October 13, 2020

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Accepting Comments on Proposed Regulatory Amendments

Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) is currently accepting public comments on a set of proposed regulatory amendments that will be discussed during the Commission’s upcoming meeting on November 10. Among the amendments is a proposed change that would allow hunters to display their hunter education certification on their mobile phones.

This proposed amendment builds on Texas House Bill 547 (2019) which allowed sportsmen and women to display their hunting, fishing, or combination licenses on their mobile phones. With many sportsmen and women in possession of a smartphone, this change is designed to increase convenience for hunters and anglers while participating in their outdoor endeavors. In addition to this proposed amendment, the Parks and Wildlife Commission has proposed an option to allow hunters to obtain a replacement of their hunter education certification online.

On October 8, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter expressing support for the proposed amendments. CSF acknowledged the added convenience that these amendments would offer Texas’ hunters. In addition to comments regarding the proposed amendments, CSF encouraged the Commission to review Texas’ hunter education deferral program, which allows interested hunters to participate under the supervision of a mentor prior to completing their hunter education requirements. Currently, Texans may only apply for the deferral one time. However, most neighboring states allow hunters to participate in similar apprentice hunting programs for multiple years before committing to completing their hunter education requirements. By increasing the years of eligibility beyond a single year, participants have increased opportunities to experience a successful hunt, thereby increasing the likelihood of effectively recruiting and facilitating the long-term participation of new hunters.

Those interested in reviewing and commenting on this or other proposed regulatory amendments may do so here. The current comment period will close at 9:00 A.M. CST on November 10, prior to the Commission’s November meeting.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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