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.

If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!

McFaddin NWR Acreage, Duck Hunting Increases

McFaddin National Wildife Refuge (NWR) and other public lands are getting additional acreage as a result of money from duck stamp purchases. The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved $33.2 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease or otherwise conserve more than 81,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across the United States.

“The first Migratory Bird Treaty was signed 100 years ago as part of our commitment to protect and conserve North America’s treasured migratory bird species,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The funding approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission is evidence that this commitment endures today as strongly as ever.”

Of the total funds approved by the commission, $21.5 million will be provided through North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to conserve more than 68,000 acres of wetlands and adjoining areas in 19 states. NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. For a complete list of projects funded, go here.

To date, NAWCA funds have advanced conservation of 33.5 million acres of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 states and Canada, engaging more than 5,600 partners in more than 2,600 projects. NAWCA grants are funded through federal appropriations as well as fines, penalties and forfeitures collected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; from federal fuel excise taxes on small gasoline engines, as directed by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act; and from interest accrued on Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act funds. Grants made through this program require matching investments. The projects approved today will leverage an additional $51.7 million in matching funds.

The commission also approved expenditure of $11.7 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve more than 13,000 additional acres at four national wildlife refuges – McFaddin in Texas, Felsenthal in Arkansas, Lower Hatchie in Tennessee and Turnbull in Washington. The funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps (Duck Stamps), which help provide habitat for wildlife and increased opportunities for refuge visitors who hunt, bird-watch, photograph and view wildlife.

“The sale of Duck Stamps continues to play a pivotal role in conserving our nation’s wildlife,” said Ashe. “Although required by those goose and duck hunting as an annual license, these stamps are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of the National Wildlife Refuge System who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation. The money generated through Duck Stamp sales has been essential in helping maintain and grow this irreplaceable network that also provides all Americans with opportunities to get outside and experience nature.

For every dollar spent on federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents goes toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund have provided more than $800 million to acquire more than 5.7 million acres for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Good news for Texas duck hunters and especially McFaddin NWR.

Texas Public Hunt Drawings: Deer Deadlines Soon

If you are interested in the Texas public hunting drawings for white-tailed deer do not waste any time. The application deadlines for deer hunts on public lands will be here soon. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Drawn Hunts for deer categories have until midnight Tuesday, September 20, to apply.

Texas Public Deer Hunting Costs

The Drawn Hunts program offers economical deer hunting opportunities across Texas, including several Youth-Only hunt categories. Application fees for public deer permits are $3 or $10 depending on the hunt category. Selected adults hunters may also need to pay a Special Permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended deer hunts.

Some categories, such as the Youth-Only deer hunts, require no application fees or permit fees, so these are good ways to get your kids a big outdoor experience for a only a little money.

Texas Deer Hunting

Application Deadlines for Public Hunts

It’s mid-September so there is no time to waste! Among the popular drawn hunt categories closing September 20 include: E-Postcard-Youth Deer Antlerless/Spike; Gun Deer — Antlerless/Spike; Gun Deer — Either Sex; Gun Deer – Management; Youth Only Gun Deer — Either Sex; and Youth Only Gun Deer – Management.

Hunters can apply up to 11:59 p.m. Central Time on the application deadline and after the application is submitted, and they can check their drawing status online at any time.

How to Apply for Draw Hunts in Texas

All hunt opportunities can be viewed by category or by hunting land/area using an interactive map. The entire process is handled online — from browsing opportunities, to permit applications, fee payments and deer permit issuance. To participate, applicants will of course need internet access, an email address and a credit or debit card.

It also helps to have a current hunting license. The Customer ID number from the applicant’s hunting or fishing license is one of the easy ways to access the system, but you do not need a current hunting license to apply.

For more information about Texas public hunt drawings and to get started in the application process visit the TPWD web site. They have all of the deer hunts broken out by hunt type, method of take and by site/area.

Texas Youth Hunting Program Schedules Hunts

The Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) has a full schedule that offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for young hunters this fall. In fact, this year’s new offerings from TYHP are rocking and rolling with more than 90 hunts now scheduled and available for online sign-up.

“Our volunteers have really outdone themselves this year. They have twice as many youth hunts posted this year as the same time last year. We’re really excited about that,” said Chris Mitchell, TYHP director, in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. Mitchell said TYHP completed more than 190 hunts last year. He expects the program to meet or exceed that number this year. Sign-up is available on the TYHP website.

Texas Hunting: Youth Program Scheduled Hunts Out

“As long as they’ve completed hunter education, and they’re between the ages of 9 and 17, they can come to our website, create an account and then sign up for any one of these hunts that are posted now or hunts that will be posted in the future,” he said. The program offers one of the easiest and best ways to get youth with little or no hunting experience outside and involved in our natural resources.

TYHP is a shared effort of the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Youth hunts are safe, educational and affordable. Introductory, instructive youth hunts for a variety of species are available. Mentors, lodging and meals are provided.

“We’re offering two dove hunts that will be in September and one in October. Of course, in October, that’s when a lot of the deer hunts kick in because a lot of our landowners have extended seasons through the Managed Lands Deer Permit program,” Mitchell said. “We will also be offering our third annual pronghorn hunt in October in the Panhandle. And, of course, hog hunts, turkey hunts, duck and waterfowl hunts are all interspersed among the offerings on the website.”

Feral Hog, Predator Hunting at Daughtrey WMA

The James E. Daughtrey WMA is offering predator and feral hog hunting this fall through the TPWD public hunt program. Hunters can enter online at no cost through an “E-postcard” application. Daughtrey WMA has lots of game and covers over 31,000 acres. The property include Choke Canyon Reservoir between Three Rivers and Tilden in Live Oak and McMullen Counties.

The WMA was named in honor of State Game Warden James E. Daughtrey of Tilden who was fatally injured in an automobile collision while pursuing game law violators.

The Daughtrey WMA

Approximately 6,000 acres of uplands are open to public hunting by Annual Public Hunting Permit at conservation pool. The terrain on the WMA is generally flat with thorny brush dominated by mesquite, black brush and cacti. E-Postcard hunts for archery deer, feral hogs and coyotes will be limited to specific compartments on drawn dates as published annually.

Daughtrey WMA Offers E-Postcard Hunts

Only specific areas identified during orientation will be open. Some areas are accessible only by boat or significant hiking by foot. Hunters should take this into consideration before applying for this hunt. Some roads provide access to limited areas.

Hunting Daughtrey: Things to Know

A hunter orange vest and headwear is required for hunts with firearms. All hunters must attend a mandatory orientation at 11:00 a.m. on the first day of the hunt period. Hunt ends at noon or on the last day of the hunt period. Stand-by positions may be available. Hunters must fill out a harvest questionnaire at the end of the hunt.

A primitive campground is located at the area headquarters and will open the evening before the start of the hunt. Drinking water and electrical hookups are not available. A limited number of fire rings and picnic tables are provided on a first come, first served basis, as is one rented chemical toilet. There are no cold storage facilities available on site.

Camping is also available at Choke Canyon State Park – Calliham Unit, 361-786-3538. For further information contact WMA personnel at 361-274-3573 or 830-879-5496.

E-Postcard Details for Hunting at Daughtrey WMA

1. All hunters must attend a mandatory orientation at 11:00 a.m. on the first day of the hunt period. Hunt ends at noon on the last day of the hunt period depending on hunt type. Stand-by positions may be available. If you cannot attend orientation the Department is not obligated to offer makeup dates.

2. At orientation all hunters must have on their person a valid E-Postcard confirmation, valid driver’s license or ID card, Annual Public Hunting Permit, a Texas hunting license, and any special stamp as required by statute. Only hunters drawn for the E-postcard hunt will be admitted.

3. A permitted supervising adult must accompany hunters under the age of 17. Visitors will not be allowed to accompany hunters into the field. Hunter Education is required of all hunters born on or after September 2, 1971. (See Outdoor Annual for more information).

4. Daily On-Site Registration is required. All game harvested must be recorded on the form. Only species defined by hunt period at the time of orientation may be taken.

5. For the Feral Hog and Coyote Hunts only legal archery equipment, shoguns with slugs or muzzleloaders are allowed.

6. Hunter orange vest and headwear is required for all hunters on this hunt, regardless of hunt method.

7. Bag Limit: Unlimited feral hogs and coyotes on E-Postcard hunts. No other animal game or non-game may be taken or possessed.

8. Portable stands are allowed and baiting is permitted. All equipment must be removed before the end of the predator and hog hunting period. Corn must be certified less than 20 ppb aflatoxin free.

9. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs) are not permitted on the WMA, except for use by a disabled person or an adult directly assisting a disabled person. Proof of disability is required.

10. Alcoholic beverages may not be publicly displayed or consumed on the WMA, and persons under the influence of alcohol/drugs will not be permitted to enter the hunt area.

11. Hunters in the field and vehicles, including boats, within the WMA are subject to inspection by WMA Personnel and/or Game Wardens. Vehicles must also display a parking permit and be registered at the area headquarters.

12. Do not take any plants, animals (other than legally taken game), or artifacts from the Daughtrey WMA while hunting or otherwise, including shed deer antlers or skulls. Any artifact found must be left as they are; shed antlers or skulls can be brought to the check station.

Texas Public Duck Hunting at J.D. Murphree WMA

Some of the best public duck hunting opportunities in Texas can be found at the state-owned wildlife management areas (WMA) scattered along the gulf coast. During most years, these properties have good numbers of birds, good habitat and offer a number of hunt periods for waterfowlers. Freshwater is typically stable along the coastal plains of Texas, and the ducks know it.

Hunters looking for public duck hunting opportunities should take advantage of Texas’ WMA system. The state is even looking to get hunters off on the right foot.

Public Duck Hunting in Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) invites the hunters and others within the community to attend an informational meeting on public land hunting access during upcoming migratory game bird hunting seasons. Updates on public hunting access within the Upper Coast Wildlife Management Areas and information on the rules and regulations of leased lands will be covered.

The public meeting will be held Tuesday, August 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area Check Station at 10 Parks and Wildlife Drive in Port Arthur, on the south side of highway 73 near the intersection of Jade Avenue.

Additional information regarding public hunting opportunity on TPWD-owned lands is available online. Hunters specifically interested in duck hunting at Murphree WMA can contact them directly at 409-736-2551. Bring on the birds!

Texas Draw Hunts for 2015-16 Season: It’s Time!

It’s mid-July and time to focus on Texas draw hunts for the fall. The 2015-16 hunting season is shaping up to be a good one, with favorable habitat conditions pointing towards bumper crops in every critter with fur or feathers. The better than average habitat conditions already have many hunters excited about the possibility of “what could be” this fall, including myself. The draw hunts offered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is just another thing getting me stoked for the fall.

Last year, TPWD rolled out online-entry for the state draw hunts. My opinion: This was much, much easier to enter than in the past. Thank you. The format is the same as last year but it seems the application period has started even earlier this year, meaning more time to apply. This also means potentially more competition for hunters entering these draws, especially TPWD did away with the one-application per hunt category last year; starting last year hunters can enter for every area that offers a public hunt.

TPWD Draw Hunts Texas

To apply you first need to navigate over to the Draw Hunt web site. From their you can choose to browse from the available draw hunts or download the hunts in the old printed book format, which is what I prefer since it’s much easier to look at all of the various categories. Hunters can then apply online and even check their status throughout the fall.

Things to Know about TPWD Draw Hunts

  • You can view your Permit Status online. If you won a hunt it will read “Permit Available.”
  • Winners will be notified by email which will include details about the hunt you won including hunt dates and the permit fee/*acceptance due date. Failure to pay for/accept your permit by the due date will result in your permit being reassigned to another hunter and your permit status will change to “Missed Deadline”.
  • Once paid for/accepted, your permit status will change to “Permit Paid” or “Permit Accepted”. Your permit and Hunt Brochure will be emailed to the address entered on the billing screen and it is that person’s responsibility to forward permits and information to the appropriate person(s).
  • You can call or email the Public Hunting Program (512-389-4505, or to request an email message be re-sent.
  • Your permit must be in your possession while participating in the hunt. It can be stored on a mobile device or printed.
  • No substitutions will be allowed except for a non-hunting supervising adult on a Youth Only hunt.
  • If a co-applicant cannot attend the hunt the other group members can still participate.

There is no secret to entering these draw hunts. It’s $3 per hunter to enter and most areas accept entries with groups of up to 4, so you can apply with you buddies. The great thing about the online draw system is that hunters can no longer be disqualified for multiple entries. In old mail-in system, if you entered and then your buddy, relative, or girlfriend also entered you then all of the applications would be void. With the new system, the computer already knows that you’ve been entered and will not allow you to re-apply, which means you will not be disqualified.

Again, the cost is $3 per hunter and although the odds of getting drawn are not great for every hunt, if you or your group does get drawn then you will get in on a really cheap hunt with a good opportunity to harvest an animal. Some of these public hunting lands are highly managed, such as the wildlife management areas. The parks, not so much, but they typically offer good numbers of animals. The TPWD draw hunts are a good place to look for hunters with no to few places to hunt. From experience, I’d recommend entering as many as possible and then you’ve got a chance at getting drawn for one or two.

Coming Soon: Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area

Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a reality. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today approved acceptance of a land donation to create the new 14,037 acre Yoakum Dunes WMA in Cochran, Terry and Yoakum Counties near Lubbock, providing a refuge for the threatened lesser prairie chicken and other native grassland birds and wildlife. It’s the first new WMA in Texas since the 2006 donation of the McGillivray and Leona McKie Muse Wildlife Management Area in Brown County.

Acquisition of land for the WMA was made possible through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy of Texas, The Conservation Fund and Concho Resources, Inc., an oil and gas company operating in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico that donated $400,000 to The Conservation Fund towards land acquisitions for the WMA. The donation leveraged $1.2 million in federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds.

Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area

“Conserving the lesser-prairie chicken all comes down to habitat, and the new Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area will provide vital breeding and nesting habitat for the species in a critically important part of its range” said Ross Melinchuk, TPWD deputy executive director for natural resources. “It would not have been possible without federal wildlife grant funds and support from private partners.”

In 2007, the Nature Conservancy of Texas began purchasing land that would become the Yoakum Dunes Preserve, using federal grant funds. The conservancy has acquired 10,635 acres, which the commission today approved to accept as a donation to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The department has acquired tracts totaling 3,402 acres contiguous with the TNC holdings. Today’s commission vote clears the way for the conservancy to transfer its holdings to TPWD in order to establish the Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management Area.

The primary impetus for the WMA is conservation of the lesser prairie chicken, whose historic shinnery oak/midgrass prairie habitat has been fragmented by agriculture, oil and gas development, and other land uses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bird as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in May, 2014. (See TPWD’s lesser prairie-chicken web page for more information.) Besides the prairie-chicken, the new WMA will also provide important habitat for a wide range of indigenous wildlife, including Texas horned lizards, quail and mule deer.

The partners emphasized that although the new WMA is a major achievement, private landowner conservation is essential to recover the lesser-prairie chicken. TPWD and four other states within the bird’s range are cooperating in a range-wide plan led by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which provides funding and incentives for private ranchers and other landowners to conserve habitat.

It will take a few months to complete the land transfer from TNC to TPWD and create the new WMA. In June, Brandon Childers, formerly at Black Gap WMA, started work as the new biologist and WMA manager at Yoakum Dunes. For the next year or two, he will lead department efforts to complete baseline surveys to assess natural and cultural resources, begin habitat management practices such as brush control and water improvements to benefit the lesser prairie-chicken and other grassland wildlife, and plan public use opportunities on the WMA.

In coming years the agency plans to offer public recreational use of the WMA, including hunting, birding and other compatible recreation. However, decisions about what degree and how much of the WMA may be open to the public won’t be possible until after on-site resources are fully assessed.

Once the new WMA is created after the land transfer, TPWD will eventually create a Yoakum Dunes WMA web page with more information for the public, including a phone number to contact. In the meantime, questions about the new WMA or landowner assistance for wildlife conservation can be addressed to the Panhandle/High Plains Wildlife District of the Wildlife Division.

TPWD Draw Hunts Online and Ready!

It’s official, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) draw hunts are online as of today! Hunters looking to step foot on public hunting lands can enter for hunting opportunities across the state of Texas. The new online catalog of hunts is available and applications are being accepted. Hunters can browse through the available hunting opportunities online or download a printable PDF.

Talking Public Hunting

TPWD says that over the last several years, a lot of thought and planning went into creating the new online drawing system. The new draw hunt system replaces one that was inefficient and labor intensive; it will improve the way applications are submitted, winners are selected for hunts, and permits are issued, allowing hunters to check their status online anytime and pay application and permit fees by credit card. Anything that saves taxpayer money and makes my life easier sounds like a good idea.

TPWD Draw Hunts are Online!

Draw Hunt Permits Available

The online system includes TPWD’s special permit hunts, e-postcard selection hunts for a limited number of areas and US Forest Service antlerless deer permits. Special permit hunts include General, Youth Only and Adult Only categories for a variety of species including alligator, white-tailed deer, mule deer, exotics, feral hogs, javelina and turkey.

Forest Service permits include a limited number of permits provided to hunt antlerless white-tailed deer during the general open season on Alabama Creek, Bannister, Moore Plantation and Sam Houston National Forest Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). No application fee is required for e-postcard or USFS hunts.

Entering TPWD Drawn Hunts

In a complete 180 degree move, paper applications are no longer accepted. The 2014 TPWD draw hunt applications will only accepted online and any mailed paper applications will be returned to the sender. It is absolutely necessary that interested hunters have access to a computer. For those of you reading this article, you will be fine. Others will have to head down to the local public library or get help from a friend or relative who has internet access.

There are no residency restrictions, so Texas residents and non-residents can easily apply. Web-based entry makes it easier for residents to enter, but also drastically increases the ability for non-residents to enter.

Youth applicants for Special Permits draw hunts must be between 8 and 16 years old. Supervising adults must be at least 18 years old. Youth applicants for E-Postcard hunts and US Forest Service Permits must be under 17 years old.

TPWD Drawn Hunts Online Entry

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is updating drawn hunts by implementing and requiring online, website-based registration for public hunting opportunities in 2014. TPWD did a mail-out earlier this week to inform past public hunters of the change in the way the program is administered. The letter thank past hunters for participating in Texas’s Public Hunting Program and announced the new online Public Hunt Drawing System.

The benefits to Texas’s hunters include an easier application process, real-time status checks on applications, the ability to pay application and permit fees by credit card, and the ability to either print or store hunt permits on a mobile device. Also, selected hunters will no longer receive letters in the mail, but rather drawn winners will be notified by email.

TPWD Drawn Hunts Online

“With the new paperless system, hunters will be able to browse the drawn hunt catalog by hunt category and location using interactive maps, as well as complete the application and pay online. Selected applicants will be notified by email and can accept permits and pay any fees online. Permits will be issued by email and can be printed at home or stored on a mobile device. Those applicants who are not selected may still be eligible through a secondary drawing if any permits are unclaimed by the payment deadline. There may still be opportunities for traditional standby hunts at some locations.”

The downside is that TPWD will no longer print and mail the “Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands” booklet. I can understand that it’s a cost-savings measure in a highly web world, but I enjoyed being able to thumb through the book and compare different public hunting lands at my convenience. The cost to enter most drawn hunts is still $3, but there are also some hunts, such as e-postcard hunts and US Forest Service antlerless deer hunts that have no application fee.

The online drawn hunt system should be available for hunters to begin their application process in early July, according to the letter. More information about the new drawn hunt system can be found on their website, by contacting or by calling 512-389-4505.