is the Versa-Draw™ Cocking System. Working in conjunction with the Trac-Trigger Firing System, this ultra-compact, fully-integrated cocking mechanism is built into the sleek stock design. The fully ambidextrous system is mounted internally in the stock and allows for easy cocking and uncocking of the crossbow.

The cocking handle is mounted on the quiver provided with the Ravin crossbow. It is easily inserted in the recessed hole on either side of the stock where slots and magnets hold the handle firmly in place. Once engaged, the bow can be easily cocked and uncocked with minimal effort. There is no need to fire the weapon to uncock it.

It’s a quality piece of equipment and probably the best rated crossbow for long-distance hunting and shooting. In our opinion, it’s a deer-killing machine!

Ravin R9 Crossbow Distance-Adding Technology

  • Fully Assembled/Pre Tuned Crossbow
  • 6 Ravin Branded Arrows and Ravin Nocks
  • Removable Cocking Handle
  • Quiver/Mounting Bracket
  • 6 Practice Field Points (100 Grain)
  • 100-Yard Illuminated Scope
  • Built-In Cocking Mechanism
  • Anti-Dry-Fire/Auto Safety
  • Built-in Sling Mounts

Are There Bears in Texas?

Yes, there are black bears in Texas! These large mammals once covered the entire state of Texas, but are now mostly found in the Trans-Pecos of Texas, with good numbers in the Guadalupe and Big Bend Mountains. They range into New Mexico and Mexico and as east as Kerrville in the western part of the state.

There are bears in East Texas, especially the northern parts of this region, but could be spotted at any time along the Red River of the Sabine River.

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is listed as threatened by the State of Texas.

Black Bears are in Texas

Black Bears Nice by Nature

A wild bear is normally shy and not aggressive towards people. However, a bear that is regularly fed, regularly visits a deer feeder, or has become otherwise habituated to humans may be a problem. A bear that loses its fear of people should be seen as problem.

If you experience a bear at close range, it is recommended that you talk calmly while backing away slowly. Do not make direct eye contact with the bear, and do not attempt to run straight away as the bear may chase out of instinct. If a bear approaches you, stay where you are, raise your arms, jacket or other gear to appear larger and yell at the bear to scare it off.

Bears and Texas Hunting Regulations

Black bears are black. So are many feral hogs. It is recommended that hunters study their game carefully to avoid mistaking a bear for a feral hog or other legal game animal. It is against the law to kill a black bear in Texas, with penalties of up to $10,000, added civil restitution fines, jail time and loss of all hunting privileges.

Bear Safety While Out

To minimize encounters with bears, hunters should keep camps clean to prevent odors that will attract bears and discard gut piles far from campsites. Placing deer corn in piles or in open feeders will attract more bears, while using an automated feeder hung out of reach of bears will decrease bear visits.

Also, switching bait from whole corn to soybeans will reduce bear activity. Another good idea is to attract deer using food plots. This brings in deer for harvest, but does not bring in the bears. Most of all, use common sense precautions if you are in or near the black bear areas of Texas.

Quail Population in Texas Up

Counting Quail

Each summer the bobwhite quail population in Texas is surveyed. After recent roadside quail counts, researchers at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch confirmed what they have expected all summer: Quail numbers are booming in the Texas Rolling Plains.

“Once the roadside counts were in, our 2016 estimate is an average of 512 birds for a 20-mile route,” says Dale Rollins, executive director for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch (RPQRR) near Roby. “That’s about ten times the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) counts for the same area.”

By contrast, Rollins conceded that their routes and counting methodology varies somewhat from Texas Parks & Wildlife census protocols but each method points to the same conclusion: the bobwhite quail has made an astounding comeback since their historically low numbers earlier this decade.

Estimating the Quail Population

In the Rolling Plains ecoregion, TPWD recorded 50.2 birds on their 20 mile census routes. These numbers, according to the department’s annual quail forecast is the highest number of quail recorded since 1971.

Rollins credits the ranch’s adherence to sound quail management practices as a reason for the increase. While abundant rainfall has helped their cause, he says that the increase can’t entirely be credited to more moisture.

“We’re perhaps 30% below the ecoregion mean,” says Rollins. “As of September 30th, we’re sitting at 17.7 inches or rainfall at the ranch. We’ve made the best of what rain we’ve received.”

Early in the year, researchers at the ranch indicated that quail numbers would indeed be higher. According to Lloyd LaCoste, RPQRR ranch manager, helicopter and call counts this past spring showed numbers to be appreciably higher than in the past. Each spring, data is taken using the exact same methodology so that data collection efforts are consistent from year to year.

Other Quail Population Techniques

“We conduct spring call counts at 25 “mile markers” spread across the ranch,” says LaCoste. “We count the number of “bobwhite” whistles that we hear as well as the number of individuals calling.”

LaCoste says that they also count scaled quail calls and their numbers recorded as well. Counts are conducted twice weekly at each mile marker for 5 minutes. “Typically we hear about 10 whistles per cock per stop. This year our number of whistles per cock per stop was higher than normal and we had the highest number of birds that we have recorded calling.

March helicopter surveys for bobwhites showed an increase as well. In 2013, only two coveys were detected. By contrast, in the spring of 2015, 32 coveys were detected from the helicopter counts and by spring of 2016, 199 coveys were recorded.

Long-term Health of Quail Population

Rollins says it’s too early to tell if this numbers will mean a long term rebound for the species. Right now he says that ranchers and quail hunters can enjoy the bounty and try to take the current population momentum into the ensuing years.

“Our next hurdle is a steep one: can we “insulate” (sustain) our current bumper crop?” he says. “History is not on our side. But then, think what the historical paradigm was for ice chests. Used to, the chests would only keep ice for a day, perhaps. Now the are some that can store ice for five days. Can we borrow from such success on the quail front?”

Cost of Deer Hunting in Colorado is Going Up

It looks like the price of deer hunting in Colorado is on the rise. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW)officials are looking for additional revenue streams amid budget cuts and millions of dollars worth of deferred maintenance stacking up at its facilities just as hunters prepare to head to the field for the start of rifle season for big game.

Colorado:Hunting for Dollars

Times are tough for everyone, which includes agencies funded by the public. During a series of 18 “Funding the Future” meetings across the state this summer, wildlife managers explained the dire situation of a Colorado Wildlife budget that’s been slashed by $40 million since 2009 and yet still faces a budget shortfall of $15 million to $20 million by 2023.

It seems we are all having to do more with less, but it seems Colorado deer hunting will cost more. It’s not the only one though.

Deer Hunting Costs Going Up

Deer Hunting Costs Going Up?

State officials say that without a fee increase for in-state hunting and fishing licenses, CPW would lose access to thousands of acres it leases for hunting and fishing and wildlife management efforts would be compromised. The million dollar questions is how much of a fee increase Colorado hunters and anglers see? That will be left up to lawmakers next year.

But like the mountains, rate hikes on deer and other hunting licenses are a slippery slope. Many sportsmen have been supportive of an increase in license costs, but they are also concerned that a steep hike could price out some hunters and turn off an already tuned-out younger generation that’s not interested in hunting.

Most understand the budgetary needs of the wildlife department, but hunter recruitment and retention should be an extremely high priority for state officials. The fact of the matter is that the human population continues to grow, which puts more pressure on state agencies by both hunters and non-hunters alike.

Wisconsin Deer Hunting Registration Totals Online

Documenting deer harvest is important for managing deer herds. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has started posting white-tailed deer registration numbers on their web site. The cumulative total deer harvests for Wisconsin are being updated each Monday and whitetail hunters can check them out online.

Deer hunting in Wisconsin is archery-only at the time of writing, but as new hunting seasons begin, additional harvest data will be available for interested persons to view. Each hunting season will have its own spread sheet online, divided into zones and then divided into county rows.

Whitetail Deer Hunting

The whitetail archery season is split into archery and crossbow, so to get the total for all archery deer killed to date, it will be necessary to add the two categories together for a county, zone or season.

Antlered (bucks) and antlerless deer are separate columns for each Deer Management Unit, which is mostly by county or half-county. Counties that are split into two management zones appear in both zone displays. Wisconsin’s deer registration system will maintain growing harvest totals by season, deer management unit, county, as well as deer type.

The registration system will maintain accurate deer harvest information by management unit throughout Wisconsin. Interested hunters can check out the status of deer hunting within units of interests in near real time.

Whitetail Hunting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The white-tailed deer population and hunting on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula may still be in recovery mode this season. While the winter of 2015 was relatively mild, the three previous severe winters are still having an impact on deer numbers across the UP. Deer numbers are still quite low, and at least one more mild winter is needed in order to begin seeing deer numbers truly rebound.

There are only three units currently open for private-land antlerless licenses in the Upper Peninsula, and no areas open for public-land antlerless licenses. The three open units are located in the south central portion of the Upper Peninsula, which typically has higher deer populations than anywhere else in the region. Antlerless permits are available in Deer Management Units 055 (Menominee), 122 (Norway) and 155 (Gladstone).

Deer Hunting Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Deer on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Rebound

Despite last year’s mild winter, continued efforts to support the rebound of the deer herd after three previous consecutive severe winters for the UP remain. The Upper Peninsula will have its second year in a row where archers will not be allowed to harvest antlerless deer with either the single deer license or a combination deer license during the archery season. Whitetail hunting on the Southern Lower Peninsula as well as the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan look much improved, however.

Bowhunters may only harvest antlerless deer if they have an antlerless license. This change does not affect the Liberty or Independence hunts and does not affect mentored youth hunters.

Deer, Hunters Head for Mast on Upper Peninsula

Apple production appears to be high this year, while acorn and beechnut production is spotty, so those deer hunting will need to seek these areas out to determine which trees may be producing. Even though conditions throughout much of the summer were hot and dry, there was enough rain toward the end of the summer to have a productive growing season, giving deer many other food sources to seek out.

In general, deer hunters should expect to see about the same number of deer as last year in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. However, the 2.5-year-old and 3.5-year-old age-classes are still very low since they were most affected by the severe winters.

Keep in mind that each area is influenced by local factors and conditions that affect deer density and sightings in that area. The largest bucks (heaviest and largest antlers) typically come from agricultural areas, but nice bucks are also taken from forested areas where hunter access is limited and the deer have an opportunity to grow older.

Deer Hunting Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula

Excellent habitat conditions throughout Michigan indicate good white-tailed deer hunting this year for the Northern Lower Peninsula. Michigan wildlife officials believe the deer population for the Northern Lower Peninsula will see an increase in harvest this year. Good news for those looking to tag a deer this fall.

With the mild winter Michigan received last year and little impact from the previous winter, whitetail populations have been increasing steadily across much of the Northern Lower Peninsula.

Deer Population Up in Northern Lower Peninsula

Deer sightings have been good throughout the region, and many have reported seeing healthy fawns. There have been numerous reports of twins and even some triplets within the deer herd. As said, it’s been a good year!

Mast production (fruits and nuts) has been spotty throughout this region of Michigan. For the third year in a row, high production of apples is being reported. Acorn and beechnut production is diverse, with some areas seeing decent production and others reporting none.

Michigan Deer Hunting

Deer should be targeting the mast producing trees frequently as well as fall food plots throughout the region. Scouting to find these areas will be very important to early-season deer hunting success. Contacting a local wildlife office may be a good first step if looking for some insight on locations or hunting strategy. Wildlife staff can likely point you in the right direction.

More Bucks in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Expect to see increased deer numbers compared to last year throughout most of the Northern Lower Peninsula. Many areas may see more 2.5-year-old and 3.5-year-old bucks this year with the continued three-point antler point restriction (APR) in many counties in the northwest area. This APR allows the majority of 1.5-year-old bucks to mature to the next age class, thereby resulting in increased numbers of 2.5- and 3.5-year-old bucks in the years following.

All Northern Lower Peninsula Deer Management Units are open for antlerless hunting. All in all, thing look a little better than the hunting on the Southern Lower Peninsula, but success can vary by property across the state. Those headed out deer hunting in Michigan should review the 2016 Antlerless Deer Digest for more information.