Every year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues about 2.5 million hunting and fishing licenses through the agency's 28 field offices, more than 50 state parks and at over 1,700 retailers across the state. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/buy or by phone at 1-800-895-4248. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. and there is a required $5 convenience fee for each phone or online transaction. The online transaction system is available 24/7. For online and phone orders, a physical license will be mailed within three business days. During that time period, a transaction receipt will be provided via email that will be sufficient proof of hunting license that can be used for dove hunting, though it will not be allowed for the take of fish or wildlife that require a tag.
Hunting and fishing regulations for the new season can be found in the 2014-2015 Outdoor Annual, available at license retailers August 15 and online at www.txoutdoorannual.com. Starting this fall, it'll be easier than ever for hunters and anglers to take the Outdoor Annual with them in the field or on the water via a new app available by the end of August for free download on iPhone and Android platforms.
Mandatory Hunter Education Certification
In addition to a hunting license, 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. The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces.
Hunters who need hunter education certification now have expanded contemporary options including a streamlined, one-day basic course and an option for anyone 17 years of age or older to take the hunting safety training completely online. A combination online home study and 4 to 5 hour skills field day course is also offered. More information on hunter education certification is available online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/outdoor-learning/hunter-education .
Bird Hunting Requirements
A Migratory Game Bird endorsement and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt dove or teal in September. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year's migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased. Duck hunters also need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp.
There are other mandatory endorsements to consider at the time of license purchase. An Upland Game Bird Stamp ($7) is required to hunt all non-migratory game birds, including turkey, quail, pheasant and chachalaca.
Big Time Texas Hunts
Big Time Texas Hunts provide opportunities to win one or more of eight premium guided hunt packages with food and lodging provided, as well as taxidermy in some cases. The crown jewel of the program is the Texas Grand Slam dream hunt package, which includes four separate hunts for Texas' most prized big game animals - the desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer and pronghorn. There are several quality whitetail hunt packages available, as well as opportunities to pursue alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics. Big Time Texas Hunts entries are available online for just $9 each at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buyentry, or for $10 each at license retailers or by phone. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may purchase and all proceeds benefit conservation, wildlife management and public hunting. The program is made possible with support from Toyota, Texas Trophy Hunters Association and the Texas Bighorn Society. More details on all eight premium hunts can be found online.
Lifetime License Drawing
Hunters and anglers can also take care of their licensing requirements for life with the purchase of an $1,800 Lifetime Super Combo, or enter for a chance at winning a lifetime license through the Lifetime License Drawing. Entries for the drawing cost $5 each and may be purchased wherever licenses are sold. There is no limit on the number of entries that may be purchased. Winners will be drawn on Dec. 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015. If you enter by Dec. 27, 2014, you will be eligible for both drawings.
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