Breckenridge Texan

Holt to teach TPWD hunter education course on May 8

Holt to teach TPWD hunter education course on May 8
April 28
11:23 2021

Former Stephens County Sheriff Will Holt volunteers as a Hunter Education and Safety Instructor with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and will be teaching a class in Breckenridge on Saturday, May 8.

The Hunter Education course will be from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 301 S. Rose, and there are four seats available, as of the morning of Wednesday, April 28.

The course is designed for novice or young hunters, ages 9 years and older, and Holt says 11 years old is ideal. It will cover the core competencies of firearm and hunting safety, hunting ethics and wildlife conservation. All materials are provided.

The first half of the day will be the classroom course at the church. The second half of the course will be held in town, at 1807 W. Walker St., for the field portion. Students should not bring their own firearms. The field day will consist of safety exercises, ethical scenarios, etc. Lunch will be an hour in between the classroom and the field day, and students will be on their own for lunch.

The fee for the certification is $15. TPWD recommends a parent attend for children who need help focusing, learning, or if they’d like to have some bonding time. Each student must bring $15 in cash or check to attend. Parents who are already certified or are not interested in getting certified but want to sit with their child will not need to pay.

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register for the class. Information also is available by calling the TPWD Austin headquarters at 1-800-792-1112, ext. 4999.

The Hunter Education Classroom courses are offered across the state year round and are taught by certified volunteer instructors. Some instructors may apply additional charges for the class, such as range or facility fees. Check with the instructor for directions and any special instructions prior to going to class.

Benefits of the Hunter Education Course

According to a TPWD news release, the 2019 Texas Hunting Incident Analysis showed that Texas has seen a substantial decrease in hunting-related accidents and fatalities since Hunter Education became mandatory in 1988. That year, over 18,000 Texans received their Hunter Education certification, but 12 fatalities and 70 accidents were still reported throughout the state. As more Texans have taken to the field and obtained their Hunter Education certification, these numbers have improved, with over 56,000 certifications in 2019 and only one fatality, and 21 accidents, reported statewide.

“The number one hunting incident during the general season is careless handling of a firearm in and around vehicles,” said Steve Hall, the Hunter Education Coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “Keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times. This is the cardinal rule of hunting and shooting safety.”

Even prior to Hunter Education becoming mandatory in 1988, TPWD has offered hunter education courses since 1972 which have certified nearly 1.5 million students. Today, Hunter Education is required for every hunter in Texas (including out-of-state hunters) born on or after Sept. 2, 1971. The minimum age for certification is 9 years of age and certification is good for life.

Hunters must have proof of their Hunter Education certification on their person while in the field. Hunters have access to their Texas proof of Hunter Education in the free Outdoor Annual mobile app for iOS and Android.

There are two course options for anyone who needs to take Hunter Education. The basic classroom course, which Holt is teaching on May 8, is six hours of instruction and includes skill exercises, a review and then a final exam. These types of courses are most often held in schools or in an indoor venue.

The online course, combined with the field course, has two parts:  a free online course that should be completed first, and then a field course that typically takes a minimum of four hours to complete. The field course contains a presentation on ethical and responsible hunting, participation in a hunting skills trail, a live-fire exercise, a review of regulations and a final exam.

There is also an online-only course that is restricted to anyone 17 years of age or older. Online coursework varies from 2-4 hours depending on pre-knowledge, age, reading level and other factors.

(Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

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